This blog has a wide readership. I’d say 90% or more of you know me personally, but I am popular around the world, particularly Germany, China, South Korea and Taiwan. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no David Hasselhoff, but you explain my Indian readership.
As I’m sure all my regular readers know, I help administer the band and music at the Sunday Night service at Toongabbie Anglican Church, in the western suburbs Sydney, Australia. If you aren’t one of the people who knew this, welcome to my beer blog, where I keep track of my home brewing adventures, and occasionally write about other stuff.
I’ve helped lead the band for 12 months now. Prior to that we were under the guidance of musician extraordinaire and all round good guy Tim Neal. He left our church after marrying the lovely Jamie, to start afresh together at Macquarie Chapel. So since then, Luke and myself have led the band, but now Luke is hoping to step back a bit. But this article isn’t meant to be about me.
At the start of 2005 we had a bit of a personnel problem. We had 2 bands, each doing 2 weeks playing, 2 weeks being a part of the congregation. One band had drums, bass, piano and a singer, while the other had drums, bass, guitar and a singer. Okay, but a real hassle when someone was away, or sick, for a weekend. Plus we weren’t really doing as much as we could with the songs, just going through the motions to a certain extent.
By the end of 2005, things were much better. We had a couple of musicians return to playing after an absense of 1-3 years, and a couple of new people come on board to bolster the singing. The other thing that happened was a bit of rostering magic (chronicled here) where the guys who play bass, guitar and piano agreed to play 4 weeks out of 6.
So the bands were much more substantial. Every week we now had drums, bass, guitar, piano (4 out of six), saxophone and two vocalists. It gave us a much fuller sound, allowed more people to get up to speed with the music, and gave us more cover when people were unavailable.
We managed to introduce a few new songs in 2005:
- You opened up my eyes – Martyn Layzell
- See Him coming – Mark Peterson
- In the cross alone I glory – Brian Petak
- Your love, Oh Lord – Third Day
- Agnus Dei – Michael W. Smith
- Yesterday, today and forever – Vicky Beeching
- All my days – Stuart Townend
- Making melody – Matt Redman
- You are my king – Newsboys
- That’s why we praise Him – Tommy Walker
The other big adventure we had in 2005 (other than the 3 weddings) was the giant carols extravaganza. It all happened a bit late unfortunately, but we found some excellent contemporary arrangements of Christmas carols, and the band got fully behind it. We rehearsed a lot in the awful heat which is western Sydney in December, but the results were awesome. Probably the best musical performance by a Toongabbie Anglican musical ensemble ever (I’ve only been here 5 years, though, I could be wrong).
We had a meeting on Sunday night to get everyone on the same page for 2006. We want to move onwards and upwards from the great vibe that came out of music last year, and particularly carols. A few more people joined the crew, and everyone got focussed on why we do what we do.
I handed out an article from The Age newspaper, written in 2003 called Soul Power. It talks about how doing music in church inappropriately can actually drive people away from the Lord. TAC is an evangelical church, even if sometimes we wish it were someone else doing the evangelising, so this notion was abhorrent.
I also mention Psalm 150, which encourages us to play drums, strings and dance to praise God. I asked everyone to commit to be involved with music this year, not be wishy-washy. So they all signed contracts saying they would turn up on time, practice songs before hand, and similar.
It’s really encouraging when you are part of something difficult that works. Team projects have always fulfilled me more than doing something by myself. Doing something team related, like playing music, and doing it to glorify God, is even more satisfying when it comes together.
I pray that this year God is glorified in the way the music team performs at Toongabbie Anglican this year, and I pray that many, many people will come along, enjoy the music, and come to know and love God as I have.