CIA Summit continued.. Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Thursday was a showcase day. We hopped back and forth between the fortress where the bands played and the foundry where the singer/songwriters performed to hear various groups and artists-how cool!! We drove out to a Radnor Lake nature area which was not too far from our hotel. We ate lunch and went on a short hike. We saw turtles sunning on logs and other wild life, but the highlight was an otter eating a fish on a log.

After the nature center we drove down to Financial Peace University Plaza. As it turned out, their book store was under construction and we couldn't see the studio either so it was a bit of a disappointment. For the evening we went back to the Fortress to hear a presentation on Business vs. Ministry from Byron. He had awesome biblical knowledge and I was writing notes as fast as I could. The information centered around the definition of business, occupation, and ministry. After that came information about A.C.T, Artist in Christian Testimony which is an umbrella organization that partners with artists to provide 5013c status so others can support your ministry through charitable contributions.

Friday-started with Worship led by the band Journey Home and teaching by Scott MacLeod, the pastor at Provision International. We had great seminars all day, with lunch served by provision international (both days). Saturday it's the final day of the summit. We started again with praise music and devotions. There were several great panels of industry professionals on music marketing, branding, production, management. We also learned about legal issues and stage crafting. As we left the venue Saturday afternoon, we heard tornado sirens going off. A storm was coming in. We decided it was safe to head back to the hotel. We heard the sirens once more while at the hotel but the news reports told us it wasn't in our immediate area. We did have a severe Thunderstorm. We had been watching the weather predictions for Kansas as well and they were under a winter storm warning. Some parts of Kansas got 20 inches of snow-in late March!! Our daughter called to say her power was out. So Eric's parents were sitting in Minnesota under an evacuation watch, while our family in Kansas was getting a Spring Blizzard (about 5 inches fell in OP) and we were experiencing severe thunderstorms and the threat of tornados in Nashville.

Fortunately the storm passed but it became much colder. There was damage in Murfeesbourgh, near Nashville. Saturday night the Momentum Awards were given out and it was fun to see artists recognized and even some performed. Awards were followed by a concert from Margaret Becker. We had a great experience at the Summit-hope to go again next year.

posted by Loralie on 04/10/2009

Back from CIA Summit in Nashville Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

We just returned from the Christian Independent Artist Summit and here are few of our experiences. Tuesday we drove the 10 hours to Nashville through rain and thunder showers. On the way we got a text message about a police matter with our daughter. Don't worry, she is on the side of the good guys but it often makes for a roller coaster of emotions and lots of prayer. We got into Nashville about 4:30 and were right in the middle of rush hour traffic. We stayed at a hotel about 8 miles from the conference site. We stayed at this same hotel last year and picked it again because it was affordable and included a microwave and small refrigerator. We actually packed all our food for the trip and did not eat out once! It may sound a bit extreme, but we have made the commitment to be debt free and to run our music ministry in the black as well, so we wanted to do the best we could to keep costs down.

Wednesday- We found the site of the conference near downtown Nashville. It was held at the Foundry and the Fortress of Hope. These buildings are among those that house the ministry, Provision International. All the buildings were brick. This ministry had come into that part of Nashville to feed and care for hungry and homeless people. Every Thursday evening they have a meal of hope that feeds people in the area. In addition they have a music ministry, Harvestsound.com.

Next to the building was a grassy field where we could park. The smell of onions filled the air and I noticed that onions were growing wild all over this grassy field. As the cars parked there and people walked along the onions were being crushed and releasing their unmistakable fragrance into the air.

We attended the song writers conference with Reggie Stone, Robert Sterling, Randy Cox, and Lowell Alexander. It was a very informative day and I will never look at a song the same way again. We met Camilia and Daniel Aguilar from Woodland Hills, CA. I also met Kithy, Sandy Simon, and the band, Change of Heart. Their song has been just ahead of mine on Fan Faves forever, great bunch of guys from Madera, Calif. Matt Henry from the group told me later that his guitar was named Lauralei. Hmmm...

Throughout the conference we saw news reports of the flooding in the upper Midwest where much of Eric's family lives. This is the highest level the river has been in 112 years. The river was predicted to crest on Sunday and several dikes were stressed. Friday, Eric's family got the call at 6 am to plug their basement drains because the sewer lift pumps were failing in some areas, causing sewers to back up into homes. They were to be on standby to evacuate if the dikes did not hold. College campuses were shut down and evacuated and schools were closed.

Wednesday we went back to the Foundry for a coffee house type music showcase. Names of those attending were drawn and those people or groups could share a song if they wanted to. We met Cathy Reynolds and her husband , Vern and talked with them. How fun to meet and get to know artists who I've only seen and heard online. One artist I heard that I really liked was Kate White. She played the violin as part of her song. Aside from loving the sound of the violin, it struck me how much it made her unique and memorable. I may need to find another instrument to play after I re-learn how to play piano and guitar. I have my work cut out for me. More later...

posted by Loralie on 03/29/2009

MOVE THE CHAIRS AND SING! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Some of you are blessed to be in churches or worship settings where people sing their hearts out to God in praise. But, have you ever been a worship leader at a church or service, and wondered why people don't sing more? I could add my thought to the ongoing debate about factors that influence singing participation but here's one with an easy fix that I wanted to share with you. Some months ago, I noticed that as people came in to the church they would sit in the chairs closest to the aisle of the row. As others arrived, they too would find empty chairs along the aisle. When everyone had finally arrived (about 10 minutes after the start of the service-but I understand that sometimes it's all you can do to get there), you could look out over the congregation and see empty seats all the way down the middle of each section. People were spread apart across most sections of chairs. This even happens to growing churches when they decide to add an additional service time, thus plenty of seats.

When people are spread apart they don't sing with as much confidence, nor do they feel as much a part of a unified voice. Even though I enjoy singing, when I am part of the congregation, I don't want to feel like I'm the only one singing and mine is the only voice I hear. You even start to wonder if you are supposed to be singing and on it goes. When a choir sings do they spread themselves around the room? No, they stand together so they can hear each other and blend their sounds.

People will naturally space themselves apart unless they are very familiar with each other and sometimes even then. Watch people come into a class room, conference or meeting. Watch people get on an airplane. Which seats are taken first? Usually the aisle seats are the first to be reserved or occupied. It's my theory that people just don't like to climb over someone else either getting into or out of their seat! We don't want to inconvenience those around us. I think this applies to church seating as well. We don't want to inconvenience those already on the aisle by squeezing past them to get to the center seats.

In our church we have individual chairs rather than fixed seating. I suggested that instead of having rows of 11 to 15 chairs, we should make the rows shorter, say, 7 to 9 chairs. We created more aisles and more sections. Guess what happened? People came in and still along the aisles. But, the empty chairs in the center of the sections were gone! This created a natural way of grouping people rather than having someone say, "okay everyone move closer together and come up front here, I'm sure we all took showers!" Now people can hear each other sing and sing with more confidence.

As a worship leader, I want to help people participate in worship if I can. Sometimes that means removing obstacles. So, perhaps this will also help those that you lead in worship to sing more, too.

posted by Loralie on 03/18/2009