Sunday Songmaking

I can't get Sunday out of my mind.

It was an unusual Sunday morning at church. We didn't have a regular service. Our pastor instead lead us through a prayer service, divided into four sections: Praise, Lament, Confession, and Blessing. Interspersed in each section were songs both by the praise team and the 4 part A Capella singing I wrote about in my last post. Normally the team plays their 3-4 song set in one block and then goes back to the pews for the rest of the service. But this Sunday, since that would have meant a lot of up and down, we just stayed on the platform behind the pulpit.

As it happens, in our praise team we have an Alto (my cousin), a Tenor (not my cousin) and a Bass (me). It has been sooo long since I have sung in an ensemble and I miss it so very much. I love to hear choirs and quartets alike. I love to sing in small groups and get to the point where our voices blend into one sound; no single person's voice dominating the rest.

My cousin is a wonderful Alto with a deep, rich tone and she has had voice training. She often sings the tenor part when she and I are in a group. The Tenor is a fabulous singer who sings the higher notes (G?, A?) like a bird. I'm not half bad myself, having had voice training and singing in the high choirs in college. Add to us three the Song Leader for the hymn singing, a brilliant Soprano and we had a wonderful quartet.

And that's when the magic happened.

There were times I was completely lost in the sound of the four of us singing there on the dais. Each of us knew when to hold back, when to crescendo on the moving parts, how to phrase, how to breathe. There were times when my chest vibrated with the sound of the chords we made, far beyond the note I was singing. It was, for me, a perfect place to be that morning, and I was a little saddened when we finished the last hymn.

But it wasn't all perfection.

Our last song as a praise team was "Come, now is the time to worship." And it's a song that I know fairly well and have no problem with on the guitar. However, as I played, I sounded awful...just awful. I sounded about a half step flat from the lead guitarist (who is amped {I'm not [thankfully]}). I thought maybe I was on the wrong frets as I sometimes do that, but no, I was just out of tune. So I stopped playing. However, even after I stopped playing, my guitar was out of tune. Huh? you might ask. Well, it was the weirdest thing. I must have been standing the right place for the voice of one of the congregation members to echo off my sound board...and he was singing a half step down.

I still couldn't play because the clashing sounds were so distracting. I just concentrated in singing the song at the right pitch. Looking at the guy singing, however, was a beautiful sight. He had no idea just how off key he was, but he was enraptured by the song he was singing. And I decided right there and then I would rather have my congregation off key and enjoying the music than to be timid about making a mistake that they make no music at all.


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