Thursday, March 26, 2009

And there's more!

Oh yes, much more! Here's Jesus We Enthrone You. A gentle jazz waltz, and a meandering tenor solo from Joe Northwood. Good old Tom on bass prefers his electric, and though I normally make him use the upright, he clearly enjoys himself on his preferred instrument all night long.

Here is Lord Reign in Me. Brenton Brown's classic British Vineyard track, given a slightly Basie twist. You know, lots of these songs worked really well this last Saturday - really well. In ways that I had only had them work in my head. Part of it is clearly getting rehearsal time, and I am so grateful to all the guys in the band for giving up an evening to get together in advance of the show to pull this together. Yep, just the one rehearsal & then a top-and-tailing for arrangements most of them had never seen. Not bad, eh?

And May My Heart, my own little prayer of a song, easing its way through the late night air, a subtle jazz compline of a prayer. Joe Webb does a nice job with the piano obligato. And my soul soars.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Days

Here we are then. First video from Big Band Praise.

I've been wanting to do a full band arrangement of Tim Hughes' Happy Day for ages. Time, and opportunity, have conspired against me... until this last week. It's not perfect, and I think it's not finished, but it was great fun, and a great first attempt!

One of the very first arrangements we ever tried was Tim's Whole World song. That and Shout to the Lord formed the very first CD trial we ever did, before we'd ever played jazz worship 'live'. But 'Whole World' only started to work 'live' back in October this last year! Actually, I even thought it didn't quite work on the CD we released... which means, it didn't sound there like it did in my head. Now it's sounding like it does in my head.

And finally (for now) a Big Band Praise favourite: Yes Indeed! (Which is why that phrase keeps coming up in comments, for those of you who have never been). Usually this features plenty of trombone solos, but this time I switched it around a bit & had Fraser & Joe battle away on saxes instead.

This is just for the fun of it! Smiling should be an inherent part of worship.

Thanks to Malcolm Jenkins for filming this. I'll probably post a couple more clips before we're done!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Worship Weekend 2009

Hello! Yes, I'm still here... Looking back, I haven't been this inactive on the blog for 18 months. But life has been pretty full.

We have just had our worship weekend. Lots of good things - and one unfortunate one; the timing was of course an issue. When we organised it, we failed to note the clash with the last day of the Six Nations Rugby. That affected our Saturday evening crowd.

But we did have a great time - as people have been commenting on the previous post! So here's some stuff. Frankly, I am still too exhausted to review everything, so I'm going to just give you a few photos, a few random comments, and a bit of video.

First: Big Band Praise. This was the event that the rugby hit. So we had a small crowd. But, we had a great time, and with almost a different band to last time, we had a fantastic sound. The guys were amazing, and I remain completely committed to doing this. I think that for this to work at its best, someone like Kenn Hughes as a guest is ideal - an outside draw to add to the attraction of the evening - but we had a blast. Some items went far better than last time. One or two not quite as well. And there were some new pieces: notably at last I have got round to doing a big band version of Tim Hughes' Happy Day. Evan Clegg on trumpet was especially brilliant, and deserves a particular mention for a couple of solos that even outshone the amazing Andy Greenwood on the CD. But the whole band were a delight; Tim Phipps & his crew were great, Val provided a storming meal for all, and though someone said to me afterwards that I gave the same as if there had been a thousand there, of course the answer to that is simple.

In worship, the audience always consists of One. I give Him my best, or it's not worth showing up.

So photos - the whole band from different angles. A couple of closer shots. I hope you get the feel of fun and passion and joy and intimacy and real worship thorugh these pics. It was a delight. There will be video, possibly. And also, possibly, audio.

Already I have posted two YouTube clips from Sunday.

Matty gave a brief cameo performance in the morning service, as he helped teach on Colossians 3. No photo of that. But I think the kids will remeber him, and the adults the point! (I was just petrified he would leave his mark on the carpet; he has a history of doing this in church... But I'd explained everything the night before, and the dog did well and did no doo-doo!)

Those YouTube clips.

OK - in the afternoon we were privileged to host a concert by husband and wife guitarists John Mills and Cobie Smit. John studied with Segovia and John Williams, and heads up the guitar department at the RWCMD as well as being a professor at the Royal Academy. They were fantastic, and part of their programme included a world premiere performance of a sonatina for two guitars by Welsh composer Mervyn Burtch. Here is a clip of part of that.

In the evening we had Cafe Church. Matthew Truelove sang three of his own songs - great songs, sung really well. He is great. This is a clip of him last night during the service.
Not great quality I am afraid on either of these clips, they were shot with my little camera, but at least they provide mementos of the day.

We raised around £850 for the Anthony Nolan Trust over the weekend through all the events we put on - which was another fantastic achievement. Thanks to all the musicians for giving their time for free, and for everyone for helping us to do something great for a a great cause as we worshipped. Love God, love your neighbour; that's what we are about.

And today - a little time to breathe. Then it's full tilt into making sure we have applications for grants on the Church Hall plans sorted for the end of the month...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still praying

RCT again are voting this week on the application to turn the old careers office next to our hall into a drugs centre. Again we want to affirm the work of the CRI but protect our children. This week we have the Children's Commissioner for Wales, the UN Charter for Children, and a risk assessment on the site working in our favour. Against us a report from the planning department that refuses to accept Child Protection matters, and which is so silly at times as to be scandalous.

Examples of this are so petty that I won't waste your time. But I really would value your prayers: that the Lord does a great thing, that our kids are protected, that all that should happen does, and that our rather precarious relationship with the planning authority here is not damaged as we prepare to face them with our own application soon to work on the church hall and make it a better site.

Please pray. We need help. God is good.

the next day

The applicant withdrew. After a series of emails which really did neither the planning department nor myself much good, the proposal was withdrawn. There was no meeting. No vote. It will not come back. It is over.

Thank you for praying. Thank you Lord for answering. I feel exhausted, relieved. I need a day off.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Coming Soon!

Just thought you'd like to know.