Reflection #1: It’s a lot of work.
Reflection #2: totally worth it.
I was pleased to partner my church with four amazing groups for the launch of our 729 concert series. A contemporary worship leader, a renaissance vocal ensemble, a gospel choir, and a folk trio; we heard from all of these groups in just 4 months. We got a write-up in the local paper (pdf) (confession: I wrote said write-up), and broke even with income from ticket sales exceeding the honorariums we sent to the musicians. Alrighty! Attendance was good too. After a small first concert (~30 folks came out), the momentum started to pick up. In October there were 50-60 people in attendance, November’s Teen Challenge concert drew the most with ~80 people, and Ordinary Time completed the series with ~60. At this point I can confidently say that when we do concerts in the future, we have a solid base audience to build upon. I hope in the future series that these 60 regular attendees will bring friends and family who might not be willing to come to church on a Sunday morning, but would come out to hear an interesting performance. They also might be willing, in this context, to catch a glimpse of the gospel that they might have never heard before, or maybe heard but never understood. Here’s what I learned:
- Wade Huggins taught me that the gospel is fun! we can sing and dance and clap our hands with all creation in praise.
- Cambridge Chamber Singers taught me that the gospel is old. That this story did not begin even with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, but that God has been ordaining praise (some of the most ornate and glorious praise) since we began to write music down (and of course before that too!). It puts our feeble songs in perspective, and our stories in connection with the Church throughout the millennia.
- Teen Challenge Choir taught me that the gospel is transformative. Here were a handful of guys, humble, honest, and real, proclaiming with song that God is “Mighty to Save”, and that “I am redeemed”. Their lives and stories reflect just that.
- Ordinary Time taught me that the gospel is for me and for all. Mary’s song, written by guitarist Peter La Grand and sung so delicately and graciously by Jill McFadden, reminded me that through Mary, God exalts the humble and lifts up the lowly.
Did you attend the concerts? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!