Monday, June 15, 2009

"The Church Concert"

You're familiar with "the church concert," right?

I'm not talking about the big, radio-promoted, big sound system, name-brand Christian concert.

I'm talking about the random, Sunday night concert when some group that nobody's ever heard of comes in to sing. I strongly suspect that is is primarily a small-church type of thing. Secondly, I think the "church concert" is quickly fading from our religious landscape.

So, today, we're going to talk about the church concert. If you've got church concert experience, I'd love to hear it.

  • What's that? You've never heard of this group? Don't worry. The pastor's never heard of them either. The music guy knows them, but only because he's listened to their CD to make sure they're not heretics.

  • At one of these concerts, you can probably expect a "hymn-through-the-ages" medley. This is where the group sings a popular hymn in stereotypical genres. Most medleys start at the 1920s and end in the 1970s. I don't think any groups out there attempt to add 80s and 90s hymn additions. Beware...members of the group may actually do choreography.

  • If the group brings their own sound system, expect the bass singer to be the engineer. Oh, and expect him to play with the settings after EVERY. FREAKING. SONG.

  • Be careful of where you catch these groups during their touring cycle. If you catch them early in the tour, their clothes and hair will be relatively current. If you get them on the back-end, expect a look that's about 70 months behind schedule.

  • If there's a piano player with them, you're golden. Chances are he's the only real musician on stage. Tell the dudes to shut up and let the kid rock.

  • These guys will try to throw the name of your town into their presentation as much as possible. I once heard a guy pray a long, passionate, tearful prayer over Tyler, Texas. We weren't in Tyler, Texas.

  • In addition to the hymn-through-the-ages, you can also plan on a patriotic number. Don't believe me? Go to Branson.

  • Do not agree to go to dinner with the staff and the group after church. Trust me. That is one of the most awkward meals you'll ever experience.
Anybody feeling me on these? If you're lucky enough to experience one of these concerts, there are a few ways you can enjoy yourself.
  1. If the group asks for requests, call out "Looking For A City." Their tenor will hate you.

  2. If you head back to their table, ask them if they know random famous Christian celebrities. Anybody will do...Billy Graham, Steven Curtis Chapman, TobyMac, Joel Osteen. Then sit back and watch as they try desperately to connect their life to the person in some way.

  3. As they're singing, pretend they hate each other. Who knows...they might.


wjcollier3 said...

why does the bass singer always hold his microphone tight around the business end and all the others hold theirs either in the middle or down by the cable? is he trying to strangle it? is he afraid it will escape? what's the deal? virtually every bass singer i have ever seen does this, including the great ones.

Johnny! said...

Hey, Ross, I WAS going to see about a concert at Holy Trinity this summer...

Thanks, TODD.

Robert Conn said...

The self-serving "Love Offering" always is a winner for me.

Hold-up there slick, maybe cut back on the AquaNet and start paying your own bills. I'm kidding of course I'm all for shoveling the dough around but why do they make themselves sound like they're the only group traveling around for Jesus?

chrismaroon said...

Is anybody else uncomfortable that Todd knows this much about this topic? I know he was raised digging on good old southern gospel, but those are some pretty intense observations.

wjcollier3 said...

if you have been to about 3 or 4 of these concerts, you would have to realize that these are simply surface level observations.