First [blog] entry on the new WordPress system:-)

This weekend at St. Peter’s I hosted guest musicians Scott, Megan, and Erin; we spent most of the afternoon yesterday working on music for worship today.  Two original compositions and three unique arrangements rose out of collaboration among friends old and new; below is a piece-by-piece look at the music we made.  Scottie and I also warmed up with some acoustic h&s beforehand, including “Under My Protection,” “Where Will I Alight?,” “Wait, You’re Where?!,” “Blues, or Astroblue?,” and “Major & Minor.”  Q: Why do I like questions as song titles so much?

“St. Peter’s, Va, Mawu, Va” – My drum call with ScoMo was a combination of two rhythms; the first a medium groove for improvising to call the congregation into the sanctuary, then breaking into a furious step (get out the way, get out the way!) and the spoken Call to Worship with Jody in Ewe language.  The title means “St. Peter’s, come!  God, come!” – someday I’ll do an EP/album of drum music, and this is definitely going to the “SAVE” pile.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – Megan’s guitar arrangement of this traditional hymn placed the first and second verses in a new harmonic framework with a new melody; we all joined together for the third.  It’s a dynamic setting, the music flowing around and reflecting the lyrics; Scott (sax), Erin (viola) and I (djembe) were responsive to her lead and her voice.

“From The Cloud” – Scott’s new composition, written for this Sunday, reflects the day’s text (Mark 9:2-9).  From the sound of footsteps ascending the mountain, the transfiguration itself, and the voice that follows, he sets the elements of the story in a jazz/African context with saxophone melody and drum rhythm.  In a style similar to “At Its Rising” (on the MFR XMAS comp), Scott explores the intersection between composed and improvised elements of music; he writes sections/themes/melodies/rhythms, and some “glue” that holds them together.  For a performance, we dance through these sections/glue in a given order, improvising with their sound, length, intensity, etc. 

“Dear Lord” – Scott chose this Coltrane tune, and we set it in a slow gospel 6/8 rhythm, because of our minimal instrumentation (sax/drums – no piano, etc.) and because I’m not so much of a swing drummer (the original is in a steady swing 4).  I felt best about the 10:30 version; I was finally finding the right combination of space and sound to support Scott’s big sax tone.  Sidenote; the large acoustic instruments, tenor sax and djembe, sounded incredible in the sanctuary without amplification.  I wish my voice and guitar had that size sound, because I love playing without mics.

“This Little Light of Mine” – Funny story; we talked about doing this piece early last week, and decided on it Wednesday.  We didn’t decide who would lead it…  so on Saturday afternoon as we were putting everything together, we discovered that Megan, Scott, and I had all done different arrangements!  We settled on Megan’s, which included a great counter-melody (I need to learn that trick, M+E!) and complete with authentic ’80’s-style drum/vocal breakdown at the end.  “Everywhere I go, I’m gon’ let it shine…”


7 thoughts on “howie&scott&erin&megan”

  1. I looked it up! thanks for the music, will def share the jams. maybe you could pass this along to scott too, but i just wanted to thank you again – i don’t want to sound like a broken record with the thank yous, but this weekend meant so incredibly much to me. i don’t know what megan told you, but i was hurting this weekend, and God’s timing was amazing with being in KC with Meg and getting to be a part of this – playing music for Him with some amazing musicians. especially just listening to you two just moved me deeply, and i felt God in the music, as the music, just wrapped around me. i was in awe that i got to play with you guys, just your talent is astounding. the weekend was a blessing, and you guys are some really cool guys, it was a blast to hang out. pretty cool to know you are right where God wants you when he wants you there huh? everyone just being themselves. He continues to blow my mind. just thought i would share – be encouraged! prayers your way. have a good one
    – viola erin

  2. How come you always do cool stuff at St. Peter’s when i’m in Columbia? You and Jody need to warn me about this stuff so I can come home for it!

  3. hey, you never know, you know?!?! i didn’t have confirmation from scott that he was coming until the week before, and megan a couple days before, and erin on saturday! it’s managed madness here, seriously. i’m not sure jody even sees how the music dep’t flies by the seat of my pants from week to week. that’s part of the excitement (even adrenaline at times! in worship, woot!) i guess. ahh.

    so when are you coming here again? we could do something rad, like “i heard the bells…”



  4. HOLY BUCKETS! that recording was FREAKIN amazing!!!!! you rock. pass it on!

    lol but seriously, thank you! dang, I am blown out of the water. i think you need to stop being awesome and having awesome friends, and I need to stop communicating with such awesome people. Yes, thats it exactly.


    Peace out girl scout. Props:)

  5. mad props you guys! that arrangement is great!! i’m on my second time listening to it, and i’m lovin’ it. i’ve always loved that hymn and the new arrangement is quality. you guys should post the rest of the songs on the blog too.


  6. I wish, rocker! “Come Thou Fount…” is the only thing we recorded. It would be great to have Scott’s “From the Cloud.”

    The drum jam was sweet enough that it will probably end up on my African record in some kind of form in the very distant future. I’m working on (and by working on I mean “dreaming of”) a double-album; one side of African-inspired pop, and one side of compositions for various percussion ensembles. Someday… in the meantime Cory and I are at seriously at work on VENTURA!


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