Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Tonight I went to the St. Charles Family Arena to a Missouri River Otter hockey game. It was Christian Family Night, so our church had quite a few people there, including our Singles Sunday School group. Big deal, I'm sure you're thinking.

Yep. You see, I was asked to sing the National Anthem. I sang the Anthem two years ago for Christian Family Night at the River City Rascals baseball game. So I was asked 2 days ago to sing it again. Naturally, I accepted.

The announcer came on and instructed everyone to stand and remove their caps, and then introduced me. I waited 3 seconds for eveyone to get settled, then I began. (Now I wasn't sure how long the delay might be, or what the echo might sound like, so i was ready for almost anything.) Almost...

I got through the first phrase and realized that I didn't hear myself at all, let alone an echo. So I stopped, and waited 5 seconds to start again. Again I reached the beginning of the second phrase and figured I had better stop before going any further. I checked the microphone to make sure there was a kill switch on it (there wasn't), and I checked to verify that the cord was securely attached (it was).

At this point, the players from the visiting team (who were only 15 feet away), and the fans immediately next to me began casting glares my way. I could tell by the expressions on their faces that they were thinking that either I was scared silent or that I had forgotten the words. I stepped back for a few seconds more, then started again. This time, right after the word "can" the mic turned on. The delay was very short (much shorter than at the ballpark) and I think they had me cranked in the system (because I thought it sounded loud). The rest of the song was pretty uneventful, and I hit the notes without much difficulty at the end.

It's always fun to see and hear people and their reaction to me when I sing anywhere. I suppose it's due to the way I look that people assume that if I do any singing at all, it is probably screaming heavy metal. So people always sound suprised and shocked that I sounded fairly decent. It's a fun moment to catch people in.

The National Anthem is a tricky song to pull off. If you start just a little too low, you will never hit the low notes a few phrases in. If you start a bit too high, you'll never hit the ending. And since both times I've sung it have been a capella, my beginning is critical. The first time I started a note too low, but made it through. Tonight I started perhaps a half step too low, but that's okay. I'd rather err on the low end than the high end. Nobody wants to hear my straining and screaming for those notes.

Another good time singing in front of a couple thousand people...

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Our musical group felt like we needed to go back down to Cairo, IL to visit and minister to our friends down at the Promise Land Mission. So we gathered together some clothes and met this morning at Michael's house to carpool down.

The awesome thing about this trip is that Lisa was able to go with us. I was super-excited about this fact (After all, she had never seen the musical before - she had only heard me sing my song and Michael sing "Listen to the Rain" in person. She has heard most of it on the CD I gave her, but it pales in comparison to a live performance. She also pointed out the fact that she had learned that Cairo was the site of one of the more vicious race riots in the United States.

So Amanda joined Lisa and I in the car and we took the 3 hour road trip down to Cairo. We ate at the Hong Kong Chinese restaurant in downtown Cairo (this is becoming a tradition of sorts - plus it's all-can-eat buffet). We met up with pastor Dewayne and made our way a couple of blocks to the mission.

We placed the sacks of clothing out on the picnic tables for the people to search through after the service. It wasn't near as cold this time as it was the last time I went down to the mission, so they didn't have the three space heaters cranked - which made me very happy.

By the time we were ready to start singing, Lisa had bonded pretty well with Esther Ruth (Ruth's daughter) and they sat with each other. We sang through the first act, and everyone did a fantastic job. My song went really well. I really enjoy being right there with the people and on the same level with them.

After the sermon we had communion, which for these people was a very rare event. In fact, I don't know if some of these people had ever had the opportunity to take communion. It was a very sweet time of congregational singing and prayer.

We went back up and finished the evening with the latter portion of act two. By the time we were finished the room was quite warm and I was pretty well spent. We left kind of quickly in order to get back at a decent hour, but everyone seemed genuinely appreciative and thankful. It's a nice little place to go to recharge and share all at the same time. Lisa and I drove home by ourselves, which proved to be a period of good reflection and discussion.

The push is on to get all of our voices on the CD. I almost had the opportunity to go down to Nashville this week to record my song, but that fell through at the last minute. My turn should be coming soon. We'll drive down, record for a day or two and drive back. Maybe then I'll have a clip of my song (with me singing) that I can post on this site for you all to hear.

It's quite an exciting time right now...