Choir Retreat: July 2018


In the past, summer has been a time to relax. Schedules would unpack a bit, vacations would be the focus of our time and moods would lighten. Even though many of us don’t have children in school anymore, our lives still have a natural rhythm, meaning summers would be time of recovery for the soul. They rhythm would be slow and comfortable.

This year . . . not so much. With FBISD changing their start time, everything seems to have compacted. Members had to scramble to get in events before the fall chaos arrived in their daily planners.  Life-happenings also played a role for many of us, including a funeral service for our dear friend Jim Pirtle.

When  I planned the choir retreat back in December, I envisioned a slower-paced summer in which we could gather and sing music in preparation for the upcoming fall and Christmas worship schedules.

In any event, the Chancel Choir will still be meeting this coming Saturday, July 21 from 8:00 AM – 10:30 PM. I will be limiting the scope of music we will cover to some of the John Rutter REQUIEM and various Fall anthems. Those will come into play in worship sooner than the Christmas pieces. However, Christmas music will be shared, albeit in a much more abbreviated fashion.

Make plans to attend the retreat . . . and plan to enter through the Groom’s Room entrance/Music Reception Area.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Anthem-Square-2018Let Music Fill Your Soul

We have several new anthems that will be a part of our choir retreat this coming Sunday. Click the link and check out this selection from Jacob Narverud called Let Music Fill Your Soul!


Anthem-2-2018 copy

I Need Thee Every Hour

Familiar hymns of the church are a staple of our anthem selections for the choir. Check out this arrangement of a very familiar hymn by Paul Bussellberg, I Need Thee Every Hour.

Anthem-3-2018 copyRemembering Decembers

Some amazing music comes from film composers. Composing under the pseudonym Pinkzebra, the composer gives a haunting recollection of Christmas past. Click here to listen.



Transforming Me: Change Beginning Now

“If you aren’t changing, you’re dying or dead.”

This past week, my friend Bill Adams announced to the mass choirs of the Fort Bend Boys Choir what Bill and I had been discussing for a bit . . . that I would not be returning as the FBBC Town Choir Director. This May will mark my final concert with this great organization. I will, without a doubt, miss the time with the organization and certainly, directing the boys.

Why the change and why now?

In the past couple of years, I have regularly found myself on Thursday afternoons exhausted at the end of a many-hour church week. I simply don’t have time to devote to the FBBC.

Couple that with being a work-a-holic, and you can see the problems I’ve personally developed — weight gain, stress, lack of focus, not enough time to dream, limited family time, Downton Abbey addiction.

Joyfully, I am in my tenth year of serving at First United Methodist Church. During that time, things have changed significantly and I’ve tried to be consistent in my work there. Some moments more successful that others, of course. Facing my limited family time, music ministry needs, increased workload, the arrival of a new dynamic Senior Pastor and my additional responsibilities in the area of Communications, I informed Bill of my intention to depart the FBBC.

No one specifically asked me to do this because of an event or a problem. In fact, I have the luxury of feeling very supported in all that I do both at home and at the church. Simply put, it’s time for me to focus and work on me and devote quality time to family, music ensembles, worship, communication and visioning.

This is the first step of a much longer journey for me.

In addition to being mentored as part of a new program, I’m deep into reading a book entitled Creativity, Inc., written by Pixar head Ed Catmull. I highly recommend this book as a way to rethink leading creative teams. Both have begun to change my thinking significantly.

Why say this on a blog? Mostly, to avoid having multiple discussions with others about why I’m leaving FBBC and what’s up with me.

I ask for your prayers during this time of personal “me-work” as I work through “me-change.”

Stop: You Are The One Who Can Help Me

As we are down a couple a staff members, I’m one of several who have picked up some extra responsibilities. I’ve been putting in extra time helping out. This is a temporary situation, but it has put me behind on some things I really must get done in my ministry areas.

So, I had it all planned. I was headed into my office at the church. I was going to get caught up on many things at the office. Yep, that was MY plan.

Stop, not so fast.

Got a call of a relative who needed help. Crisis time. Nothing really bad but certainly a crisis for them.

She said, “You were the first person I thought of. I really don’t know what else to do. I don’t know where to start. Can you help me?”

Great compliment, really . . . the skills, interests and talents that God gifted me could be the cause of relief in a crisis.

So, I stopped.

Yes, I’m still behind. Yes, I’ll be behind tomorrow. But, it will all get done. And, it felt good to stop — and to be able to render aid.

And so I pray — thank you God for helping me to stop. It was a moment of praise to you that someone thought of my skills could intervene in their crisis.

What if you were asked to stop?


Yes, It Really Is Christmas in July

For all choir director-type folks, Christmas comes early. We are planners by nature . . . or force of habit . . . so that means research and the ordering Christmas music takes place in the summer months. Mostly in July, really. By then, we are beginning to focus on the Fall matters at hand — schedules, anthems, personnel, volunteers, robe cleaning, music library organization, etc — typically driving our senior pastor friends nuts. After all, we expect sermon plans to be provided from now through the end times. [We may not know the day Jesus is returning, but we’d like to have an anthem in the folder just in case he does.]

So, Christmas begins now, really. My desk is a wreck but it’s all good. Before long, carols will be sung & rung. Now, off to bug Lynne about sermon plans!


After One Week Back at the Office . . . .

The planning and preparation it takes for one to leave office almost makes it worth not going. But, now that I’ve been back for a week, the amount of things that are now in the planning stages or that I have to execute are enormous, too. Now, I’m not whining . . . I love my ministry work. However, a simple view of my desk shows the current status of all my projects — in progress. Sigh.

Church musicians, can I get a witness?

The panorama shot distorts the actual shape of my desk. However, it does show the ministry clutter I seem to have accumulated.
The panorama shot distorts the actual shape of my desk. However, it does show the ministry clutter I seem to have accumulated.
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