2009 PRAISE CHOIR, PRAISE TEAM, PRAISE BAND & TECH TEAM GUIDELINES, EXPECTATIONS & INFORMATION August, 2009 The purpose of this handout is to articulate information, expectations & guidelines that are often times not mentioned in writing or verbalized for both new team members as well as those who have been around for a while. This in no way is intended to be “lawish” or “ruleish”! I just realized that I’ve never really articulated some of these things that people often ask about. Hopefully, this will be a helpful tool and will answer some questions that often get asked. Some abbreviations and terms you often will see in print on information like emails or orders of worship: PC - Praise choir; the larger ensemble of singers who are High School age and up. No audition required. PB - Praise band; usually a 7 piece rhythm (bass, electric & acoustic guitars, electric keyboard, piano, drums & percussion) section often accompanied by additional instruments like saxophone, brass or strings. Audition required. PT - Praise Team; the smaller ensemble of vocalists who sing out front each holding an individual microphone. Audition required. WT - Worship Team; the term used to describe all the teams as a whole (PB, PT, PC, Tech crew, etc) Worship Flow - refers to the 8 ½ x 14 sheet that has all cues and information for all aspects of a Sunday morning worship service; this also refers to the tentative sheet that I email out earlier in the month or week with the order of worship and who all is participating for the particular services. This white sheet (8 ½ x 11) usually comes via an email attachment as a named month file, (i.e. August, 2006) and will contain whatever services I’ve completed thus far for that month. This allows the team to know what music to be working on and preparing for. Rehearsals (Wednesday 6:30-8:30pm) Our mid-week rehearsal time has 3 components: A) Connect Time (6:30-6:40); This time is designed for encouragement, a very brief teaching moment or scripture reading on some aspect of worship & prayer. Hopefully there will be a sense of connection with the team as well as an opportunity to regroup mentally, emotionally and spiritually after a long day. This time is very important as often times personal prayer requests will be shared and hearts will be opened. However, because this time is brief, please be sensitive as to what you share. This is not designed to be a lengthy broad focused intercessory prayer time. It is primarily about YOU. Please keep prayer requests limited to personal issues related to you and your family. I would ask that you make this time a priority. It is not to be skipped. It is expected that you will be there. If you can’t make this time consistently please let me know. Some of you have jobs that prevent you from being here right at 6:30 and I understand that. But, please do not intentionally come late and miss this time. Announcements – It is your responsibility to know what is going on! Please read yo stuff! If you come a few minutes early, which I would encourage, take a minute or two and familiarize yourself with the prayer requests and announcements. As you will find out, EMAIL is the preferred means of communication with our teams. If you don’t have a way to get email you might want to look into that. B) Separate Rehearsals for the PB, PC, PT & Tech teams (6:45-8:00); This time is designed for the instrumental, vocal and tech teams to have adequate rehearsal time apart from the other teams so as to fine tune things that need work. My experience has been that it is more effective to rehearse separately so that the individual teams can work on things specific to there area. C) Final joint rehearsal with everyone together (8:00-8:30); This is where we put it all together and begin to get a feel for how the upcoming service is going to flow. Does each song flow into each other smoothly? Are we really ready to do this tune this week? Does this transition work? Etc. By putting it all together on Wednesday night we can ascertain whether or not we need to make a change or adjustment for Sunday. REHEARSAL & PERFORMANCE GUIDELINES A) Be punctual: Please be ready to go by the stated time. This means you have everything you need (music, pencil, etc). If you are going to be late let us know. Give a call or an email to JE. We may need to be in prayer for you about something that has come up. Each of you matter to the team and it matters that you are with us on time. This is really important. Please make it a priority. B) Use a pencil & not a pen on the music: Thanks for doing this for obvious reasons! C) Music Slots: If you are in the praise choir or praise band you will have an individual music storage slot that is numbered. On the side of the storage cabinet will be a list with your name and number. You may leave your music in this slot when not in use. These slots are also used to drop off important information such as announcements or even mail items occasionally. PLEASE CHECK YOUR BOX EACH TIME YOU ARE HERE! D) Music: Please be responsible for your music. We lose hundred’s of dollars each year in unreturned music! We have instituted a new system such that we know for certain whether music is returned or not. If you lose music or fail to return it we ask that you reimburse us $2 for each unreturned item. E) CD’s: We give out CD’s with many of the tunes that we sing. These are for the purpose of helping you learn the tunes and parts. Please keep track of these! We encourage you to have a separate holder for your CD’s used in choir and praise team. We give CD’s out free of charge the first time but there is a $2 per CD charge for duplicates. Please fill out a CD Request Form to receive CD’s. F) Outside Practice & Preparation: It is assumed that you are practicing during the week before rehearsals and worship services. Please don’t let our midweek rehearsal be the only time you practice! Use the CD. Use the music. Sit down at a piano and work through a ruff spot or get someone from the team that can help you. Please pursue excellence (Colossians 3:17, 23-24)! G) Please refrain from chewing gum or other chewable material : Seriously, please don’t chew gum while singing. Believe it or not it can dramatically affect your tone quality and it definitely affects your diction as well as a host of other related areas. H) Please refrain from using colognes & perfumes: We are a close group! We sit in close proximity to each other and some are allergic to these things. Even if when that is not the case some folks really like to pour it on and it can be very difficult to sing with these strong scents wafting through the air. I) What if I can’t be there on Sunday but I’m available for the midweek rehearsal? That is a GREAT question! The answer is simple: COME! Even if you can’t make the service on Sunday, we often are working on music that will be performed during the following week or weeks. Please make this midweek rehearsal a top priority in your weekly schedule. Your presence is very important. You are needed AND it is expected that you will be there regularly. What if I can’t be there on Wednesday but I’m available for Sunday? That to is a great question. If you find yourself in that situation it is probably better not to sing that week BUT if it so happens that we are singing familiar tunes and/or an anthem that you’ve worked on and know well go ahead and join us. If you find yourself missing regularly on Wednesdays it would be better not to sing on Sundays. We need you on Sundays but we also need you to show up at practice so you can be prepared for Sundays! J) Childcare: We do provide (free to you) childcare for almost every rehearsal and performance by request only. Please reply to the weekly email request to let us know if you need these services as it is costly and we don’t want to employ more sitters than we need. K) Clothing issues: The main issue here is not drawing undue attention to ourselves. We tend to be more of a casual dressing Church. Very few men wear coats and ties for example. Some do and that’s fine. The majority don’t. That is not required for those of us on the platform or anyone else. The issue of what we wear in worship is not near as important as the attitude of our heart in worship. That is not to say it is not important because it is. I’ve recently come across an article that gives a great summary of this issue. It is short, concise and I’d like to allow it to serve as our guide in this area. (See attached article and please do read!) I would like to add one thing to this that some may not consider or even think about. Because we are on a stage and in addition on risers on top of the stage, this should affect what you ladies consider when wearing dresses of varying lengths. Just be aware that you are higher up and that the folks in the worship center are seated on the floor. Translation? A dress that may not seem short to you is much shorter to those seated out front! As a guide, when wearing dresses please make sure they cover the knee or lower. L) Physical Expressiveness in worship: When we sing about a particular expression (i.e. raising hands, clapping, etc) it makes perfect sense many times that we enter into that particular form of expression when doable. The book of Psalms is full of examples of this. There may be times when this is not possible. If we sing about bowing down for example, that may not be feasible corporately simply due to room and space. On the other hand there will be times when we do a worship tune where it is quite appropriate to clap, sing, lift our hands etc. The choir or praise team may be asked to join in and participate. I realize this may stretch some beyond normal comfort zones. I want to encourage all of us to be willing to go beyond what is comfortable and easy. Remember, God never called us to comfort and ease. People have freedom to express themselves in worship as long as it is biblical and not distracting as a whole or a calling of attention to oneself. There will also be times when as a group (PC/PT) we will clap, snap, or perhaps even raise our hands. Please be willing to allow yourself to be stretched a bit and go for it. There may be times where there is even a bit of choreography but this would be in conjunction with a special piece that called for that. M) Time off/breaks (schedule): The praise choir takes the months of June & July off. During that time we enlarge the praise team to 8 vocalists each week vs. 6 during the time that the praise choir is with us. N) Auditions: Auditions are not required for the praise choir. The praise choir is open to anyone with a desire to sing and lead others in worship. There are however some things one needs to be able to do to participate in the praise choir. Staying on pitch, rhythmical stability, singing your part (or at least one part consistently) and having a blendable tone are some of the things that are just basic to singing. If you are not sure where you are on the items just mentioned, let the director know and we will be glad to sit down with you to help you ascertain whether or not the choir is a good fit for you. Auditions are required for the praise team. The praise team (PT) is the smaller ensemble of singers who help lead worship out front on individual mics. This requires a formal audition that is video taped. Vocalizing to determine one’s range, singing a prepared song with CD tracks or piano accompanist as well as singing some other required songs are part of this audition process. (See attached sheet for requirements). O) Vocal Warm-ups: We strongly urge all vocalists to engage in some kind of vocal warm-ups on the way or just prior to rehearsal. The importance of this cannot be under estimated. We do not normally do any formal warm-ups because our time is so short to begin with. It is assumed that you are warming up adequately before rehearsal. I can recommend several resources for you to use in your car that would be more than adequate. Please establish a habit of warming up just before you arrive for rehearsal. www.vocalcoach.com is a great resource for CD’s that you can play on the way to rehearsal. P) Retreats & Special Rehearsals: At least twice a year we have an extended rehearsal (formerly called a “retreat”) time in preparation for the Easter & Christmas seasons. These usually are on a Friday night (6:30-9:30) and Saturday (9:00-4:00). These extended rehearsals are critically important and it is expected that all participants will attend. The schedule is usually out at least 3-4 months in advance. Please let the director know if you are unable to attend these important rehearsals. Q) Carols by Candlelight: Carols by Candlelight is our Christmas season musical extravaganza held the first or second weekend in December. We typically do 4-5 performances. It involves every team in the worship and arts ministry at CBC. It also includes extra instrumentalists hired out from the community to help fill spots in the orchestra. The purpose of this ministry is two fold: 1) To encourage the body of Christ; and 2) To present the gospel message where people are given an opportunity to respond. We start rehearsals in late August. There are some opportunities for solos, duets, trios, small ensembles, etc although this varies with each years program. This is the worship & arts ministry premier event for the year and many hours go into preparations. Some people do prefer to just sing with the choir for Carols. This is allowed, although we would love for everyone to sing with the praise choir all year round. For some though that is just not possible so we do allow folks to come in and attend the special rehearsals for this event. For those not singing with us all year, these rehearsals are required. For more information on our special productions for the Christmas & Easter season talk to the director. R) Your Spiritual Life & Walk with Christ: We are firmly convinced and grounded in a doctrine and biblical truth called the Priesthood of the Believer (Hebrews 7; I Peter 2:5 & 9). This basically means that every believer is a minister. We all may not make our living preaching, being a pastor or working at the church, but nonetheless every believer is a minister in the sense that they represent Christ and His Church and they equally have the responsibility to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit from a life of holiness and obedience. That means that our personal lives matter. What we do in private matters. What we do in our recreational and free time matters. How we live our lives matters because we are part of His Body and we are His ambassadors. It is very important that you are growing in your relationship with Christ and in your relationship to the individual members in the local Church that God has called you to be part of. It is important that you are living a pure, holy and obedient life. When you are on the platform leading worship (and when you are off the stage for that matter) you represent first and foremost the Lord Jesus Christ. You also represent the Body of Christ universally and Community Bible Church locally. Because we are in a leadership position we will be judged more strictly by God and others. This is not to say that we have to be perfect in order to lead. It simply means that we have a great responsibility to lead well from a life lived well for God. S) Our emphasis is on praise & worship not performance: We are a “praise choir”. Our goal is to be worship enablers for the congregation. Our prayer and hope is that people will engage in worship and not spectate, watch or be passive in our worship services. Our heart is to be a worship leading choir. Below is the article mentioned under letter (J) earlier. "Worship Matters" Q&A Fridays - What Do We Wear to Worship God? A leader sent this question to me: Recently there have been some people offended by some of the appearance of the worship team. We are seeking to glorify God in our response. We do not want to go beyond what the Scripture says. What are some of the standards that you would hold for your worship team? I'm assuming that “appearance” refers to what someone is wearing. I appreciate this person’s desire to follow God’s Word when it comes to the attire of those who lead congregational worship. Unfortunately, God isn’t as clear as we might want Him to be, which is a good thing. Can you imagine if God told us exactly what a godly person should wear? What do you think He'd say? L.L. Bean? Gap? Brooks Brothers? Coat and tie for the men and dresses for the ladies? Jeans, t-shirts, and sandals for everyone? Your answer reveals something about how you view God, but not too much about how God views us. While we may lack specifics, God has certainly given us guidelines both for what we wear on our bodies, and more importantly, what we wear in our hearts as we gather to worship Him. There are at least two groups of people to address in this situation. First, the members of the team. We seek to make sure that our musicians know their role is to draw attention to the surpassing greatness of God’s glory in Jesus Christ. That means clothing that would draw attention to them is inappropriate. Categories include clothes that are immodest, tight, “loud,” dirty, or sloppy. Of course, those standards are variable in different cultures and to different people, but usually every church has a fairly defined idea as to what qualifies. Regarding modesty, we want to avoid anything that accentuates or reveals what could be sexually alluring. At times, we have to follow up with musicians who wear something inappropriate. When we do, we expect them to respond humbly, as their role is to serve the congregation, not prove that they’re “free in Christ.” By the way, our pastors, who stand on the side of the stage as we sing, are dressed in a variety of styles. We purposefully want to communicate that we don’t believe a certain kind of dress equates to godliness. While we appreciate and respect the conviction some have that dressing up is a way of showing honor to God as we meet together, we’re convinced that God places the greater emphasis on the heart attitude behind what we wear, and that the church will always have a wide range of clothing (James 2:1-5). The second group to address is those who are offended. I’d want to find out why they’ve taken an offense. Are they truly offended, or concerned or grieved? There’s a difference. Offense could imply that the music team member has sinned against them in some way. Unless they know the person involved, they could be judging the team member uncharitably. If there’s a genuine concern for dishonoring the Savior, then I’d thank them for having the courage and taking the time to share their perspective. However, if they simply didn’t like a style of dress, or wanted the musicians to adhere to some specific standard that isn’t in Scripture, I’d try to help them see beyond the clothes to a person’s heart. None of this is to say that what we wear doesn’t matter. It does. Our clothes communicate volumes about what’s in our heart. The problem is, we don’t always know what that is. So, to sum up: Make the heart the priority. Challenge and help those who either abuse their freedom or judge other’s motives. Encourage everyone to wear clothes modestly, the character of Christ loudly. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive (Col. 3:12-13). I'd be interested to hear how others have dealt with this issue in your church.
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