Posted tagged ‘singing’

It’s the Thought that Counts

December 1, 2011

Twila Paris was my childhood singing role model.  Actually, I still copy her quite a bit, both in my singing and my songwriting.  This is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs (as different than Christmas Carols), and I think everyone should listen to it before going out to do any more Christmas shopping.

I dare you to get it stuck in your head before you are bombarded by all the materialistic songs playing in the stores!


Bible Conference

October 21, 2011

I mentioned last week that I was headed to a Bible conference over the weekend.  It’s a conference my family has been attending the last few years, although so far we haven’t been able to have all seven of us go at the same time.  The conference is for those 15 or up, so the twins couldn’t go anyway, but so far only 3 or 4 of the rest of us have made it any given year.

I love going to this conference.  Not only is there great teaching over the three days, but I have a chance to catch up in person with several friends.  One young lady in particular.

This friend, whom I’ll nickname “Elphie” after one of her favorite characters, and I got a chance to hang out a lot this year.  We shared a cabin for the two nights and generally spent the rest of our time together.  Yes, we do correspond during the rest of the year, but her schedule is often swamped and mine fluctuates between busy and calm so emailing can be tough for both of us.

Elphie has been a great encouragement to me musically.  She has a great voice herself, and two years back she was asked to help lead worship because our regular guy had lost his voice from overuse.  When she encouraged me to join in, it gave me the confidence to step up and use my voice too.  And since then, I have built my confidence bit by bit to the point where I wasn’t even nervous when Elphie and I got asked to help lead on Sunday morning.

She has also helped me brave my shyness with my own music.  I finally was able to bring my guitar to this conference and play some of my original songs for her, as well as a few of my favorites from Robin Mark and the Gettys.  Maybe next year I’ll be ready to play something of my own for the rest of my brothers and sisters at the conference.  So far I have only played one of my songs in public at a coffeehouse, and I always get extra nervous when I do.

Spending time among the brethren is always good.  I enjoyed every minute of this conference, and I hope that everyone else there did as well.  The reason we always go back is because through the teaching, worship, and fellowship, we see Jesus.  In fact, that’s the burden of the song I wrote just before last year’s conference and which I will probably share next year.  Through my brethren at this conference, I see Jesus.

That’s what one of the brothers who taught was teaching about, actually.  People around us should see the Kingdom of God within us.  Personally and as a body of believers.  We do not look for a kingdom in the future, for we have the Kingdom within us now.

How wonderful is that!

The Little Beggarman

September 28, 2011

I sang with my local homeschool choir for a semester during my sophomore year of highschool, and one of the songs we did was called “The Little Beggarman.”  It’s a fun Irish song, and we had a blast singing it.  But we didn’t sing it nearly as well as these guys . . .

Why Christians Sing

April 1, 2011

Here’s a post that got me thinking this morning: Bob Kauflin on Why Christians Sing.  Tim Challies posted a link to the post.  You might like to check his blog out as well.

Why do I sing?  Because of the joy within!  When I “rejoice evermore,” it usually comes out as a melody.  Sometimes I have to make up my own words, but usually the tune is one of my favorite hymns.  Or occasionally, I get a tune like this one stuck in my head!

Trying to get a Glimpse

March 1, 2011

Here’s a favorite bunch of singers with a song I really enjoyed — you’ll probably recall me saying I like songs about going to heaven.  I discovered the Cathedrals fairly recently, and they immediately went to the top of my favorites list.  That George Younce could really sing through the floor!

Thanks to Benjamin Euler for posting the link to this!

‘Tis the Season to be Singing

December 16, 2010

In my book, it is always a season for singing, but Christmas time just doubles my vocalizing for some inexplicable reason ;)!

I’ve always loved Christmas songs, especially carols.  I remember the excitement of my first years as part of our church Christmas plays, pageants, or choirs.  Some years we had a play based around Christmas, and I sometimes got to act, which I also enjoyed, but I loved the years we had a choir.

Standing on stage for the performance looked nothing like all the rehearsals.  For one thing, rehearsals tended to be during the day, while performances were in the evening.  Speaking or singing to a darkened sanctuary sent a tingly feeling up my spine.  And then there were people out there!  Sure, I knew there would be people, but the size of my church never came home so dramatically as when I got up to perform in front of a couple hundred eyes.

I still have fond memories of the first solos I sang for Christmas.  One year, I sang “Away in a Manger” as a trio, but the next year, they chose a different girl to sing with the two sisters I had performed with previously.  I was then asked to sing a verse of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” all by myself.  After being disappointed in not getting to sing in the trio again, I was floored and a bit nervous to get a whole solo!  Later, I was also asked to sing a trio with my two siblings.  While I wasn’t that much of a singer back then, I meant what I sang, and I did my best, two things which cover a multitude of wrong notes or mistakes.

I’ve sung solos in each church after that, sometimes in Christmas cantatas, sometimes in Easter cantatas, and sometimes just for fun.  My favorites, however, are the Christmas songs.  I didn’t think of singing Twila Paris‘s “It’s the Thought” until much too late to pull it together this year, but maybe next year I’ll have the time.  For this year, my solo in the Christmas cantata is enough.

Although carols are my favorite, there are a select few other Christmas songs I like.  Bing Crosby’s version of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” is fabulous, and I was caught by something in an old rendition of “Silver Bells” that I like.  I’ve even gotten to like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” after seeing the Fred Astaire movie of that name.  Of course, my favorite modern Christmas song is Mark Lowry‘s “Mary, Did You Know?”  That’s because my father sings it most years, and although he doesn’t sing it like Lowry, his version is as good or better!

Christmas time is a great time to sing because the songs of Christmas revolve around . . . you guessed it, Christ!  I can’t imagine anything better to sing about than God’s gift to mankind.  Sure, there are a lot of parts to that gift, from the manger to the empty grave.  I love to sing about them all, but as I like to say, my favorite song is the one I’m singing right now!

My Father’s Daughter

June 16, 2010

Many people will tell you their father is awesome.  I’m one of them.  My dad is not perfect, but he keeps trying, and he knows how to help me keep trying too.  I’m my father’s daughter in a lot of ways.  I’ve been told since I was small that I look like my dad; I have his (near-sighted) blue eyes, his curly hair, and his light build.  I’m like him in several personality points as well, but my favorite similarity is our musical talent.

I remember the first time I did special music with my father.  Dad did special music on a fairly regular basis at church (the same one where I was baptized), and one day when I was eight or nine, he asked me if I would like to sing with him.  Of course I wanted to.  I loved to watch him do specials, and I had dreamed of doing one too.

We decided to do “Amazing Grace.”  A very original song choice, I know, but it was my favorite song at the time, and one that I already had almost memorized.  We rehearsed for several weeks.  I remember being nervous in practice because I had difficulty picking out my cue to begin.  You see, Dad had me sing the first verse solo while he accompanied on his guitar.  Then he sang a second verse solo, and we both sang the last verse. 

But I couldn’t seem to figure out where to come in. 

I would start the first verse too early, or I would be late.  Finally, Dad began giving me a visible signal, dipping his guitar toward me just a little so that I would know when to start singing.

The day we did our special, I was pretty excited.  I don’t think I remembered much of the rest of the service that day.  I was too focused on being ready when it was our turn.  We had checked out the microphones before Sunday School, so that was all set, we just had to walk up, and Dad had to get his guitar ready, and then we could sing.  That was plenty of time for me to get nervous, however.

We weren’t going to a huge church, but it was big enough to be intimidating to me.  I looked at the congregation and was glad I wasn’t up there alone.  As it was, I suddenly developed nerves.  But Dad started his introduction, and I turned my head enough that I could see his signal when it came.  I certainly didn’t want to miss that in front of all those people!

I got through the song just fine, and I became more comfortable as we went on.  Once it was over, though, I think I felt like running back to my seat.  Several people said nice things to me afterward, but I was so shy and nervous that I could make little response.  I did want to know that people liked it, but I wasn’t sure how to respond.  After all, this was new territory for me.

I’ve done quite a few specials with my father since that first one.  Our specialties are hymns and some old choruses.  These days I usually have my guitar too.  Yes, I learned to play from my father, using his old guitar.  We’ll have a double duet, my father and myself, and Betsy and Marie.  I used to wonder why my sister got her tendency to name everything; I don’t wonder after I learned that my Dad named his guitars. 

My singing sounds much better now (especially since I’ve been taking singing lessons), and Dad sometimes will sing harmony beneath my melody.  I have to smile sometimes because I may carry the melody in the vocals, but Dad definitely has the cool guitar part.  I just keep the rhythm going.  Still, I know I’m contributing in both ways, and it sounds pretty good to me, even though I don’t hear it in the correct balance because I’m one of the performers.  For our latest special, I even sang solo with Dad accompanying on his guitar.  Singing solo has been a major hurdle for me, and I’m glad to have finally made it over.

I’m my father’s daughter in another way; I seem to have inherited his songwriting gene.  Dad has written a dozen or more songs, some of which I like to play with him and others which he sings alone.  I sometimes feel like I have a song simmering inside me, but as yet, only a few have come forth.  For every good song I’ve started at least three that I couldn’t get right.  I doubt that my songs will ever end up on the top 40 list, but they are one more way that I express my joy.

Some of my favorite times have been playing guitar with my father, learning new songs and coming up with different arrangements of old ones.  Thanks, Dad, for giving me a new outlet for the music in my heart.

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