Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Passion Play Ideas

So, every once in a while, someone will ask me where I get my ideas for the Passion Play.  I wish I could say that I come up with all of them all by myself, but that’s not even close to being true.  In reality, I get most of my ideas from one of two places.  The first is from a man in the church I grew up in, in South Carolina.  His name is Ron Burcham. 
I think of him as the Passion Play Guru.  He wrote, directed, and produced Passion Plays at my home church for 25 years.  He is a GENIUS!  He gave me a lot of great ideas for last year’s play.  In fact, I even credited him in last year’s program as one of the writers because I used a couple of scenes exactly like he wrote them.

The second place I get ideas from is a place called the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. 
It is a Christian theme park 10 minutes from Disney World.  I have been there a few times over the past 7 or 8 years and decided to go for another visit a couple of weeks ago to get inspired with more ideas. They don’t have any rides or roller coasters but they do have a lot of neat exhibits and a number of really well done plays.  But the big thing that first drew me there was that they do a live Passion Play every day. 

When I first went there they did the Passion Play outside.  Here’s a picture of the cross that they used to crucify Jesus each day.  The two crosses on the side (for the thieves) have been added since they moved the play inside).  You can even go up there now and look around.

Here’s a picture of the tomb that they used.

The stone is permanently rolled away now so that you can go inside and see where Jesus’ body was laid.

After the resurrection took place each day, the crowds would move over to the Temple area for the closing scene where the heaven scene took place and Satan was cast into hell (this is where I got our closing scene idea from).

They have since built and moved into a new building, the 2,000 seat Church of All Nations.  

I didn’t take any pictures from inside the building because cameras weren’t allowed.  But trust me, it’s nice (as long as you like mirrors everywhere, and I mean everywhere-bathroom stalls included!).

Here are a couple of other pictures from around the park.

This is from just inside the park gates.  It’s made to look like the Jerusalem marketplace.  Guess what idea came from that?

This is a picture of the Scriptorium.  It houses a 55 minute automated tour that shows how we got the Bible and has authentic Biblical artifacts from around the world.

These were all over the park.  It’s a metal cutout of the main person who plays Jesus in their plays.  I can’t believe we didn’t have one of these made of Kelly.  That would have been AWESOME!!!

Here’s the backside of the outside tomb.  If you look hard enough you can see a skull for Golgotha.  

So, it’s a pretty neat place and once again, I got some new ideas for next year’s Passion Play.  Hopefully, you’ll get to see them in action during next year’s play.

Worship Big!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

What's Next for Recording? Part 2

    Last week, I talked about a few things we have in store for recording.  To re-cap a bit, we will be using a new software with the ability to record multiple instruments at a time and using the real drum kit to name a few.  This week, we will talk about a few more ideas in the works for the new recording year.

    First off, we'll be incorporating what's called "multi-tracks".  As Brad explained a few weeks ago, multi-tracks are a lot like split tracks, but you could say they're a little more sophisticated.  Basically, they will allow us to use more layers of sounds (pads, synthesizers, loops, etc) for stage use. Whoever is controlling this on stage will also be running the click, insuring we are all together with the track.  The beauty in this is that we can also use them for recording, again adding more layers to our tracks.

    Second, we will be looking at how we do vocals.  The big thing I want to focus on with our next project is layers.  Layers, layers layers.  As long as they all work together, it will give the sound a very deep presence. For example on the song "Victor's Crown" on our last album, we had 27 tracks, not counting vocals, and a few more pads or synthesizers wouldn't have hurt, just to add depth.  So to help with depth, not only will we be adding more instrument and pad tracks, we may be adding even more background vocals.  Each Sunday, we incorporate our worship choir in our worship sets.  Not only does it give the choir a great opportunity to help lead, but it adds more sound to the music.  For our new project, we would like to mic the choir and get that in our recording to give the songs a hybrid sound between live and studio.  Regarding multi-tracks, this will also be beneficial when we write and arrange our own music.  Writing our own material is also something we will be attempting this year.  Not too much on that just yet.  :)

    The last thing I'll mention is allowing the recording/CD ministry to be an ongoing, year-round thing.  Right now, we are planning on our next album being completed, copied and in hand by around Thanksgiving.  With that being said, we are looking to start on scratch tracks by around May.  I say May just to be safe due to the learning curve on the new software and recording multiple instruments. If this is the case, there will be what I'll call an "off-season" between December and April.  During this time, I'd like to keep a small project or two going. We have a few other musical groups in our congregation like the Children's Choir and Ladies Ensemble that perform for our special music times that would be neat to record and make an album for.  This would only expand the ministry and give others a chance at that opportunity.  

    With all of these things said, it should be a pretty exciting year for recording.  These are only a few ideas and there will be more updates in the future.  I'll keep you posted!



Thursday, February 12, 2015

What's Next for Recording? Part 1

   Over the next couple of weeks, I'd like to talk about what's next for our recording ministry.  As mentioned in previous posts, we had our last album to release in December 2014. I was happy with the overall results,  although, the whole process was a huge learning experience for us and there were definitely some great takeaways.  Now, when listening to the album and going back and looking at the tracks, I can spot things I would have done differently in recording and mixing that I will be incorporating in our next project.  To be honest, I'd be worried if I didn't find things I would do differently.  

    One thing I love about MPBC is that I feel we are always progressing with the goal of reaching people in mind.  The same is true for recording this year.  As far as changes go, to mention only a few, we will be using a new recording software this year called "Reaper" instead of "Cubase 5" like last year.  Since we won't be recording vocals for Alicia Keys, I feel that Reaper will be plenty for us. :) No unnecessary thrills, just good, easy to learn and use software. 

    Next will be the way we record drums.  (Hey Martin!!)  For our previous project, we used what's called "v-drums".  For the player, v-drums are set up similarly to a real drum kit, but do not generate any sounds by themselves.  When each piece is hit with a drum stick, it triggers a sound to try and mimic that of a real kit. We were able to use software to beef up the sound a bit. However, this year, we will be using the real drum set. This will provide a more natural band sound and the dynamics will be MUCH better this way. Nothing beats the sound of a real kit. 

    Another thing we want to be able to utilize is the ability to record multiple instruments at a time.  For the next project, we will be able to record a full drum kit, bass guitar and whatever lead instrument for the song (i.e. acoustic guitar or piano).  This will provide a much tighter groove and should be a huge time saver. 

    Now, with these changes, what are the plans?  First things first are new album ideas.  After running over different thoughts, we really like the idea of including new songs that the Praise Team has learned within the past few months, including a few songs that are older but our congregation really enjoys and maybe even writing a few songs ourselves.  Song writing is something that we have tried before, but would like to re-vamp in the future.   

    That's it for part 1.  We have more on the horizon for our recording.  Check out the blog next week to see what's up next!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Worship Concert Highlights

A couple of weeks ago when I last posted, I mentioned how excited I was about the worship concert that we had coming up on Sunday, January 25th.  Well, the concert has now come and gone, and it was AWESOME!  I believe that people really enjoyed it and that God was glorified.  We had a wonderful crowd for both services and there was a true spirit of freedom in the room to worship.  I would like to personally thank the praise team, praise band, worship choir, and technical team for all of their hard work, patience, and dedication.  Below is a video of highlights from the concert.  To watch the entire concert go to www.mpbc.ws/media and pick the music from 1/25/15. 

Also, if you are interested, here is a list of the songs we did at the concert and at what time in the full video (link above) they can be found:

0:00– In Jesus’ Name
5:01 – God’s Not Dead
9:13 – The Rock Won’t Move.
14:03 – The Greatness of our God
18:22 – Strong God
23:08 – This I Believe (Creed)
30:35 – God, You are my God
35:57 – Victor’s Crown
45:57 – Promises
47:07 – The Great I Am
52:23 – Jailbreak

Worship Big!