UK Tour 2018 – Week 3

In May of 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take Lubbock Christian University’s singing group, Best Friends, on a 3-week tour of the U.K. This is an overview of the trip, in three parts. Continued from Part 2.


After driving through rain while going through Stoke (yes, rain), we arrived at Paul’s house. Paul has been a serious blessing to our group. He is basically a crazy nut. That’s pretty much it, in a nutshell (ha, see what I did there?). Paul has been the extra energy we needed to get through the middle of this long tour. He was always positive and encouraging and has done an absolutely fabulous job. It was also a blessing to get to meet his family. We spent that evening eating and relaxing in his home.

The next day was actually a day off – one of the few we actually had in the tour. Although we were technically off duty, that didn’t keep us from doing lot of walking. We spent the better portion of the day playing around in Loughborough, shopping, eating, playing and sleeping in the city park. And eating, did I mention eating? I had a piece of fish that was so big, Jonah could’ve been inside.

We also took a short trip to a working monastery in the countryside. We arrived just as the monks had begin singing. It was in the style of Gregorian chant, although it was in english and accompanied by softly strummed guitar – played lute style. Afterward, we spent quite a bit of time in the bookshop and roaming the grounds. It was a very relaxing and focusing experience.

The next morning, we chose to stay in our homes and sleep as long as possible. My host we’re a wonderful older couple (not that much older than me) and we got along wonderfully. She had a completely terraced backyard that they had turned into a fabulous garden. She was a florist by trade, and it was reflected in the yard. My bedroom was upstairs and overlooked the garden. The house was remote enough that you heard nothing but birds in the morning. It was so wonderful to wake up with an open window, the sound of birds and the site of that backyard. I could’ve stayed there a week. It was 3 nights as it was.

The concert that night was well attended. They sat out 75 chairs in a small building and most of them were filled, which was a wonderful amount for the church there. They said they had about 15 visitors from the community who had never come to their church before. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do over here. It was a highly successful night, all around… even if Carter had a fever which broke halfway through the concert. He had a good layer of sweat going and looked pretty woozy, but he toughed it out.


On our journey south to our final destination, we made a stop in Leicester and did some shopping at a really big indoor mall. Behind that were blocks and blocks of outdoor markets and shops. We even went to the local cathedral where Richard the Lionhearted is buried. We were turned away because a worship service was happening. That was strange, not being allowed to enter the church because a service was in process. Oh well…

When we arrived in Northampton, we went to the home of the minister. The preacher there is the cousin of our driver, Paul Hill. This was Paul’s last stop and he handed us back over to King Richard for our final few days. We also got to meet a team of campaign workers from MTSU. They had arrived just a couple of days earlier and were still adjusting to the time. We were two and a half weeks into the new time zone and pretty much exhausted. So, we fit well together. They cooked burgers outdoors and things got loud and crazy. And it was Michael’s birthday. After that, we called it a night and checking into our hotel for the next 4 nights.

Which brings us to the great Northampton Flood of 2018. Carter and Jeremiah were sharing a room at the hotel. The cold tap on the bathroom faucet was faulty… you had to turn it about 6 times for the water to even come on. Apparently Carter only turned it 3 or 4 times and nothing happened, so he assumed it was broken. Jeremiah had a bit of a stomach bug and Carter had filled a glass of water for him from the tub. After that, they both took a sleep-aid and went to bed (with a noise machine playing in the room).

They were awakened the next morning at 7AM by a very angry maintenance man. As they went to the door, they realized the floor was wet and there were about 30 towels piled up in the bathroom. That was only the beginning of the weirdness. The story they were told goes as follows:

Apparently, sometime in the middle of the night, the maintenance man and the evening manager had pounded on the door for 40 minutes (?) before letting themselves into the room. The small plastic sack that had formerly housed a bar of soap had fallen into the sink at some point. That was followed by the cold water tap deciding to come on by itself (since it was still on 3 turns and not completely on or off). That overflowed and flooded the bathroom and about half of the bedroom. It also leaked through the floor and into the rooms below (he was on the 3rd floor). The two men proceeded to soak up the flooded bathroom with armloads of towels. Then, they closed the door and left. Carter and Jeremiah heard none of this. They slept through the entire episode.

Yes, the story is strange and smells a little fishy – as did the room. But we can’t deny that they woke up and found the room as described. The maintenance guy had informed them that they were going to be charged for the damages to the room, which sent the guys into a bit of a tailspin. The next evening, Richard Sharpe had a conversation with the manager (I was present for this as well). King Richard is a wise and experienced businessman. He and the manager had a conversation that could only be described as the most civil argument I’ve ever heard. They were talking legalities and lawyers and things that would have most likely led to a fist fight in America. The whole thing was a bit surreal.

After about 10 minutes of passive aggressive arguing, the manager finally mentioned the cost of repair, which was roughly $230. I was expecting $3-4K with water damage. When I heard the cost (which the manager should have led with), I pulled Richard aside. I told him I’d prefer to go ahead and pay the amount rather than continue in the direction this was heading. Talk about burying the lead, good grief. Anyway, I gladly paid the money, the guys changed rooms and all was well.

That day, we took a trip into Londinium (the Roman name for London). We drove the bus into Wembley and parked at the Wembley church lot. Then, we took the Tube into the city center and jumped on one of the double decker open-top tour buses that runs around the city. That was a wise decision, as walking around London trying to see everything ourselves would have killed us. Or at least killed me. Besides seeing the normal things like Big Ben, Parliament, London Bridge, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace etc, we also saw Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross (Harry Potter) and 212B Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes). It was another great day.

After a good night’s sleep, Richard and I took a road trip in Willingham, a village about an hour east of Northampton. Willingham is literally my old home place. My mother was a Willingham. Her great X3 grandfather had three sons who left England in the early 1800’s to find their fortune in America. They arrived, married local girls and went flat broke. When the father died back in England, word was sent for one of the sons to return and claim the land and castle. None of them could do it. The castle and grounds passed to the Crown who tore it down and reapportioned the land.

I had a chance to do some searching around the village after I arrived. The local library had a lot of information, quite a lot. It would have taken days to dig through it, so I moved on. We found the local church, which mostly dated back to the 1500’s. It was an amazing place, full of history. The best part was behind the building. They had an ancient cemetery with headstones that were mostly unreadable. As we walked around looking at them, I noticed a very large tree with branches that hung down almost to the ground. Working my way under the tree, I found several headstones that weren’t visible from outside the tree. Two of them had the name “Willingham” chiseled onto it. I took pictures that I will do some digital forensic work on, but these had to be some of my forefathers. It was a special moment and a great morning all around.

The concert that evening was a special event as well. All of the places that we have sung at thus far have been individual events. Northampton is a UK-wide youth rally. Youth groups from all over the country were in attendance. In fact, we were told that between the seven cities where we sang and the people present at the rally, we will have touched every church in the UK. That’s a humbling thought.

As expected, our last concert was a wonderful event and the group sang really well. It was probably the best concert of the tour. The crowd responded great and the group sang their heart out. That night was followed by a morning of worship that was just as good.

The church in Northampton is a collection of 23 different nations, plus all the people who had come in from around the country. We had a fellowship meal (yeah, a potluck) after the morning worship. I had what was arguably the best lamb curry I’ve ever tasted. I wanted more, but it was gone when I went back. Rats. At any rate, it was a great experience to worship with a church that was so culturally diverse. It’s the way church should be, and I loved it.

Overall, the trip was blessed by God in ways that words can’t describe. Even the weather was perfect.  We were told that it was going to be cold and rainy for our entire trip, especially in Scotland. Wrong. God literally cleared the way and it hardly rained at all. We had a touch of rain on the first day in Peterhead. It didn’t rain again until we were in the hotel room on the last night, packing for our return trip.

Speaking of return trips, that went pretty smoothly as well. I got to unpack my backpack for a deep search, but other than that, smooth sailing.

I’ll sum it up by repeating what was told me at the end of the tour. Between the eight churches that we sang for and the UK-wide youth rally at the end, we effectively had an impact on every Church of Christ in the United Kingdom. That is most definitely something I did not think was possible. This trip has even laid the foundations for a similar mission-oriented trip by Acappella. This all started when Lacy causally mentioned Scotland as we we’re talking about the summer tour in early September 2017. You never know what God will do with an idea. May He receive the glory.

UK Tour 2018 – Week 2

In May of 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take Lubbock Christian University’s singing group, Best Friends, on a 3-week tour of the U.K. This is an overview of the trip, in three parts. Continued from Part 1.


We got up and around bright and early the next morning. We had to be in Cumbernauld by 9:00AM for a radio show. Arriving early, we caught a quick bite at a roadside cafe before meeting the radio DJ at Revival FM. As it turned out, his show didn’t even begin until 10AM, so we had some time to kill. Before too long, the entire group was crammed into the radio booth where they did interviews and performances for a full hour. It was much fun.

That afternoon, we visited the Pensioner’s Club. This was a collection of retired ladies who meet on Tuesday afternoon to drink tea, play bingo and presumably gossip. Upon arrival, we spread out among the 4 or 5 tables of ladies to introduce ourselves. Tea and talking lasted about 20 minutes before the group got up to sing. It only took about 10 minutes for the question to come up… “What do you think about Donald Trump?” This question keeps popping up when people find out we’re Americans. I can tell you, without a doubt, that our President is not liked at all in Scotland. I got an earful for a good 10 or 15 minutes before I could escape and get the group up to sing.

Four of us are staying in another AirBnB place out in the boonies again. We dropped by that afternoon to check in. We arrived and met the lady who owned it (this time, a working cow farm). Her first words were, “Oh! I thought it was next week!” Fortunately, she keeps the house that she rents out in good shape in case she has last-minute bookings. We weren’t last minute, but we might as well have been.

That evening, the group spent a few hours with kids from the community at Kid’s Club and then called it a very long day.

Most of our second day in Cumbernauld was spent in Glasgow. We spent a while in the Glasgow Cathedral, an ancient and very impressive building. Afterwards, we walked up to the Necropolis behind the cathedral. It’s the tallest spot in Glasgow and the hillside is covered in very large and very old tombstones and monuments. When we reached the top and saw the tallest monument, we found that is was for John Knox, one of the leaders in the Reformation Movement. That was a nice surprise.

Next, we met our new driver and promoter of one of our events, Paul Hill from Leicester. He’s about as crazy as we are, so it’s a nice fit. We walked down in the city center, had a bite and did some shopping. After taking the subway to the other side of town, we went to the Kelvingroves Museum of Art and History. The museum is a stone’s throw from Glascow University and is quite an impressive bit of architecture in itself – not to mention the wonderful collections they have inside.

Our concert was just a few hours later at the Cumbernauld Church of Christ. For the first time on the tour, we were asked to tone down our vocal percussion. It felt like the old days in Acappella when elders would ask us not to sing doos or boops – maybe just sing words. *sigh*

But, we are here to serve. We decided to cut a couple of songs, turn the vocal percussion down to about 40% of normal and add a 4-song worship set. We must try to become all things to all people. Nevertheless, immediately after the concert Jackson was accused of being an instrument. Shortly after that, I was engaged in a spirited conversation with a young lady who appreciated what we did, but clearly thought we were in the wrong if we considered what we did as worship. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had that conversation…


The next morning after making the rounds and picking up everyone, we headed for a day off in Edinburgh. We parked the bus in a Park and Ride outside of town and took a 30-minute tram ride into the City Centre.

The Edinburgh Castle is an imposing presence overlooking the city. It had a familiarity that I couldn’t quite place (until a bit later). After walking up a very, very, very large hill and 1,376 steps to get up to the old city, we were presented with a wide cobblestone street lined with ancient shops and impossibly high spires. There were so many people, it felt like we might have been at the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios. Come to find out, we almost were.

That was when I was informed that J.K. Rowling is actually from Edinburgh. We saw the cafe were she wrote most of the books. We walked through the cemetery where she found names to use for the characters. The streets of Edinburgh reminded me of Hogsmeade, and the Edinburgh Castle felt much like the ramparts of Hogwarts. We spent three hours in the old city and it was truly a magical place.

That evening, after checking into our AirBnB, we arrived at Robin Vick’s house and had a meal of Mexican Food with haggis nachos. Really. And they were good. The church in Falkirk is small and meets in the community hall (which is where the concert was). Most of their bible meetings and small groups meet in a local coffee shop. After dinner, we all walked over to the coffee place to sing and fellowship. It was a lot of fun.

On concert day, we did some on-the-spot singing in the city centre while Robin and crew handed out flyers. The concert that evening was well attended and they even had some community contacts show up, which is exactly what they were hoping for.

Leaving this place was hard for Lacy, as this is where she spent her high school days as a missionary kid. The church in Falkirk is a very friendly, loving church and they’re doing great work. One of our guys was even talking about coming back there on a longer-term basis, which is excellent.

One side note: Falkirk was our third use of the AirBnB system. I’ve found it, for the most part, to be a great service. At every stop we’ve met great people and had a wonderful experience. This particular house was very large, with 3 floors, 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and lots of extra room to relax and have fun. It was perfect for our entire group and it as fun watching everyone cooking together.


On the road to Liverpool, we had a small adventure. We stopped at a service area to stretch our legs and get some snacks. After we’d gotten back in the bus, Cameron realized he didn’t have his phone. He and Paul ran back inside to search to no avail. No one had turned it in and he didn’t have an international plan. There was no way to call it and he couldn’t use the find a phone feature.

Just as we were about to give up and drive away, Jeremiah suggested we use the bluetooth Tile that Cameron had. We pulled back around front and Cameron went inside with the Tile. Apparently, if you click the tile 3 times, it rings your phone. Who knew? Anyway, he came out a couple of minutes later with his phone. The gift shop lady had been trying to turn off the ringer because it was going off nonstop from the Tile. Mission accomplished. In Paul’s words, “That was wonderful! Now we don’t have to curse the Scotts.” Which is a very Paul thing to say.

After our arrival in Liverpool and a quick bite to eat at the church, we had the opportunity to sing at one of the local hospitals. No one has private rooms in this particular hospital, so we went from ward to ward singing for groups of patients and staff. They seemed to enjoy it very much. Some of the patients (who were all older) were semi-dancing in their beds. It was fun to watch.

The next morning, we attended church services at Liverpool Church of Christ, followed by a potluck. The church is very culturally mixed, so the food was fantastic. I got to eat some authentic rice and peas. Multiple times.

That afternoon, we all walked over to a nursing home and sang for about an hour. It was a bit challenging, as most of the residents were in some stage of dementia, and a couple of them were somewhat combative and loud. Afterward, the director introduced us to some of them. There were more than a few WWII vets and medal winners in the crowd. From general appearance, it seems that Brits tend to live longer than Americans. How, I don’t know. Not with all this fried fish and chips around.

Concert time rolled around and the group (and I) were pretty much spent. We’ve been going nonstop for 2 weeks now and it is certainly taking a toll on us. After a group prayer for strength and focus, we had one of our best concerts on this tour yet. The crowd was small and the response (though they loved it) was quite reserved in a proper British manner. But they sounded amazing, even more so considering their state of exhaustion.

After a good night’s rest, we loaded up for a tour of Liverpool, which means it was Beatle time. With the exception of Ringo, the Beatles are much loved in their hometown of Liverpool. Ringo has made some stupid statements about the city and has lost his support from the town. There’s even one statue of the four of them where residents kept chopping off Ringo’s head. Ouch.

Anyway, we got to see Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Sgt. Peppers, John Lennon’s home, Sir Paul McCartney’s home, the Cavern Club and much more. Liverpool is a fascinating city and worth a return trip. After 5 hours in the city, we loaded up and hit the road for our driver’s hometown – Leicester.

To be continued in Pt. 3.

UK Tour 2018 – Week 1

In May of 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take Lubbock Christian University’s singing group, Best Friends, on a 3-week tour of the U.K. This is an overview of the trip, in three parts.


After nine months of praying, planning and fundraising, the time had finally come for us to load up in the van and head for the airport. The airport in question happened to be in Dallas, six hours away. We left after church on a Sunday afternoon and pointed the van toward Richland Hills, the home of Michael Peschell (one of our bass singers). Upon arrival, the Peschell family treated us to an outdoor feast and a relaxing evening. The calm before the storm. Fortunately, this was going to be a very good storm, but we didn’t know that at the time. We were all a bit trepidatious about what was to come. As it turns out, there was no need. God had everything laid out for us. Off to bed for a short night’s sleep.


We arrived plenty early at the DFW airport and had about 90 minutes to kill before boarding. The group automatically pulled out games to play. Mostly card games, and I have no idea where they keep them all. They just sort of appear at moments of boredom.

The trip to JFK went smoothly, and now we had four more hours to kill in New York. More games. Shopping. Eating. Most importantly, getting our minds set so we could sleep on the 7-hour flight to Scotland.

As it turned out, between keeping us awake for supper and waking us up to feed us breakfast, we only had 4 solid hours of sleep time. Thankfully, I slept all of it. Not many of the other kids did though. One rough landing later, we were wheels down in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh International

After months of praying, fund raising, emails, phone calls and preparation, we finally landed in the UK. After a short round of questions from Scottish customs officials, we were through the doors and into the luggage area. Thankfully, our successful trip continued with all our luggage showing up. That was a blessing, since our schedule wouldn’t really allow for our luggage to catch us if it hadn’t landed with us.

And, I must insert, the first thing we saw after stepping off the plane was the private Manchester City Football Club plane. It was parked next to us. I almost turned around and got back on the wrong plane.

Richard Sharpe was there to meet us. Richard is our main contact in the UK. He is an elder at Northampton Church of Christ and has hosted other groups similar to us (Durant, the Lancasters, etc). He owns a 17-passenger minibus, which felt very familiar and comfortable. Loading up, we took of for Peterhead.

The biggest immediate challenge we faced was jet lag. We landed in Edinburgh at 7AM. It’s best to try 

and stay awake for the full day you land when you travel overseas. Since his was an early landing, we had a very long day ahead of us.

Our first stop of the trip was St. Andrews, which has a long-lauded history in relation to the game of golf and St. Andrews University. Walking though the town truly felt like we were on a movie set. We even made it down to the beach front and shot a bit of video for one of our songs. After lunch and a bit of coffee in Aberdeen (which did next to nothing for our jet lag), we hopped back on the bus and headed for Peterhead. Within 10 minutes, the entire bus was asleep (with the notable exception of our driver). We only let everyone sleep 1 hour, so as not to completely mess up their night’s rest.


After arriving in Peterhead, we went straight to the church building and met our first hosts. The people in Peterhead are wonderful and they were absolutely charming. We had been warned ahead of time that the accent in Peterhead was quite thick. This turned out to be true, but they were very mindful to speak slowly so that we could at least try to understand them.

I stayed with Billy Strachan. At one point, his 17-year old twin daughters got to conversing with each other and they slipped into Dorrick. Their mother quickly said, “Holly, speak English please,” “Sorry, mum.”

We set our sound system up that evening and had a nice meal with several members of the church. Our first day drew to a close after 32 hours of travel. 

And here I must insert a very large thank you to Bose Intl. When we first started considering this trip, one of my biggest concerns was in procuring a sound system. I knew, without a doubt, that we did not want to carry one over the ocean. I was even open to renting once we got there. To avoid that, I contacted my cousin, Swade Moyers, who is the head of the Lubbock branch of the Moyers Group and explained the situation to him. He went up the chain until it finally reached the desk of the right person at Bose International. Bose has a program in place that allows them to loan out systems within certain parameters. Apparently, our musical mission trip fit the guidelines, and they loaned us two L1 Model II’s with the B2 bass. It was amazing. Thank you, Bose!

Day 2 in Peterhead started with a bit of sightseeing. Our first stop was the Bullers of Buchan, a breathtaking view of cliffs and seaside. It was like something out of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only in Scotland. From there, we stopped at our first really old building, Castle Slains. The old castle overlooked the ocean and was in semi-working condition around 100 years ago. Since then, part of it has fallen into the sea and the rest fell into disrepair. It’s still a pretty amazing place to see, though. We shot some video throughout the grounds. Look for it coming soon.

That evening we had our first concert of the trip. The Peterhead church was extremely gracious and treated us very well. They had about 50 in attendance, which was about double the size of their usual attendance. A group from Aberdeen showed up, as well as a few from the community. They also fed us well and introduced us to proper tea. It was a great stop all around.


The trip back from Peterhead took the better part of the day. After testing out the Scottish version of McDonald’s (which wasn’t too bad), we arrived at the church in Livingston and immediately went next door to the Nursing Home. We had the opportunity to sing for the entire population of the home, which they greatly appreciated.

After a good night’s rest in host homes, we met up again for a day of sightseeing. Our fist stop was Culross, a very old town where a good amount of filming has been done for both Scottish and American productions. It’s most famous for the BBC program Outlander. Most of the town is built on a roughly 30-degree angled hill and we walked all the way to the top to see the Abbey. The group sang a song on a balcony in the ruins of the original monastery (they drew quite a crowd). They also sang a song in the current abbey, but stopped when an older fellow asked why they were singing about Jesus in a church. When he left to see if we had “obtained permission”, we took the opportunity to depart the premises. Yes, we got kicked out of a church building for singing a song about Jesus.

That evening, a great crowd joined us at the Livingston Church of Christ where John Mooney was our host. Normal attendance there is around 50 or so. Almost 150 people showed up that evening and there was much excitement. As usual, Best Friends did a great job.

This was the last stop for the Anderson Family. It was good to have Nathan, Christy and Julien with us for a few days. It was a quick turnaround for them, but I think they enjoyed it too.


Our next stop was in Glenrothes with Allen Phillips. Glenrothes is a wonderful little church that has a big impact on their community. The church building is used daily for all kinds of non-church related activities. Allen took us to his home that afternoon where we had a chance to sit and relax. Thus far, that was a rare chance and we took advantage.

The concert that evening was lightly attended, but we had the opportunity to lead worship the next morning.  We even got to do a small singing workshop in the afternoon, which I believe had as much impact (if not more) than the concert.

And we got to meet Stephen. Stephen is a young man bound to a wheelchair with cerebral palsy – but only his body. His spirit was certainly alive and he was an active participant in almost everything we did. I think he sang louder than anyone else in the building, but only he and the Lord could understand what he was singing. It was great.

Oh, and they fed us. Lots. And lots. Every time we turned around it was time to eat something again.


Our next day was simply a day of recreation. We took a 150-mile drive overland to the west side isles and visited Glencoe – the Scottish Highlands. It was a beautiful sight.

I should mention at this point that the weather has been magnificent. No rain, clear skies, mid-50’s temperature… just about perfect. Everyone had told us that the Highlands would be socked in with clouds and rain, as it usually is. And they were wrong. It was a crystal clear day and you could just about see forever.

We hiked around the mountainside, played around in the heather, did some shopping and shot more video. When our afternoon was finished, we drove about halfway back and stayed at an AirBnB place just off Loch Lomond. It was actually on Loch Voil, and the only way to get to the hostel was a 12-mile dirt road through the forest and around the lake.

Our final destination that night was a 12-bed house on a working sheep farm on the shore of the lake. It was a beautiful, relaxing evening and a great ending to a fun day. The only downer was the fact that no one had hot water the next morning. I guess it was part of the experience.

To be continued in Pt. 2.

LCU’s Best Friends 2017-18 Pt. 1

I’m back for my third and final year at Lubbock Christian University as director of the singing group Best Friends. Every year has been a fabulous experience. This 3rd group is a wonderful collection of young men and women and they’ve done a superb job representing the University.

We’ll be traveling to the United Kingdom in May for 3 weeks. We have eight cities lines up for the tour and we’re looking forward to it immensely. In the meantime, we’re in the process of shooting videos from our new album Risen. Here’s our first, entitled “This is Living.”

LCU’s Best Friends 2016-17 Pt. 2

The 2nd video from the new album in 2017 is called The River. It was shot on location at the Pecos River just south of Glorietta, NM. For those of you interested, the entire video was shot on my Google Pixel phone using an Ikan Fly-X3 Plus stabilizer.

This song has taken on its own interesting history. We had the opportunity to sing in West Monroe, LA at WFR church. We always stay in the homes of church members, and this time we wound up staying with Jase and Missy Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame.

We stuck around a couple of nights. On the 2nd evening, after a great pizza party, Missy asked us to sing a song that she had missed at that morning’s concert. So the group stood up to sing The River. She said, “Wait, let me video this.” That was quickly followed by, “Hey, I’ll just live stream this. I’ll use Jase’s page – he never uses it.”

So they started singing live on Jase Robertson’s page. Within 20 seconds, 20,000 were watching live. By the end of the song over 50,000 people were watching. Less than 24 hours later, the video had been watched half a million times. Amazing! The platform the Robertson family has is incredible. And they’ve used it well.

This is not the video of them doing it live in Jase’s house, but it’s the official video. You can find the album this came from at this link.

LCU’s Best Friends 2016-17 Pt. 1

I directed the group for another year in 2016-17. We had the chance to record a really good album and shoot a couple of great videos, the first of which is shown here. It’s called Prayer of the Children.

I first heard this song when I was on tour with Acappella. Back “in the day”, before Microsoft was a thing, we used a program called Word Perfect for text editing. In the late 80’s, they sent out an update (via CD-ROM) for the program. Along with it, they included a sampler CD of some really good music. Most of it was stuff from Windham Hill or something similar. The last song on the CD was a haunting a capella song from someone named Kurt Bestor. It was Prayer of the Children.

Autotune was used heavily, as more of an effect than as vocal correction. This was before the world even knew what autotune was. It gave the vocals an etherial feeling and made this wonderful song even more moving. I knew then that I had to do this song somewhere, someday. This Best Friends combination was the group, and this is the video. The album can be found on iTunes at this link.

LCU and Best Friends Pt. 2

As promised in the earlier post, here is the 2nd video produced by Best Friends in the 2015-16 school year. This is a great song called Brother. I hope you enjoy it. The album can be found on iTunes at this link.

LCU and Best Friends

In 1983, as a sophomore in college, I was part of something new. John Paul Blankenship was forming a new mixed ensemble a capella group to travel and recruit for the college (Lubbock Christian College, at the time). I was recruited as part of the original group that became known as Best Friends and stayed with the ensemble for the next three years.

Thirty years later, what goes around comes around, I suppose. LCU has recruited me once again for Best Friends… this time as director. As I write this, we are drawing close to the end of the first year. It has been very enjoyable and has kept me busy and young at heart.

I’ve produced a couple of music videos for the group. I’ll post the 2nd one later, but here is the first. This is the title track to their 2016 album That Was Then, This is Now. The music, by the way, can be found on iTunes at this link. Hope you like the video…

Goodbye Facebook

thumbs downOk, so I guess it is time. I think I will be pulling back from Facebook for a while.

Because of my former self-employment with Moyers Design, I’ve needed to be heavily involved in social media.  I’ve done that for the past several years. Now that I’m employed at a church, my need for social media is greatly diminished. My desire for social media, on the other hand, seems to be as strong as ever. Social media is a drug. I’ve come to dislike it.

Facebook has become a portal that makes me mad more than anything else. 50% of the posts I see are reposts of things that I saw a year ago (usually video). Another 40% are nothing more than thinly veiled click-bait designed to get you to their website where they swamp you with ads that they get paid for showing.

Let’s see… that’s 90%. Since my percentage calculation is highly scientific, I would say that leaves me another 30%. Great.

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Make Your Worship Song Slides More Appealing

The First NoelIf you are a visual/tech person for an a cappella church, you may be interested in this post. Otherwise, this is a fun exercise in graphic editing.

Many churches are using worship song slides that include music notation. Quite often, there is somewhat of a debate between the people who like the notes and people who want pictures and words. Some need the intellectual stimulus of singing parts from a prepared arrangement while other prefer the visual stimulation of nature, colors, backgrounds, etc. It’s very hard to find common ground. This is a tutorial on how to create song slides that appeal to both tastes.

This will not be an all-inclusive tutorial. I will proceed on the basis that you are aware of some fundamental aspects of editing graphics, and I will be using Photoshop CC 2014 as my graphical interface.

To begin, you’ll need a song. Some churches create their own notation. If so, more power to you. That’s not what I’m covering in this tutorial. If you don’t have the ability to create notation from scratch, take a look at Paperless Hymnal or A View of Worship. Both offer excellent arrangements in pre-formatted slides. For this illustration, I will be using Paperless Hymnal’s version of In Christ Alone.

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