Last Friday night a few members of our Praise Team sang at the Chairs Music Studio recital in Owasso. Our relationship with Charis began shortly after I arrived in the Tulsa area. I had been wanting to find somewhere to take voice lessons to improve my skills in that area (since it was a part of my new job after all), and when I went to the Tag Agency to renew my license plate, I found Jaime's studio next door.
I went for the next 6 months or so, and then decided it was a valuable resource I could make available to my fellow Praise Team members. So, I keep a standing appointment on Monday evenings each week and allow different team members to go in two week blocks. We have about 25 people who participate in our team regularly, and most all of them have been to Jaime at one time or another. Their participation is totally voluntary - it is simply my gift to the team.
Don't misinterpret - I am not in any way trying to over-emphasize the sound aspect of our worship leading. Not at all. On the contrary, what I found when I arrived was that our team had such wonderful hearts for worship and God, but many (including myself) could benefit from some basic vocal training. I think we've all enjoyed the experience and the help!
The neat thing about Jaime and her studio is that it is a very openly Christian environment. Jaime has the gift of encouragement and gentleness. It is hard for most of us to hear corrections or critiques of our voice - it can be taken so personally. Yet Jaime has the ability to teach us in a way that builds up rather than tearing down.
Charis has a big dinner/recital once a year. We sang for the second year last Friday night. It is certainly a different venue than we are used to. But what is amazing is that when we step up to the stage, the place goes silent. People stop eating and visiting, and movement around the room comes to a halt. We have an opportunity to get a message across, and we try our best to take advantage of that opportunity. Last year we sang "You Raise Me Up" (which we did on Thursday night of the Workshop in 2007). This past Friday we sang "On My Knees" (which we did the previous Friday at Workshop 2008).
My desire is that someone in the audience's heart was opened once again to the power of prayer through the message of the song we sang. Thanks to my wonderful teammates for their precious hearts of worship!