One other thing that I noticed during this impromptu rehearsal: she kept looking over the worship leader/keyboardist’s shoulder to remind her of the words to the song. So I hustled to the church office (other side of the building, of course), made a copy of the music, then ran to backstage, grabbed a music stand, and set it next to her on stage with the music.
I wasn’t even halfway to the sound booth when I heard the worship leader give the morning greeting, and just as I got there, the band hit the first chord of the opening song. I looked at front of house operator and he gave me a thumbs up.
I finally felt a little relieved, but I’m not sure if it was because it seemed like we were going to pull it off, or that come what may, good or bad, we were now on for the morning.
Of course, as sometimes happens in these types of situations, everything came off great – the guest vocalist was very warmly received, the worship package was tight, and the senior pastor was oblivious that we had struggled at all to make it happen.
Unfortunately over the years, however, I’ve seen similar scenarios that ended in disaster. Why do I think we were able to make it work this time?
1) We’re prepared. Our team (both tech and talent) does the stage change-over every week and really has it down, so last-minute changes and problems can be isolated and dealt with while everything else continues apace.
2) We all work together. There’s no blame assigned and no outward frustration shown by anyone on the team.
3) We’re skilled veterans. We know how to improvise, and just as importantly, we can when necessary.
4) The God factor. I don’t want to underplay or overplay this, but it is my belief (and scripture shows) that if we all bring our best and give our best, God will multiply those efforts.
Would I want to do this every week? No! Do we plan and work ahead to keep ourselves out of situations like this as much as possible? Yes!
In defense of the guest vocalist, she’d never worked with us before and thought it was reasonable to show up 15 minutes early to do a quick sound check, and further, we never communicated that we expected her to be there 45 minutes before the start of the service. So, it’s another item to add to our list.
In addition, she had a severe sore throat that morning and thus struggled to hit the higher notes, so she didn’t anticipate having to lower the song a key.
I once worked with a worship leader who said that if you prepare, no matter what happens in the service, you’re more ready to change direction. I guess we all know this, or at least should, but particularly if you’re having “one of those days,” it’s great to see it put into practice and help turn a tough situation into a win.