A note from arranger/composer Don Chapman:
I’m in the long process of creating vocal demos and tracks for hymncharts (here’s a full list of what’s been recorded.) Here’s why:
When I started hymncharts years ago I assumed everyone knew the hymns so I didn’t bother to create audio demos. How wrong I was!
I discovered this when I was looking forward to doing Come Ye Thankful People, Come for Thanksgiving with my praise team. I whipped it out at rehearsal and no one knew it! I thought it was a fairly well-known hymn – I remember, growing up, singing it every year at Thanksgiving. So I scrapped it – we didn’t have time that week to learn a new song. I realized then that there was a definite need to have audio versions of the arrangements.
Also, when I want to use a hymn that the praise team singers DO know, they usually turn their noses up… as in “yuck, a boring hymn!” The week we first did Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us I got yawns from the singers. I pushed it because this is one of my favorite hymncharts arrangements and I knew how cool it could sound with a full band.
Since I rehearsed my band and vocalists separately, the vocalists didn’t hear the full band treatment until Sunday morning’s pre-service rehearsal. Everything came together, they got in the groove and we had a blast with it. Another reason I found I needed a vocal demo – the singers need to hear the full version before they can get excited about it! (Plus it gives the band an idea of where to go with the song.)
I’ll be creating a track and vocal demo for each new hymncharts arrangement. The audio will be in the MP3 format. Here are a few ideas for implementing them in your ministry:
- Rehearsal: Burn a CD of the vocal demo and give it to each praise team vocalist and band member, put the MP3 on a worship planning website or email it. They might not know the hymn and this is a great way for them to learn it during the week. Don’t feel like you have to follow my instrumental version exactly – it’s just a guide. Let your band feel free to be creative – the track will at least give them somewhere to start.
- Performance: Play along with the track during worship. Some arrangements will have a separate drum loop that your band can play along with. In the early days of my church, it was often me playing keyboard along with tracks – there simply weren’t enough musicians. You might not even have ANY musicians, just tracks!
- Prelude/postlude: burn a CD and play the vocal demos for prelude/postlude music or play the MP3 from a laptop or MP3 player.