Saturday, April 19, 2008

Liberty Philharmonics

It just occurred to me that I haven't posted any pictures from our recent session in the studio with Phil Cross. These pictures actually explain quite a bit.

Producer extraordinaire, Phil Cross, oversaw the vocal recording process, much to his dismay. His ear is phenomenal, so much so that mere mortals such as ourselves occasionally take a while to catch up.

Phil wasn't the only celebrity in the studio. Mike Wiebe, who penned the new song "Into the Water" for us, stopped by to make sure we didn't mutilate his composition. Mike is also the music pastor at Nampa First Nazarene where Doran goes to church. Mike, too, carries a burden for Doran.

Dan loves being in the studio. He still confuses the left ear of his headphones with the microphone from time to time. We occasionally clothe him in a straitjacket.

The reason being, Dan tries to escape the rigors of recording. We also padlock the doors. You can't tell, but he's actually laying down his vocals in a padded cell. This is a very stressful process, folks.

It occasionally gets to me, but I try not to let it show. I've fortunately been able to master my poker face so my true feelings don't escape to the surface. The last thing you want to do is appear unconfident, stressed, or otherwise put out.

Phil takes time to turn down my voice in the mix. He must really like me.

I took some time out to explain to Phil the intricacies of the productions world. You know, with him getting started and all I want to do what I can to mentor him. If you'll listen to my producing work on some GBS recordings, it's pretty impressive. Really. Phil took it well. He seemed overcome with emotion. He was all bent over, face in his hands, shoulders twitching. I just patted him on the shoulder. He's a good guy. A lot to learn.

After that little pep talk, Doran seemed to be a little tentative about laying down his part. He finally fought through his feelings of inadequacy enough to sing the solo.

All in all, it was a good recording.

Tales from the Trip

What a fun concert last night! It was great to do a concert in the northwest. We were at Village Park Baptist last evening and sang to a packed-out, energetic crowd. We loved it! For the first few concerts with Liberty, Paul Ellis (the former tenor) and I were both there. My first concert to carry the tenor part all by my lonesome was at Village Park a little over 2 years ago. It's amazing how many friends I've been privileged to make in the last 2 years. We probably had around 450 people there last night and I recognized a large percentage.

Our good friend Pauline made one of her delicious peanut butter pies. Wow! It's the best peanut butter pie I've ever tasted. We've bugged her for 2 years to make us one and she came through. It was good to see some of Royce's fam (his brother and sister), blog lurkers Ellen, Mim, Orrin, and the rest of you guys. Just a great night.

We are in the middle of a 650 mile trip from Beaverton, OR to Modesto, CA. We're going to be singing tonight with Herb Henry Family and the Johnson Family Quartet. That's going to be fun.

Just for the record, I forgot how beautiful Oregon and northern California are. Mt. Shasta is gorgeous today. Well, so is Lake Shasta and this whole area.

Well, it looks like MickeyD's is in my immediate future. So long.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Currently, I'm driving through beautiful Oregon about 45 miles outside of Portland. This is far removed from my recent jaunt through Indiana and Ohio. On Monday I flew out to Indianapolis for the spring Appalachian Youth Camp board meeting. The meeting was actually held in Dayton, but you can get a much better rate flying into Indy. It was nice to see all the guys again. However, this is the last time I'll be able to use the generic description "guys". The newest elected board member is Charlotte Frederick who just so happens to be my sister-in-law. She's done a phenomenal job directing Kidz Adventure camp and was well-deserving of the nomination and election. She'll bring the touch of class so desperately needed on the board.

After the board meeting I had a chance to go over to IHC and touch base with several friends. I actually made it up there both Tuesday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hang around for too long so I missed out seeing many of my friends. But, I was able to run into several of you guys. I made the most out of the time I had. And, I never knew I had so many people reading my blog! Wow! People I don't even know let me know how much they enjoy my spot in cyberspace. And there are a lot of my friend lurking around in the dark corners of my blog, careful to come and go undetected. Thanks for 'fessing up to your addiction. That's the first step.

It's been a while since Ray and I worked together at Grace, so we had a great time. It's also been about three years since I shared a story that features Ray, so pull up your chairs. This is a good one.

After we left IHC on Wednesday, Ray took me to the Indianapolis airport. We were about halfway there and I told Ray to pull over at the next stop so I could use the restroom. He found a rest area, pulled over, and I went in. The men's restroom was like so many that you find at rest areas, stalls on two sides of a dividing wall. Well, I walk in and went left. I hadn't been in there for 30 seconds when I heard Ray's voice from the other side of the concrete wall. He said, "Hey, Wags!" and then I heard the sound of him hitting a stall door. The next voice I heard was unfamiliar shouting out "Hey! This stall's taken!" Ray thought that I had gone to the right and noticed that only one stall was occupied. When he hit the door, it popped open revealing a person sitting on the throne who most definitely wasn't me. The guy wouldn't let it rest, either. "This stall doesn't allow double-parking", he bellowed in a voice easily heard on the other side. Ray kept on trying to apologize, but the guy wanted to keep on talking about it. I was trying to muffle my laughter on the other side of the wall, but couldn't. I walk out and Ray is standing there, humiliated, red-faced, still feeling like an idiot. Definitely, the highlight of the trip for me.

Felt like old times.