Jenni goes to Cambodia

Angkor Wat temple, by Andrew Lih

Just letting you all know that Warnbro Worship team’s first full time missionary is leaving us next week. Jenni Robbins is heading off for 6+ months in Cambodia.

Please be in prayer for her and you can follow her adventures on her blog :


iPad for Worship

Recently I got an iPad 2, which is a wonderful thing in so many ways but especially useful for the worship musician. Actually all of the stuff I’m talking about isn’t necessarily specific to the church music setting – you could use it just as well in any live music environment.

One of the first things I thought the iPad would be useful for is to display my chord charts. I have a big library of chord/lyric charts in PDF and Word format and so I thought it would be great to display them on my iPad instead of having to print them out each week, with just a simple swipe between songs.

I’ve found an app which does not only that, but so much more. OnSong is a fantastic app for iPad (and iPhone), which allows you to import all your chord charts from PDF, Word, and others. These files can then be sorted into collections (books), weekly set lists, or sorted by artist, key, or topic (once you have your library set up). Your existing files can then be easily displayed in whatever order you want, changing page with just a swipe of a finger (or not… see below). Files can be imported through iTunes software via Wifi, through a ‘cloud’ service like DropBox or MobileMe or there is a search box which can search online for songs. You can also add sticky notes on top of your displayed files for what ever extra notes/reminders you need to write.

So as a program for displaying your files it works a treat, but this software has so much more potential. If you convert your songs to the OnSong format, you will then be able to access a whole raft of very cool features such as transposing the song into whatever key you want, adjusting fonts, sizes, and colours, a clickable chord library, metronome, linking to audio files and much more. You can even add a monitor out to your iPad and use the software to control lyric projection – it will project the words (without chords) on a nice background while still displaying the chords on your iPad. Not sure I want that kind of responsibility controlling the words whilst playing guitar and singing, but it is a very cool feature! I’ve attached a bunch of screenshots I took at the bottom of this post.

The only frustration I have with this software is that the process for converting your PDFs into Onsong file format is a little buggy. It would be great if it worked smoothly every time, but there generally needs to be quite a lot of further editing of the files in order to get them to work. I’m getting the gist of it but it’s still a bit of a slow process. Even so I think it’s worth the effort, and even without the conversion it’s still emminently useable just for displaying my existing PDFs.

Finally I just want to mention something that takes this software from being just very cool to being super awesome. With an AirTurn BT-105 bluetooth page turner and my trusty old Boss FS-6 dual footswitch I now have handsfree control. The two pedals can be used to move back and forwards through my song sheets without having to stop playing my guitar. Brilliant! I’ve posted a photo below from their website below which is pretty similar to my setup.

If you’re a musician with an iPad already then you owe it to yourself to check out this inexpensive software. If you’re a musician without an iPad, well it’s one more reason to think about getting one… (I’ll mention some of the other cool music apps I’ve got sometime soon.)

Finally, here’s a YouTube video I found which demonstrates a few features of the software :

Search My Heart

Here’s a new song we will be previewing before the service this Sunday :

This is from the new studio album from Hillsong United – Aftermath.

Haven’t got time to do a full review but I think this is one of the better albums to come out of Hillsong in recent years. In general it has a slower, at times more ambient, feel than a lot of their other stuff. And this is a good thing. Lyrics are creative, Biblical, and inspiring. The instrumentation is fantastic – some great guitar sounds in there for those who have ears to hear 🙂 I’d love to know what gear their guitarist is using (? Strymon El Capistan?). Anyway, this is definitely an album worth getting hold of and one whose appeal grows with each subsequent listen. Certainly at least 2 or 3 tracks here that are potential for doing in church. Top stuff.

Sing a New Song

Here’s a quote from a great article on worship music on the excellent blog of  Daniel Kirk from Fuller Seminary :

I also believe that when the Psalmist says he will “sing a new song,” he is not actually asking the people of God for the next 4- or 5,000 years to sing his new song–old song that it is to us.

In fact, I would argue that what we see in scripture is that new song is exactly what we should expect any time that God is at work in the world. Yes, Koessler is correct: worship begins with God. But the worship we sing is, as often as not, about how that God in heaven has intersected tangibly with the world down here. Worship is not about the God who remains afar off in the heavens, it’s about the God who has, or should have, acted here on earth for the good of God’s people and all humanity.

Put differently, a church with no new songs to sing is a church where God is not at work.

    A culture that cannot express its encounter with God in its own idiom is a culture where the gospel has not taken root.

And, if we’re not careful, an insistence of the singing of only the old songs might become a convenient theological cover for the reality that our own lives need a fresh visitation, that our eyes need a new vision, of the Kingdom of God come near.


Tips and Things About Worship

One of my favourite worship leaders on the net is Vicky Beeching, from the UK. Coincidentally we are doing one of her songs in church tomorrow. She has an excellent blog which is well worth following. Here’s a couple of recent posts which I have found full of valuable wisdom :

And Vicky plays a Gretsch White Falcon guitar, so you know right away she is at the cutting edge of contemporvant worship (has anyone noticed how many worship guitarists have Gretschs?? and I’d be one of then if I could afford it – lol)

In the midst of those posts I discovered this hilarious, cutting video. It’s all about ‘growtivation’ 🙂

Worship Cafe

Just a reminder to all Worship team members that we have a worship team gathering tonight 23rd November in the church cafe at 7:30pm. Hope to see you there!

Hillsong Chapel – Yahweh

Over the last week I’ve been listening to the newest release from Hillsong in Sydney – Yahweh.

This is the first album they’ve recorded in their chapel, and it’s a more organic acoustic sounding live recording of some of their most well known songs. Never fear though guitar lovers, there’s still healthy doses of sweet electric guitar in there, dripping with delay (I couldn’t concentrate on the book I was reading whilst listening to “You Hold Me Now” – found myself getting lost in those guitar sounds…)

In general I love the arrangements on this album. Very open, with moments of loud congregational singing and free worship. Some of the standout tracks are Hosanna, The Time Has Come (especially the free ending), Saviour King, This is Our God, and You Hold Me Now. The album closes on Salvation is Here, which works surprisingly well as an acoustic number (minus the complicated bass riff) – I’d really like to try this one sometime.

Anyway Yahweh is a great CD and I’d encourage you to check it out. Look forward to seeing more sessions come out of the Hillsong Chapel in the future.

Here’s a video clip of the title track, which gives a good taste of the feel of the album…