Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Idol worship

I'm engaging a little bit of idol worship at guitar camp. One of the instructors this week is a favorite performer of mine: Billy Jonas. If you've never heard of him, please check out his Web site and buy tons of his CDs. He calls himself a "repercussionist" and uses found objects like barrels and cans for percussion instruments in his songs.

I performed his song, "One" at church and the crowd loved it. Billy was disappointed to learn that the recorder crapped out when we performed it. I was, too. I would have loved to preserved it for posterity, but I'm sure we can do it again.

I've always wanted to use his song "God is In" for a sermon, but was having trouble figuring it out from the recordings since it was in a alternate tuning. He was gracious enough yesterday to teach me the song after dinner last night.


After showing me the chords he asked me to play it back to him and I refused. I was already embarrassed enough and told him to give me some time to practice it up so I wouldn't look like a complete fool trying to play his music. He promised to catch up with me later this week, so I guess I need to practice, eh?

I'm exhausted. Last night I stayed up late (remember 9:30 is bedtime for me) and jammed with a group of folks in one of the jamming tents. I sat with my guitar in the case until the last minute and was coaxed to play a couple of songs. I should have had someone take a picture since I'll probably need to prove to some people that I actually mustered up the courage to play for strangers ...

It was exciting and pass-out frightening all at the same time. As the song passed to the next person I realized I was literally shaking. The air was chilly here last night, but it wasn't that kind of shaking - it was a terrified shaking. But, it was good terror. The folks in the tent were generous to my face, even if they're deriding me today. I don't know if they are or aren't so I don't really care. I felt affirmed in the moment and really, that's all that matters.

I'm glad they only do this thing once a year. It will take me all of the next year to fully digest all of the incredible things I've learned here just in three short days. Theory to pick apart and understand, songwriting tips to incorporate and use, tips and tricks from other players to practice and use. The list is endless.

My back hurts, but my spirit is soaring.


Mike-El said...

He looks like a mashup of all three Bee Gees.

Ruthanne Haefka said...

Candace: how about finger-numbing, toe-tapping fear? All of these and more are part of the joys of performance. You'll never be rid of them. You'll just learn to perform with and in spite of them. How do I know? I'm a retired church musician with a master's degree in organ performance. And performance terrors are good friends of mine...I use the word friends, loosely. I have learned that when I thought my performance was a dismal failure, which was always, my listeners were inspired and impressed. I'm willing to bet you experience a form of those terrors every time you step in the pulpit. Keep the faith. And keep the strings nearby...they are the voice of God through your fingers. Ruthanne

Candace Chellew-Hodge said...

Ruthanne, thanks for the encouragement. You're right, I still get scared before I preach. I overcome that by praying right before I step into the pulpit that I move out of God's way and let God speak through me. It works without fail. When I forget to give it over to God, I have a horrible sermon experience. When I give it over and move out of the way, it's an amazing experience.

I suppose it's the same with the guitar - as long as I get out of the way and stop *trying* to play and just play, I'll do fine.

Thanks, again, for your words.