Steve Jobs once noted that in developing his technology empire he did not think primarily in terms of goals. Rather, to serve his desire for innovation, he would just try something new and look behind him at the progress made thus far to determine the next steps. When I read this, I could not help but think of our present circumstances and the often ambiguous path ahead. And also, how this mindset can inform our decisions going forward.
When the pandemic hit last March, we began streaming worship services within days of the shutdown. There was no tutorial or experienced live stream team to take the reins at first. We just did it and learned as we went.
Members of the Chancel Choir have begun making videos utilizing the Acapella app for inclusion in our worship services. It was a process of glitch after glitch and we're still a work in progress. But into the thick of it we went! And soon, we'll test the waters with a brand new concept introduced in a recent New York Times article....drive-in choir! Choristers park around the director/accompanist and sing into wireless microphones using their car's FM radio as monitors. Do not be surprised to see videos of this quirky yet promising venture in the near future. As John Lennon once sang, "Strange days indeed!"
With the new pattern of pre-recording services once per month, we can now think in terms of production: an opportunity that did not exist before. Christmas Eve will be quite special with a plethora of instrumentalists and singers participating that would never be able to inhabit the chancel together in real time. The benefits of the virtual realm.
With the organ now up and running (yay!), musical presentations both live and pre-recorded will follow. There will be an Advent concert on Sunday, December 13 featuring the organ and guests. An "Organ Encounter" (a chance to see and hear what makes this wonderful machine tick!) will be coming in the new year. Other musical collaborations will no doubt follow. We shall see, again, where the muse leads!
Despite growing up on the shores of Lake Erie, I don't swim. Embarrassing, in a way. Nevertheless, it is necessary for all of us to take that deep dive. So far, so good.
Dir. of Music
Mark Heiskanen has been Plymouth's Director of Music since September 2017. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Mark has experience and great interest in a diverse range of musical styles including jazz, rock, musical theatre, and gospel. He is thrilled to serve a congregation and staff that values diversity and inclusion in all facets of life. Read his mostly-weekly Music Minute here.