Archive for the ‘ Band Life ’ Category

Stepping it Up | A Tale from Gracepoint Riverside

This past season was a time of stepping it up for many people who are involved in Gracepoint’s different praise teams. Many people used their own vacation days in order to play at one of the many NSWNs that happened this season (although it’s only partially a sacrifice – going to one of those NSWNs was also really exciting too!), and there were also many people who really stepped up their game to play at their first NSWN. You’ve already heard the story of Eric during the trip to Gracepoint Minneapolis. Well, I wanted to share another story that I heard when I was there at Gracepoint Riverside this past September – well, it’s not really a story, but rather a picture.

You’ll notice that there really isn’t enough room for another person to sit next to Allen to play the keyboard – no, it is not that our Riverside team meets in such a small venue that there isn’t enough room for the band to be on stage – rather, due to the small size of our church plant teams, people often do double (or triple or quadruple) duty: sound setup and welcome team, food and ushering, and drums and keys.  Thanks Allen for really stepping up your game there at Riverside!  I just have to wonder if he ever switches in the middle of the song or plays both at the same time!

Gracepoint Worship 2010 Tour

Gracepoint Berkeley NSWN

Okay, well maybe not on tour as most people would think but the Gracepoint Berkeley worship team will be heading out to the different campuses to help with the different welcome nights that are coming up! Let’s keep praying for these nights!

2010 Schedule:

Gracepoint Berkeley – check

Gracepoint Minneapolis – check

Gracepoint Davis – Wed 9/22

Gracepoint San Diego – Wed 9/22

Gracepoint Riverside – Wed 9/29

New Student Welcome Night: Take 11

Once again, the time has come… I search for some music that people with a wide range of religious/non-religious backgrounds might be able to enjoy, and throw it out to our band. Each worship team member meticulously listens and studies to professional recordings of the songs to figure out their part, or at least come up with a passable substitute. We come together and try to put it all together and be “the band” that we’re charged with being. Richard D. gets a light show together to do whatever he can to make the way we look consistent with the way we’re supposed to sound. (And, boy, do we need the help!)

All this for a program to welcome new students to the UC Berkeley campus in hopes to introduce God and truth to them in the process…

gracepoint_berkeley_nswnThis year marks the 11th year that I’ve been put in charge of the music portion of our New Student Welcome Night. For the past few years, I’ve been asking our members, “Aren’t I getting too old to do this? I wasn’t cool before as it was, but now I’m OLD and not-cool!” This year, as I’ve put on a little weight, I’ve tried to modify my excuse to, “I’m too fat for this”, to little avail. Guys like Ander and Jon Chou try to reassure me, “No, no… you HAVE to do it. You’re cool! You’re not fat… just a little fluffy…”. But I can see right through all that, as I think they just don’t want to lead it themselves.

Seriously, though, I consider it a huge privilege to be right there at the start of the program, at the biggest outreach event of our church’s calendar. I consider it a privilege not because of the fancy program we can put on, with the conglomerate logistical and creative expertise from so many different parts of this church, but rather the whole reason we do it. I consider it a privilege because I know how so many of the salvation testimonies that God has blessed our congregation with have started with people getting introduced to the gospel through our NSWN. We have the luxury of having front row seats of our great and awesome God working in so many people’s lives, bringing them to know him and the salvation that he offers. That’s what fuels the excitement in the air for everybody involved, because we have much expectation of what’s to come, and how we can man up and partake in the harvest that God calls us to.

So, regardless of whether it’s a cool, young person leading the music time… or if it’s just “old and fluffy” me again, I’ll rejoice with greater anticipation of how we can help advance the ball up the field for the kingdom.

… year 11… I just hope I’m not still doing it when Jesse gets to Cal.

– James Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley Worship Director

Worship Team Facts: In-Ear Monitors

shureEver wonder why the Gracepoint Fellowship Church praise band sometimes looks like secret service agents with those headphones sticking out of one ear? If you’ve never seen them then you haven’t been looking closely and that’s good because you should be focusing on praising God anyways! 🙂 Anyhow, the in ear monitors are basically as is described. Instead of the typical monitors, speakers that sit in front of the stage, we use wireless packs which our headphones plug into. The music is now plugged directly into our ears and this allows the singers and instrumentalists to hear ourselves while on stage. The coolest part about it is that we can choose to turn up or down whatever instrument or other singers in the band. It’s like creating my own personal mix on Sundays!

Praise Leader in Training…

For your enjoyment, looks like he’s going to be just like his dad! Feel free to Comment!

Question: Why does Ander only wear glasses on Sundays?

Gracepoint Berkeley Ander's Glasses

Well, even though the secret’s out (thanks Kevin H.) I figured I’d still post the answer. As Kevin mentioned in the comments, the reason that I only wear my cool glasses on Sunday is because I need to see the lyrics. If you attend our services, go ahead and turn your head to the back when you are in the main auditorium and you will see we have a projector and screen setup to project the song lyrics. Of course, I’ve tried to memorize the lyrics to the songs just in case the rear projection goes out but once you’re on stage, your eyes just gravitate towards the words and I forget everything I memorized. I just want to give a big Kudos to the prologue team who runs it because we’ve never had any major mishaps…yet.

So there you have it, maybe I should try wearing my glasses more so its not so obvious…

Ander Chen – Worship Team Member

Got Questions?

question-mark2Ever wonder why Steve Chae always says “Clutch” or “Excellent”? Want to know why Ander only wears glasses on Sunday? Well here’s your chance!

I’d like to ask the readers of our blog to submit those burning questions you’d like to ask the Gracepoint Fellowship Church praise team. I’ll be periodically answering these questions the best I can so comment now!

Ander Chen
Acts2Fellowship Gold – Worship Leader

Dangerous Beliefs

During our last Gracepoint Monthly for 2008, we had a time where we got into groups of about 10 people from across different ministry groups to get to know each other and share about Christmas memories, and how we celebrated (or didn’t celebrate) Christmas growing up.  One of our drummers (who wished to remain anonymous) shared with me an interesting fact about Dan (Berkley Koinonia staff, and our lead drummer) that he learned during this time. It made me laugh enough to share it with you all…

Apparently, Dan and his brother, Mike, didn’t believe in Santa Claus, which isn’t uncommon. I myself only remember one Christmas as a kid when I thought Santa existed, even then being skeptical in the back of my mind. But, for Dan and his brother, just in case Santa did exist…

[ at this point in the story, you’d normally expect “they set out cookies and milk” or “they set up a video camera filming the fireplace” or “they said they believed so that they could get more presents”… but that wouldn’t be worth sharing, now would it? ]

…they set out traps for Santa.

As this anonymous drummer and I were laughing about this, we imagined what said traps might have looked like (ie. spikes in the fireplace, or marbles strewn across the floor next to the Christmas tree, or massive amounts of fly paper), and then what the young Chiang brothers might’ve done when they caught good ol’ St. Nick. Perhaps a letter addressed to the North Pole…


Believing in Jesus is “dangerous” because it has strong implications on one’s life.  The Chiang brothers’ belief in Santa is dangerous, too… but not in quite the same way.  

Dan, for your parents’ sake, I hope your traps never worked.

Anyway, just an entertaining way to say, “Merry Christmas!!”  It was a great year, guys.  Keep on honing your skills, enjoying personal times of worship and look forward to a new year of doing it all again!

James Kim
Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Worship Director

My Son, the Rock Star

Every so often, I need to take my son, Jesse (just turned 2 years old) with me to one of the worship team practices, as I’ve been helping out here and there with the college bands (we have 3 now!) and of course our Gracepoint Fellowship Church Worship Team.  He’s also seen our Worship Team in action during our Sunday morning run-thrus a few times. He loves to just sit on a chair and watch.  But if there’s a spare guitar laying around that isn’t being played, he often wants to get in on the action.  Here are a couple of pictures I took during an a2f gold band practice at our North Loop building.

Jesse using his dad's Fender rock star shot of Jesse on fender

And now, some “never-before-seen” footage of the young musician at home practicing.  I’m not sure how he got a hold of one of my picks… nor why he starts counting in the middle… but whatever. 

Note to our worship team members:  Be aware of yourselves. The young, the impressionable, the rock stars of tomorrow are watching…

Point of Difference: Chordsheets

Jonathan Chou (Berkeley Koinonia Staff, and our main bassist) went with his classmates to visit Gracepoint Fellowship Church, Austin last October.  For the Sunday that he would be absent, I asked Kevin Han (Berkeley City College Koinonia Lead, and our bassist in training) to cover for him.  I must say he did a fine job.  But aside from expressing how impressed I was at his playing, I want to demonstrate the manifestation of his commitment (or perhaps anxiety…) by showing his chordsheets that he used for that Sunday.

img_0244 img_0245

Now, I can imagine that most of you seeing this might just respond by thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of markings…” And for many of our newer worship team members, you might be thinking, “I never make that many marks and notes…”  BUT, for those of us who have been around a while, and have seen the chordsheets of our current and previous “bassists”, this is quite remarkable.

I showed this to one of our electric guitarists (who requested to remain anonymous) and said, “What a difference, huh? I don’t remember Isaac’s chordsheets ever looking like this…” to which the anonymous electric guitarist replied, “Isaac?… what chordsheets?”

Point of Difference: Chordsheets

  • Kevin thoroughly marks his…
  • Jon doesn’t need his…
  • Isaac could never find his…

Alas, the bassists in our lives that we’ve grown to love.  Which has the best method? YOU make the call!

James Kim
Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Worship Director