Archive for the ‘ Band Life ’ Category

Dedication: Jiseon Choi

I was driving on Telegraph Ave. toward Willard with Soo and Jesse (wife and kid) for our 10am run-thru a couple Sundays ago when I realized that I forgot to tell Jiseon that we’re supposed to be at Willard by 10am.  Jiseon had been taking a break from singing for the worship team because she just got too busy with ministry and life, but recently got reeled back on board, to the rejoicing of many.  Our 10 am run-thrus were a recent implementation and so she wouldn’t have known about it.  Anyway, as I was kicking myself for forgetting to inform her, Soo and I spotted her car, and sure enough, it was Jiseon.  She must’ve taken the initiative to find out herself, which already demonstrates some level of dedication. But that’s not the interesting part of this story…

We pulled up to the left side of her car at the Ashby-Telegraph stoplight. Soo opened her window and waved her arm out of the door trying to get Jiseon’s attention, just to say “hi”.  

Soo: “hi Jiseon!… hey, Jiseon!..  She can’t hear me… hey, haha…” [turns to James] “… what is she doing?”

I looked over and Jiseon had her eyes focused straight ahead, but she was making some fish faces, lips puckered and all.  We didn’t see Sophie (her daughter) in the back seat, and she looked quite serious.  Unable to come to some reasonable conclusion to why she would be engaging in something so bizarre, we watched for a little while as our giggles turned to chuckles and then to full on laughter.  And then the green light came. I later told Jiseon what happened, and asked her what she was doing. She said it was an exercise her vocal teacher taught her to do.  Needless to say, she wouldn’t demonstrate it for me…

Two things I’d like to point out about this story:

1) Jiseon is dedicated.  Taking initiative to know what’s going on with the worship team schedule.  Finding time in her busy schedule to fit in her vocal exercises.  One of the best singers at our church, and yet practices to get even better.  And so focused in doing so as to not notice when some friends are trying to get your attention to say “hi”.

and 2) You never know when said “friends” are watching and having a good laugh at your expense.  

Welcome back, Jiseon. We’ve missed you.

James Kim
Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Worship Director

Over the Years: New Student Welcome Night

The new school year at Cal is right around the corner.  For us, that translates into getting geared up and preparing for the biggest event of Gracepoint Fellowship Church‘s college department calendar: New Student Welcome Night (NSWN).  

As I was talking with Jason Tarn yesterday, we realized that this upcoming NSWN will mark the 10th year that I’ve done the music for the event.  My first time was when I was a 4th year at Cal.  In terms of the music I don’t remember that much.  I do remember that I had both my guitars (fender strat and a Taylor 614ce) that night, and that I broke strings on both the guitars during the praise set.  Boy, was I nervous…

That was in 2050 VLSB (Valley Life Sciences Building), kind of a “home” for me since that was the first place I led worship for our college department Bible studies.  We’ve since moved to Wheeler, and now Pauley Ballroom for this year.  And every year, it’s such a wonderful time to see so many young students coming to find out about our group, taking the opportunity to hear the message of the gospel, many for the first time.  It could even be their first step toward crossing the line of faith. 

I went over to Jeannie Lee’s office to share with her the realization that a decade has gone by, and I’m still doing NSWN. (Patrick and Jeannie Lee were the senior class directors when I was a senior way back when.) We laughed and joked about how old we’re getting…

After 10 years, we laugh. Another 10 years, we’ll cry…

C’mon, you vocalists. We need to raise up worship leaders. <sigh>

James Kim
Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Worship Director

Unseen Power

Sound technicians have a stressful job.  Overlooked in terms of gratitude owed, and often first to be blamed when something goes wrong.  Figurative fingers through literal gazes pointed at them as the target of accusation, 1200 eyeballs fixed on them as they sweat to resolve the issues.

From the worship team’s perspective, the sound techs are the ones that have the ultimate power.  We can practice for hours, perfect our transitions and have everything planned to the T.  But the sound techs have at their fingertips the power to make the difference.  In other words, without sound coming out of the system,  we’d just appear to be a bunch of dancing fools (which is entirely possible since we use personal in-ear monitor systems).

What difference can a sound tech make?  Here’s an example.  This was at the beginning of our Sunday Worship Service at Gracepoint a couple of weeks ago.  Everybody makes mistakes. But you don’t always get to hear them talk about it. My favorite part is hearing laughter at the end of the clip. At least they’re enjoying themselves.

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In case you missed it, here’s a short transcript of what they’re saying:

[ song intro begins ]

Tim: Where’s james?… Where’s the electric?
Esther: Ok…
Danielle: What’s going on?
Esther: The electric wasn’t up.

[ James’ guitar chord blares out ]

Danielle: Oh.
Esther: That’s bad, heh…
Danielle: Oh my, haha. The wrong guitar was up.

[ song intro begins ]

Danielle: [giggle]
Esther:  The wrong guitar…
Tim: Was it muted [on the board], or was it him?
Danielle: No, it was down.
Esther: It was the wrong guitar was up.
Tim: Hm. That’s not good.

Danielle: HAHAHAHA!

So, yes, sound techs make a huge difference.  Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.  Sometimes the less seen, the more powerful.  

“Can you see the wind? I’ve never seen the wind but I’ve seen the effects of the wind. There’s a mystery to it.” — Billy Graham

Modus Operandi

Austin, TXSome have been asking me if I feel down about so many of our current band members moving to Texas to start our Austin church.  My feelings are quite the contrary.  Yes, I’m losing valuable worship team members, and that might create more work for me here to raise up others to continue on. But I’m so proud of all the people who decided to go, and particuarly thankful and relieved that so many of them are currently serving on our worship team.  It follows right along with our heart and vision in terms of training up.

Those of us in our band who have the responsibility of training know that one of the main objectives is to provide a worship team for our church plants, foreign and domestic.  We need to train somebody to either go and fill that role, or to replace us here so that we can go. That’s the way we do things here.

David LeeIsaac Kim and Dominic MuttoLillianDavid LeeIsaac KimLillian Chung

I’ll go ahead and list out the potential worship team roster that I foresee out there:

Lead: David Lee
Vocals: Lillian Chung
Guitars: Ben Kim**
Keyboards: Dominic Mutto, Joyce Lee*
Bass: Isaac Kim
Drums: Maurice Chung**

* aka. Mrs. David Lee.  We should make them share a mic…
** played a little before, so I’m guessing will be compelled by the Holy Spirit or Pastor Manny to step up.

Quite a lineup, no?  Let’s continue to pray for jobs for all the people who committed to go out there to be our Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Austin!

Surprised by Grace

One way to assist people getting to practice on time is by instituting a monetary fine if a person is late. Everybody is on board with this, and we use the proceeds for dinner or breakfast for everybody anyway, when time permits. But as of late we’ve gotten quite lax on this, not having charged anybody in at least the last 2 months.

Last week, only 4 of us were there on time. I told those on-timers that I would “lay the smack down”, only partially understanding what the idiom meant. As soon as 7pm hit (according to Verizon time) anybody to walk into our Northloop building after that would officially be late.

Everybody got there, and I said that they’d be fined. They protested and cried out for mercy. I said, “I’ll leave it to the other three who were on time to decide”. One said “justice”, another said “mercy”. The third “on-timer”, Dominic (keyboards), wasn’t in the room at the time. I said that it would be up to him when he returned to the room, at which point Jeff (electric guitar) defeatedly said, “ah, it’s over. No mercy comes from that guy”.

Dominic returned to the room. I didn’t tell him that his vote would be the swing when I asked him what his vote was. He calmly said, “I say let them off this week”…

Now whatever spiritual lesson you might want to gather from this, I’ll leave that up to you. My take away lesson is, “you never know when you’ll be surprised by…”



“… Dominic.”