Archive for the ‘ Just 4 Laughs ’ Category

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

Look Alikes

Twins? Look a little closer!

JamesMikeLookAlike

Here’s a behind the scenes picture I snapped a while back at a Sunday praise practice. After showing Mike this photo, he finished practice, went home and changed.

Ander Chen
Acts2Fellowship Gold – Worship Leader

Lessons from Leading Praise

Since this is my first post on our praiseband blog, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ander and besides being a member of the Gracepoint Fellowship Church praiseband, I’m also serving on staff in Acts2Fellowship Gold, one of our UC Berkeley campus fellowships, and also lead the a2f gold praise band.

Contrary to what most people think, I’ve never had any dreams or ambitions of being a leading praise. I know that most of you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking “suuuure” but its the truth. I’ve always enjoyed singing but never did I ever dream of being on stage  doing in it in front of a few hundred people. In any case, I’m up there now and leading praise has taught me some things.

Here’s a couple…

1. It ain’t easy: I led praise for acts2fellowship gold this past year and like I told James, our worship director, I appreciate what he does so much more now that I know how much goes into putting together a praise set. I hope you guys don’t think we[praise leaders] just pick songs that we like and sing them. I always apologize to my band because I’m always late in sending them the set. The reason is because I want the words of each song to have meaning and to reflect a message of who God is.

2. You mess up: We had plenty of these this past school year. I can look back at them and laugh it now but at the time it’s nerve racking. I remember it like yesterday: there I was, standing in a dark room of 100 GPB with just the lights on me surrounded by silence. We had just finished a fast song and the band was transitioning into a slower song but which required the keyboardist to change effects on her keyboard. Since this was only our second time, she hadn’t figured out how to program it yet and so she had to scroll through the different effects looking for the one she wanted. Let me tell you, even though it was 30 seconds, it felt like an eternity! I remember thinking to myself “What if i just walked off stage?” Well I didnt, instead I just stood there feeling and looking nervous. Well, she finally did find the effect and we finished the set without any problems but boy was that a traumatic.

James’ response to this story when I told him…

Me: (I finish the story)
James: Hahahaha!

Thanks James, thanks.

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…

ransom-note

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

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

Jesse — Dan Fan Club, President

Here is a picture of my son, Jesse. He likes watching our band play, be it for practice at our North Loop building, or at the Willard auditorium for our Sunday morning run through.  I guess he picked up a couple things from watching us…

I sit him down on the drum “throne” (as Albert said it’s called.  hmm… what does that say about drummers?) and hand him a pair of sticks.  He hits most of the drums in no particular order.  When I took these pictures, there was a small cymbal that was just out of his reach. He went for it and fell onto the larger tom, and clinging for his life, he was still swinging for that small cymbal… that’s dedication.

Daniel, you have a padawan… don’t let him go to the dark side.  And while you’re at it, could you potty train him too?

James Kim
Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Worship Director

"A+" for Effort

I’ve always admired people who are willing to “do whatever it takes”, apply themselves to whatever is needed to get things done.  But an under-appreciated virtue is the willingness to ask.  A simple question or request might make life a lot easier, not to take away from the effort and heart.

gracepoint worship aplusA few Sundays ago at Gracepoint Fellowship Church worship service, one of our keyboardists forgot her chordsheets.  I actually discovered this when I passed behind her on stage and saw 4 pages of hand-scribbled notes of the lyrics and chords that she had scrawled seemingly that morning. I asked her what all that was, and she said, “Oh. I forgot my music…” I’m guessing that to write everything out by hand probably took her about 20 minutes, but I’m not sure. Maybe she writes by hand particularly fast.

I applaud her for her responsibility and not just going up there without any music and just “winging it” (like “a bassist soon to go to Austin” I know might probably have done). But at the same time, had she asked a simple question, she might’ve received the extra set of chordsheets that was four feet in front of her on stage, which she eventually did after I saw her hand-written chordsheets.

Either way, Joyce get’s an A+ for effort, to say the least.

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