First off, let me say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the singing special part of church. To me, it is the most real aspect of the church service. It reminds us of our humanity. There comes time in many a church service where we are floating on heaven. We forget that Obama is president, we forget about the dying children in Africa, and we forget about the earthquakes messing the world up (save a prayer request). We are in our element in church, free to be ourselves without the cares and criticisms of the world. We can pray and shout and dance our lives away and know that we have the truth. Church, in these instances is heaven on earth. That is....
Until the church solo comes crashing into our lives.....and the awkwardness that entails, and how on occasion it allows those who normally go unnoticed in church get their chance to shine....I will forever be a fan of the church solo in church.
And for those of you who have not been here from the start (most), let us not confuse the church solo with the tradition that we all think we deserve a solo.
But there are some many facets to the singing special that I don't know where to begin. As a part-time sound man, I love how most of the tracks people sing along to come on cassette. The cassette has been dead since Clinton's inauguration, but yet here as Apostolics, we hold on dearly to these remnants of the past, as if, if the cassette forfeits it's rights in church to the CD, so too will kids be allowed to bring Harry Potter books into church soon after.
The singing special usually comes around the lull of the service, at some fixed point surrounding offering and before the sermon. When it happens, pure magic is set to ensure. The singer(s) walked up to the microphone clearly in a state of anxious disrepair. Maybe their is a cough in their throat to break the silent tension (the tension worsened because this is vacation time in the service for most of the congregation where they can sit without not worried if they will be scrutinized for not standing up to worship during this time).
The singer has two options:
- A miniature sermon which most likely includes a testimony (As my brother-in-law wants to always know, "why does the singer feel so obligated to preach? The preacher doesn't feel obligated to sing."). This mini-sermon though most likely has nothing to do with the song which makes the disconnect and awkwardness that much better.
- or to just stare blankly at the audience for a few seconds and awkwardly and politely ask the crowd to "worship with me as I sing" (or of course the rare jewel of "worship me as I sing"). I personally prefer the second option here because the awkwardness going into the song is usually greater when there is no mini-sermon to ease the crowd into their seats
Now the climax of the whole ordeal comes before the first note even hits. It's the "head-nod" to the sound-man. It is the next few moments where the silence will be most heightened and the awkwardness blaring at it's loudness. The soundman sometimes purposefully, sometimes incidentally usually fumbles around with a few switches to get the soundtrack live. BONUS POINTS IF THE SOUND BOARD IS NOT WORKING PROBABLY LEAVING THE SINGER IN A NIGHTMARE SITUATION!
Once the music comes through the speakers, the track is usually some warbly mess.
From here the tension has still not resided as the singer is usually off-key for the first verse or so at least (ULTIMATE WIN if lyrics are forgotten)
When we go up to strangers, let's have a microphone in hand. Stare into the depths of the eyes and cough in your throat. While the confusion is on the increase, tell the stranger/friend, "Worship with me as I sing." and then of course from there give a head-nod to a soundman who is not actually there....and then sing acapella to your favorite worship song. It seems like there is much potential here. Can you imagine doing this when you go to order at McDonald's?
I do not have any of those horror stories to recount about singing specials going horribly bad. If you, dear reader, do have any such stories, please recount them in the comment section.