Learning New Skills, Exploring CA

Article written by Carey, a graduate student in the MAAA program at SPEA. During the academic year Carey serves as a Graduate Assistant at the Bloomington Playwrights Project and as Team Manager at 1Life Young Adults Ministry at City Church for All Nations. She is currently interning with Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA.

Using free time to explore California

Greetings Indiana! I have about 2 weeks left of my internship at Saddleback Church, and a lot of stuff has happened since I last posted.

It’s hard to describe my “typical” day in the office, because no two days look the same! When I’m in the office, I typically work on creating song scans, scheduling volunteers, learning a computer program called Ableton, or interviewing staff members.

Song scans are documents used to communicate between the music and production teams. They contain all the copyright information for the song, lyrics in the exact order they will be sung, and labels for who is featured in each section (i.e. a particular singer has a solo or a certain instrument is featured in an instrumental break). This document is used by the band to learn the structure of the song, by the lighting and sound team to design their plans, and by the video team to set up and mix shots live during service. My team is in charge of creating and uploading these documents for every song at every service, so I’ve been doing a LOT of that.

Scheduling volunteers here looks a lot like it does anywhere else. For each service we use a mixture of paid staff, paid contract musicians, and volunteers. We use a program called Planning Center to schedule every service and upload documents anyone may need. I’ve been helping with the band scheduling for weekly staff meetings. Once the band is scheduled we select songs and then enter them into Planning Center so that anyone in the band for that service has access to the proper song scans, rhythm charts, vocal charts, and recordings.

A new movement in the worship world is trending towards using tracks to back the sound of the live band. The premier computer program for creating and running these tracks is called Ableton Live, and I have been learning how to use that to create and run tracks for service.  It can be pretty overwhelming because I am not great with computers, but it is a great behind-the-scenes skill to have! With Ableton you can create the track for each song, compile them back to back in one file, and then run them from a computer on stage into the house system and the in-ear monitors the band is wearing. It is overwhelming but I am learning from the best!

I’ve also taken it upon myself to make up a master document that breaks down each role in the department. There are about 30 full-time staff here just for the Worship Arts Team (which includes production) and they have a lot going on here besides just weekend services. They also have a music academy, multiple mid-week services, an upcoming original EP, conferences, visiting artists, and floods of requests from the community. I’ve interviewed everyone from the office manager to the music directors, the team coordinator, the director of the music academy, the worship leaders, and the assistant to the Worship Pastor.

Apart from my internship, I have had tons of fun exploring California! My rock climbing gym is a great community, and I’ve had fun hanging out with those folks. I went on my first multi-pitch climb last month. A multi-pitch climb is a route that is too tall for one rope, so it is climbed in steps – this route was 5 rope lengths -the climbing out in the Midwest is nowhere near this tall! It was an unforgettable experience.

Other fun things I’ve experienced: whale-watching, lots of time at the beach, hiking in the mountains and the desert, lots and lots of coffee and food, an art gallery opening in Santa Monica, live jazz in Little Tokyo, the 4th of July Orange County Symphony Concert, day trips to San Diego and Pasadena, a new musical called Waterfall, and being interviewed on my friend Junko’s radio show. This weekend I am taking a surfing lesson and going to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which is supposed to be amazing! And there is lots of fun left to be had!

In a few weeks I’ll jump in my car and head back to Indiana – it’s a long way home!

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