Worship Musician Magazine July 2022 | Page 32

CONCERT OR CAMPFIRE ? | Grant Norsworthy
Concert or campfire ?
Which word better describes the environment , the vibe , the atmosphere you ’ re aiming for ? During your Sunday morning ( or any other time ) Church gatherings as you worship through songs , do you want it to be more like a concert with crowd participation ? Or more like a campfire singalong ?
I don ’ t imagine you ’ re totally concert or campfire . This is not an “ either / or ” question . I ’ m asking , where does the needle between concert and campfire sit for you ? Does it lean more towards concert ? Or campfire ?
CAMPFIRE A group of people singing together can happen around a campfire . As a bunch of friends ’ huddle around the flickering warmth - their backs to the chilly air - someone might pull out a guitar and start strumming . During a lull in the conversation , someone starts singing one of those campfire classics . Others join in . Someone breaks out a conga and adds a thump to our sound . Before you know it , there are three more guitars ( all slightly out of tune with one another ) and we ’ re ALL singing !
It ’ s been quite a few years since my last youth group campfire singalong like that , but I know that it can be a wonderful , joyful - even profoundly worshipful - experience depending on the song choice and the focus of the participants . I believe this is how the old song “ We Are One In The Spirit ” ( aka “ We Are One ”, “ And They ’ ll Know We Are Christians ” or even “ By Our Love ”) came into being back in the 1960s !
The worshipful campfire singalong does not need any slick production . It doesn ’ t require a high degree of technical or musical excellence . Perhaps the main reason why a campfire singalong can connect so well is actually because it ’ s imperfect , honest , authentic and without any pretensions of performance . No stage , backing tracks , metronome , PA , IEMs , effects , lights , screens etc . It ’ s loose , gritty , technically flawed and sometimes exactly what ’ s needed to help the people find their voice as they sing prayers and praises to
our God .
A campfire singalong simply says : This is just who we are . A bunch of people with varying levels of vocal and instrumental ability who want to sing some songs together as a way of showing that God is worth it !
CONCERT A group of people - the audience - singing together can happen at a concert too . In fact , pretty much every great concert performance in any popular genre of music will include some level of crowd participation . Some more than others .
Queen will always get the crowd to sing “ We Will Rock You ”. The audience at a Jack White ( formerly of The White Stripes ) show will sing the guitar riff of “ Seven Nation Army ” louder than the band can play it ! The third of the crowd closest to the stage at a Billy Eilish concert will sing every syllable of every song with every ounce of energy they possess . And even the back two thirds of the crowd will add their
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