Collegedale Trip – Part 1
My name is Eddy Alvarenga and I would like to share the experiences we have as a group when we travel and during performances. This will give you a behind the scenes tour into the group’s perspective and what we do before we have a concert or a performance. If you sing in a vocal group, band, or if you perform solos at events, you may find some commonalities or may learn something new. I have had many trips and concerts in my life and always appreciate stories from other musicians.
Calvary’s Light traveled to Collegedale, Tennessee on the weekend of June 8. Collegedale is near Chattanooga, TN. We left Orlando at 6:00 AM and fully expected to make most of the drive in the rain, since Tropical Storm Andrea decided to travel with us. Yet, thankfully, the storm moved away overnight and there was no rain. That was a relief.
Haziel and I were the only ones driving up since David and his family were already in Tennessee (David teaches summer classes at Southern Adventist University). Frank was supposed to be there on vacation, but we later learned his vacation plans were postponed. So he drove up on his own.
Traffic was light and we were moving fast. We passed Atlanta at noon, so made a detour to Scottsborrough, Alabama. Why did we detour? I had always wanted to check out the Unclaimmed Baggage Center store where all lost luggage are shipped after nobody claims them with their airlines. We made our way there via back roads and that is where we faced some bad weather. That slowed us down a bit. When we arrived in Scottsborrough, we found a big thrift store with lots of clothes, electronics, luggage, etc. We spent 45 minutes looking around but ended up not buying anything.
We arrived in Chattanooga around 5:30 PM–right in the middle of rush hour, so it delayed our arrival at the hotel. We stopped at Macaroni Grill for dinner and headed to the hotel for an early night. We wanted to rest for the busy day ahead.
We arrived at the Southern Adventist University campus at 9AM on Saturday and watched the first sermon of the day. By coincidence Pastor Ken Norton was the preacher. Pr. Ken was the Apoka SDA church pastor (where David and Frank are members) when we recorded our first Album and came to see us in the studio a couple of times while we were recording.
I believe worship music should complement the message being presented. I hoped to find a song from our repertoire to match the theme of Pr. Ken’s sermon but realized we didn’t have anything specific to the topic of outreach and Bible studies. I decided to choose between “What a Name” or “Heaven is Here” as they are both centered on Jesus. The music would not take away from the sermon and would remind people of Who the focus of any outreach and Bible study should be. I was finally impressed to use “What a Name.”
We were scheduled to perform in two churches that morning. Both churches are part of the university’s campus. Due to large membership and attendance, the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church splits their services into two buildings: three in the main Sanctuary (Adoration at 9AM and 10:15AM, and Renewal at 11:35) and one in the Collegedale Academy Auditorium beside the church (Connect, also at 11:35).
David arrived at 10:30 and we went to check the Academy. The service there is a contemporary service so I had prepared four songs to choose from. A few things I consider when picking out songs besides message theme include audience preference (traditional versus contemporary, etc), set up time, acoustics, and if we are singing cold (no sound check) or hot (microphones and monitors checked). We chose to start with “Completely Faithful” since it is our most upbeat song and would match the service style. Also we could sing it cold and adjust it throughout. It starts in unison which allows for an easy adjustment. Due to the auditorium acoustics, we settled on “Fire From Above” as the second song.
I always prefer using our sound system since we are used to the microphone levels and in-ear monitors but that was not possible because we would be singing in two venues back to back. We want to give the best experience to the listener and when we feel comfortable with the sound we connect better with song and the audience.
Sound check started and Frank had not arrived yet. When Frank arrived, and we had 4 part harmony, the sound got better (missing the lead singer’s voice is not pleasant for any ears). We finished sound check and went back to the Sanctuary as we were told we could do a sound check in between the Adoration and Renewal service. It turned out that we would not be able to adjust the microphones volume and check the monitor in time to the start of the service.
Back at the Auditorium, we performed two songs, “Completely Faithful” and “Fire from Above.” We had difficulty hearing the bass through part of the first song, as David’s microphone was not working. But when performances are live, things are bound to happen. One of the reasons we like to use our own sound equipment is because we have a little more control over these unpredictable occurrences. Half way through the song, the microphone decided to join us so we could finally hear David’s voice. On the second, song all went well. A few members came to greet us after we left the stage. After a short visit, we headed to our second performance of the morning.
We arrived at the main church in the middle of the sermon of the third service. Pr. Ken called us up on stage at the end of the sermon and we performed “What a Name.” The view from the stage was beautiful and it was great to sing to a church full of people. What a beautiful sanctuary! The Pipe organ is historical and amazing! The performance was transmitted live on the local radio station and the internet. We hope we can get the video feed and post on our website so everyone can see it.
After the service, we were greeted by many people that enjoyed the songs and the message. Many promised to attend our afternoon concert. We then headed to lunch to refuel for the afternoon.