The saga continues…

So besides speaking at the rally, I got word at our Wednesday morning research meeting that the choir that was supposed to sing had dropped out. Gloria said that someone had volunteered to contact my choir (Selah) to see if they could do the opening music. I said I’d email around and see, but I didn’t feel too confident as we have trouble finding Sunday mornings in advance that we can all get together, let alone the Monday night coming up in five days none of which was a practice day. To everyone’s delight, Gary responded to my email that very night and agreed to lead some hymns. Over the next two days I got six people to agree, and a few nos (including our director.) So I gave the go ahead, with the proviso that we would need an accompanist as I had not heard from ours yet. Gloria said no problem they had someone lined up to play who could do our pieces, I just needed to get the music to her.

So I made plans to bring the music to her house.  And when I got there things were not ok.  She said that she could not play the music and she seemed a little annoyed to be asked.  “I knew I should have said no.” So at that point I have a commitment to the gig, my members coming and no one to play for us.  And Gloria still thinks that music is something that just happens. “Can you sing accapella, or don’t you all know some songs she knows?”  Well, I guess we have some hymns. So I called the grumpy lady back and we land on Let There be Peace on Earth, This is the Day, and Here, I am Lord. I’ll print the sheet music to If I Had a Hammer and she’d pick up a Methodist hymnal after the 11:00 service.

At pickup rehearsal on Sunday, we found out that our pianist could come, and most all of the members that I had not heard from agreed to come.  Now we are getting somewhere. I had a busy day on Sunday and after doing a skit singing with Selah twice, teaching Sunday School and trying to look for a friend I invited (who didn’t show) I just was hanging out in the sanctuary chatting, and waiting for her to coming.  Well my friend left and I decided to change locations.  Then I saw her sitting up front, apparently since before the end of the service ten minutes ago.  She crabbed at me some more and told me how the arrangement of the song I had printed was not right.  Good night, lady!

Which brings us to the night.  It turned into a comedy of errors.  There were no escape steps from the choir loft that didn’t go right up front, parking was a bear, one of the songs I decide we should sing I forgot had this wordy fast bit and not everyone had their music,  at three minutes till we were going to start the accompanist had not shown up, the projector was shining into the face of the top row, the keyboard that was set up was not full size, the piano was not mic-ed.  We were accosted by cranky pants again, because she apparently had not whined to me enough, asking for our player to stay and to do the closing, I reminded her that I already told her that Lori had to go back to class.  Then we were ready to go.  We could not hear the piano at all from the loft.  So we had to run down so that we could stand by it, and it is wildly out off tune anyway and you can still barely hear that she’s playing.  They through up some mics which I don’t think were even meant to pick up group singing.  By the time we started we only had time for 2 songs instead of the three we had planned for.  No one introduced us we just go.  And it takes a few minutes for the people up front to pick up that something was happening and people in the back never got it and continued with their conversations.

After the singing nine of the people left, and three of us stayed.  Thus ruining the grand plan my SPUMC TEAM fellow leaders had of recruiting people from the choir to start coming to our event.  Well that and the fact that one of the members said it was “the worst singing experience I have ever had.”

Gloria asked us to sing again at the Action in April.  Think I can convince them?

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Rally, if you can

March 25, 2009

It’s Rally and Action time again for TEAM. Which means Erin is living outside of her comfort zone. Monday’s Rally brought a whole new set of challenges because now besides just worrying about bringing a bunch of folks, I was all of the sudden part of the program. First I got delegated to speak for my research committee. I am one of three who’s been active with them for the last few months and of the other two one is the chair who’s been giving the talks every time for two years and one of our clergy who happens to work for the City of Tallahassee in the planning department, so he always bows out. So I got to be the one.

I did have the advantage that Gloria (the lead organizer) pretty much wrote my speech. I did tweak it a bit, including rewriting an entire section that I did not think was saying what I wanted it to say. I also had a problem about what our issue actually was, since I was at all those meetings I know that it was thrown together really just to have something to present. The purpose of the rally is to get everyone excited about the issue, and our issue is just frankly not that exciting. I really pushed my committee to work on asking the city to fund a housing advocate, but it just didn’t get off the ground fast enough. And all the stuff that I was working on did not make the cut anyway. So are you ready… it might just be too thrilling for you to handle. We want the city to put out an RFP in order for a CDC to run the Rental Rehabilitation Loan Program. And if you don’t already know what those acronyms are, well it’s too boring to care.

Let me just say that no one was thrilled. It was fine, and I think I did the best that I could but I don’t know how you can really fire people up about grant procedures and contract writing. It’s long been a criticism of our organization that we don’t work on things that are exciting enough, that actually meet our own criteria for what makes a good issue. There’s work to be done there for sure.

We did have the Marching 100 (or 30 of them at least) play some music for us that included a drum roll before I got up to speak. But I think it may have had the opposite effect that they were intending, well on me. The opening speaker was talked about Les Mis, and I know what happens after drum rolls during the French Revolution. Gulp.

A little too eventful

January 22, 2009

I have to admit that I have just not been all that motivated to write lately… hum that sounds familiar. But I thought I put down a few things about my eventful weekend. I went down to visit my sister in Jupiter for a rare free weekend, and a long one at that. My car continues to act up, and finally the cooling system gave up the ghost about 20 miles outside of Tallahassee. I had to get a tow in to my mechanic, but luckily it was able to be fixed the next day while I was at work. I also had some lovely over draft charges thanks to not balancing my checking account before I left town. Duoh. And ouch…though they have only charged me 6 times even though it shows I had 8 charges. I won’t tell if you won’t.

What else… Tuesday was the first blocking rehearsal that I made it to (on Monday I was stranded on the interstate.) Eric , our director, is a little dictatorial for my taste, but I knew that going in. My favorite is the eye rolls when actors get some blocking that they don’t think makes sense. I guess that when you are doing a full length musical with ten ensemble songs in two months kind of eliminates all the time for creative freedom. Tuesday was also our dance rehearsal, which was an interesting beast because we don’t have a choreographer. We have 3 songs to dance to, the first is a turkey trot that involves walking and kicking like a turkey while in dance hold… nice. The second is a two step that we have been told to just dance to, in social dance fashion. We’ll see how that goes, the people dancing in the scene are not really the usual dance ensemble type (and I certainly include myself in saying that.)

The music in this show is also a killer and they have me singing first alto, because I choose quite a low song for my audition piece in hopes of getting the Mrs. Phagan role (even though I’m way too young with much too high a speaking voice.) I didn’t get that role just a spot in the alto section. But the crazy thing is that singing alto seems to bere little correlation to the range of notes I have to sing. I just get to sing super hard harmonies. Thanks Jason Robert Brown.

What else… I volunteered to right the first draft of a “Tenants’ Bill of Rights” for TEAM. Fun stuff, and I’m going to go to the Creative Worship Committee meeting so that I can better recruit members for it, and also work on some issues we are having with the contempary worship service. Shake things up.

So that’s what I’ve been up. Busy in a mostly good way.

Justice in Tallahassee

September 10, 2008

We had a great lesson at Everyothers that got us thinking about our responsibility to justice. Here’s my letter to our group.

Hey Guys, I’m excited that you all are interested in knowing more about TEAM, the ecumenical justice ministry at Saint Paul’s.

The idea behind the ministry is to use our people power to insist on the fair treatment and protection of human rights and civil liberties for the voiceless and powerless.  TEAM is a joint effort of about 20 faith congregations across Tallahassee.  Each year 4 or 5 committees work on the issues that are suggested and voted on by the congregations.  This year we have Health Care, Education, Affordable Housing, and Energy/ Environment.  The committees work for about six months to come up with specific issues that need addressing (things that will have broad support and are winnable.)  And then they work with officials toward solutions.  Then every year at the “Nehemiah Action” all of the congregations gather and the  officials are asked to publicly commit to the solutions that we ask for.

Some examples… the county commission agreed to support health care at the current funding levels despite budget cuts.  The school board and superintendent agreed to pilot two new programs including providing staff for family involvement and alternatives to out of school suspension.  This year I’ve been working on the affordable housing committee to improve and support a rehab program for substandard rental units.

What do we need from you? Come to the rally on September 22. You’ll hear about the issues, have worship together, and get ready for the action.  It starts at 7 and is at Faith Presbyterian (just up the road from us on Meridian.)

And we are asking everyone to bring 3 people with them to the NEHEMIAH ACTION on October 20 at 6:45. This is really the place to turn out numbers to say that we mean business.  It will be at Bradfordville First Baptist (by the Target on North Thomasville Road.  And we are trying to do some carpooling for that.  Parking will be tight for both events so get there nice and early if you don’t come with the group.

Will you consider making a firm commitment to come to these two meeting and to bring people with you in October?  When people say “maybe” and “I’ll try” they usually neglect to follow through.  So we are trying to get a list of who will defiantly be there (or if this is something that you care about and you can’t be there find someone to go in your place.)

I’d be happy to answer any questions that you have or you can check out the website. http://www.teamtally.org/

Let me know if you are coming and I’ll follow up with you in the next few weeks.