Journal
9-20-09

Alexander Chapel

My first impression overall is how emotional the entire service was. From beginning to end it was designed to make everyone present feel and feel intensely. Thankfulness and joy in the midst of difficult situations were the main themes of the worship. It was not set out to make you think as much as it was there to make you feel. It’s worship not from the head but purely from the gut. The music was upbeat, repetitive, corporate call and response and impossible to hear and not at least tap your foot. The music was also very percussive in nature and prone to a lot of improvisation not only from the vocalists but the other musicians as well as the audience members participating. I was also struck at the large role music played throughout the entire service, underscoring much of the spoken words. The entire service is participatory; the pastor expects and prompts responses from the congregation, often commenting if the response was not strong enough. I was interested that the pastor at one point stopped the guitarist from playing while he was preaching. It seemed that he deemed it unacceptable at that particular time because closer to the end of his sermon the drums and guitarist began to punch his sentences and he didn’t stop them. The musicians seem to try and mimic the emotion of the voice during prayers, as the prayer becomes more intense so does the music. There is a really close link between the two especially during prayer.

I spoke with the pastor very briefly after the service and it turns out that they don’t have anyone leading the music and in fact do not have regular rehearsals. They just do the best they can and muddle through every Sunday.