I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I replied yes to an e-mail asking me to play lead guitar at a conference. The only thing I did know was that Myles and I were driving up to Tallahassee together and that we were meeting Jordan Colle who would be the worship leader. As the date drew near and I started working on some of the songs, we learned that we were going to be playing with a stacked band! Drew Eales, Erik Hall, Nathan Beam, and of course.. Jordan, Myles, and I. We also had a pretty sick set list lined up. I was pumped.
Myles and I left late Wednesday night after I played at Calvary Hollywood and we drove to Daytona where we spent the night at his parents house. It was in such a beautiful area! Sadly, we didn’t have much time to enjoy the serenity because we needed to head to Tallahassee in the morning.
When we first got together Thursday for rehearsal, it was the first time a lot of us were playing together. It is always a little unusual just hopping up with someone you have never played with and making music happen. At first it is a little awkward and you are looking around trying to see and hear what the other people are doing so that you can adapt to them. I notice the more I play with a band or person the more comfortable and confident I get, which I assume goes for most other people as well. That first rehearsal was a little rough due to the amount of songs which were new to us and also the fact that we were still trying to blend as a band.
That first night we all stayed in the fort. I shared a bed with the lovely Cory Pierce in a room with the rest of the band. It is so funny staying there because there is literally beds all over and usually two people to a bed. Sometimes you need to experience that brotherly love. The next morning we went back to the church and rehearsed again covering the rest of the songs. We left for Thomasville that afternoon after finally finding a new drum set since the original drum set we were planning to use did not work out. Thankfully everything worked out well and we were on on our way!
When we arrived at First Baptist Thomasville we were greeted by D-NOW volunteers that helped us carry in our massive amount of gear. We met the stage crew who were hired by First Baptist to come in and run the show. They had hung lights and speakers, set up huge subwoofers, and had the whole deal going on. They were one of the best sound crews we have ever worked with. They were nice, easy to understand, and quick to fix problems. They made soundcheck and playing smooth and comfortable. Of course, we had our fair share of technical difficulties and problems but hey.. solving problems is like 50% of what live music is!
The first night of the conference went well. I managed to somehow walk on-stage with my wireless in-ear pack muted. It only had two buttons.. I mean c’mon! That pretty much stressed me out enough to not enjoy the set. The rest of the band really enjoyed it though and it still went great. Later on that night the whole stage was filled with kids giving their hearts to Christ. It was an awesome experience. We also got to stay in a hotel that night which felt like heaven.
The next morning’s set went even better since we were getting comfortable playing together and the kids were ready to worship. We spent most of that day napping, snacking, and exploring around town until it was call time for the last couple sets. Later that night, we played our final set and it was epic. The kids were pumped and we were ready to give everything we had left. By the end of the set, kids were jumping and shouting and we were off the chain. I haven’t had that much fun playing worship music in a while! It was awesome seeing kids singing their hearts out to God.
Thomasville was a beautiful town filled with old brick buildings, cozy restaurants, and lovely alleyways. The town was just enjoyable to be in. We stopped in at Grassroots Coffee where we hung out for a while and ended up also having lunch there. Later Myles and I found this awesome store called Earthlover. Everything they sold was hand-made, imported, and made of some sort of organic or recycled material. I bought a green stripped duffel bag topped off with wooden buttons and I also bought a leather journal with aged paper. They were pretty affordable too. We also stopped in at a bunch of really cool clothes shops but they were a bit too expensive.
It was an amazing trip that set another milestone in my life. Ever since I got back I have been digging into the Word and trying my best to be excellent in every area of my life including spiritually, physically, mentally, and musically. I am the happiest I have been in a while and I just want God to use me. I know God wants to do something big in my life and through Ocean’s Edge. I can not wait to see what happens the second half of this school year!
Photographs take by: LJColle.me