This week feels pretty crazy. We have a big event on Saturday night so everything is getting a little mixed up between the event and Sunday, but it’s all good. This is a week the Venue is going to shine because tonight they got the mix close, and then went to Pro Tools to tweak things. We’ll recall everything Sunday morning and it will be like Saturday never happened…at FOH anyway…

But last week was a good reminder that while the technology we have is amazing and a blessing, it’s the skills and gifts we’ve been given that really make a difference. This month we’re doing something special and featuring pre-service music every Sunday; last Sunday featured a jazzy Christmas set. The players for the pre-service set were mostly the same–we added a couple instruments for the worship set. However, the tone of the pre-service music needed to be completely different from our rock and roll worship. It was an ideal situation to use the Venue, and in the end the console came through. But Wednesday night rehearsal was a reality check: Pro Tools crashed during the recording of the worship set.

Here’s what I think happened. Earlier in the week we had been changing some stuff around at FOH, and the cable from the G5 to the hard drive had gotten pulled. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but when the drive was mounted that day there was weirdness–strange error messages, Pro Tools hanging, etc… When we went to record the set, it looked like everything was working but when we stopped the recording we lost everything. All the audio files were corrupted. It was very weird. It was a bummer, man.

This added a little stress to things because we had been counting on using the recording to tweak the mix especially with the two totally different styles of music happening. Luckily Tom, our volunteer FOH engineer for the week, had things in really good shape. I made sure he got some things snapshotted before the band started to run some of the jazz stuff. This time the recording worked, but in the end we didn’t use it. Rehearsal went way late with all the extra stuff, and the mix was in good enough shape to call it a night.

Of course we would have loved to have been able to come in the next night and spend some extra time working on things. We’re trying to do our best, and while the results of more tweaking probably could be debated, I know we all would have felt better if we had been able to spend more time on the mix. The Venue and Pro Tools are amazing tools we are blessed to have, but it was Tom’s gifts and skills that made the mix for the service special. Our volunteers rock!

The whole experience was a great reminder for me, though, that everything we do really comes down to people. We have great tools in our hands, but it’s still a pair of hands that operate them. And it’s those hands and the heart behind them that make this whole thing happen every week. Without them it would just be a bunch of blinking lights and noise and you can find that anywhere these days. It’s those hands and hearts that set what we do apart from everything else out there. And in a season that often seems more focused on commerce than the folks making the commerce happen, that’s a cool thing to remember.

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David Stagl

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