Posted by: charlesdamschen | May 20, 2004

Family Style–Part II

If you noticed the date above, you probably realize that “Part II” has taken us a little longer than anticipated . . . sorry about that and thanks for your patience!

. . . now where were we. . . Ah yes, March 18th, heading back into LeMars, IA with Steve Hurst after an evening with the Brown family and friends. (You might want to read “Part I” to refresh your memory!)

I think Dad has already explained the Living Center, the building that houses offices to several different Christian ministries. Well, at 8:30 on Friday morning we had the privilege of attending their morning devotions. It was a special thing to gather together as partners in ministry and turn our eyes to the Lord. We were humbled and honored to lead the small group in a short time of praise and worship before Mrs. Wells shared devotions. We ended our time together with prayer and more worship—what a way to start the day!

Our second session with Steve began a little after 9:00am that morning and we worked hard until 11:00am. Steve challenged and encouraged us for two hours straight! We worked on everything from dynamics to pronunciation, from breath support to “brightening” our voices, from blend to intensity . . . and everything in between. Steve does an excellent job of lovingly pushing us towards perfection. It’s a real privilege to study with him. Maybe Dad mentioned this in a past update, but Steve enthusiastically suggested and encouraged us to put together an acoustic album. By the end of our Friday morning session, Steve had a list of songs ready for our new album!! Please pray with us as we look into this possibility.

Everyone had worked up an appetite after all of that, so we headed out to lunch with Steve and Keith and Shelley Brown. It was a special gift of encouragement to have so much time of fellowship with these friends . . . a real blessing.

After a restful afternoon, we headed back to the Living Center for the first of two group seminars with Steve Hurst. Steve has just completed a video series on vocal training—“Vocal Impact” (available at Steve’s website)—and he taught from that material. Most of Friday evening was focused on the details of breath support and voice placement. Steve is a big fan of providing visual/audio aids and examples, so several of us fell victim to him by providing “on-the-spot” demonstrations of the techniques he was teaching. We learned and laughed a lot. 🙂

There were between 40 and 50 people at Friday night’s seminar. This was a first-time event, so we had quite an intimate little setting. Among this small crowd were some dear friends—Dixie (from Three Redeemed) and Paul Phillips from Floyd, IA. Special D met them some years ago through the Midwest Quartet Convention—it’s always a treat to see them!

As I already mentioned, we were blessed to have so much fellowship time with these dear friends. Friday night after the seminar was no exception as we made our way over to the Wells’ Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor with Steve and his mother, the Brown family, the Phillips family, and several other new friends. Mr. Wells treated us to ice cream and we all visited until none of us could stay awake any longer . . . which made it a little difficult to be up and ready for Saturday morning’s session, but it was well worth it.

Saturday’s activities began at 10:00am with Steve leading praise and worship. I wish that each of you could have been there to experience the sweet Spirit of the Lord that filled that room . . .I think everyone would agree that although we were training and learning, the overall spirit of the morning was worship. In fact Steve talked a lot about the importance of worshipping the Lord THROUGH training and practicing and learning. We were reminded of a very important truth: Worship is an attitude of the heart and we can therefore learn to live in a state of worship . . . whether we’re singing in front of a crowd or taking out the garbage.

Steve also encouraged us with these words: “A successful gospel singer is a good worshipper.” What a beautiful reminder that our purpose in singing . . . our purpose in living. . is to worship Him. If we do that, we have succeeded.

Our session on Saturday ended with a tearful prayer time together . . . tears because of God’s goodness to us and tears because of His faithfulness to us. How blessed we are to know Him, dear Friends! After our prayer time we said goodbyes, gave hugs, took lots of pictures, and caravanned to Pizza Hut for one last round of fellowship before going our separate ways.

After more goodbyes Dad, Cathy, and I got into the van and headed north, our heads full of new knowledge and our hearts full of thankfulness and praise . . . how do you even begin to sum up a weekend like that?

. . . I guess by simply saying, “Lord . . . thank You.”

–NJD

Here are some pictures from our weekend in Iowa:

1. Rachel Phillips, Jessica Brown, and Naomi

2. Andrew Brown and Special D in front of The Living Center

3. One of Steve’s many demonstrations–this one on breath support

4. Special Delivery with Steve Hurst


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