April 24th – Easter Sunday Risen! Concert

“Woman why are you crying?” featuring Nicola Poustie as Mary Magdalene                          and Ben Morris as Jesus, melody taken from song below-

” I Look Up To The Heavens” from CD of same name, featuring                                              Lucy Stimpson_Maynard

The purpose of my blog is to tell the story behind the music of Mustard Seed Songs and in particular our new musical Risen! As you may know Risen! celebrates the Easter Story and  Joffy Girling and I  have been working on it since 2011

Last week the blog finished with me saying that this week I would tell you how my baptism of 1997 influenced me to write Christian songs. However please forgive me as I want to put that on hold for a week and instead fast forward to April 2014 and Easter Sunday’s Mustard Seed Risen! Concert which took place at Holy Rood Church, Stubbington.

In 2012 the Risen! script was in its infancy but we still  presented a concert comprising those songs that had been completed. This was augmented with Bible passages and praise songs to which the audience were invited to join in such as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “My Jesus My Saviour.” The evening was fantastic with the church packed full with about 400 people. We raised over £1000.00 for two charities based in the Philippines “Barnabas Ministry of Encouragement www.barnabasministry.co.uk and the “House of the Heroes” www.houseoftheheroes.org

 

In 2013 we produced a full stage production of Risen! again at Holy Rood. My vision had been for this to be in the same vein as the Les Miserables’ 10th and 25 Anniversary concerts in which the cast are in costume but who sing from positions behind stationary mics. However about a week before the production I realised that the Les Mis concerts used omni- directional mics so, for example Javert could turn away from the audience to look at Valjean without having to face his mic to be heard. Unfortunately we did not have access to omni -directional mics so we switched to face mics- which meant the cast could no longer “hide” behind stationary mics but would have to move around as in a normal musical. Paul Clements, who is Guildford School of Music and Drama trained, had joined the Risen! cast as a last minute replacement for the role  of Peter. What a God send he was! Paul took over the stage direction and with the help of Nicola Poustie who was  playing Mary Magdalene (Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts trained) and Alex Knox playing John (Guildhall School of  Music and Drama trained) Risen! was transformed in a matter of days from concert format to full stage production.

This taught me to trust God and that when one door closes it is usually because He is opening a much better one.

And such was the case for this Easter Sunday’s Risen! concert. We were beset with problems -our fantastic trumpeter had had his treasured “Smith Watkins” trumpet stolen and so could not play- our wonderful vocal MD was poorly and had to stay in hospital. In addition, with only a few days to the concert, the guy who was to sing the part of Jesus pulled out!

There was no time to find a replacement and so the only option was to use the recording from the forthcoming CD. This recording is sung fantastically well  by Ben Morris who is, at present, playing in the West End’s Phantom of the Opera, however not having a person to play Jesus was a real concern-we had no idea how the audience would react.

Well it turned out that the audience actually enjoyed it better than having someone play the role of Jesus “live.” The voice of Jesus combined with images on the church’s HD screens gave an ethereal feel which was extremely effective and powerful.  It also kept our costs down and we were able to donate £1000.00 to the two charities-  Barnabas Ministry of Encouragement and the “House of the Heroes”

So using the recording of Jesus proved to be a real success but it was the fantastic cast and technical team that really made the evening so memorable. Every single person involved produced performances that held the audience captive and the Easter Story was relived in a most blessed way.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to all who took part and of course to all who came to celebrate with us the Resurrection of Jesus. Also to our two sponsors Banbury Bodyshop of Segensworth South and Hire Cars in Spain of Lee on the Solent.

Next week I will continue where I had left off and explain how the baptism of 1997 led to me writing Christian songs.

Two songs are featured this week.  “I Look Up To The Heavens” which was the first song we recorded after I started writing Christian songs- I  used its melody for two pieces in Risen! – the first being “Woman Why Are You Crying?” sung by Jesus when He meets Mary Magdalene at the tomb early that first Easter Sunday morning.

 

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