Creative Christian Moments Special Event: The Studio Fall Coffeehouse 2013
“We believe that God, the original Creator, has placed a bit of His creativity in all of us, and we would love to help you discover and develop your gifts.” – The Studio, Mill Creek Foursquare Church
As I sought the Lord in prayer over what He wanted to say about this event and in this blog, I was given this simple statement: “This is where it begins.” As I reflected on these words throughout the night of the Fall Coffeehouse event, God had me stirred me into the revelation that this is where the future worshipers of tomorrow shall have there beginnings: in pure worship events in small churches across the state which are interdenominational and attended by men, women, and children whom simply wish to praise God. I felt humbled by these words and look forward to looking back at these humble beginnings for the artists as God arises the Pacific Northwest renaissance revivalists. of the arts.
The Fall Coffeehouse was held in the main sanctuary of Mill Creek Foursquare with a small collection of tables and chairs reminding me of one of those basement coffeehouses associated with the city of Seattle. In the lobby, other Christian artists had used their cooking skills to prepare delectable coffee cakes, cookies, and sweets for guest sampling and consumption. The atmosphere was filled with anticipation of the talented artists we would view soon see and hear as they presented their talents to the audience.
The Studio is a relaunch of a Christian arts group in Mill Creek Foursquare in which artists of all levels and skills can gather together to practice their talent, share ideas, share feedback, but most importantly encourage one another in pursuing the creative talent God has created inside of each and every one of us. The official relaunch will occur in 2014 and I will review the art group more in depth in a future blog review.
Before you view part one of the The Studio Fall Coffeehouse event, I would like to apologize for some inconsistencies in the video. Not all of the artists may be covered due to some user error on my behalf while I was filming the video. I have done my best to fix the problem with Adobe Premiere 10 but am still limited to the professional presentation of the material. So I humbly ask you to look past some of the video problems and rather focus on the beauty of the wonderful artists performing.
Our first performer of the night was a young teenage musician by the name of Linzy Collison-Ris. Collison-Ris had performed at other Coffeehouse events and I was eager to hear the music she would serenade the crowd with. What I admire about Collinson-Ris and the other young musicians I will review, is the amount of skill, professionalism, and anointing God has placed upon their lives at such a young age. When Collison-Ris began to sing and play guitar it was though I were attending a popular live concert with a professional who was well established.
The next artist of the night was Steve Sprague who is a long time veteran of The Studio and assists in leadership. I have had the privilege of listening to this song as he wrote it, edited it, and shared his final product with the arts group. I was thrilled to see Sprague take a leap of faith to perform his song in front of a crowd and wondered why he had not done so sooner. Sprague’s performance felt natural and I empathized with his lyrics about the comatose commute as I commute to Bellevue for my day job. Sprague epitomizes the familiar feeling one gets in an unplugged session of an artist performing in a Seattle coffeehouse.
Third to perform that night was a poet named Eli Seekins. Seekins proclaimed a poetic narrative known as the Spoken Word in which Christian artists will discuss an aspect of society and why they need the Gospel message through the use of various poetry techniques. Seekins used multiple references to zombies to describe the unsaved state much of humanity is prisoner to without the saving grace of Christ. Like the Christian saints of the past, Seekins is able to illustrate relevance of the Gospel message to the Pacific Northwest culture much like a missionary does in a foreign country by using analogies and references the ministered to culture is familiar with.
Following Seekins performance was another musician by the name of Nathaniel Chapman. Chapman is gathering quite a musical reputation in the Puget Sound of Washington. Rumors are he has even turned down record opportunities with prestigious Christian labels by direction of the Holy Spirit. This type of behavior speaks volumes about the genuine faith this man of God exhibits in his personal walk as well as his approach to worshiping God through music. Being that I am Irish Irish Scot in heritage (no, this is not a typo as my family can trace its genealogical origins to the Picts on my father’s side and the Scots on my mother’s side), Chapman’s music reminded me of Caledonian worship I would find in the simple towns of the country. The repeated drumming echoed the cultural rich history of the Christian Celts and I look forward to watching Chapman arise in such anointings as St. Patrick, St. Columbia, and St. Bridget.
Next, after Chapman came the worship band called Climbing Calvary. Dual leading in vocals are Dustin Miller, who also plays guitar, and MaKena Bigelow, who also plays piano. Bass is played by Jeff Moss and Max Knibbe plays the drums. As they started to play with Miller and Bigelow singing, you could feel the spiritual atmosphere of the room change as the Holy Spirit filled the sanctuary of Mill Creek Foursquare Church like a tsunami devouring a nation. Like the previous musicians that had gone before them, Climbing Calvary increased the expectation of the Fall Coffeehouse event and would be followed by others with the worshiping mantle.
Kai Chinn was another musician to follow who creates all of his music himself through software. It takes a gifted sound person to do this and this is evident in Chinn’s song he performed.
You wouldn’t think it, but Chinn is also apart of a newly formed heavy metal band in the Puget Sound called Screams of Angels serving as drummer. Chinn’s multifarious musical abilities in both vocals and different instruments have served him well as he encourages others. I look forward to seeing how God will use him in Screams of Angels to share the Gospel message.
Reggie and Rachel Corns were next and sung a song about Christmas to welcome in the coming month of December. The song reflected the importance of remembering the sacrifices Jesus Christ made to bring redemption to humanity. One line that stood out to me was sung by Reggie that stated “I wonder if this Christmas, they’ll begin to understand.” I felt a bit of melancholy during Reggie’s lyrics as he lamented and hoped in the coming generation to remember to teach their children about the message of the Gospel. With such a pluralistic and politically correct society developed around us, society has gone to great lengths to remove anything associated with the message of Christianity. Though the song is a somber reflection of the current days of this generation, Christians can still hope in the message of Christ. Especially during Christ-mas.
Maggie Long was another musician who performed and her song was surprising. Like Collison-Ris, Long’s sophistication of lyrics was awe inspiring and what could not be heard in the video too well was the guitar distortion accompanying her acoustic guitar. Her song was based upon her experiences as a sophomore high schooler on a swim team in which she expressed she was not very good at. She laughingly told the audience how the coach had to call an ambulance because she might have drowned so inspiration for the song comes from this. She jokes she got a good song out of it. “Jesus come rescue me. Cause I’m on my knees struggling to breath. And I’m keeping my head above water, But I won’t last much longer. Cause I’m drowning.” Long’s lyrics speak powerfully to how many people both believers and nonbelievers feel they are drowning in the wake of epic social, economic, and moral upheaval.
Lisa Zobrist was out second poet of the night and exclaimed to the audience that she was taking a step of faith to share the poem in front of live audience. The theme of her poem was God awakening her soul which echoed many of the lyrics from the other artists that performed. Such words like “unplug the ears of your soul” and “taste and see that the Lord is good” to remind herself of the past trials Christ was able to deliver her through. “Oh my soul do you not remember that though there is pain in the night joy comes in the morning.” Zobrist calls us to remember how Christ awakens us to our purpose, promises to supply for all our needs, calls us to continue our walk of faith as people need to see God’s love in our life to see Him. “Awake my soul, awake!”
After Zobrist was another musician named Patrick Neill. Neill presented a simple self-composed worship song that reflected on his own unworthiness and battle with a broken spirit. Neill started off quiet and reserved during the introduction of the song but opened up to bless the audience with his gentle vocals and beautiful chords on the acoustic guitar. Well worth the momentary wait. Neill constantly reminded the audience of Christ’s immeasurable love and ability to dwell with the outcast and the despised with the repeating statement of “you dwell with the broken hearted.”
Next came the country musical performance by Don and Jeff. They sung a comedic performance about a weakness to chocolate that gave the audience a laugh. Tina Johnson was next and shared a personal reading how God had led her in the past and present through trials and tribulations. What did not make the film was Johnson’s paintings which were arranged up front on the tables that have been seen periodically throughout the evening.
Buzz Smith was our last new musician to perform that night before Sprague, Chapman, and Climbing Calvary sung additional songs that did not make it to this review. Smith expressed that his song’s theme was about the concept of home and how he would apply that to church. Smith, like Long and McNeal brought a bit of Christian country to the performance. His concept of home also allowed me to reflect on how as Christians we have this longing to go to our heavenly home much as Paul preached about in Philippians 1:19-26.
How would I summarize such a spiritually moving event from The Studio? I would go back to the original words I summarized in my opening remarks: “this is where it begins.” Where do I see these artists going? Young artists like Collison-Ris and Long remind me of the Barlow Girls taking their first steps into the mainstream music scene. Sprague, Chapman, Smith, and Neill could be the next Steven Curtis Chapman, Todd Agnew, Phil Whitcomb, or Jeremy Camp. Chinn and his band Screams of Angels may be future Scream the Prayer participants. The Corns, Don, and Jeff could be sharing more Christmas songs and comedic performances for multitudes. Seekins and Zobrist could be sharing more life changing poetry throughout churches and cafes across the Puget Sound. Johnson’s paintings could be in museums in this city. Climbing Calvary could be the next Third Day, Casting Crowns, or MercyMe. The possibilities are endless because we serve a God of the impossible in Christianity. What is most exciting about the possibilities I have stated above is anything is possible with these artists because they have been obedient to God with their talents whether they are called to change one life or multitudes for the Gospel message.
If you would like to support The Studio you can continually lift up this ministry in prayer, reach out to the group through the church’s website or social media pages, donate art supplies or money to purchase art supplies, but most importantly come and participate in the group. Who knows? I am willing to wager that many of you reading this post have hidden talents inside of you that God is waiting to birth into fruition. Below are links by which you can contact the artists to learn more about their work or host them at an event.
The Studio Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thestudio.mc4s or https://www.facebook.com/groups/357084777658415/
Nathaniel Chapman’s Musician Page: https://fandalism.com/salvationsinger
Climbing Calvary’s Band Page: https://www.facebook.com/climbingcalvary
Kai Chinn’s Musician Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kai-Chinn/135469136471463
Linzy Collison-Ris’s Musician Page: https://www.facebook.com/linzymusic
Maggie Long’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/maggie.long.969
Jessi McNeal’s Musician Page: http://jessimcneal.com
Patrick Neill’s Musician Page: https://www.facebook.com/PatrickNeillMusic
Mill Creek Foursquare Church. “Home.” Mill Creek Foursquare Church. http://www.mc4s.org/ (accessed December 2, 2013).
Fall Coffeehouse. By Mill Creek Foursquare Church. Directed by The Studio. Main Sanctuary, Lynnwood, WA, November 23, 2013.
The Studio. “About.” Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/thestudio.mc4s/info (accessed December 29, 2013)