This, the third and final month of our Pastor’s sabbatical, the CL7 again ran a Sunday morning service from start to end. This month, we did songs that mostly came from secular radio and lent themselves to a sacred reinterpretation. Music by The Wood’s Brothers, Carly Simon, Levon Helm, The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Glen Campbell and Ronnie Milsap all had a spot in the service.

Here’s the YouTube playlist of many of the pieces:

We led an entire worship service at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, (our home church) this morning. All the interludes, responses, hymns, and anthems were songs either written by Bill and Gloria Gaither, or performed by one of the Gaither ensembles.

Here is a YouTube playlist of the full songs we sang:

We had a wonderful time worshiping with our church last Sunday. We led off with some Hank Williams, I Saw the Light. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwijrpAxJmk&t=0s

In place of a sermon, we sang three songs:

For the Offertory, we sang another old classic hymn, Oh How I Love Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaIytS5Tm2E&t=0s

We also sang some fun hymns with the congregation and with the kids during the Time with Children. You can see the whole service at this YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIkFmnP-8ADnMxK6eLM1pQz4OIgx0Iv5T

Peace,

Jim

CL7 first paying gig 1996Twenty years ago, after a year and a half of singing at Bryn Mawr and informal gatherings, we sang at Friendship Village for an actual ‘paycheck’. Of course, as today, the money was really for a mission fund at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, but we still knew we were crossing a threshold into a new age for the group. We had just picked a name; before this concert we had simply been “The Bryn Mawr Men’s Chorus”. We chose “The Cedar Lake Seven”, because our church is on Cedar Lake Road and, although there were eight singers at the time, we liked the alliteration.

We put on jackets (if you book us today, don’t get your hopes up for the jackets!), pants with creases, and even combed our hair (if you book us today, don’t get your hopes up for me having any hair left to comb!)

The concert was wonderful; we love going to Friendship Village and have since been back many times. Afterwards, we were so pleased with ourselves that we posed around the poster that had been made with the check in hand.

I enjoy looking through the file folder of pictures and memorabilia from across the history of the CL7. The group is a wonderful blessing in my life, and seeing these old things is a great reminder of just how long I’ve been allowed to be, in the words of Bill Gaither, making music with my friends.

From the archives… April, 2002cl7_in_hungary_1

The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area had formed a ‘sister’ relationship with the Trans-Danubian Reformed Churches of Hungary, and when a Hungarian delegation was visiting Bryn Mawr Presbyterian, the CL7 sang for them. That turned into an invitation to tour Hungary and perform six concerts in seven days at churches throughout the western half of the country.

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Our hosts were wonderful, the countryside beautiful, the wine plentiful. I came to believe the National Animal of Hungary is the pig, because every meal had pork of some sort – hocks, hams, sausages. Each meal was better than the one before.

We sang for schools as well as for churches, and language proved to be no barrier. I think most everyone in understands a little English, and many have a much better grasp of grammar than me do.

One of our favorite memories is the concert at the school in Papa. We arrived and the large hall was cold and quiet as a tomb. We had met no one at the facility except the janitor who had let us in. We set up the equipment, and changed into our concert clothes. Still, no one. screaming_teensThere we were, at five minutes before the concert, sitting in the empty hall, feeling sorry for ourselves, when suddenly a bell rang, the doors burst open and what felt like every teenager in Hungary poured into the place. The main floor filled, the balconies filled, the kids were excited – it was electric. At one point, I remember that John, our guitar/tenor, was aiming his guitar gun-like at the audience as if he was in a hair-metal band; well, a hair-metal band that plays gospel. Greg got interviewed for the local TV news.

All in all, a great trip. I hope we make it back someday!

When we brought out our 2009 CD, Singin’ With The Saints, we included a great song by Terry Smith, called Far Side Banks of Jordan. The song was perhaps most famously done by The Carter Family on the soundtrack for the movie, The Apostle.

To pay our royalties to the author, I went to the registration office and was told I needed to pay directly through the publisher. I went to the publisher and, you can see where this is going, was told I needed to pay through the registration office. I put it on my list of things to do later, and unfortunately forgot about it.

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We had a rare privilege as a group the other week. We got to sing at the bedside of a dear, dying, church member. Edna had grown up in our little church, was now in her late 80s, and had been declining slowly for about 6 years. Her family was gathered around her, expecting the end in a day, a week, maybe two at the most. Continue reading

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