Microphone Check

Featuring Branon Dempsey Posted on February 13, 2009

A few weeks ago, I led worship on a Thursday night. The evening began with a great reunion of seeing old and new friends. The song set was just right for those who came to worship. The lighting had a great ambiance and mood. The audio team was very accommodating and adaptive. I arrived early to set up my gear. The speaker and I went over our notes and everything was cool. I met with the sound team, tested the mic and all seemed fine. I got a really nice sound. Then the problem hit. I just plugged in my guitar, strummed a few notes and there was nothing. We checked the cable, DI box and patching, all seemed to be correct. Still nothing. Our next resolve, was to completely change out the cable and DI. In addition, we tried patching into different channels. Again, nothing.

At this point, the clock was ticking at 10 minutes till the service. Think fast. The audio team ran to the sound storage room (the youth worship center) and grabbed a couple of acoustic mics. We figured that I can survive by simply miking my guitar while singing through a separate vocal mic. Sounds simple, right? It was time for the service to begin. A vocal singing group took the stage to open with a few songs. Afterward, it was time for me to lead. I began playing. Everything sounded great through the acoustic mic. In fact, it had a really nice and rich sound. The lights came up on my face as I moved towards the mic.  The congregation was beginning to engage with eyes closed. I began to sing. All the sudden, my vocal mic went completely out.

Has this ever happened to you? So, what do you do in a situation like this? Keep playing. I continued to play through the song, while ad-libbing a bit. The congregation was not even aware of the problem. My mind was racing of what to do. Ah, yes. I got it. My acoustic mic was aiming between my guitar and upper body. I figured if I backed off a little space, the mic could catch both my guitar and voice. In a subtle gesture, to the sound engineer, I motioned to turn up my mike. He was aware of the problem and adjusted the volume. Success. I was playing and singing through the one mic with no problem. Then guess what? No, the mike continued to work. However, I noticed a sudden drop in volume when I pushed my dynamics. Problem? My trusty acoustic mic turned out to be a condenser mic.

A condenser is known for limiting loud peaks and sudden changes that occur in the overall volume. Every time I tried to push a note, the mic would drop out. It was almost like playing the game, no you hear me, no you don’t. So what did I do? I backed off a bit and continued. What happened to the congregation? Nothing as well. They continued to focus on the words. I realized something in that moment. What became important was being at the feet of Jesus. We choose the better part. When we do, perspective comes and everything else fades away. Interestingly, the song we were singing, was one I had written called “Have Your Way.” Never stop the flow of worship. Let God have His way in every and all circumstances. I will always remember this night as being the most challenging by logistics, but the most worshipful by the Spirit. 

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."” (Matt. 10:38-42)

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