Thankful #15: The Juan Catorce Band

Today I am thankful for The Juan Catorce Band.

This is a project I started with my wife and our friend Shawn Vago just under a year ago. Actually, that’s not true. It really started in the summer of 2011, with the three of us as well as our friend Matt Wheeler.

I was asked to lead worship at Clipper Stadium that August, so I put together a temporary worship band, consisting of Jen on bass, Shawn on drums, Matt on acoustic guitar, and me on electric guitar. The speaker that night was Don Piper, and the event was sponsored by a group of Baptist churches. At least one of the churches in attendance was primarily Spanish-speaking, so they provided an interpreter.

Now, I love the Spanish language. I took five years of it and could listen to it all day. As a result. I enjoyed the interpreter almost as much as the main speaker. The highlight for me was when Piper referred to the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John and the interpreter said, “Juan Catorce.”

I leaned over to my wife and said, “If I ever start another band, it will be called The Juan Catorce Band.”

And I was right. A few months later Jen and Shawn and I started playing with a focus on worship music, although it eventually grew to encompass my original songs as well.

Shameless plug: we’re playing at the Community Room in Lancaster this Friday at 7PM if you want to hear us. 🙂

I am thankful for The Juan Catorce Band.

By Any Other Name

Jars of Clay is one my favorite bands of all time. Lately I’ve enjoyed following them on Twitter, both the band and the individual members. The other day, the lead singer, Dan Haseltine, who tweets under the name scribblepotemus, posted a great series of status updates about “Christian” music and the labels we use.

  • Can we STOP applying the “secular” or “Christian” comparison to music? It is silly and should not exist.
  • There is NO mainstream and there is NO Christian in the motivation of artists simply telling the truth.
  • I don’t think most people who draw the secular/Christian line actually know what it is they are drawing. Or why…
  • Is all truth God’s truth or isn’t it? Is truth exclusive to Christian music?
  • The distinction “Christian” in music represents the audience?,the origin of the maker?, the lyric?, the moral position of the artist? …?
  • …the intent of the artist?, the use of biblical metaphor?, the utility of the listener?, the sound? Where it’s sold? Who commissioned it?
  • Or…what distinguishes truthful music outside the church as NOT Christian? The moral behavior of artist?, the lyric? The intent of artist?
  • ..who plays it?, where it is sold? Can it be glorifying without the artists knowledge or intent?
  • Have we ever been lied to by “Christian” labeled music? Is it still Christian?
  • Maybe what I am getting at is…is there ever a moment when it is okay to let labels trump the act of thoughtful engagement?
  • If the label, “Xian” is placed on an artist, Is a bias either to embrace or dismiss the artist more tangible? What if the artist disagrees?

All Kinds Of New Stuff

So, I haven’t mentioned it, but my dear friend David has moved onto greener pastures. At the end of October, he left Etown for Boiling Springs High School, where he now teaches Business and Computer Technologies. As sad as I was to see him go, I’m happy for him. I love David like a brother, and I could see that he hadn’t been happy at Etown for a long time. He seems much happier since the move, and I’m glad for that.

Of course, that leaves the good ol’ Etown technology department without a director. Well, as you might imagine, I’ve thrown my hat into that ring. I’ve been at Etown for more than a decade, and right now, we have the strongest tech team we’ve ever had (slightly less so since David left, but still). My hope is that I’m chosen to lead that team.

Onto musical issues. As you might have guessed from a previous post, I’ve started a new band: Superficial Charm. So far it’s me on vocals and rhythm guitar, Tom on lead guitar, and my beautiful wife on bass. Astute devotees of traditional rock music will notice the lack of drums, but I’m working on that. My buddy Steve was gracious to jump in and drum for us at our first gig last weekend. Not much else to report yet, but when I have more to say about the band, we’ll probably set up a new site.

One final note: my friend Brett and I have started up a new site dedicate to connecting and supporting the worship community in the Lancaster County area. We envision a place where worship leaders and others can connect, share ideas, share resources, and share their lives with each other. We’re still getting things off the ground, but we have big plans for the future.

(On a side note, through putting up the Lancaster Area Worship Network site, I fell in love with WordPress again. It’s simply magnificent software.)

Something New

Something new that Tom and I are doing. My lovely wife will of course be playing bass and Tattoo Steve will be sitting in on drums.

click for larger image

The Art & Soul Cafe meets in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in Mountville, PA. It’s a laid back, casual environment where artists and musicians gather to make a cool place to hang out. I’ve played there a couple times and it’s always a good time. Come on out. We have cookies.