Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Too long

Just a note to say that I'm excited because on Sunday (Lord willing) The King's Strings will be back together again. We haven't played together since the Sunday before Christmas. That's too long!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Beginning

Well, since none of my other team members are posting yet, I suppose I will introduce us myself.

I can't blame them for not posting, however. Most of them haven't been added to the blog author list...yet. Things on this blog move rather slow right now. Most of us would much rather spend time pickin' and grinnin' than up-keeping a blog, I suppose.

But some of us, like myself, love to write. So to us falls the fun task of writing about this little group, The King's Strings.

We call ourselves The King's Strings because that's what we want to be; Players of Strings, for the King of Kings. We want all the music we play to honor and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.

The King's Strings began less than a year ago, at a little country church in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. Two families in the church had musically-inclined members, who enjoyed playing together. Someone suggested that seven of the children in those families join together to play an offertory at church. Three siblings from one family, and four siblings from the other joined in one song, Jesus is Coming Soon.

They were asked to play again - soon. Then they were asked "What is your group called?"

They looked at one another, rather bewildered. But the idea had appeal; why not have a name?

After much thought, many suggestions, and random tries, they settled on The King's Strings, hoping to signify both their love of bluegrass music, and their love for the King.

That was us; The King's Strings. We've played for our church many times since then, and have had several invitations to play at other places. Though we feel honored by these generous and kind requests, so far we have not played outside our own church's activities, feeling very inadequate to fulfill what is asked of us.

I think if we were honest, we would admit that, to most of the group, pickin' strings in the back room at church is a more pleasant way to honor Christ than playing in front of an audience. We all love to be tucked away in a room, playing to God just by ourselves.

But playing music isn't the only way to worship God; listening to music can also cause folks to praise and worship Him. So we have begun to think that perhaps we should play in other places, after all, depending on God to supply the talent and skill we so badly need. In fact, we have accepted an tentative invitation to play pre-concert music in February, and I can testify that accepting that invitation has increased my own prayer life!

So maybe The King's Strings will meet some new people this coming year. We don't really know what God has planned for us to do. We joke about being famous some day, but we're such a little group, and I don't think any of us really care, deep down, about being famous. We just want to do what we started out to do: cause people to worship God. And that means anyone; folks at other churches, folks at our own church, and even our own families.

Let me introduce you to this little group. First, the "three siblings:"

~ Ben the Banjo Man (second from left in the top blog header photo) ~ Our amazing banjo player, who started out banjo by teaching himself, and has a real gift from the Lord. He carries the melodies for most of our songs, and his banjo really adds a lovely bluegrass feel to the hymns we play. We're so thankful for you, Ben!

~ Elizabeth, our Mandolin Maiden (far right in photo)~ One of two mandolin players in our group. She has a great knack for adding harmony notes and chords to our songs, and is also completely self taught. You bless us, Elizabeth!

~ Joe (second from right) ~ the last of "the three siblings," Joe is our second guitar player, who started out playing harmonica for our group, but then determined to teach himself guitar. He's made wonderful progress, and continues to amaze us with how fast he's learning. Keep it up, Joe!

Now "the four siblings," who are my own family:

~ Curtis (seated, center) ~ Our lead guitar player, who can also play harmonica and banjatar. You might say that our group started with Curtis and Ben getting together to play their guitar and banjo. They are certainly the most talented of musicians in the group, and we depend upon them to make the songs sound more than just "okay." Curtis often entertains folks by his ability to play his guitar and harmonica at the same time. He's one of those people who can play forever and not be tired of music.

~ Justin (far left) ~ Our banjartar player, who we sometimes tease about his reluctance to play for others. Though a trifle shy, he has a lot of hidden talent, surprising even his own siblings many times. The instrument he plays is not a banjo or a guitar (though he can also play the guitar), but a banjatar, a cross between the two instruments. Justin often helps to keep Curtis and Ben on track during practice time, when they want to go off on hard but wonderful-sounding songs, where the rest of us can't keep up. :) We're so glad you're with us, Justin!:)

~ Heather (seated, center) ~ Though she plays the flute, not a string instrument, Heather is a valued part of our group. A true music lover, her joy in the sound of music just shines from her face when we really get going. The flute lends help to the melody sections of songs, and Heather is also a great organizer for our group. We love you, girl!

~ And my name is Amber (center, standing) ~ I play the mandolin, adding the melody when Elizabeth plays the harmony, or I play the fiddle, which I also love. I certainly don't have the talent others in our group are blessed with, but I love to hear them play around me, adding in what I can. I'm always challenged to go home and practice more! My favorite part of being in The King's Strings is the extra power we have as a group; alone, we may not sound that good, but together we help one another, and thus have the chance to bless folks with our music, and turn their hearts Godward.

So there you have it; a little group that belongs to the King. Now we've been introduced, and we hope to be able to update y'all from time to time with what God is doing in our lives.