Well, ya’ll have been waiting very patiently for some posts from my week at the Steve Hurst School of Music – so here we go!!!
For the year of 2012, the Steve Hurst School of Music was hosted at the Lee University Campus in Cleveland, Tennessee over the course of one week, July 22 – 27th. Once again, I attended as a piano student (with a few lessons in Songwriting). My sister went as a sound student and my mom tagged along and enjoyed listening to the performance classes and hanging out with friends. Previous years I blogged a post for every day, but this year I wanted to point out the things that were different from the other years and just blog about school in general, touching the highlights. Sound okay?
Sunday, July 22ndwas “check-in” day. Naturally, I was anxious to check in and get my schedule so I could see who I had for private lessons, but when one goes into their third year at an event such as this, you can’t take ten steps without seeing an old friend you just have to stop and chat with! LOL Yet, that wasn’t the only thing I was excited about. For the very first time at SHS, I had a roommate! – and, I couldn’t wait for her to get there! Last August, my family drove down to the Mark Trammell Quartet Homecoming, and as the
Lord directed, I sat next to a lady named Melissa from Mississippi. By the end of the evening, I found out that Melissa was a faithful reader of this site and thinking about attending SHS. From that moment, we became FaceBook friends and kept in contact with each other over the year…you could imagine our excitement when we found out that we would be rooming together!!! Now that was of the Lord! And it just so happened, that Melissa was taking piano just like me! 🙂
Once Melissa arrived and we had everyone settled in, we had dinner and headed over to orientation. At that point in the evening, not all the students or teachers had arrived, but the teachers that were there sat down by the stage area, behind Steve…and one of them was having a little too much fun! Let me explain, behind the teachers was a marker board… can you imagine, one of the vocal teachers just happened to find a marker?! Every now and then, she would turn around and write someone on the board for the audience to do while Steve was talking. First, she wrote “clap” and then a few minutes after that “wave.” Funny thing was, every time the audience did those things, it didn’t surprise Steve one bit! He would just say, “What are they doing now?” – then look back on the guilty face of one particular teacher and keep on talking! LOL
Piano, Piano and More Piano
After Chapel on Monday, Melissa and I headed over to the Curtsinger building – where those in piano school hung out all week. The piano class was set up a little different this year, in that, we had a Class A and a Class B. Class A was for first time students and Class B was for students who have attended SHS before. While one class was in their private lessons, the other class would be taught as a group in another room. All of my private lessons were in the afternoon, so in the morning I was able to attend both Class A and B group lessons. With everyone in different classes, it was more difficult to meet everyone, but most of the piano students were new this year. We did have a few familiar faces though – Diane, Elliot, Garret, and Avery! My first piano lesson was with Channing Eleton at 2:15. My goal this year was to get a better handle on “accompanying,” so all week I worked on a Black Gospel song and slower ballad. I also had a lesson with Eric Ollis, Jeff Stice, Larry Buchanan, and Josh Singletary…in that order too!
I had three private songwriting lessons with two great teachers, Jared Meyers and Noel Bohannon. Due to a lack of absorbing, I didn’t attend any of the group sessions. LOL Anyway, all three lessons went really well! Noel and Jared had some great tips, but more than that, it was just good to sit down and talk about writing with someone else that writes. Sometimes, that in itself is a great lesson.
“The choir is singing in two different keys…” – Stephen Nix
Yes! It was required of everyone who attended SHS to attend choir. Except the sound school, somehow they got off the hook! LOL Well, I’m no singer, but I must admit, choir was fun! We had two directors that taught us two songs each: Stephen Nix conducted “Touching Jesus” and “Amazing Grace, Amazing Love,” both pieces written by him. Then John Rowsey led us in “Favor of God” and “God’s About To Do.” At the same time, what was amazing and funny, was watching Stephen and John sing all the parts (soprano, tenor, bass and alto) so each section could hear their part individually on the lines that needed some work. One evening, the soprano section burst out in giggles as the tenors were working on a line. When they realized everyone was looking at them, a lady held up a pair of mismatched flip-flops and announced, “This is what the Steve Hurst School of Music does to you, I was in such a hurry to get to breakfast this morning I put on shoes that didn’t match each other!” Everyone laughed at the joke and then continued practicing.
Singing In The Rain
Chapel…a time for reverence, worship and praise, right? Hmmm, not when Larry Buchanan is in charge! I think it was Wednesday morning when Steve called Larry out to lead the Chapel service. You would not believe what he made us do! Well, he explained that at his church he leads the children’s singing, and he wanted to do a little tune that he does with the kids, with us. Remember the old movie, Singing In The Rain? That was our theme song! To top it off, we had hand motions too! “And anyone,” Larry threatened, “who doesn’t participate will be drug up on stage to do it in front of everyone.” (He had too much fun saying that, BTW) I don’t know about you, but that prepared me to do just about anything, but I would never have guessed what Larry was about to make us do! We began the chorus with “thumbs up!” Easy enough. Next was, “shoulders back,” again – easy, following, “chest out,” awkward, but do-able. Ha, ha, I didn’t know what awkward was until we came to “bottom up!” – and “head back, tongue out!” How relieved we all were when Larry exclaimed, “Sit down!” However, the song didn’t go without its moments. Steve Hurst, for one, was on his knees begging Larry to stop, but after a few rounds he realized that once the piano instructor was going, he wasn’t going to cease, and joined in on the fun.
The Elevator Man
You might gather from the paragraph above, that Mr. Larry Buchanan, along with being a musical genius, is quite the character! Indeed, indeed! Well, guess who received the brunt of his teasing on Thursday morning? If you said, Miss Lynn, you’re correct! As the only person in the elevator, I was heading down to go see some friends sing in a performance class. There were lots of people in the lobby on the second floor. I hit the “1” button and the elevator door began to close. When it reached the point of closing all the way, I heard a “ding!” and it opened back up. Of course, everyone in the lobby was looking at me all alone inside the elevator, with huge grins on their faces. Well, for some reason I didn’t connect the dots and just hit the “1” button again. The door does the same thing! After three times of it opening and closing, I’m a little embarrassed…I mean, SHS has a pretty demanding schedule, but by the end of the week a normal person should still know how to work an elevator. So, I make a comment like, “This thing isn’t working – I’m going to take the stairs.” Immediately, everyone burst out laughing and comments like, “It was Larry! It was Larry!” filled the lobby. Come to find out, Mr. Larry kept pushing the elevator door open again and again! LOL As students and teachers (aka Josh Singletary) clued me in on what really happened, another pour soul entered the elevator to go down. Well, Larry did it to her too! Only she caught on a little quicker, just a little misinformed. The first time the door opened, she walked out, leaned against the wall and said, “Josh, I hate you,” and went back in the elevator. Now, because Josh didn’t do it, everyone laughed all the more. – and cries of “It was Larry!” continued. LOL
If you read my posts from last year’s school, you may remember the comments made about the food we were served in the cafeteria. Literally, we ate some form of chicken for every meal. It was so bad that the songwriting school even wrote a song about it called, “Oh No! It’s Chicken Again!” Well, not this year! We ate like royalty!!! For every meal we had at least four different food choices,(not to mention scrumptious deserts!) and I don’t ever remember chicken being on the menu once. LOL Okay, one day there was baked chicken. The food was absolutely delicious! Roast beef and mashed potatoes, homemade pizza, subs, Italian, Mexican, hamburgers and much, much more!
Chapel and the Nine Foot Steinway
One of the most memorable things that happened this year was Chapel on Thursday morning. Lee University gave Steve the permission to have our morning service in Lee’s brand new Chapel that was just completed last year! It was beautiful! When you walked inside, the scent of fresh wood filled your nose and the stained glass windows were magnificent with the sun shining through them! The staff decided to have communion that morning, and Pastor Dave spoke on the Passover Feast. Eric and Laura Ollis performed a song, as did Sherri Thrower, and Jeff Stice played on the nine foot Steinway. It was a wonderful morning of worship – the best way to start the day!
Conclusion: SHS was wonderful this year. Three souls were saved on Thursday night and many students testified to breakthroughs in their performances or spiritual lives. There really are no words to explain what happens during that week, and I know this little post doesn’t even begin to touch all the wonderful moments that could be spoke of. But I hope it wets your appetite a little, and maybe you’ll be inspired to us next year yourself! Registration begins September 1st! (A review of the evening concerts will follow shortly!)