Unification News for May 2005

Christian Songwriters Open Mic Night

by Bob Huneycutt

In order to bring together my love for music and the current emphasis on community outreach, I organized an open mic night for Christian songwriters at a local coffee shop.

At the first Open Mic night, 3 performers entertained about 20 customers. Naturally I hope that we can attract more performers, but this was a good start. Bill Ormond, one of the musicians, is an accomplished guitarist who recently finished recording with Grammy-winning artist Shirley Caesar.

Another local musician was in a rock band for 20 years but now plays at King's Park International Church. He missed the first Open Mic Night, but has promised to sing at the next one, as it will be a monthly event.

IDEAS! Coffee House in Durham, NC was very supportive of the plan. IDEAS! is a family-owned business that also hosts jazz music, rap and poetry nights, and even a laugh night. Tuesdays are typically a slow night for them, so they welcomed the extra business that the Christian Songwriters brought. Ever since I joined a songwriters circle last year, I have been aware of the need for a forum for Christian songwriters (outside of the obvious one- their church). Open Mic nights also bring people of faith together beyond denominations.

There are numerous Open Mic nights in the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) but there tends to be a disconnect between the typical participants, who are singing anti-war songs, social complaint, gay and liberal issues; and Christian songwriters where faith sets the tone. One of the reasons I am organizing this event is to help Christian songwriters find an audience. There is a whole new generation of songwriters who, instead of just singing about God's glory, sing about the honest struggle to live a principled life. This songwriters will do more than any theologian to influence the way mainstream Christians interpret their faith. Amy Grant has said that she got most of her theological ideas from the songs she grew up singing. At this time when outreach is being emphasized, we should use our unique talents and interests to make more contacts.

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