beacon@bangsar’s roving reporter, Lim Su Lin, interviews 3 of the team of 22 who form our church’s music team. Lionel Lee, 18 who’s studying at Taylors College Sri Hartmas. Kevin Lee, 18 is in MCKL & Sabrina Tan, 19 is doing her A-levels at HELP.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORDS, all ye lands! Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
~ Psalm 100:1-2
HUDDLED TOGETHER in a corner and hidden from view by those seated in the front row, one tends to hear rather than see Bangsar Gospel Centre’s worship team on Sunday mornings. They may be invisible to most, yet make no mistake, these musicians certainly ‘play’ an important role! At the beginning of every service, their melodic accompaniment invigorates the voices of the congregation as they sing aloud the refrains of cherished hymns.
Speaking of the ‘old and the new’, one striking aspect of Bangsar’s worship team is its generational diversity. Its members hail from all manner of age groups, from the teenagers, thirty-agers and far beyond…
This month, we asked three younger members, each with varying stages of experience in serving, to voice their thoughts on matters related to their ministry.
Here’s what Lionel Lee, Sabrina Tan and Kevin Lee, had to say:
beacon: When and why did you start playing?
Lionel: Started this year, because Uncle Min Fook asked me and I felt like using my talents to help out.
Sabrina: Not sure when. I guess when Uncle Min Fook asked Roy to put my name down in the list to sing backup. Why is not really a question I know how to answer…
Kevin: I can’t really remember when I started, but I did simply because God gave me this ability, so I’ll use it for Him.
beacon: What was the first song you learned in church?
Lionel: Just followed the chords? I can’t really remember…!
Sabrina: Most probably Hosanna by Hillsong.
Kevin: As the Deer.
beacon: Is your family musical? Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.
Lionel: My sister learned piano up to grade 5 but stopped. She’s forgotten most of it now. My father knows a few chords on the guitar.
Sabrina: My mother can play the piano and sing. My brother plays the guitar (and other instruments I’m not very sure about) and he sings as well.
Kevin: Yeah; except my mum, my brother, Shaun, and my dad know how to play the guitar, as well as a little piano. Ivan (is good) with the drums.
beacon: Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Lionel: Sungha Jung, because he can ‘fingerpick’ (a musical technique) and play the melody and the bass at the same time.
Kevin: John Mayer; he plays “by feel” a lot and I also like his style of playing the guitar. I hope to learn from him and maybe even to be able to apply it here (in church).
beacon: Which older (BGC) musicians have you learned from?
Lionel: Paik Qinn, King Yi, Cheng Jin and Soon Seng
Sabrina: I guess I can say that I’ve indirectly learnt a lot from Cheng Jin, mostly just from the passion he has when he plays. His enthusiasm is both amusing and encouraging.
Kevin: Cheng Jin, Noel Williams, Roy and Soon Seng.
beacon : Do you attend regular ‘jamming’ sessions? What makes a good session?
Lionel: It’s nothing regular, but when we jam after dinner (on Saturday evenings), a good session is (when you have) a complete team who knows the flow of most of the songs.
Sabrina: Sort of, if you count Saturday nights’ “after-YF” jam sessions. Teamwork and synchronization make a good session.
Kevin: Whenever the opportunity comes. I woud say when everyone is just having a good time- doesn’t matter if it’s off beat or off key!
beacon: Do you think music is important in worship? Why?
Lionel: Yes, it helps us express the words of songs that we sing and takes it to a different level.
Sabrina: To a certain extent, it is. It creates a suitable mood for worship. But this is debatable.
Kevin: Yes and no, music can help people to worship, but it (in) itself is not worship, but mainly a tool to worship. We can still worship without music
beacon: Did/do you get nervous before playing for worship? How do you handle mistakes during a typical Sunday service?
Lionel: Yes, I just do my best to play the right chords but don’t forget to worship at the same time. Mistakes come and go, (if you make) small ones, nobody knows!
Sabrina: Yes. I always laugh it off. There’s no point sulking over something that wasn’t meant for your glory anyway.
Kevin: Yes! Ha-ha… I used to be a little hard on myself when I made mistakes but slowly I realized that it’s very normal and really, mistakes are great first hand experiences to learn from.
beacon: Could you describe a memorable experience while playing for Sunday service?
Lionel: When the church claps and sings loudly along once when we play a praise song.
Sabrina: I remember making a really obvious mistake when King Yi was leading worship, and I saw him flinch at the mistake. I was so embarrassed that I wanted to pinch myself after that, but I just laughed it off.
Kevin: Mmm …no not really.
beacon: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! Just one final question-what advice would you give to others who are thinking of starting out serving in the worship ministry?
Lionel: Make sure that your heart is a heart of worship for God and that if you really want to serve you’ll improve any flaws that you have playing your instruments.
Sabrina: Make sure your intentions are always to serve and worship God.
Kevin: First find your true motive, and it should be to serve God. Second, talk to someone who has experience in serving. Lastly, if you think God would be pleased with your decision, go for it!