A weekend with Graham Kendrick

Its always nice to meet someone who has influenced your choice of music. And when I knew Graham Kendrick was coming to Vellore, I knew it would be an awesome weekend.
“Shine, Jesus, Shine” was one of the first songs I had learnt at TAMI with India YFC. “Servant King” was one of the first new song I learnt at CMC as it had CMCs motto in the first verse
So after grabbing my tickets and registrations from Roshan I was fully prepared for friday night after 2 sleepless nights in the nursery.

I left work an hour early, grabbed a power nap and we scooted off to Scudder Auditorium. We were very lucky to get seats! “An Evening With Graham” was an acoustic set that left me spellbound. He shared a bit of his journey into songwriting and worship leading.
We then had invitations to have dinner with him. We missed getting his CDs autographed, but left home impressed and happy.
I’d taken saturday off from work in preparation for the Worship Workshop which was supposed to start at 10 AM. I was looking forward to sleeping in a little late but…. surprise, surprise! I was up at the usual time. I got to spend some extra time with JJ and drove off to Bagayam.
Graham first spoke about the Art and Heart of music. I then watched in disbelief as he ate Biriyani for lunch without batting an eyelid!

Grahams Session on Songwriting just whet our appetites. I wish we had more than the one-and-a-half hours allotted. We were just getting warmed up as we watched him convert psalms to songs impromptu. What impressed me most was how seriously he took his songwriting. “A songwriter may not have a theological degree. But his songs impact what people believe. They sometimes linger longer than a sermon. I cannot afford to be lax or casual when I write a song”. No wonder his songs are a blessing over so many decades.
We had a session with Matthew and Jenny on Creative worship which gave us time to introspect, think of worship ideas (ever heard of popcorn prayers and iPod worship?!) and we are done. I drove like a maniac (but safely) back home to pick up B and JJ and we were back at Scudder Audi in time for the final concert.
Matthew’s band (I don’t think they have a name as yet!) set the tone with worship songs and Graham took over for two sessions that absolutely blew the crowd away! Graham does not perform his songs. He does not just sing and play the guitar. He leads people in worship even in songs we have not heard before. He engages the crowd and every song was sung by the whole crowd! JJ was dancing in the aisle to some songs! He moved from fun times with the ukelele on Jesus Put This Song to deep thoughts on Holy
Overshadowing. Every song made deeper meaning as he shared and sung with passion. I loved the way he passionately prayed for CMC, then Vellore and finally India as he sung “The Peace”. I could never imagine how a song of benediction could make Graham so passionately pray for my country! He ended with a bollywoodised version of the shiny song – “Shine Jesus Shine”.
I felt rejuvenated after more than a year of being a workaholic! I’m thankful to Roshan and his team (especially Mathew) for the amazing effort they put into making this weekend happen!

Author: Benji

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