“We’ll take three more minutes, and then there will be a final run-through,” says the recording manager. He has already promised that this was the last run-through, but there are some technical things that aren’t quite right yet. Tomorrow is the Christmas concert, and this is where we gather the best forces and deliver the best of what the musicians in BCC can do together.
After a long 10-hour day of rehearsals, get together with married couple Gjermund Frivold and Carolin Schneider. For several decades, they have spent most of their free time making music for various settings in the church. A couple of years ago, Gjermund quit his job as a high school teacher to work full-time on film music for BCC Media’s productions. This was shortly after Carolin had moved from Germany to Norway to work with music for live events.
Their dedication is palpable. They talk about the way technology and music work together, and it’s not easy to get a word in edgewise.
Have had time to practice for the volunteer weekends
“Because of the volunteer weekends, we’ve had time to rehearse with sound engineers, and we also have a more international choir and orchestra,” says Carolin, who plays the violin herself.
“It may be a bit technical, but this year we’ve turned off all the technical ‘safety valves’, so to speak,” smiles Gjermund. He explains that the interaction between the musicians and technicians is so finely tuned that even though 120 people in the choir and orchestra are involved, the right details come out.
All the musicians play with headphones, where they each get a tailor-made sound mix. Among other things, they hear a metronome that determines the tempo of the song, as well as the instruments they need to hear to play dynamically and vividly. The musicians and technicians have their own microphones to communicate with each other during the songs via the musicians’ earbuds on the 30-meter-long stage. This makes rehearsals more efficient and allows problems to be fixed along the way.
Carolin explains that some of the music is recorded in the studio beforehand. “Especially choir and strings, because it usually takes 40 string players to fill an entire orchestra, but our ensemble often only has 8-10.
“What you hear in the auditorium is primarily live, but to get the quality good enough on TV, we have to play and sing a good mix.”
Not competition, but collaboration
The concert is characterized by teamwork, diversity and higher quality.
“We are different,” says Bernd. He is Carolin’s brother. They both have a classical music education from Germany. Bernd has gradually specialized more in jazz and entertainment as a performing musician.
“Even if you have different styles, there are no kings who stand on their own ground,” says Carolin, “I can ask the others to look at my event and not be afraid to let it be challenged. It’s not a competition, but a collaboration, and the level is so much higher because of it.
An important tool in missionary work
One can wonder what the idea is behind the level increasing and increasing.
“It’s not about promoting people and talents,” says Carolin. Although she believes that we should bring out their potential.
Gjermund adds that the power of music and song to touch the human soul is an important part of reaching out with the Christian message to more people who want to learn and listen.
Missionary work and raising the profile of meeting music are the two primary reasons why music is now being put on the agenda.
The Assembly of Representatives decides to invest in music
The enthusiasm among the musicians also has its backdrop in the strategic decisions presented to the Assembly of Representatives on the same day. While the choir, orchestra, technicians and 200 children and their parents are practicing, the Assembly of Representatives meeting has adopted a business plan for BCC Music for the coming year. The plan is simple and still lacks an evaluation of the entire music ministry. Nevertheless, it is a big step in the direction of investing in music.
“Having our own organization with a team of employees is absolutely essential to be able to deliver all the orders we receive,” says Bernd Schneider. He praises the collaboration with the volunteers and is looking forward to 2024:
“We’re noticing great progress on many fronts in music, I’ve rarely experienced anything like it. It will be very exciting to see what this can become in the years to come.”
Christmas celebration with concert and edification
On Saturday evening, the plenary hall at Oslofjord is completely full, and it shows how many people actually attend the Advent conference. This is probably the musical highlight of the year in BCC, and you don’t need to have a particularly good ear for music to hear that what the dedicated musicians have said is true. The level has really gone up.
The evening offers a mix of well-known and self-produced Christmas songs. In addition, there are two feature songs from the songbook Ways of the Lord, messages, and testimonies from women and men. It is about the message of Christmas, that the Savior came to earth, and about gratitude for the opportunities the gospel gives us to be completely free from the power of sin.