So, we thought it might be good for us to answer a few questions we've been receiving lately. And, since George is the one writing this, it obviously ends up in a catechetical style . . .
ARE YOU GUYS STILL WRITING SONGS?
The short answer is, yes we are still writing songs even though we're no longer touring for a living because we have retired from touring but are still writing songs. (Good thing we didn't give you the long answer, right?)
WHAT KIND OF SONGS ARE YOU WRITING?
We just finished writing 24 songs that comprise the text for Luther: the Rock Opera. (Well, technically, 25, though one song didn't make it into the final script.) Our friend Rich Melheim published a graphic novel, telling the story of Martin Luther's journey from monk to leader of the Protestant Reformation. He approached us about writing songs to accompany the graphic novel, and that's how we came to write these particular songs.
HOW CAN I HEAR THEM?
You can hear samples of the 24 songs at this link. We'll be rolling out full-song versions every few days at the Luther: The Rock Opera Soundcloud page, and also on the Lost And Found Facebook page.
ARE THESE WHAT YOU GUYS CONSIDER SUPER PROFESSIONAL RECORDINGS?
Haha! We can tell you've already listened to one of them, huh? Actually, the recording quality is professional, but the performance was just a quick run through on our part. These recordings are what we call "reference tracks." They're just intended to give people a sense of how the songs go.
WHY WOULD I WANT TO KNOW HOW THE SONGS GO?
Aha! Now you've got to the heart of the matter. The whole intention of putting together Luther: the Rock Opera was so that people could present an easy-to-understand performance about the roots of the Protestant Reformation. That is, we're hoping people will learn the songs with whatever singers and musicians are available in their own congregation and then put on a "performance" for the congregation, or neighbors, or even entire city.
WHY THE FOCUS ON MARTIN LUTHER?
As you may know, this year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg. So, we wanted to create a way for people to observe Reformation Day in a way that is fun, memorable, informative, inter-generational, and engaging while using Lost And Found music. So, we thought if we could get to every congregation in the nation we'd try to tell Luther's story using 24 songs. But since we can't do that (see the first Question above), we thought it makes sense to have YOU perform and tell the story.
SO YOU WANT US TO PERFORM A ROCK OPERA?
DO YOU MEAN WE HAVE TO GO RENT COSTUMES AND STUFF?
No. (Have you ever seen how we dress on stage?) And that's kind of the beauty of this way of telling the story. You can go "bare bones" and just sing and play the songs. Think of it like the Christmas Pageant for Reformation Day. Or think of it as a Folk Opera. Or, perhaps, leave out the Opera altogether. It's a Folk Pageant! (But it's much more fun to call it a Rock Opera.) It's your collected performers singing 24 songs that tell a story. Of course, if you enjoy the costume aspect of the Christmas Pageant, you could have singers wear a particular article of clothing like a hat to suggest who's who. Or, you could assign parts and have the singers wear costumes. Or you could bring in a director who sits in a tall chair with her name on the back and yells "CUT!!!" during rehearsals with stage lights and makeup destined for Broadway.
WAIT. WHY ARE THERE THREE VERSIONS OF THE ROCK OPERA?
Good question! The version we wrote (with our 24 songs) is called the Concert Version. However, for those who want to do a lengthier and bigger production, there are the Small Stage Version and Stage Version where the basic Rock Opera is supplemented with additional text and choruses by our friends at Faith Inkubators, and interpreted by different artists, in order to create more singing parts for larger groups, and extend the show to be more in line with a typical theater production (you know, with multiple acts, stage lights, and a Director yelling "CUT!!!") The Concert Version is something you can learn in a weekend with a group of singers, a worship band, a youth choir, or a duo on guitar and piano (ahem). You can easily put on this show for your friends and neighbors, without an intermission, or anyone yelling "CUT!!!" Afterward, you could even gather in the fellowship hall for coffee and cake (over which you can hold a knife and yell whatever comes to mind).
WHAT'S THE SIMPLEST WAY TO DO THE CONCERT VERSION?
Background tracks. That's right, you also get recordings of all 24 songs with just the instruments, so you could sing the songs karaoke style, with just a handful of singers and no musicians.
WHAT IF WE WANT JUST A LITTLE SCENERY WITH OUR CONCERT VERSION?
Here's a really cool thing about working with our friend Rich Melheim: He knows all sorts of talented people. And one of those talented people (Jonathan Koelsch) has created some seriously awesome graphics. Using a projector, you can display images from the graphic novel, and even use animations that are timed to the music! The projected slides take the place of sets, by showing the key settings like the forest where the lightning rages all around, and the castle where Luther does his translating, and the Imperial Diet where Luther cannot recant, and so on. Plus, Jonathan has created life-size graphics that you can print out, attach to foam-core and prop up around the stage!
OKAY. HOW DO WE GET THE RIGHTS TO USE ALL THIS? IT CAN'T BE FREE, RIGHT?
Unfortunately, it's not free. However, you can get it, and we've done our best to make it affordable to even the smallest congregation. (See details at What You Get)
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW?
You know we've always encouraged you to Rock On (Stein Auf). Well, now it's time to Rock Opera! (Stein Oper!) We think you'll enjoy the experience of learning, practicing, and performing the show. And we think those who watch it will enjoy it too. Next year, you could have the Confirmation Class do the simple concert version for the congregation as part of their curriculum, and the students will remember the songs--and the story and meaning behind them--for many years to come.
CLICK HERE to order the Concert Version today!
George and Michael
Lost And Found