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Hutchmoot: Starting to Listen August 12, 2010

Posted by markgeil in Church, Music, People.
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Friday marked the second time I had driven from Kennesaw to Nashville all by myself in order to attend an event beginning with an Andrew Peterson concert. The first time was a couple of years ago when I was covering GMA Week for Christianity Today. I left at the crack of dawn to arrive in time for a breakfast sponsored by Compassion International featuring an AP acoustic show. I remember he covered Sometimes by Step by Rich Mullins, and it was sublime. This time, he would be kicking off Hutchmoot with a release concert for his latest, Counting Stars.

First, we all gathered for our first meal, prepared by Evie Coates, a brilliant mixed media artist and, apparently, chef. Introductions before dinner were another reminder of the value of the real world over the virtual one; on the Rabbit Room, Evie had always been “Long-E-sound-EEEEvie” to me. Turns out I was wrong, It’s more like Eh-vie, as in, “Drove my Chevy to the levy but then Evie was gone.” I just made that up, but now I’m enjoying singing it to myself.

Hutchmeets happened around the table, then more after dinner, then I started getting anxious because getting to the concert sooner might mean getting a better seat. I decided to grab a snack for the road from a stash I’d discovered in the Living Room, this warm and charming gathering place in the church, then hit the road. To my surprise, right there in the living room sat five or six Rabbit Roomers, including Andrew Peterson himself. I paused for a moment to process this unprecedented phenomenon, then thought to myself, Why should I dash off to the Andrew Peterson concert when I can sit right here and chat with Andrew Peterson? The argument’s logic overwhelmed my impatience, and there I sat. I Hutchmet the group (see how much mileage I’m getting out of that word?). Someone asked how I broke my hand. I told the story. More lazy chatting ensued. Finally, someone looked at a watch and mentioned to AP, “Shouldn’t you be getting to your concert?” I thought of my ever-so-punctual wife Amy, who would have been freaking out.

The venue was a few miles down the road from Redeemer at the Barn, a converted chicken house used by a megachurch in Brentwood for concerts and such. Those few miles of road were adorned with stunning mansions that seemed to be owned by people who valued appearances over privacy. There they were, right there on the main drag, with all their six-car garages and ostentatious fountains. I figured if any of the occupants were tithers, the megachurches were set.

I got in line, had another Hutchmeet with a new friend from Iowa, and noticed the arrival of Mr. Peterson to his own concert. Most of the folks in line were waiting to buy tickets, and soon someone saw our Hutchmoot nametags and shuffled us on in. The Person With the Very Important Hand Stamper noticed that I was a “Hutchmaster”, a title that sounds fanstastic but only means I registered early, and invited me to one of the reserved seats. There happened to be one on the front row center aisle, so, being not shy, I took it, alongside my new friend and the pastor of the host church, Father McKenzie. His name always makes me think of that sad line in Eleanor Rigby, but I never told him that.  

The concert was the sort of affair that can only happen in a place like Nashville. Brilliant musicians were in the audience, just to watch. The venerable John Mays from AP’s record label stopped by.  Just as Andrew started one song, Andy Osenga (Caedmon’s Call et al.) walked in. Peterson paused, mentioned that Osenga had co-written the song and invited him to sing backup, Osenga obliged, scurried down the aisle, hopped on the stage, and sang away. Delightful.

The first half hour or so was all requests shouted from the audience. I shouted, ”Let Me Sing”, not because of a sudden and overwhelming desire to sing, but because it’s my favorite AP song. Well, I didn’t really shout it, since I was 5 feet from Andrew, and my request got overwhelmed in the cacophony from the audience. My new friend next to me really did shout, and his request, Little Boy Heart Alive, was heeded. AP started the song, then decided to tell a story about his little boys, then asked their permission to tell the story since they were sitting right down front. It was a hilarious yarn about the time the lads decided to live off the land for 48 hours and wound up eating a songbird.

The view from the front row. It's good to be a Hutchmaster!

Next, Peterson played straight through the new CD. I had seen him do the same thing the previous week in a charming and sometimes bizarre online performance for HearItFirst.com. This time, though, he was accompanied by an extra half-dozen players, and the songs took on new life. (Plus, I was five feet away, and not watching through a little computer screen.) I got particularly caught up in the shrapnel of hope that finally lights The Last Frontier. The evening was grand and memorable and it set the mood for Hutchmoot as a Fellowship of the Story, if you will.

I drove back to the hotel on lonely streets lit by the afterglow of the Light of the World in my heart. Yes, that sentence couldn’t be more over-the-top, but I was over, too, so hopefully you will forgive me. I still didn’t quite understand what God would say to me through the rest of the weekend, but I had a pretty good idea He would say something, and I’ll take that anytime.



1. Hutchmoot Hub (A Collection Of All ‘moot-related Blogposts, Websites, Etc.) | S.D. Smith - August 12, 2010

[…] Hutchmoot: Starting to Listen, from Mark Geil […]

2. Fr. Thomas McKenzie - August 13, 2010

Eleanor who?


3. The Rabbit Room - August 16, 2010

[…] Hutchmoot: Starting to Listen, from Mark Geil […]

4. Tony Heringer - August 22, 2010

I think my wife did use that Rigby line on Father T-Mac and as punny as she can be I guess I was too caught up in my “This guy is Jack Black with red hair” to go after the low hanging pun. I love that woman.

We ended up giving Matt Connor a ride over to the show. I really enjoyed hearing about his church up in Anderson, IN. It was such a treat to have Russ, Thomas and Matt there with us. They are all different men but all three radiate the love of Jesus in such a winsome way.

Thanks again for the Hutchmoot reflections!



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