In 2017 I was asked to interview two local ww2 veterans. In previous years they would visit the local schools to tell their story, but over the years age got the better of them.
Many of the stories will never be told, for some the recollection of them is too difficult.
One particular recollection of ‘Huby’ was that on his return home he was quite a hooligan. He explained that war had the impact of making him feel invincible; he, together with other young men back from war found it more difficult than we perhaps realised.
If your looking for some software for worship songs in worship, this product is well worth a look.
I tested it out on an iPad, but the system is also available for Windows (i.e. a laptop computer).
Key features of the System
Essentially the system
provides a framework to project words and music in a controlled way.
Once a song is downloaded
from the ‘I sing worship’ site, it can be presented using the system; it comes
ready with words, and with verses / choruses as you may usually present them.
The clever part comes in two
The ability to create a custom ‘arrangement’ of a song;
this allows you to change the key / and choose which verses / choruses you
The ability to start playing a song, and then change the
sequence ‘live’ – perhaps to repeat verse 1, add extra chorus, change the
backing / vocals volume.
In addition, there is a
useful chord sequence ending, and a fade feature, very useful to give an
authentic and professional feel to the music.
When a song is playing the
words are displayed well on a suitable default background (which can be
changed). I liked the way that the words
for the next verse / chorus come up at the bottom of the screen just before it
changes – saves having to guess them sometimes!
The system is reliable (as I found it) and would give a good lead in a worship setting; any changes to sequence / backing are smoothly implemented. As songs are played there is a progress bar shown to the operator (or not) for each verse – and clear indication of what is playing / what will happen next.
There is a simple, but
effective, system to create a sequence of images / songs into a complete
service. This sequence can then be
displayed live, controlling when to start the next item.
It is relatively simple to
prepare several songs, with the required verses / endings, and let the system show
This is impressive! – as a
song is playing you can add the song you want next to the playlist (as the
current one continues). While you are
viewing the dialogue on the iPad, only the songs/images are displayed on the
You can also change what will play next in terms of a
verse / chorus / instrumental section (features available vary with each song –
but the one I used had been thought through with care).
Given the level /ease of control, I could easily see a worship leader using this system from the front, rather than a controller from the back of church. Choices as to what happens next in a service could (with a little practice!) be effectively made.
Backing / Vocals
These are formed into three
Track / Drums / Chords
(on or off)
Acoustic Guitars (on
Sung vocals (volume
Controls allow to switch the guitars / track on or off
(but one or both must be on). Vocals can
be faded in / out as required at any time (all while the song is playing).
When items are turned on/off
they are faded in/out (this time is also controllable but set to a sensible 2
seconds as default).
These can be displayed with
the projected words, again very effectively done. If the key of the song is changed, the change
is reflected in the chords shown.
This is a configurable entry,
and a requirement if you want to project the words. You will also need to report each time it is
used in the usual way. The CCLI number
is displayed on the projected screen (bottom left) whenever a song is playing.
A good variety of images come with the system, all suitably muted to ensure the lyrics are clear. Images are grouped into solid, abstract, seasons and several others. Very usefully, this image can be changed mid-song, without any interruption to the playing. When songs finish, the selected image is displayed with no words.
While the key can be
modified, and the backing changes, any vocals are immediately lost; this is
noted (warning message displayed) in the system.
To get the system working,
two things need to happen:
Download the software
The account is a specific / church-based
account, linked to your software (in which you also have to log in with the
Once you have an account, with
a card number for purchases, songs can be purchased via the web site. Once purchased, any purchased songs appear in
your copy of the software. Before you
can use them in the system, the purchased songs must be downloaded to your iPad
/ laptop. The download will necessitate
a Wi-Fi / network connection; once the songs are downloaded, the Wi-Fi
connection is not required.
There are several approaches that can be used, depending on the products you prefer / have available.
But there is one factor you may want to reconsider, and that is around provision of a large print version.
My experience is that it is rather difficult to enlarge text – a much easier approach is to reduce something.
Another factor in the overall process is distribution / copying. Many people forget that proprietary products such as WORD do not always produce the same results on another persons computer. Many people do not possess a copy of MS Office, and find they cannot print the file that has been sent.
A useful trick is to create the original as an A4 size page in WORD, this would typically have four pages; Then export the document as a PDF file. The PDF (Adobe) print system has an option to print as a ‘Booklet’ – this automatically handles the page placement, and a double-sided booklet on a single piece of A4 can be printed.
The concept can extend to any number of pages (in multiples of Four) – saving you the problem of how to make your text flow.
To use the approach you need to use larger fonts than usual – so that when the document is turned into a booklet you end up with readable text.
Typical dimensions / fonts are:
Left margin: 1.5 to 2cm (see note below)
Normal text: 16pt
Note – you may want to think about the way you indicate leader / congregational text. If you want ‘All’ in the left margin of congregational text, you may want to have a 2cm left margin, and use an ‘Undent’ / Bold combination for the text.
The Large Print Version
This will still be a booklet, but printed on A3 paper (folded to A4). If prefered, it could be 4 single sided pages, stapled.
I have attempted to use PowerPoint for several years, often with problems during the display of words! – but with the recent version (Office 365), the timing of slides is now reliable and the system offers a robust way to synchronise words and backing track.
In this post you will find an example PowerPoint file, with details as to the process I use.
Once completed I store the files on my Ipad, ready for use; the Office 365 version on the Ipad works really well and delivers a reliable way to manage the hymn words.
Be Still (By clicking on the link, the file will be downloaded – but you can only view it if you have the latest version of PowerPoint)
Process for creating a synchronised set of words
Create a new slideshow (I use ‘Berlin’) – you may want to remove the page numbers.
The first slide needs to be a title page – include your CCLI number (and remember to report it when used!)
The second slide will be the words of the first verse. I have used font size 40pt for most of the words – a simple white works well for contrast with the orange background.
On the second slide you need to insert your Audio / mp3 file. I place this toward the bottom right of the screen. Once inserted to the slide, you need to set a couple of attributes for display.
Select the inserted icon for your audio, and select the special menu that appears at the top of the screen (Audio Tools / Playback). On the dropdown for Start, select ‘Automatically’ , then check the box for ‘Play Across Slides’. This will make your backing start after the previous (Title) slide, and then continue playing as the remaining verse slides are shown.
Add your remaining verses by duplicating verse 1 (and remember to delete the replicated audio!). By duplicating the page you make sure the text box is in the same place.
Add text for each verse by pasting over the previous verse – continue with verses / choruses as necessary.
Finally, add an end slide, this will contain some appropriate image to reinforce the gospel message in some way.
Make all the transitions ‘Fade’ – in this way it gives a simple approach that doesn’t detract from the hymn.
Now comes the clever bit!
Use the menu ‘Slideshow / Rehearse Timings’
The first screen is shown – press the space-bar to progress to the words.
The music will start – follow the words and progress to each subsequent slide at the appropriate point (if anything, move to the next slide a little early!). If there is a musical break between verses, perhaps wait until nearer the time when the next verse starts.
At the last slide, wait a few seconds and then end the show. You will then be prompted to confirm if you want the new timings saved (Press ‘Yes’).
A couple more edits after the timings are saved.
On the First and Last slides, select the ‘Transitions’ menu, and on the right hand side of the menu area, un-check the box for progressing the slide after a specified time (just below ‘On mouse click’). This will make sure your music does not start until you click on the first page, and the last page stays on the screen until you exit the slideshow.