About Frick & Frack Music
Lyricist & Scriptwriter
"Never put a sixth grade boy in a cow costume"
Children's Choir Wisdom from Neesa Hart, ½ of Frick & Frack Music
I staged my first production in third grade. With no budget, no sanctioned rehearsal time, an old LP recording my mother owned, a couple of playbooks from the school library and some friends I suckered into it, I costumed, directed, starred in, arranged, stage-managed and produced the HMS Pinafore for my third grade class. I still can't remember how I pulled off the sailor costumes with no transportation and no money, but the show was a hit -- and I was officially addicted to the theater.
My earliest children's choir memories are from about the same time. I vaguely remember some nasty incident over a very large red taffeta bow and my refusal to wear it. I can't remember how that episode turned out, but for a very long time, that experience shaped my perceptions of what was available to me creatively through church programming. Given the choice between the red taffeta bow and the HMS Pinafore, I felt sure I'd have to turn to secular theater to fulfill my dreams.
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I did not rediscover the joy of children's choir until I reached college. And then, only through a divine appointment with a good friend who roped me in kicking and screaming.
I started to learn some things. Things about talking to kids, ministering to kids, helping kids love music, and watching kids develop into older, more spiritually mature kids. I firmly believe that children's choir programs, and church fine arts programs are essential to building, training, recruiting, and developing the worship leaders for tomorrow's church. How many members of the average church adult choir do you think would be there Sunday after Sunday, rehearsal after rehearsal, if they'd had a miserable children's choir experience. Not many. They'd have turned their back on the church music program and possibly never found their way back.
With that realization came a firm commitment to apply what I know, and what I've learned to teaching kids that they can use their talents in God's service; that just because it's a church program doesn't mean they're going to be embarrassed to be in it; and that there's nothing more fulfilling to the artistic soul than exalting the name of the Lord.
Fourteen years ago, God gave me a vision to write children's choir musicals that were fresh and different from what was currently available in the marketplace. I wanted scripts with a lot of depth and challenging drama; music that was how to be good choir members. I wanted opportunities for kids to use their dance skills and instrumental skills, to teach children art and rhythm. I wanted hour long programs that incorporated acting, singing, lights, sound, sets, props, costumes, and all the other things that make the theater experience so enjoyable. Theater is the most collaborative of all art forms, so what better medium to show kids that everyone has a place in worship? For all of those fourteen years, I poured myself into children's choir programs while I waited, and prayed for God to show me how that vision could become a reality. I can write scripts, but I couldn't begin to write music.
And in His time, He introduced me to my writing partner, Phillip W. Lanier, who is half the brains and ALL of the musical talent of Frick and Frack Music.
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Composer & Arranger
I have two requirements for anyone who wants to work in my Children's Choir Ministry
1. Love kids the way Jesus did
2. Have a personal relationship with the Lord, and be committed to showing kids that Jesus loves them.
That surprises a lot of people. Where, they want to know, are the musical requirements? Don't I demand that children's choir leaders are 'qualified to teach music?' Don't I want to make sure that children are learning music theory and skill? Isn't the goal of children's choir to offer music instruction? In a word: Nope.
It is my God-given philosophy that children's choir ministry is about teaching kids that they are important in the Kingdom, that Jesus loves them, and that God gifted them uniquely. If they happen to pick up some musical skills along the way, well, so much the better, but our goal, our focus is instilling in kids the inherent knowledge that God values their worship and praise.
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I began building my first children's choir ministry over 13 years ago, and consider it one of my greatest privileges in ministry to work with kids week after week in such a fun and worshipful environment. The development of original music and drama for kid's choir was a dream I had for some time. In the fall of 2000, when God brought a writing partner into my life, I began to see that dream come true. One of the most humbling and meaningful experiences of my life was listening to our children's choir sing the music we'd written for them, and share the Gospel through a script we'd developed.
I have been told that the music we write is too challenging, that our scripts require too much memorization, and that our curriculum doesn't have sufficient music emphasis. My answer is: never underestimate the awesome potential of a child. When trusted with great responsibility, when loved and nurtured, gently instructed, and, perhaps most importantly, when valued, kids can accomplish amazing things. These children are the future worship leaders of our church, and the longer I work in children's choir ministry, the more convinced I am that our future is in great hands. Phillip Lanier
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