Herbs Paint and Body
Surprise star takes center stage
Hickman delights the Lake Highlands crowd
Last Friday night, Highlands Cafe was the place to be.

It was at the monthly Faith On Tap gathering that multi-talented and award winning musician Sara Hickman made a surprise appearance!

Hickman delighted the crowd when she dropped by the cafe for an evening of intimate conversation and thoughtful exchange about her music.

The Official State Musician of Texas, Hickman arrived with little fanfare (and no advance warning) to share her songs as part of Faith On Tap’s exploration of faith, music and culture. Faith On Tap, first talked about here, is the brainchild of Brent Barry, the senior pastor at NorthPark Presbyterian.

About four years ago Barry, along with Shane Whisler, Tom Byrne and John Kenny, conceived the series with the goal of bringing folks together to share thoughts and discussion on different popular music and musicians and how their faith and belief are reflected in their music.

Each month, a different artist is highlighted. Featured musicians have run the gamut from U2, The Beatles, Indigo Girls, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen, and unlikely enough, Eminem and Elvis.

Whisler and Byrne deftly run the visual presentation of the lyrics, while Pastor Barry steps in and encourages discussion.

According to Whisler, "we prefer the artists we highlight to not be blatantly Christian. The idea here is that there are many sources of faith, even where we least expect it."

Whisler shares that one of his favorite aspects of the Faith On Tap gatherings is observing reactions and responses from the audiences, who range in age from 8 to 80, and are as diverse as the artists featured.

It is Barry who helps evoke these reactions.

In between songs, he will make the theological connections to the lyrics and promote discussion and feedback.

The marriage of music and "the message," in a venue outside the church, is a formula that Barry knows is working. "Anymore, 30 folks is a small crowd," he says.

And Highlands Cafe was certainly crowded with Hickman in the house. Prior to taking the stage, she visited guests with gusto. When it was time to start the set, her sense of play was evident when she belted out opera to get the audience’s attention.

What was also evident was the easy rapport she and Barry shared.

"I’ve never been to Faith On Tap," said Hickman, "but I understand I’m going to play and Brent will do dialog."

The Pastor told Hickman, "It’s Reverend to you," to which Hickman quickly popped, "And it’s Sista to you!"

Barefooted Hickman was clearly comfortable with her audience as well.

"I’ve been on a faith journey all my life," she told audience members. "All faiths are good, as long as you’re a kind human being."

At the end of her song, The Smallest Thing, a young boy in the audience commented, "I can picture God saying those very words in your song. How did you come up with words that God would say?"

Clearly, the formula of using music to share the message worked.

Faith On Tap welcomes all ages, all faiths, all musical genres and all discussions. In short, all are welcome because you never know who might show up!

The 2011 Faith On Tap line-up includes:

January 23rd: The hip-hop music and theology of Cornel West
February 20th: Faith in the music of Glee
March 27th: Faith in the music of Stevie Wonder
April 17th: Faith in the music of Belle and Sebastian
May 22: Faith in R.E.M.’s latest: Collapse into Now

To learn more about Faith On Tap, visit the event website here.

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