AMSD: Unplugged unplugged?

No pews for you

Acoustic Music San Diego’s Carey Driscoll: no pews, no shows.
  • Acoustic Music San Diego’s Carey Driscoll: no pews, no shows.

A “forward-thinking” Methodist pastor may by silencing a ten-year-old music series because of his plans to reform a Normal Heights church.

Carey Driscoll, a retired copier salesman who has lived in San Diego since 1959, has produced more than 500 concerts over ten years as part of his Acoustic Music San Diego concert series. Most of the AMSD shows have been staged at the 250-seat United Methodist Church in Normal Heights.


2900 Highland Avenue (Sweetwater High School), National City

The all-ages, no-booze shows brought extra revenue into the church. Driscoll and his patrons can rely on the acoustically superior church, which has hosted Jimmy Webb, Judy Collins, John Sebastian, Al Kooper, Richie Havens, Fairport Convention, and the Roches.

But in July, new pastor Brent Ross arrived. His bio says he was known at another church for creating a “...dynamic and forward-thinking service called Sacred Ordinary, where he was able to blend his interest and passion in new styles of worship and community formation.”

According to Driscoll, that forward thinking involves the removal of the pews. Pastor Ross would then oversee his services in the center of the congregation in a service-in-the-round. “He wants to get away from the priest being separated from the congregation,” says Driscoll. “He wants to interact.”

Driscoll, 63, is waiting to hear when that pew removal will happen.

“I should know in a week or two. If it happens, I won’t be able to use [the church].” Driscoll tells the Reader he would probably “shut the series down” rather than move it.

Driscoll says he has amassed a 2500-person email list. “It’s amazing that no one, not one person, has noticed I haven’t booked a new show in three months. Dan Hicks wants to come back in February and Livingston Taylor in May, but I haven’t been able to commit until I hear what is going to happen.”

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If this "dynamic and forward thinking" delusional were truly concerned about the members of his parish, he would let them decide if the church should be used for music services. I suspect his real concern is that you are taking away the attention he needs and craves.

Additionally, by taking away the pews, he can truly be the center of attention and prevent Mr. Driscoll, or anyone, from providing a comfortable setting for a secular form of spirituality. This is what religion does. It makes sure people do not come together as human beings. It separates us. Music brings us together; religion keeps us apart.

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