Advertisements

Tag Archive: Christ


Summer NAMM opening party.

Summer NAMM opening party.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable fourth of July weekend. I took the time to catch up on some things, like posts. My son, Cameron, and I went to Nashville a week ago to attend Summer NAMM. NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants. They have Winter NAMM in LA and Summer NAMM in Nashville. They will have one in Russia soon.

The three events are where music merchants – and prospective music merchants – come to show their products to buyers representing companies country-wide (and worldwide in some cases). There are also companies that fall into the category of the House of Worship area. They cater to everyone, but houses of worship in particular. Which is why Cameron and I were there.

We were representing our church, Christ UMC in Farmers Branch. The church is making some changes and we were there for information pertaining to the potential remodeling of the sanctuary. The A/V team, in particular. But don’t get the idea that as a singer-songwriter I couldn’t glean some information and contacts for myself. And having fun at the same time never hurts.

Cameron and I left home at 6 a.m. Thursday morning. We wanted to arrive in time to check into the hotel before going to Music City Center. Hopefully, we’d have some time after picking up our badges to wander around before Charlie Daniels was to play for the opening party. He had been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier in the day.

Which is exactly what we did and how it went. We had time to walk around the exhibit hall and get an idea where we needed to go on Friday morning. Then we went out on the terrace and tried to find shade and not move a lot waiting for things to begin at 6 p.m. The food and drinks were free. Fortunately, Cameron and I were near a food table.

When it was time, we got some fruits and pulled pork sliders. We went to another table later for grilled corn on the cob and other things. There were only a few choices for beer, but when it’s free you just suck it up. They had water as well so that helped.

Charlie Daniels came on while we were eating our sliders. I have yet to hear any outdoor concert sound that is not lacking. Then there is the fact that it was downtown and sound was also bouncing off of the surrounding buildings. We may not have been able to understand him when he talked, but we could hear him when he sang, and that is more important. I haven’t seen Charlie Daniels in thirty years and he still sounds the same. They played a great set. We went back to the hotel, watched the Rangers game, and called it a day.

Peace be with you.

Advertisements

VBS BandI played in the Vacation Bible School (VBS) band week before last, and we wrapped it up at the 11 a.m. service on Sunday. Christ UMC in Farmers Branch is like most churches. We get packaged VBS kits, with scripts, ideas for decorations, crafts, and games, cds and corresponding music charts. Then we decorate the church ourselves and add our own unique touches. I don’t know about other churches, but we usually decorate most of the church – immersing the congregation in the concept.

This year it was Cave Quest VBS. The church became one big cave. My son, Cameron, built a cave in the sanctuary, replacing the pulpit, made of pvc pipe and other materials. VBS began on Sunday and ended on Thursday – with the wrap up on Sunday. It is a grueling VBS Caveweek for the volunteers, who have to show up early. It’s the same with the band, except that they might have a little more down time. Although practicing for half an hour before VBS (an hour and a half on the first Sunday), starting off at full tilt for an hour, then down time for an hour and a half before cranking it up again for half an hour can take it’s own toll.

I picked up the cd and charts a week early to run through the songs ahead of time. Just to avoid surprises when practice starts. There were not many surprises. VBS songs usually follow a pattern, which includes no slow songs. Oddly enough, there were two slower songs this year.

But my point is that the band plays these songs day after day for five days – six if you include the Sunday VBS Service. The theme song is played at least six times each night. Other key songs or catchier songs get played at least three times each night. The band shows up the Wednesday evening before to run through the songs we’ll play first – and the most in some cases. Then we arrive early on Sunday and each consecutive night to learn new songs.

Some of the songs are fun to play, so the repetition is not all that tough. But some of them get on your nerves night after night. Jokes and camaraderie help to keep it fun. Then some songs you just don’t like playing.

Regardless, I find that I develop an attachment to the songs. Less so the ones that got on my nerves, but an attachment nonetheless. After all, I spent two weeks with them. And when you play in a band, and the sound is  right, you hate for it to end. It’s like when you spent two weeks in camp when you were a teenager and you met friends that were very special during the camp, but then you never really saw them again (the songs, not the band members).

It needs to be mentioned that despite the grueling schedule, the repetition of the songs, and any problems that arose, there were fun times along the way. All the volunteers simply adjusted to sudden changes and did what needed to be done to carry on with VBS. Sunday school classes and Bible study groups brought light food for the volunteers each night. But above all, seeing the children happy and pumped, having fun and learning valuable life lessons, made the problems seem rather trivial.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Cat, Dan, and John 4Thanks to everyone who came out to see the Sack Summer Hunger Concert on Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. We raised $98 for Sack Summer Hunger. It was a small, but enthusiastic, crowd, and they very much enjoyed the show. I don’t care for the word “awesome” because it’s so over-used. But when someone uses it to refer to my music, my friends’ music, and the show, it feels pretty good.

We played the show “in the round,” playing three rounds of two songs each, telling stories behind the songs. John Mason began the round, Cat McGee followed and I ended each round. We ended the show with the three of us playing Will the Circle Be Unbroken. I would like to thank John and Cat for coming out and playing in support of Sack Summer Hunger.

Thanks again to those who made it out. The list of those who wrote checks will be included in the report given to Metrocrest Social Services with the money raised.

Peace be with you.

DSC07035[Re-posted from last year at this time. This year’s observations will be in a following post.]

It began years ago with the recipe on the Chex cereal boxes. Then everyone’s grandmother added their particular additional ingredients. It took on different identities: nibbles, trash, Texas trash, and others. Cyndy’s mom’s recipe is for Texas Nibbles. Our daughter, Jennifer, fixed several different varieties: no nuts, hot, not hot, really hot – you get the idea.

But the point is that – in any variety – the mix is addicting. It is the one thing left over that you don’t have to do anything for but grab a handful. No cutting a pie, no getting a plate dirty, no digging in the refrigerator. Just grab a handful. And it’s salty.

We give containers of mix to the family for Christmas. We also usually receive a container from Jennifer. Naturally, this year was no different. But some things have changed. We still go to my parents on Christmas. But we don’t have a big meal anymore. Mom is not able to cook and serve the meal any longer. Cyndy and I take the Thanksgiving dinner to them – just dropping off food for them and visiting a short while.

On Christmas day Mom and Dad buy snack trays and deli sandwiches. Cyndy, Conner, Cameron, J.D. and myself – often in more than one car – meet Jennifer, her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Kelley, at the grandparents house. This year, Chris’ daughter, Katherine, was able to join us. Rather than have the meal (usually brunch), we go straight to the gift exchange.

Then we all get our stockings from the grandparents, snack a while, and visit. Visiting is the most important part. It is the part that does not and should not change. The people may change slightly from year to year due to life’s circumstances. But the family fellowship does not change.

Our family is one that gets what they need throughout the year. We give gifts to each other all year. Christmas is not about the gifts. It is about celebrating Christ’s birth. And it is also about family – in all it’s facets.

But the one constant between Christmas and New Year’s in our family is the presence of Texas Nibbles. The mix goes quickly around Christmas and then slows down to a steady rate of consumption. The salty after the sweet. Just grab a little and go kind of thing.

I don’t know what Cyndy and I will be watching tonight while waiting on midnight. But I can tell you what we won’t be watching – the countdowns to midnight. I can, however, tell you one thing for certain. We will be eating Texas Nibbles from the bag I have stashed.

Happy New Year! Peace be with you!

Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

People began to arrive at Sons of Hermann Hall at 6:30 on Tuesday, December 8 for the Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) Song Contest Award Ceremony and Christmas party. Board members Barbe McMillen, Bobby Montgomery, Ken Duren, and Dan Roark, with member and SOHH employee, Lisa Byrn, David Lewis (SOHH), and the sound man, Logan Hughes, had arrived early to set up the hall. Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Roy Elkins, CEO of Broadjam.com, pitched in to help Bobby set up the food tables. Board member, James Pappas, owner of Dallas Ice Sculptures, supplied the Christmas tree sculpture for the table.
Christmas Tree Ice Sculpture
The ceremony began promptly at 7 p.m. with a welcome from Barbe McMillen, DSA Founding President Emeritus and an explanation of the song contest process and breakdown of prizes. She then introduced MC Roy Elkins. As mentioned earlier, Roy is founder and ceo of Broadjam.com. He came down from Wisconsin a day early to present a free workshop the night before at Tone Shop Guitars in Addison. The workshop was called Your Music and Your Business. Elkins shared from his experiences in the music business and Broadjam, as well as information from music contacts. More information about the workshop can be found here.

AudienceAfter a few opening comments, Roy introduced Dickey Johnson. Dickey, along with Mary Guthrie and Mary Hestand (Sugar Daddy and the M&Ms), played his winning critique song, Alone with Alone. Then Elkins introduced Dan Roark, Showcase, Workshop, and Lyric Contest Director. Dan gave a short bio of the Americana judge, Kendra Terry, booking manager at Uncle Calvin’s Coffee House. He read the list of semifinalists and announced the winners.

Roark then introduced Katie Riley, with her mother and sister. They played both of Katie’s Dan Roarksemfinal songs, I Believe (Christian), and Dry Bones (Pop/rock). After which, Dan gave a short bio of the Christian/Inspirational judge, Scott Dicken, currently music director at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. He then read the semifinalists and announced the winners, before introducing Rio King. Rio played his four winning critique songs, Sweet Rolls and Cream, Boogie Woogie Rhythm, Boomer Boogie, and The Old Wrecked Vet.

Roy Elkins stepped back up and introduced Bobby Montgomery, DSA Executive Vice President, and 2014 Songwriter of the year. Bobby gave a short bio of Larry Beaird, owner of Beaird Music Group, and judge of the country category. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the country winners, Montgomery introduced M’Lynn Musgrove. M’Lynn played her two semifinalist songs, Healed, and Preaching to the Choir, both in the singer-songwriter category.

M'Lynn Musgrove

M’Lynn Musgrove

Elkins then introduced Michael Brandenberger, DSA President. Michael gave a bio of the Instrumental judge, Tony Hakim, owner of jazz venue, Kitchen Café, and a positive force in the Dallas-Ft. Worth jazz scene for over 25 years. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the winners, Brandenberger introduced Dori Weavers, who played her winning critique song, Waiting to Breathe. He then read the Love Songs/Easy Listening semi-finalists and announced the winners.

Barbe McMillen came back to the podium to give a bio of the Children’s/Novelty judge, Monty Harper, who has been on the Oklahoma Arts Council Touring Roster since 1995. Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then introduced, Jon Storm. Jon played his semifinalist song in the Pop/Rock category, Love Me Now.

Roy Elkins returned to the podium and introduced Harry Hewlett, co-director of the song

Warren Hanson

Warren Hanson

contest this year and director next year. Harry gave a short bio of Pop/Rock judge Kathy Forste, who has worked in television and radio for the past 30 years in various capacities. He read the semifinalists and announced the winners. Then he introduced Warren Hanson, who performed his semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category, Just Lucky I Guess.

Roy Elkins returned to introduce Michael Waid. Michael performed his singer-songwriter semifinal song, Lost and Found. Roy then introduced Jennifer Marler, who, joined with her husband, Justin, played her semifinalist song, Memories Don’t Burn. Then Elkins called Barbe McMillen back to the podium.

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Barbe gave a brief bio of singer-songwriter judge, David Card, owner of Poor David’s Pub, one of Dallas’ best listening rooms. David also founded the BW Stevenson Memorial Singer-Songwriter Competition. Then Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then announced the winner of the iPod for which each contest entrant received an entry. The winner was Samuel Miller from Chico, California. Miller’s song, Can’t Get Enough, was a semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category.

McMillen explained the judging process – which can be found on the DSA website – and introduced grand prize judge, Roy Elkins. Roy talked about the song entries and announced the Grand Prize winner. He then introduced Buck Morgan, who played his winning critique song, Jimmy Loves Jesus. Elkins then introduced Bobby Montgomery, who played his winning critique song, Give ‘Em Time, Lord.

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Roy brought Harry Hewlett back to the podium. Harry explained the process for song of the year. Then he gave a short bio of the song of the year judge, Ian Dickson, a singer-songwriter having performed for a number of years. Then Harry announced the Song of the Year winner. Harry made some closing remarks and then Michael Brandenberger started the open mic. A list of semifinalists can be found here and the a list of winners can be found here.

Although time and space did not allow me to elaborate more, all the performances were wonderful and the evening was a huge success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Caroling 4A week ago yesterday, I accompanied the children, and my granddaughter Kelley, as they went to the youth and adult Sunday school classes and sang Christmas carols at Christ United Methodist Church. After gathering, and coloring with crayons, the children left the gym and headed upstairs. We gathered in the hall of the youth wing above the gym. The children sang a couple of Christmas carols as the youth and leaders came out of their classrooms to listen and join along.

Then the children went to each adult Sunday school class. After entering each class they sang  one  carol and Caroling 1then filed out singing a second song. Many of the adults sang along. The glow on their faces at times rivaled that on the children’s faces. When the children had visited all of the Sunday schools, they headed for the gym. In the gym, the children sat at tables, colored pictures, and talked as the leaders served Jesus’ birthday cake to each table. They also had water or juice to drink.

As the Sunday school time came to a close and parents began picking up the children, one thing was clear. With seeing St. Nick the morning before, and putting on the Christmas Cafe musical the evening before, going caroling, and celebrating Jesus’ birthday, the children definitely had a good head start on the spirit of Christmas. Their eyes displayed the tired joy of celebration (albeit with sugar rush). And the best part of it? Christmas is yet to come!

Peace be with you.    Birthday party for Jesus

St. Nick's entrance

St. Nick’s entrance

Every year, for a number of years now, due to the efforts of Debbie Darland, her family, and volunteers, St. Nick/Santa has arrived at Christ UMC in Farmers Branch on a Saturday in December. This year it was December 12th. As Santa was still making his way there, the morning began with a sing-a-long led by Youth Director David Magallanes with Jaime Boenig and Jack Texada.

After the sing-a-long, Debbie announced that Mrs. Claus was sick and would not read the Christmas story this year. And since Santa was “still stuck in traffic,” Katheryn Taylor would read to the children. Which she did, quite well. Since she helps with the children on a regular basis, they were very receptive to her.

Then Santa arrived, preceded by a penguin. Why the penguin led him in is still a mystery. Since Mrs. Claus was ill did a penguin fill in? Why wasn’t an elf taking her place? Do people prefer penguins over elves? And why make us choose between elves and penguins anyway?

Regardless of the penguin/elf debate, Santa took his seat and began to call the children to him. Which Jamie Boenig, David Magallanes, Jack Texadasounds like someone else we know who is associated with Christmas. The children wanted to see Santa Claus. But they also spent time at the manger scene to the right of the stage, looking at baby Jesus.

A list was posted of the order in which the children would be called to see Santa. The families who were further down the list went to get breakfast so they could eat before their child/children’s names were called. Those at the first of the list would eat after talking to Santa and having their picture taken. Members of the Pathfinders Sunday school class cheerfully cooked and served the breakfast.

Rachel Meier and Carly ImthurnSanta finally made his way through all the children and headed on to the next stop. The youth helped to clean up the gym and the Pathfinders class cleaned the kitchen. The children headed home with their parents. Some of the children would be asleep before too long. But all left excited and happy. Thanks to Debbie Darland and family, the youth, Pathfinders class, and all other volunteers not named here for another successful Breakfast with St. Nick, with 80 children this year.

Peace be with you.

Texas Nibbles It began years ago with the recipe on the Chex cereal boxes. Then everyone’s grandmother added their particular additional ingredients. It took on different identities: nibbles, trash, Texas trash, and others. Cyndy’s mom’s recipe is for Texas Nibbles. Our daughter, Jennifer, fixed several different varieties: no nuts, hot, not hot, really hot – you get the idea.

But the point is that – in any variety – the mix is addicting. It is the one thing left over that you don’t have to do anything for but grab a handful. No cutting a pie, no getting a plate dirty, no digging in the refrigerator. Just grab a handful. And it’s salty.

We give containers of mix to the family for Christmas. We also usually receive a container from Jennifer. Naturally, this year was no different. But some things have changed. We still go to my parents on Christmas. But we don’t have a big meal anymore. Mom is not able to cook and serve the meal any longer. Cyndy and I take the Thanksgiving dinner to them – just dropping off food for them and visiting a short while.

On Christmas day Mom and Dad buy snack trays and deli sandwiches. Cyndy, Conner, Cameron, J.D. and myself – often in more than one car – meet Jennifer, her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Kelley, at the grandparents house. This year, Chris’ daughter, Katherine, was able to join us. Rather than have the meal (usually brunch), we go straight to the gift exchange.

Then we all get our stockings from the grandparents, snack a while, and visit. Visiting is the most important part. It is the part that does not and should not change. The people may change slightly from year to year due to life’s circumstances. But the family fellowship does not change.

Our family is one that gets what they need throughout the year. We give gifts to each other all year. Christmas is not about the gifts. It is about celebrating Christ’s birth. And it is also about family – in all it’s facets.

But the one constant between Christmas and New Year’s in our family is the presence of Texas Nibbles. The mix goes quickly around Christmas and then slows down to a steady rate of consumption. The salty after the sweet. Just grab a little and go kind of thing.

I don’t know what Cyndy and I will be watching tonight while waiting on midnight. But I can tell you what we won’t be watching – the countdowns to midnight. I can, however, tell you one thing for certain. We will be eating Texas Nibbles from the bag I have stashed.

Happy New Year! Peace be with you!

I washed dishes two or three times the other day – I lost count. Which, with a family of five – three of whom are teenagers – is not unusual. I have a love-hate relationship with the task of washing dishes. I do not enjoy the task, per se, but it gives me a chance to think. Not surprisingly, no one seems to bother me when I am at the sink. I wash them by hand and use the dishwasher as a draining board.

Be that as it may, a thought occurred to me while I was washing dishes for what I hoped was the last time. I realized I was washing the same dishes for the third time. The same plates, the same glasses, and the same silverware. Over and over. Time after time. Day after day. So on and so on.

Looking back on my life, there have been quite a few things I thought I might be  remembered for doing. I have also thought about what my purpose in life might be. Yet I never actually considered washing the same dishes day after day for years on end to be my toil in life. True, it is not anywhere close to the only thing I do or have ever done in my life. But do I really want to put it on my resume?

Qohelet would say it does not matter. It is all vanity and a chasing after wind anyway. “This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot.” (Eccl. 5:18 NRSV)

So should I try to find enjoyment in washing the dishes? Derive some pleasure from washing wasted condiments from plates and dried milk from bowls? Receive brief satisfaction from having clean dishes – albeit temporarily?

While it made for interesting thoughts during my dishwashing toil, my consternation at continually washing dishes was causing me to miss the point. The New International Version (NIV) says “satisfaction” in place of enjoyment. The New Living Translation (NLT) says “accept their lot in life.” Which I think might be closer to the point Qohelet was making. ;

In verses 13-15, Qohelet laments the fate of those who hoard wealth and find that they still – through circumstances during life and the finality, and pennilessness, of death, end up with nothing. “All their hard work produces nothing – nothing they can take with them.” In verse 19, he states that “whenever God gives people wealth and riches and enables them to enjoy it, to accept their place in the world and to find pleasure in their hard work – all this is God’s gift.” Concluding the chapter in verse 20, “people shouldn’t brood too much over the days of their lives because God gives an answer in their hearts’ joy.” (CEB)

The answer lies, not in my receiving some weird satisfaction from such mundane tasks such as washing dishes, but in enjoying the life that God gave me. Whether pleasure or toil, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to experience either one. Which is a theme Qohelet returned to more than once.

Earlier in Ecclesiastes, in 3 10-11, Qohelet says that “God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed eternity in their hearts, without enabling them to discover what God has done from beginning to end.” He ends the book of Ecclesiastes with “So this is the end of the matter; all has been heard. Worship God and keep God’s commandments because this is what  everyone must do. God will definitely bring every deed to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or bad.”

The fact that I am tired of having to wash the dishes – or any other task which I am required to undertake – is inconsequential. Having faith in God, attempting to live Christ-like to the best of  my ability, and enjoying the life I have been blessed with, both good and bad, is what is important. God will take care of the rest.

Peace be with you.

%d bloggers like this: