Tag Archive: Farmers Branch


While Ben Wheeler is not exactly down the street – particularly for me in Farmers Branch – it is a very enjoyable open mic. For one thing, the Forge is usually full when the open mic begins. As a general rule, it’s also a very receptive crowd.

There are usually people who are willing to play along, on cajon, harmonica, and so on. All the performers are good and varied musically. TD Wilt is a jovial host and plays a short set to begin the evening – setting the pace quite nicely.

So pick a Wednesday and head on out. Ben Wheeler is a quaint little country town and the Forge is a local watering hole. You will enjoy the people, the music, and the food. Following is a video TD put together of one of the nights I played.

https://www.facebook.com/guitartud/videos/1726998757594243/

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

jbl-harman-truckI’m on the home stretch – catching up-wise. On September 28, I had the good fortune to play one of my songs for a video in the EON ONE Take – One Song One Take contest from JBL Professional and Harman. I had been picked from a large number of people to receive a slot. I arrived at the Harman truck in the Guitar Center parking lot in Farmers Branch before my required time. I signed the required form and waited my turn.

J.T. – I’m pretty sure that was his name – had me tune and set up, then do a sound check. When the red line came on, I played my newest song at the time – Peace Be With You, which I wrote about the strange year we’re having and the shooting during the protest in downtown Dallas. [A live version will be available soon.] J.T. seemed to like the song. I’m sure he has to be careful lest someone misunderstand. He explained how the contest would go from there.

The tour around the country concludes about the end of October. Voting will take place the first couple of weeks in November and the top ten finalists will be picked and notified. I’m not sure how the grand prize winner will be picked from the finalists, but the grand prize is a trip to LA to record the song at a noted studio.                                                                                                                                                              akg-d5

As I thanked J.T. and left, he handed me an AKG D5 microphone for recording the video and entering the contest. I used the microphone when I hosted the Monday open mic at Angela’s at the Crosswalk a week ago Monday and the mic performed beautifully. A very clear sounding mic without any of the annoying whine or scream on the high end. At $99, it’s a great deal.

Hopefully, I’ll be asking for your help to do whatever I have to do should I be chosen as a finalist. But I’m not holding my breath.

Peace be with you.

Christ Alive Band with JR Byrd 2Christ UMC Farmers Branch hosted the conference-wide Children’s and Youth Volunteer Training Event on Saturday morning, August 13. Amy Ruppersberg, Children’s Director, and David Magallanes, Student Ministries Director, welcomed the volunteers at 8:30 a.m. Amy thanked everyone for volunteering and went over the positions and the schedule. David said a prayer before the group departed to the greeting stations or the narthex for registration and giving directions.

A breakfast table had a variety of pastry options, fruit, and even homemade sausage biscuits. People from churches around the conference arrived to check in or register at 9 a.m. Worship began in the sanctuary at 9:15 with the Christ Alive Band. The keynote speaker was Joe Stobaugh, Executive Minister of Worship and Arts at Grace Avenue UMC in Frisco.

Stobaugh began by playing a praise song on ukulele, then had the congregation to join Joe Stobaugh on ukulelehim in singing. He is the leader of the ukulele choir at Grace Avenue. Joe is also a very outgoing and affable man and a practiced speaker. He shared a nice – and personal – story of not being interested at all in singing when he was growing up. A mentor saw some potential in him and talked him into playing guitar in the band, even offering to give him a very nice guitar for one dollar. Stobaugh said he could not do that. To which his mentor said he would give it to him for free with two conditions. One, he would only play music for God on the guitar. Two, when the time came, he would pass it on to another youth. Joe still has the guitar and plays it. When the time comes he will pass it on as agreed. An excellent example of the effect a volunteer can have on children and youth.

Beth McClure

Beth McClure

Appreciating and Equipping Your Volunteers was facilitated by the Children’s Minister at Grace Avenue UMC, Kristen Lane. She discussed tools of the trade and giving volunteers what they need and more. Kristen was a lively and vibrant speaker, as was Beth McClure. Beth led the Your Classroom is God’s Classroom workshop. She is the Director of the Early Development Program at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton. McClure demonstrated the way she motivated the children to behave by using little “jingles” that let the children know was coming next.

Kelly Carpenter of the Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministry of the North Texas

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Conference, led a roundtable for Children’s Ministry in the first session and Youth Ministry in the second session. The round tables were discussions about life, ministry, balance, programming, and anything needing to be discussed. Some good ideas were shared and a few people were able to get some things off their chest as to some effects of volunteering.

Morgan Stafford

Morgan Stafford

In the second session, which pertained to youth, Morgan Stafford led the workshop on The Adventure of Youth Mentoring. As Executive Director at Christ’s Foundry, Stafford discussed the joys and challenges of youth mentoring. Bill Mauldin, Director of Family Ministries at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton, talked to volunteers about applying principles from the book “Good to Great” to youth programs.

 

Working together to create a smooth handoff between Children’s and Youth Ministry was

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

the subject of The Phases of Children’s and Youth Ministry. Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes are well positioned to tackle the subject. For one thing, they talk often and are working toward that smooth handoff with the children at Christ UMC. The transition from one phase of life to another can be a lot for some children to absorb all at once. Knowing the youth director personally while still in elementary school goes a long way toward easing the effect of growing up.

Kenny Dickson

Kenny Dickson

Pastor Kenny Dickson of Christ UMC, along with members Jerry Russell and Darren Gardner, presented the Taking It To the Streets session. Dickson explained how the title to a Doobie Brothers song became the church’s theme for the year. Which means intentionally going beyond the walls of the church into the community and actually becoming involved, not just simply being a presence. Going back to thinking of the church as the people, not just the physical building. Activities were planned with just that interaction with the community in mind. From the Easter egg hunt in a local park, to swim nights at the community pool, and delivering food to elementary children as part of Sack Summer Hunger. Mission, fellowship, and worship opportunities with the community are relatively endless. There is always a new need, a new soul to be saved, or new crises to help someone deal with. And all outside of the church building.

After the final sessions, everyone gathered in the gym for lunch. Which consisted of box Lunch 2lunches from Jason’s Deli provided by the North Texas Conference. Dot Stewart of CUMC helped set up the tables for lunch, as well as the breakfast table, and served drinks at both. Attendees and presenters alike gathered to go over what they had learned, new ideas they came up with, and general church and conference news.

Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes should be commended for planning the training event. The presenters should be commended for passing along the knowledge they have acquired through practical application. Amy and David thanked the volunteers from Christ UMC who helped the morning move along smoothly. The attendees should be appreciated for taking time out of their weekend to learn how to more effectively serve the children and youth. And all volunteers everywhere need to be thanked and appreciated. Since biblical times, when faithful volunteers kept house churches alive, volunteers are still keeping churches alive through ministry and mission – inside and outside of the church building.

Peace be with you.

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.

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.

Dan at WildflowerI was running late for the Wildflower Arts and Music Festival last Sunday. My scheduled time at the DSA booth by the Courtyard Stage was 4 – 6 p.m. I was to play at 5:30. At 2 p.m., I had to set up the sound for Cat McGee at Mercy Wine Bar where she would play a show at 7 p.m. Then I had to take my son to work. A friend, Raquel Lindemann, said she would cover for me at the booth until I got there. I finally found the yellow tag parking lot. It was in the blue parking garage – go figure.

I entered the festival and proceeded to look for the Courtyard Stage. It is easy to become disoriented in a sea of white booths. I was standing in an intersection of lines of white booths, deciding in which direction I should turn. Suddenly, a big bearded man grabbed me by the shoulders.

“Are you Dan Roark?”

“Yes,” I nodded, searching his face to figure out who he was.

“I’m John Welch. Do you remember me?”

“John, of course I do,” I replied, putting my guitar down to shake his hand. I recognized him from what little I could of his face around his eyes. There’s more than one reason I look people in the eyes when I talk to them.

To cut a rambling conversation short, he asked how we knew each other. It didn’t take but a minute to remember our mutual friend Jim Salerno, who played bongos with me for a few years. I told him I was playing at 5:30 and had to leave. He was still amazed we’d run into each other. We hadn’t seen each other for about thirty-five years. I still wasn’t where I was supposed to be. And it was getting later by the second.

I finally got good directions from someone. I was turning the corner to my left when someone grabbed my left arm. My mind was reeling at this point.

“Dan Roark?”

“Yes,” I nodded. It was getting to be a habit.

“Randy Box, remember me?”

“Absolutely, Randy, how are you doing?” I had recognized him instantly. We talked for just a minute. I told him I was playing at 5:30 and he also said he would try to come listen to me. We hadn’t seen each other in forty-two years.

I finally made it to the booth. I thanked Raquel, and took my place at the booth. Mr. Troll who

Mr. Troll

Mr. Troll

was scheduled to play at 5, started a little early because there was a lull in the lineup. I followed Troll and closed out the stage for 2016. The videos that Harry Hewlett – who also ran sound for the weekend – took of my show can be found on my youtube channel.

After I finished my set, Troll and I walked to the parking garage. I loaded up my guitar and bag and headed for Mercy Wine Bar. Cat’s show was great. The sound was better for her second set. It had been a long day and for some reason, I had trouble with her vocals. I reset everything between sets and it worked out okay. I say all that because, despite any problems I may have had with the sound, Cat’s performance was relatively flawless.

Cat McGee

Cat McGee

You can hear Cat and myself, along with John Mason, at the Sack Summer Hunger Concert on June 5th from 5-6:30 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. Tickets are $20 with $12 going directly to Metrocrest Social Services and the Sack Summer Hunger program. The SSH program distributes food to children who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year, but don’t get anything during the summer.

Peace be with you.

Dan at MichaelsIt’s odd how things turn out. You can attribute it to it being a small world, but that does not explain the timing of the incident. God has a hand in it, but he has a lot of things to deal with more important than a chance meeting. Then again, sometimes God’s hand is enough. Be that as it may, these instances are enjoyable to be part of. Reinforces your faith, as it were.

My first night playing at Michael’s Sports Grill on Josey in Farmers Branch, I was hoping someone would come. It had been raining for a couple of days. I was happy to see a friend from church walk in the door. It was Marthann Daft – the purple lady to those who know her (and some who don’t, come to think about it).

Marthann sat at the bar and struck up a conversation with a couple while I was playing. [I’ve been playing long enough to realize that – as long as you play well – they hear you and appreciate you.] Anyway, it turns out that the woman was not only in dentistry – as Marthann has been for decades – but she also knew Marthann’s son, David, who has not been with us for quite some time. Marthann felt as though she had a momentary time with David while connecting with part of his past. I know that through experience, but that is another post.

On another night when I was playing at Michael’s, my daughter, Jennifer, came to hear me. She also sat at the bar. And, again, a couple came in and sat at the bar – Justin and Monica Blackburn. After my last set, Justin helped me get everything in my car except my guitar. Then he and Monica bought me a beer while we talked for a while.

If you recognized the last name and have ever put Blackburn’s preserves, jellies, etc., on your toast, Justin is a part of that family. TJ Blackburn Syrup Company, Inc. is located in Jefferson, Texas. My wife, Cyndy,s, family on her mother’s side is from Jefferson. We own the part of the family land that her mother left her. Justin and I spent time talking about Jefferson before I left.

We all know it’s a small world. Come see me at Michael’s Grill (Fridays and Saturdays 7 – 9 p.m.) – or any of my shows – and you never know who you might run into. At the very least, we can run into each other. That works for me.

Peace be with you.

Pastor Cassie Wade introducing me

Pastor Cassie Wade introducing me

I would like to thank the congregation of Jacksboro FUMC for their gracious welcome, and their generosity with the love offering at my show. They invited Cyndy and I to worship with them at the service, and I sang Follow the Angels for the offertory and played on the two closing hymns. Following the service, Pastor Cassie Wade and her husband, Kelly, served lunch at the parsonage for the four of us, and Karlene Boucher, the Choir Director. We had a nice visit over a lunch of hamburgers and potato salad, with strawberries, angel food cake, and whipped cream for dessert.

Cyndy and I have known Cassie and Kelly for years. Among other things, it was a day of Dan Roark playing in worship service 1-31-'16interesting facts and occurrences. My family lived on Hollandale Avenue in Wichita Falls in the late ‘60s. It turns out that Karlene Boucher lives on Hollandale – and has for many years -although after we lived there. She drives down on Wednesdays and Sundays to Jacksboro.

But wait, there’s more. While we were in the worship service, our granddaughter, Kelley, was sitting with the Wade’s daughter, Amber, and her daughter (the Wade’s granddaughter – if you’re keeping score), at our home church, Christ UMC, Farmers Branch. Our son, Cameron, was keeping an eye on Kelley from the A/V booth. Interesting, is it not?

Dan Roark show at FUMC 1-31-'16 fMy show was from 3-4 p.m. The audience was very receptive and attentive. It made performing for them all that much more enjoyable. A number of them had very kind words after the show. I will share a video of some of the show when it’s complete.

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

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