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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Last SHHH of 2013

This quote is, once again, ringing true for me.  As I'm listening to what's going on around me, listening to what's inside of me, and sensing what my next action is, I'm aware of how adaptable life is when we're paying attention. 

And what I'm attending to on the birthing threshold of November 2013 is a cornucopia of goodness in a variety of fronts in my life. Two fulfilling jobs, one amazing hospice choir, plus a blossoming relationship. Life is full, indeed. 

Overflowing, in fact. I have a few art projects waiting in the wings, a final report to write, book reviews to complete, and a certification course to wrap up.  A financial analyst might say I'm to the point of diminishing returns because I'm too tired to get around to these things. Wouldn't you want to hang out with your honey after a long day in the library/church/insert your occupation here? 

So, Sing Heavenly Harmony Home (SHHH) in the Library is going on hiatus. After the November 3 sing at Rondo, SHHH is hibernating. 

Or what is it that butterflies do? Emerge from the cocoon completely transformed from the previous state of being.  This is most likely. 

So stay tuned. Not only to what's going on at Points of Light Music, but to your own life and the music around you. Are you composing by ear, feeling, and instinct? It can be unknown and scary. But you don't have to be alone.  I'll be doing my own composing and discerning and will share it here. 

Until we sing together, beit on Sunday or some other blessed day. 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Upcoming singing events: September 2013

There's lots of singing opportunities available.  Here's my recommendations for the month!  -Conie
Sun, Sept 8, 4-6p: Singing in the Light with Barbara McAfee. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Minneapolis.  Suggested donation of $10-20, but please don't let money keep you away!  More details here

Sun, Sept 15, 2-4p: Sing Heavenly Harmony Home (SHHH!) in the Library. Rondo Community Library, St. Paul. NOTE: this is during Open Streets St Paul so University Avenue will be closed between Hamline and Marion Avenues.  The library is open, but the parking ramp will be inaccessible.  Plan to park on the surrounding streets ... Or ride your bike or walk and be part of open streets before and after.  See more sing details here.

Sat, Sept 21, 9a-1p: Sacred Harp Convention.  The Landing - Minnesota River Heritage Park, Shakopee. This is the first morning of a two day gathering of shape note singers.  I plan to attend this portion of it and hope you will try it out with me!  Learn more about this annual event, other weekly events in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, and the basics of this unique American singing tradition made famous in the movie Cold Mountain at http://www.mnfasola.org/

Sun, Sept 29, 12n-1p: Dances of Universal Peace  (DUP)focusing on the Aramaic Lord's Prayer. Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Saint Paul. The Dances are simple circle dances while chanting the sacred words from the world's religious traditions. Lead by John Hakem Bushnell, this monthly series will examine  the 8 lines of Christianity's widely recognized Lord's Prayer in the language of Aramaic.  This language was commonly spoken during the time Jesus was alive and has many layers of meaning. Dive in with us. Come with open eyes to the various possibilities of Jesus' words.  Watch this space for details on this event and other DUP events.

Upcoming October events:
- Sun, 10/6, 2-4p - SHHH in the Library
- Sat, 10/12, 7p - MN Community Sings
- Sun, 10/20, 12n-1p - DUP-Aramaic Lord's Prayer
- Sun, 10/20, 4-6p - Singing in the Light

Saturday, August 3, 2013

11th hour singing reminder

Just a reminder! Sing Heavenly Harmony Home (SHHH!) in the Library convenes at Rondo Library at 2 pm tomorrow (Sun, Aug 4, 2013). 

Hope to see you there!  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

SHHH! Is that the sound of fireworks about to pop?

Tonight is a celebratory observance of rebellious colonists breaking free from monarchy rule. The party includes food, friends and family, and fireworks fueled with fabulous patriotic songs. Will your music be piped in or live?  If its the former I hope your finding some time to make some live sounds!

Like on Sunday. Join me and others at Rondo library from 2-4p to sing songs of rebellious patriots from then and now (among other sounds). We'll create fireworks that won't damage your hearing. We'll share time and space with others that creates deeper meaning without widening our waistlines. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Encouraging new seeds to be sown

Due to social media barriers, I'm reposting my response to a Facebook conversation on the Progressive Christian Artists Network (PCAN) about Brian McLaren's Open Letter to Worship Leaders for non-Facebook folks. 

I hear two challenges for the pcan community: One is to get the songs written by this community out to more people. The other is how can we help foster more song writing, creative music and worship making? 

  • Can we host concerts in our local communities with a discussion component?
  • Would you be willing to share the songs (and their sources) you use on a Sunday or season?
  • How about an annual songwriting challenge?
  • Or something really radical, like giving songs (scores and audio) away? I appreciate intellectual property rights for acknowledging the source and giving the owner some rights. I think this system is now too cumbersome and limits the spread of good songs or liturgy. What would Jesus do to spread good songs?
The overall conversation focuses on the PR/marketing problem that all of Progressive Christianity seems to have. 

So ... what do you hear in Brian McLaren's words?  Do you sense other challenges?  And what role can you play in this?  (cuz we all want to enjoy some sunshine!)

In a stroke of coincidence or providence, The Gospel Coalition posted this tongue in cheek article about How to Discourage Artists in Church

For you clergy and lay folks in church leadership, where do you see yourself or your church doing good work?  How would you like to take one little step of change (cuz we want to create something sustainable longterm!)

The floor is open...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

SHHH! Need to escape a dark and rainy month?

Has it been a dark and dreary month for you? 

You and me both! 

Let's get together and sing songs to lighten our souls!  Here's the details: 
See you there! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hamba Nathi - Come walk with us the journey is long

I don't often get the opportunity to share the story about a song or go in-depth about it.  Sound like a good blog topic?  I think so too!

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to lead some songs for Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light's Prayer Circle after a rally at the Capitol.  The organizer attends the church I work at (Hi Julia!) and already had ideas of what songs and vibe she wanted to create.  This was on some short notice, so we agreed on songs me and my amazing guitarist and right hand man, Jim, already knew.  Julia promised to make song sheets and away we go. 

Cut to the prayer circle.

After listening to poetry, singing prayers from Jewish and Christian traditions, and taking part in a loving kindness Buddhist meditation, we are at the point of sending ourselves out into the world.  Julia selected a song from South Africa, Hamba Nathi, whose catchy rhythm and simple melody have a way of imprinting itself on people's hearts & souls that they find themselves singing or humming it days later. 

I started with having people echo the Xhosa words in short phrases after me.  As I'm about to tell them about a new verse we made up for the day ("Climate justice for all living things" - you're welcome), someone asks what the translation is.  In that moment, I couldn't remember if the English verses on their piece of paper is a close translation or something completely different, so I just affirmed it was the poetic translation of the first English verse:  Come walk with us the journey is long.  Cross fingers and toes and promise to check when I get home (and thank you for blogging to correct my mistakes and ask forgiveness!). 

I am here to tell you it is a poetic translation!  (Phew!)

Check out a little bit of the song here

This gave me an opportunity to learn a little about the translator and song pollinator, Anders Nyberg.  Please checkout this Swedish conductor's mission of bridging one of the most Northern countries with the world's most Southern.  It is inspiring to me.  You may recognize one of his songs.  "Freedom is coming" is one from my college years.  It's another amazing catchy tune full of hope that will carry you through a number of days.  Do watch the YouTube video at the end of the page (after listening to the embedded songtrack) for a performance with great hand and foot choreography.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May we sing together?

Consider this your invite to the May 5 Sing Heavenly Harmony Home (SHHH!) in the Library event. 

More details here:  http://pointsoflightmusic.blogspot.com/p/sing-heavenly-harmony-shh-in-library.html

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Singing in April showers!

The time to sing in April's showers is around the corner!

Join me and other good folks to sing songs about water, spring, growth, hopefulness, life's triumph over death, and maybe a little foolishness on Sunday, April 7, 2013, from 2-4 p.m. at Rondo Library back in their Youth Programming Room.  Click here for more details about Sing Heavenly Harmony Home (SHHH!) in the Library.

Bring a song to share if you like. A heart and voice open to beautiful and wild sounds is a must. Inviting someone to experience this with is recommended!

See you soon to sing into spring!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Bring March in with SHHH...

Do you want to bring March in like a lamb or like a lion?

How about both?

Sing Heavenly Harmony Home is this Sunday and you are invited to come with friends and sing like lambs and lions.  Here's the details: 

Where: Youth Services Program Room of Rondo Community Library,
461 Dale St N, St. Paul, MN 55103 (map)
When: Sunday, March 3, 2013, 2-4 p.m.
Why: Because singing is heavenly. Creating harmony makes us whole. Being together brings us home.

SHHH! is a place to experience community singing in the aural tradition. Through echo, call and response, and a lot of repetition, we embed new tunes into our voices, bodies, and souls and create harmonies together that we might not have imagined on our own.

Come if you want to sing ...

  • ... just for the fun of it.
  • ... If you are interested in Grace Notes, the hospice choir, attending SHHH! gives you a small idea of what our rehearsal process is like.
  • ... If you are interested in the "Music that Makes Community" movement in the church (here's a blog post on it), you'll find a community to practice leading and learn new songs.
  • ... If you are interested in empowering people to tell their story through song and Arts Responding to Foreclosure, you'll find others finding their voice and telling their story.
Bring your voice and yourself, water, a heart open to experience joy and compassion, and if you're so inclined, a song to share with everyone else. All are welcome (yup, even you who have been told not to sing). Come.

Take a tour with Grace Notes

Have you ever wondered what a Grace Notes hospice choir sing looks like?  Follow us on this video tour.

Intrigued? We'd love to get to know you. Read more about us at the Grace Notes link and contact us at PointsOfLightMusic@gmail.com.

Many thanks to Matt Peiken for the video work and Springboard for the Arts for their fiscal sponsorship of Grace Notes. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

February SHHH! in the Library

The first Sunday of February is just around the corner! 

Come and Sing Heavenly Harmony Home, a.k.a. SHHH! in the Library! 

Where:  Youth Services Program Room of Rondo Community Library,
461 Dale St N, St. Paul, MN 55103 (map)
When:  Sunday, February 3, 2013, 2-4 p.m.
Why:  Because singing is heavenly.  Creating harmony makes us whole.  Being together brings us home. 

Let's make music jump off the walls and come alive!
Bring your voice and yourself, water, and a heart open to experience joy and compassion.  All are welcome (yup, even you who have been told not to sing).  Come.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Eat, dance, and pray together

I engage in a number of different spiritual practices.  I write morning pages (though rarely in the morning), sit for centering prayer, walk labyrinths (especially in the snow), sing chants with my shruti box (though not usually Gregorian or Anglican), and dance. 

I flit from one to another almost daily depending on my mood, anxiety level, ability to focus, need to move, available time, and the brain rats in my head.  The goal is always to feel closer to God and have a greater sense of peace.  Sometimes that means letting the brain rats have their say.  Most of the time it is letting myself be absorbed enough in the activity to lose the distinction of my separate self and to connect with my body, spirit, still small voice, nature, or the wholeness createdin community. 

It is my hope to write about each of the spiritual practices I groove to.  This first reflection will be about the Dances of Universal Peace. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Grace Notes on the radio!

In the Spring of 2012, a friend of mine asked me if he could spotlight Grace Notes as one of the KFAI radio's MinneCulture 10,000 Fresh Voices project.  How could I object?

Listen to it here

Thank you so much Will for highlighting Grace Notes!  Will Hale does great work with children's music.  Check out Tadpole Parade at http://www.willhale.com/

The story initially aired on March 26, 2012 and is archived at the Ampers website. Ampers is a collective of 15 independent radio stations in Minnesota. While you're at it check out all the other cool MinneCulture stories!