Wednesday, July 30, 2008

getting better

Just submitted all of the various forms and fees for the P2 Visa application (yes, 120 days in advance) for the Ecumenical Stewardship Council event in Florida in December. Quite a process (as long-time readers might remember from the last time I went through it)... but it seems I'm actually getter better at it... it took all of 10 minutes, this time, for Lidia (the Musicians Union Artist Immigration person) to look it over, pronounce it fine, and declare that it'll soon be sent off for the various US authorities (Department of Homeland Security) to do their thing...

In fact, that went so well, I may now have the nerve to give it another go in time for a bit of a US tour in the winter or spring... although I know I shouldn't be counting my chickens before their visa applications are approved... (that's a mangled metaphor and a pathetic attempt at humour, by the way... not an indication that the US Department of Agriculture also needs to get involved with this...)


Thursday, July 24, 2008

a growing circle

It's really neat to see, after 5 years of developing this "alternative economic model for the arts" and two years of my "CSM" (Community Supported Music initiative) being "up and running," that the "membership" circle continues to grow.

In fact, there's also a growing circle of folks that are excited enough about this approach that articles are beginning to appear in the press and on the web. (I'll try to remember to post more links as other articles appear.) It's not just me articulating this vision anymore... and it's especially cool when I get to learn more about this approach and how it functions by reading somebody else who reflects on it and recommends it... as in this blog post that I found this morning (by an anonymous writer that I THINK I recognize... but I'm not sure...)

And not only that - it's exciting to see still others picking up on these ideas and developing their own "community supported music" and "community supported art" initiatives. Have a look at the new "Community Supported Arts" website, and you can link to various folks in what looks to be an emerging network of artists of various kinds seeking to pursue our vocations - and connect/partner with our communities - in an "alternative" kind of way that can be, we hope, viable and sustainable (personally, relationally, ecologically, spiritually, artistically, economically) over the long term.

Looking forward to seeing how this all continues to unfold...

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

meeting the maker

As you can see, I'm on my summer blogging schedule ("now-and-then" rather than "once-per-week").

Just got back from a VERY full and intense and good week in Winnipeg, where Marilyn Houser Hamm and I led singing at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly and at the MCCanada/MCUSA "People's Summit For Faithful Living." What a rich time of worship and connecting and re-connecting with brothers and sisters and co-conspirators from all over the place... My only regret is that I wasn't able to spend more time connecting with people and attending the different "discernment" and "learning track" times, as my days were so full with leading worship (morning and evening with the adults, and with the Children's Assembly in between), and then preparing for the next one... and occasionally sleeping...

Along the way I got to re-connect with Tom and Christine Sine, Arlyn, Darryl (finally got to hear Kim and Darryl perform together live!), Jonathan, Charleen and Kendall, the House of Doc folks (got to make music with them too - I'll never forget that Samba during communion with Rebecca and Dan and Jesse on upright bass, with Myron going nuts on all those Brazilian drums... imagine if we actually had time to rehearse...), the gang from Douglas and the puppets from Home St. during the Children's Assembly, Raquel from the Baptist churches of Chile, and on and on and on it goes. Not to mention, of course, some time with Mom and Dad (thanks SO much!!) and my brother Derek, whose bang-up job on the Deuteronomy Bible studies and whose climactic ball-toss dunking dear old dad were among the significant happenings that I had to miss but heard a lot about from others.

God is at work, and I'm so grateful for these times when I can catch a glimpse of just how prolific and virtuosic that work is. Even if it sometimes feels like drinking from a fire hose.

And what a joy to be back home again, to spend more time with Julie and Matthew (camping soon - hooray!), to see how the tomoatoes have grown (talk about prolific!) and eat fresh-from-the-garden every day, to be looking to the future with excitement and anticipation...

And in the delayed-gratification department, I left my guitar in Manitoba for a date with its maker, Phil Campbell-Enns, who will be installing a pick-up that he claims sounds "HUGE." Which leaves me with my hack-around-the-campfire guitar for the summer... maybe it's time to pick up the fiddle again...

Among my various songs that we used throughout the week, I thought a few were going to be posted on the MCCanada website, but I haven't been able to find them... I'll try to post a link if and when I find one... especially to "Keep These Words" which we used as a "theme song" for the Summit... I'm thinking it may in fact make a good title track for the next CD...

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