Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Things are happening!

I suppose that's a rather obvious statement, isn't it? Right now, today, I think I'm using it as a bit of an excuse as to why you haven't heard from me in such a long time.

Here in Winnipeg, winter (or winter-like weather), is our longest running season pretty much every year. This year we've broken records not for coldest temperatures, but for how long it has been cold. We still haven't had a night that stayed above freezing and according to my little gardening diary, that's at least 2-3 weeks later than usual.We still have some snow on the ground with flurries forecast for tomorrow.  All this tends to be a little depressing. Everyone I know is sick and tired of winter. In fact, if someone told me they wanted more of this, I think I'd haul off and swat them!
Snow-covered field in February, about a 10 minute walk from home

I tend to be a winter hibernator and apparently, this blog was hibernating right along with me. It's time to get active again. In the last couple weeks the push has been on to get ready for some upcoming concerts and guest musician spots. These will mark the first time since my new CD launch back in November that I'll have both recordings for sale.  That in itself will be a bit of an adventure as I never really know how many to bring with me on such a trip. Beyond that sort of detail, I'm really looking forward to meeting people, seeing a part of Toronto I don't think I've ever been to before (the Beaches area) and going back to Ottawa for the first time in almost 30 years.  Where do the years go?

I often think of Natalie Sleeth's song "In the bulb there is a flower" while waiting for spring. You can read the full text at the Hope Publishing site, but here is a brief quote:

In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Out with the old...

The end of one year and the beginning of another is always a time of reflection for me.  There have been years when I found myself wallowing in a bit of self-pity at things that were not accomplished but such was not the case at the end of 2012.  Instead, I realized that a dream had been seen through to completion - that of launching a second recording out into the world. 

One thing that will definitely be different is that the pile of books full of Christmas arrangements, the pile that has been sitting on my Petrof since about November 2011, will now be put back on the shelf.  That feels both very good and very odd at the same time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

All Saints

A short, and hopefully thought provoking post about All Saints Day which we observed on November 4 at St. Andrew's. I've posted previously (click here or here) about some of the things I found as I was going through the music filing cabinets last winter.  Well, there was another bulletin tucked away in one of those drawers dated October 30, 1977 and I've been waiting to write about it until now.

The congregation was actually observing Reformation Sunday (hymn 86 - A mighty fortress is our God) and celebrating the baptism of 4 children (hymn 338 - A little child the Saviour came). The service ended with hymn 307 - The church's one foundation, a fitting close to a service with a reformation emphasis.  They were using The Book of Praise, 1972 edition.

The reason I've been saving this post is that the bulletin also announced to the congregation the deaths of 2 parishioners.  Their names and addresses were given followed by this sentence:  "They now strengthen our ties with the Community of Saints."

That one little sentence has been echoing in my mind ever since. What a wonderful way to remember those believers who have gone on before us into eternity.

One of my favourite hymns is "For all the saints" - sung to SINE NOMINE.  Here is a video link to a performance of Canadian Denis Bedard's variations on that tune.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What I've been up to...

Well, my readers, you haven't heard much from me in quite awhile. The photo tells part of the story: I've been busy with copyright licensing and other paperwork for the new CD. In addition, the design, layout and content for the liner notes and traycard (back of the CD case) had to be written, revised, edited and submitted to the manufacturer.

In red on a paper in the photo to the left you see "Book 1st Pres".  The biggest highlights of my musical career have been at First Presbyterian Church here in Winnipeg.  I gave my grad recital there on April 2, 1981 on the wonderful Beckerath pipe organ. Twenty-five years later, on April 2, 2006 I released my first CD, Notes of Faith. The launch celebration concert was also at First Church.  Once again I'll be playing in this lovely space to launch my new CD. The details are below.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Hymn Olympics

My thoughts on comparing the recent Olympic games with hymn singing and my experiences at "The Meeting Place" conference in July can be read by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

But what will it look like?

I have always loved making puzzles.  One of my early memories is just that:  making puzzles on the living room floor in Meaford, Ontario.  I indulge this 'obsession' about 2 or 3 times a year.  I'm calling it an obsession because once I start a puzzle, I have a hard time doing anything else until it's finished.  There have been a few puzzles over the years that were really tough.  I remember, in college, working on one that was all yellow with a small Dole banana sticker image in one area.  Even though it was a group endeavour, it took quite awhile, as I recall.

One day last week I stopped in at the Salvation Army thrift store.  I think I went in to look for a lamp, but I came out with a puzzle!  You may have guessed from the photo that this is a Clue puzzle which means there is a brief story included giving the facts of a murder.  All the characters from the board game play a part, and the puzzle, once completed, is supposed to give me the clue I need to solve the mystery.  There's a catch though.  There is no picture to follow to make the puzzle - just the challenge this girl needs!

By now you may be wondering how this has any connection to the conference I recently attended. In my previous post I made reference to some of the resources I acquired.  What I didn't mention is that I sang 54 hymns and songs I had never seen or heard before.  I sang 15-20 that I either knew, thought I had sung before or just the text was new (used with a familiar tune).  In trying to think through what might be appropriate and/or practical to use, I feel a little (actually a lot) as if I'm trying to create a new picture without knowing what that picture will actually look like.  It's not impossible, but it will take awhile.  As one song or idea gains credibility, another seems less useful and is set aside. 

Will a clear, complete picture ever emerge?  I hope not - because that would mean that worship, at least musically, is stagnant - not moving forward, just sitting there, finished and in the past.  And that, my reader friends, would be sad.

What are you going to try in worship in order to create a new picture?