From the archives… April, 2002
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area had formed a ‘sister’ relationship with the Trans-Danubian Reformed Churches of Hungary, and when a Hungarian delegation was visiting Bryn Mawr Presbyterian, the CL7 sang for them. That turned into an invitation to tour Hungary and perform six concerts in seven days at churches throughout the western half of the country.
Our hosts were wonderful, the countryside beautiful, the wine plentiful. I came to believe the National Animal of Hungary is the pig, because every meal had pork of some sort – hocks, hams, sausages. Each meal was better than the one before.
We sang for schools as well as for churches, and language proved to be no barrier. I think most everyone in understands a little English, and many have a much better grasp of grammar than me do.
One of our favorite memories is the concert at the school in Papa. We arrived and the large hall was cold and quiet as a tomb. We had met no one at the facility except the janitor who had let us in. We set up the equipment, and changed into our concert clothes. Still, no one. There we were, at five minutes before the concert, sitting in the empty hall, feeling sorry for ourselves, when suddenly a bell rang, the doors burst open and what felt like every teenager in Hungary poured into the place. The main floor filled, the balconies filled, the kids were excited – it was electric. At one point, I remember that John, our guitar/tenor, was aiming his guitar gun-like at the audience as if he was in a hair-metal band; well, a hair-metal band that plays gospel. Greg got interviewed for the local TV news.
All in all, a great trip. I hope we make it back someday!
No matter our intentions each year to head out of town for a weekend in autumn for a planning retreat it’s easier said than done. But the stars are lining up this year and we’ll be heading back to Marion, Iowa, in November. First Presbyterian will be hosting us as they did in 2008.
When we brought out our 2009 CD, Singin’ With The Saints, we included a great song by Terry Smith, called Far Side Banks of Jordan. The song was perhaps most famously done by The Carter Family on the soundtrack for the movie, The Apostle.
To pay our royalties to the author, I went to the registration office and was told I needed to pay directly through the publisher. I went to the publisher and, you can see where this is going, was told I needed to pay through the registration office. I put it on my list of things to do later, and unfortunately forgot about it.
We kicked off our 2015-16 season this afternoon. We put a couple of great new songs into rep, as our sound continues to evolve.
It was great to shake off some of the summer rust and sing for some new friends at The Heathers in Golden Valley.
Our 2014-2015 season recently ended. These last few months have been memorable, and not always for the best of reasons. Despite everything, both the good and the difficult, we are continually reminded that we are blessed.
We had a rare privilege as a group the other week. We got to sing at the bedside of a dear, dying, church member. Edna had grown up in our little church, was now in her late 80s, and had been declining slowly for about 6 years. Her family was gathered around her, expecting the end in a day, a week, maybe two at the most. Continue reading
I had lunch with 4 writers today. 3 already published, the last aspiring to publish soon. Stories — the source from which they spring, the process for grasping them as they emerge, their meanings, and the stories feeding each of us now — filled our time together. The conversation resonated with me for two reasons.
Valentine’s Day was last weekend. I just found some boxes of those little conversation heart candies that I had picked up in mid-January as an impulse purchase, stashed, and promptly forgot about. Too late to hand them out, might as well crack open a box. They weren’t what I remembered.
The thing that baffles me is why doesn’t the NFL set the PSI requirements to maximize offensive performance? The NBA wanted higher scoring games so they introduced a three point shot. Eventually the NCAA followed suit. The NBA wanted power forwards to easily slash through the paint and slamdunk and therefore they made zone defense an “illegal defense.” Want more shots, faster shots? How about a 24 second shot clock? And miracle of miracles, the Major League Baseball is testing a pitch clock this year in triple A. Hey NFL, if 11 psi results in more completions, more touchdowns, then for Lombardi’s sake, make that the rule. Geesh!
But I digress, I love football! Always have. But at the Indiana University School of Music in the 80s, I hung out with a hippie crowd that was way too serious to be swayed by pop culture, pop music or Mozart forbid, sports. Actually Mozart was too Milquetoast for my crowd. We grooved on all things avant garde. My Neanderthal proclivities revealed themselves at Super Bowl XX.
One of our favorite groups, The Fairfield Four, was appearing on A Prairie Home Companion on the first weekend of November 1997. We bought tickets as a group, and went to the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul and watched them.