There are so many things to reflect on daily, but today is December 31st and I’m grateful to so many for so so much, that the only way to tell you is to show you! So, here I go, running barefoot through places, people, and groups that have had a profound effect on me in all the ways. Check out the links, they might feed you too!
First things first: I’m still working on The Big Chants Project, a recording of many of my larger tunes, with Ike Sturm and jazz quintet from St. Peter’s, Citicorp, Mollie Nichols and the choirs of Church of the Heavenly Rest, all in NYC. We haven’t nearly met our fundraising goal, but stay tuned for a listen to a tune or two – coming soon – I hope you’ll be as pleased as we are! If you’d like to help finish the project, just click here. Deep thanks to all who’ve already supported us!
The Hymn Society’s new Center for Congregational Song is up and running. Brian Hehn is the director, and he invited me to lead opening and closing worship for the launch party in Dallas. I asked what he’d like, and he said “Do whatever you want!” So we sang together in ways that moved many in surprising ways. Yay! I found myself sitting around tables with famous composers, people I thought I’d NEVER meet. Life’s funny like that, and I’m deeply grateful to Brian, Dee, and John Thornburg. The link will take you to the blog post about the event.
Music That Makes Community is a group I’ve been working with since their first Composer’s Retreat in 2005. This year I was asked to join the staff for a workshop in Cincinnati, OH, and was able to sing with some of my favorite people and learn some great new tunes. Go to their site and check out the amazing resources, both people and songs.
I adore Not-So-Churchy in NY, and have been pleased to be invited to share musician duties a couple of times this past year! Mieke Vandersall and all the people are growing a beautiful community. To be able to sing and play with Jake, Ike, Melissa, and Paul is big fun.
Traveling was big this year; Mercy By-the-Sea in CT, Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center in MA, all over the US – NM, TX, NC, NY, two long-ish trips to CA, where I led singing at two diocesan conventions, a Fresh Start morning for new clergy in charge at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, co-wrote chants for the streets at St. Aidan’s, workshops in Sacramento, Woodland, and Albany, sang in St. Helena, and Concord, and hiked at Mt. Tamalpais. I also spent a month as Prayer Resident in Healdsburg, and learned about wildfires and the Calfire App as I drove through so many devastated towns filled with people of incredible resilience.
A chance meeting with Colleen Cannon at the beautiful Bishop’s Ranch introduced me to Women’s Quest. Colleen is an incredibly inspiring human; more about her in a separate post, but suffice it to say that I’ve got a new healthy regimen of hiking, biking, and the gym, and it’s largely because of her and the holy spirit.
To all of you who have made my travels joyful and taken such good care of me (especially Aunt Rose, Doug and Ken, Joni and Jim) I bow in deep thanks for your love, care, and friendship! To those new friends, thank you for opening your hearts and homes, especially Aaron and Brooke, Cass, Tom Pavlechko, Fr. Ray East, Jonathan Dimmock, Gloria Gaither, Terri Hobart, Anne Clarke, Amy Denney-Zuniga, Diane Rhoades, Posy Jackson, and so many more.
And finally, to all the people at North Shore University Hospital, who took such great care of me in late August, and Alefiya and Dr. Xie – I cannot thank you enough for teaching me to heal myself. Really, I can’t. It takes a giant freaking village!
God bless each and every one of you. May the new year bring you joyful experiences, growth like you haven’t yet imagined, and the necessary support to make it through absolutely anything.
Keep growing in love and shinin’ like the sun,