Music is language. When I was young, in the evenings, after she thought my sisters and I were asleep, my mother would often sit at the piano and play for hours. I would drift in and out of consciousness, aware that I was being bathed in melody and song. You might say – music is my mother-tongue.
Storytelling is language as well; unique to itself. But more than the mere sequence of words to communicate bits of information, deeper truths are often embedded in a story. My father is a storyteller, and in response to thoughtful questions he will more likely default to a story than a proposition or a fact. If music is my mother-tongue, storytelling is my father-tongue.
Song and story, as art, are tremendous vehicles for truth-telling, meaning making and healing. I have dedicated my life to these pursuits, and this I have not done casually. In these days of information overload, clashing worldviews and fragmented families and communities, many are understandably cynical of jingoistic slogans and solutions. But the language of art can still grace us with access to the truth, goodness and beauty of God that energizes hope and provides indications of how we might best move forward.
The difficulty, of course, is that art rarely pays for itself and my work is no exception. It’s been 20 years, 15 albums, 4 songbooks, 3 concert videos and over 1500 performances worldwide (including 23 symphony performances) since I first realized my music didn’t have the mass-market appeal necessary to attract the support of the major record companies – that I would have to go it alone. But of course I haven’t been alone. Many friends and supporters have contributed time and resources to help me pursue this vocation. I needed the larger community at the beginning, and I need it now. The costs of recording, promotion, travel and infrastructure to support this work are steadily increasing while factors like the recession, internet piracy etc, have driven retail prices down – a reality that has made life difficult for small boutique companies like mine. This is one of the many struggles we face. The truth is that in this work, sales only provide about 60% of the revenues I need to continue to produce the kind of music and events you’ve come to expect from me. Professional development is costly, time for study, growth and rest – it all adds up.
I could use help “carrying some of the bags”.
Every time I get to travel somewhere exotic, I inevitably get a flood of comments from friends who ask, “do you need help carrying the bags?” Well… the answer is yes, I do. There are big bags and small ones. If you could pick up one for me that would be awesome.
Already, the next few years are full. Happily, after a rather long writer’s bloc, I have new songs to sing and am planning a new CD of original music for the fall of 2010. Of course, there is a full schedule of concerts already being planned, (I typically tour about 120 days a year). As well, there is a book in the works. At least one; a collection of stories and experiences tentatively called “Each Rare Moment,” and quite possibly, a book of reflections on the Psalms.
Also, my staff and I are working hard to take the “symphony experience” to many new cities in the U.S. and in Canada. Currently we are developing a Symphonic Easter Concert that I am ecstatic about. This particular event (Symphony) has been a gift I just didn’t see coming, but one which has the potential to help folks experience grandeur and majesty in a way that connects them to the ultimate source of such things. It’s been an incredible privilege to do this work and I hope to extend the experience far and wide.
So there you go. This is the time of year when people are starting to consider where they might allocate extra funds to support projects and causes that connect to their own passions. If my work is in line with those passions, please consider joining my Circle of Support. One-time gifts are wonderful – monthly commitments are better yet, as they enable us to budget with confidence.
For information about how to join my Circle of Support, please go to the Support Page of my website HERE. 100% of all donations go directly to my work and are fully tax-deductible due to the partnership we have with IncarNATION Ministries. (To read a message from David Jennings, president of IncarNATION, click HERE.)
Thanks for reading this. I do appreciate the gift of your time, consideration and prayer.