Archive for February, 2015

We’re wrapped!

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015
The kids singing backing vocals

The kids singing backing vocals

The show choir kids after recording - we paid them in pizza!

The show choir kids after recording – we paid them in pizza!

The engineer, Keith, looking super intense after the 17 millionth kids vocal take.  :)

The engineer, Keith, looking super intense after the 17 millionth kids vocal take. 🙂

It’s official – we’ve finished all the recording for the Scripture memory project. We are calling it, very originally, “Scripture Memory Songs: For Kids and Families.” I had so much fun putting this project together, especially on the day the kids came in to do all the backing vocals. Since Toby is the perfect age for this (in fourth grade you still sound like a kid, but you can sing on pitch most of the time) we brought in most of his bestest buds, and had them sing backup. I also put my daughters on it, but kept them back farther. They are older, so I didn’t want their voices too present, but their pitch is awesome, and they kept the younger kids on pitch (tricks of the trade, my friends!). My oldest, Rinnah, also enlisted a number of kids from her show choir to come in and do backing vocals on one of the songs that I needed to sound like a Broadway chorus, and they did such a good job. It took all day, and I bought the biggest pizzas you’ve ever seen, but we got it done.

And now, we’re onto all the other stuff! Edit, mix, master, photo shoot, packaging, and manufacturing, but I can see the end, and I’m so excited to share the new music with you all!

Bittersweet time in Florida

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
Setting up at Pillar Community Church before service

Setting up at Pillar Community Church before service

130 of Ralph and Nancy's closest friends

130 of Ralph and Nancy’s closest friends

I just got back from Florida in February, and that is always a good thing, but this trip, while great, was bittersweet for me. I wasn’t planning to go down there now, but we have family friends, Ralph and Nancy who have basically known me since I was born, they are family to me, who are also struggling with cancer now. Ralph’s cancer is incurable, and he is getting to the end of his life. My mom and I decided to fly down to see them, and while we were there to see other dear friends, the Kusmers and the DeMarcos, and also my grandma and my uncle.

When we were setting up the trip, the Kusmers’ church, Pillar Community in Vero Beach, asked me if I would be willing to do their church services since I was in town over a Sunday. I was more than happy to, especially since this was a church plant only a couple of years ago, and we’ve been praying for them ever since – it was so fun to see how God has blessed them! The people there were absolutely wonderful, and we had such a great morning. The Holy Spirit was in that place! I was also so touched that our friends, the DeMarcos, drove all the way up from Delray Beach to see us! We were able to stop and spend some time with them too on our way to see Ralph and Nancy.

Ralph and Nancy had asked me if I’d be willing to do a “house concert” for them while I was there. I did that once for them several years ago, so I said sure – I was picturing 15-20 people in their living room. Well, they rented a space and had about 130 of their closest friends there! They’ve always been such an encouragement to me and in my ministry, and they are so proud – I feel like one of their kids. It touched my heart to see how much Ralph was enjoying it, and we felt so blessed that he still felt relatively well that week. Even today, just a few days later, Nancy tells me it would be too much for him now, but God was sweet to us all that week. It was so hard to say goodbye to them. But we know we will see each other again – it’s never really goodbye when we love the Lord. But it hurts – I will miss him so much until then.

We went and had some sweet time with my 96 year old grandma (for those who have been to a show, yes, she still rides her bike to the grocery store) and my uncle. Then home to the snow. I’m so glad I went, but it was a hard trip. Would love you to keep Ralph and Nancy in your prayers!

Guest Lecturing at Capital University

Saturday, February 7th, 2015
The Music Technology majors at Capital University filing in for my lecture on music business.

The Music Technology majors at Capital University filing in for my lecture on music business.

Yesterday I got to go and guest lecture for the Music Technology majors at Capital University here in Columbus. It’s a pretty amazing program that they’ve built – my friend Neal is a professor there and he asked me to come in and share some of my story and talk about songwriting and niche marketing and such.

Most schools have traditional music programs, and it’s pretty hard to find one with a major in music production which is basically what this is. They have about 200 majors in Music Technology, and if you’re in the field, you know it’s mostly male. So it was pretty funny to get up in front of the 175 or so who had come and see about 6 girls, and all the rest guys, most of whom were tatooed and pierced and dread-locked, etc. Basically, they were so much cooler than me!

While Capital has roots in a church denomination, the school is not considered a Christian school anymore, so it’s always a little tricky to know how to share. Several times someone asked a question about how I made a business decision or decided on the next project or whatever, and I had to stop and think, “Do I tell them it was really just because I prayed about it and felt that was how God was leading me?” And so, I did. 🙂 If God’s going to give you open doors, you ought to walk through them!

I miss teaching – I loved my years teaching at a University level – and it was fun to get back in there. Hopefully I’ll get to do it again soon!

New Song Update, Donna Update, and Hair

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
Donna rocking her new wig after the going-away party for her hair

Donna rocking her new wig after the going-away party for her hair

My Rachel before

My Rachel before

And after

And after

It’s been a really busy month. I’ve finished writing all the new Scripture Memory Songs, and we’re already about halfway through all the tracking for the project. Tracking is basically recording all the instruments and voices – you put each one on it’s own “track” so you can edit them later, making different things louder or softer or whatever. I’m really enjoying working on this project! I’ve been doing this one here in Columbus, so we’re working with different musicians and a new engineer and studio. It’s been challenging and also really fun to produce the whole thing myself as well. After this we go to editing, mixing, mastering, package design, and finally manufacturing and we’re looking at a May release. In total we’ll have 39 songs on this project! We’ll keep you posted!

I know many of you have been praying for my assistant, Donna, as she’s back fighting cancer. She’s had her first two sessions of chemo, and they had told her that given the kind she had and the fact that it’s stage 4, chemo was going to be “pretty brutal.” We’ve been praying so much that God would sustain her and let her do what she needed to do. Praise God, while she’s been really tired afterward for several days, she didn’t have nearly the nausea or side effects she was fearing! I am so grateful, and so grateful for your prayers for her – she’s so loved. She just had a “going away party” for her hair – she’s hilarious, and meets the challenge with such an amazing spirit. I’m thankful she’s my friend.

And in honor of Donna, my younger daughter, Rachel, decided to donate 12″ of her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths which makes wigs for women with cancer. After we cleaned it up, she lost about 14″ and clearly, she still has a lot of hair, but I was so proud of her.