Live 4:1 To Rock Canal Days Main Stage

You know what I think is really interesting?  It’s the fact that the most successful people in the world never, ever start out on top.

For instance, Warren Buffet’s first job was a newspaper delivery boy.  Oprah Winfrey was a grocery clerk.  Even Saturday’s Faith & Family Night Headlining Band at Canal Days, the Sidewalk Prophets, started out small.   Just down the road on I-69 at Anderson University, lead singer Dave Frey and guitarist Ben McDonald started their musical careers by taping microphones to the ceiling of their dorm room and posting files to the (then) legal file sharing site, Napster.

Before the Sidewalk Prophets take to the Main Stage on Saturday night, June 8th, you’ll have a chance to see an area band with similar humble beginnings.  Live 4:1, comprised of Darlene Bush, brothers Greg, Jon, and Kaleb Krempel, Natasha Perrine, James Saunders, and Chris Kindlesparger, will bring their unique 7 piece blend of praise and worship music to the Main Stage in Schnelker Park beginning at 4 pm.

Live 4:1 began in 1996 when many of its core members were only in the 5th or 6th grade, Darlene Bush told me during an interview on April 8th.  At the time, the founding members were all part of the praise band called Next Wave at Huntertown United Methodist Church, and Bush and Debbie Krempel (the mother of Greg, Jon, and Kaleb) worked with the group, encouraging them to rehearse and sing as much as possible.

By 2004, the core members of the group felt called to make a true commitment to where they felt God was leading them.  A suggestion by a friend referencing Ephesians 4:1 (I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. Ephesians 4:1  ) led to the name Live 4:1.

Live 4:1’s current project, an independent release entitled Let It Rain, has imprints of the band’s heart all over it from the tracks contained on the CD to the design on the jacket.  “This project really reflects who we are as a band and where we are at musically,” says Bush, a vivaciousness reflecting in her voice and eyes.

Musically, the band credits such diverse influences as MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Israel & New Breed, Michael W. Smith, Fred Hammond, Hillsong, and Vineyard.  The band also credits, rather fully embraces, the diversity that makes the band so unique and distinctive.

“We are from different ethnic and church backgrounds; but God created a melting pot, blending us all together to create a Christ-centered sound that touches the lives of people everywhere. It hasn’t been an easy task, especially being a young group with the view society has of youth today,” said Bush, “but we have a message we want people to hear! Although we could be in the world taking part in all it has to offer, we choose to serve God. We desire to serve in whatever way He wants us to.”

After nearly 17 years together for some of the member of Live 4:1, you might think that performing might start to become a little monotonous.

You’d be mistaken.

Actually, this summer may be one of the most exciting times in recent memory for the band for a lot of reasons.  First, nearly half of the band is getting married this summer.  (Don’t worry, they planned around their appearance at Canal Days!)  Live 4:1 is also working on new material, and talking about going back into the studio to record some new music, says Bush.

“Wherever, however He leads, that’s happily where we are going,” says Bush.

Wherever they end up, Live 4:1 remains committed to being true to the message within the music.  When I asked Bush a question I was recently asked about whether or not Christian music is as good musically as mainstream music, she replied, “I would point people to Chris Tomlin.  Steven Curtis Chapman.  Israel Houghton.  Fred Hammond.  These are artists that are all about the message, not the sound. It’s the same thing with us.  It’s all about the message.  The message is the most important thing.  I can get you bopping your head and rocking, but if you’re not hearing the message, it means nothing.  The message has to be heard, then the bopping and the rocking will come.”

Vocalist Natasha Perrine agrees.  “It has been placed on our hearts to minister to the lost and encourage the doubtful,” she said.

“We’re all about the ministry; that’s what Live 4:1 is all about.  Nothing else matters,” said Bush.

Live 4:1 will play the Main Stage in Schnelker Park on Saturday, June 8 from 4-6 pm, with a free Meet & Greet autograph session immediately following their set.

 

 

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When Work Has You Hiding Under A Desk…

If you happened to call my cell phone this morning, this is the message you might have heard between the hours of 8 am and 9:30 am.

“Hi, this is Beth.  You have reached my voice mail.  I can’t come to the phone right now because I am currently hiding underneath my desk.  If you leave a message, I’ll try and call you back…that is, if I ever come out.  Have a nice day!”

You know, from my vantage point underneath my desk I discovered a whole new world that I kind of liked.  I took my iPhone with me, so I could still text and be texted by those fortunate enough to have my digits.  I could check my e-mail and catch up with my Facebook friends.  I took one of my devotionals with me so I could have some alone time with Jesus.  I even found my favorite pen that has been missing for a few weeks down there, and a sticky note with some important information on it that I really needed like, yesterday.

All in all, hiding under my desk turned out to be one of the best decisions I made all morning.

About 20 minutes into my retreat, my phone buzzed.  I had received a text from my friend Jill.

It simply said, “Beth?”

I texted back, “Good morning!” with two smiley faces and a balloon.  I like balloons.

Jill replied, “Are you really hiding under your desk?”

“Yep,” I texted back.  “I most certainly am.”

“I am dying to know why.”  I sensed sarcasm in her text.

“The world has gone nuts,” I replied.  “Completely N-U-T-S.”

“What really happened?” Jill asked.

“OK, so yesterday I came in to work and tried to quit my job,” I texted.

Tried to quit your job?”  Jill replied.

“Yeah,” I said.  “But somehow, things got all mixed up and I think I ended up agreeing to work here forever and quitting all my other jobs that I love.”

“Oh good Lord,” Jill texted back.  “How did that happen?”

“Well, one minute I was telling him how I really did not think that this job was the right fit for me, and that the timing wasn’t going to get any better for me to pursue my dreams of writing full-time,” I said.

“And then…” Jill asked.

“And then the next thing you know, we’re talking about how I should think things over during the summer after I quit all my “extra-curricular” jobs to reduce my stress,” I texted, beginning to feel a mild case of hyperventilation coming on.

“Oh boy, Beth.  This kind of stuff only happens to you.  Want me to come break it down for him?”

“Nah, that’s okay.  I’ve got this.”  I replied.  Maybe.

“Well, you can’t hide under that desk forever.”  Jill texted back.

Actually, I probably could.  I have protein bars in my desk drawer and a water cooler next to my desk.  I could last for a    l o n g     time.

Deep down in my heart, though, I knew Jill was right.  As much as I might want to, I couldn’t hide under my desk forever.  I’m a grown up.  I have responsibilities.  Plus, it’s Wednesday night, I have plans to go out with my friend Sarah for dinner.

It was time to take my show on the road, so to speak, to come out from under the desk and do what I had to do.

“Remember who you are:” my phone pinged from Jill.

“You are uniquely and wonderfully made with many gifts.”

“You are a dreamer, a visionary, an encourager.”

“Go get ‘em!”

Truth be told, I think my friend Jill is really the encourager in this scenario and I totally love her for it; but her words made me think about something I read while I was hiding under my desk.

In Romans 12:6-8 it says, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.  So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.  If your gift is serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, teach well.  If you gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.  If it is giving, give generously.  If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”

I know what my gifts are.  I also know that my current job, the one I tried and unsuccessfully attempted to quit yesterday, is barely scratching the surface when it comes to tapping in to the many gifts I have to offer.

I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that is not at all what God wants for my life.  God gave each of us gifts so that we might use them to glorify Him and make His name known to the world.  It is a part of our holy calling to use these gifts to the best of our abilities, and when we use all of our gifts for Him, oh, what an amazing difference we will make in our families and communities.

As I write this blog, I can’t help but smile as I remember singing the song ‘This Little Light of Mine’ as a little girl.  In the song, there was a verse that went ‘Hide it under a bushel…NO! I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.’

Perhaps a more appropriate verse for me today would be ‘Hide under a desk…NO!  I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.’

So, I’m officially going to do it.  I’m quitting my job.  No ‘trying’ about it.  I’m going to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing, and I’m going to do it in a super spectacular, big way.

There’s no time to lose!  (But first, I think I need to take some Tylenol…I think I bumped my head on the keyboard tray when I was crawling out from under the desk.  That kinda hurt.)

Voracious Love: The Heather Town Story

The recent tornados in Moore, Oklahoma reminded me of this story from a year ago. It is still more than applicable today. Heather Town is one of my heroes.

The recent tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma reminded me of this story from a year ago on June 24th, 2012.  The message is still applicable today, and every day.  Heather Town and her courage and unwavering love in the face of danger remain my hero to this day.

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I’m a voracious reader.  Always have been, most likely always will be.  When I was a kid, I used to read the encyclopedia and dictionary for fun.  As an adult, I get strangely excited by wordy books, especially long wordy books.  I read everything I can get my hands on, from the back of cereal boxes to the electric co-op magazine I get in the mail every month.  Not the most exciting thing to read, but it is informative.

          When I travel, I always try to take at minimum 6 books with me just to make sure I have plenty of…

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Dara Maclean Debuts New Single ‘Wanted’ Today at Online Retailers

dara maclean

From Press Release——

DARA MACLEAN DEBUTS “WANTED” TODAY AT ONLINE RETAILERS

 

New Single Goes For Adds at Radio on May 31

 

Nashville, TN – (May 28, 2013) – Fervent Records’ soulful recording artist Dara Maclean’s eagerly-awaited new single, “Wanted,” premieres today at online retailers (iTunes’ link: here) and at radio May 31. “Wanted” is produced by Paul Mabury (All Sons & Daughters, Meredith Andrews, Hillsong) and written by Justin Ebach, Mabury and Maclean.

 

“‘Wanted’ is about a universal need, speaking to the child in all of us that is desperately longing just to hear somebody tell us we’re wanted. Somebody to tell us that we’re cherished and that we belong,” explained Maclean. “To not be wanted based on your performance — We all have those relationships in life where we are loved based on how good of a friend we are or how good of a daughter or son, sister or brother we are. It’s conditional and it never seems to be enough. This song is calling out to the outcast and saying, ‘You’re not unlovable. You’re never too far gone — in your worst moment, in your loneliest moment, you are still wanted, just as much as the person that seemingly has it all together, is loved by everyone and looks to have this perfect life.’ The baby that opens its eyes for the first time and the hardened criminal that gets sent to jail for the millionth time, does God want one more or less? We are all the same, we are all in need of Jesus and we are all desperately wanted by a Father that won’t stop until He finds every child that is lost.”

 

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalms 139:7-10 New King James Version)

 

“I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting to share with you my friends, the ones that have been such a support and on this journey with me, the heartbeat behind the song and ultimately, this record,” continues Maclean. “My prayer is that every note reveals the heart of God the Father and that His Love does what it always does. It heals, restores and makes new again.”

 

Powerful vocalist and songwriter Dara Maclean first sparked the music industry’s interest with her 2011 debut, You Got My Attention. The album introduced a powerful new voice in Christian pop, steeped in Motown and soul and beaming a heart for the broken and struggling. The LP reached the Top 10 on Billboard‘s Christian Albums chart, and album tracks “Suitcases” and “Free” each hit the Top 20 on Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart. “Suitcases” appeared on the 2012 installment of WOW Hits, celebrating Christian radio’s biggest songs, and You Got My Attention closer “Home” was included in The Bible: Music Inspired By The Epic Mini-Series, a companion to the smash History Channel series. The Texas-bred singer-songwriter earned a New Artist of the Year nomination in the 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards, and spent nearly two years straight on the road with some of Christian music’s biggest names, including Casting Crowns and Newsong, and on major tours including Winter Jam and the KLOVE Acoustic Christmas Tour. Maclean has earned high critical praise throughout, NewReleaseTuesday including her among its Top 10 New Female Christian Singers in 2012, noting that “Dara displays the strongest vocals I’ve heard in years.” Maclean is also passionate about raising awareness and bringing an end to human trafficking and is an advocate for the International Justice Mission.

 

For additional information on Dara Maclean, please visit www.DaraMaclean.com.

 

Facebook: Facebook.com/DaraMaclean

Twitter: Twitter.com/DaraMaclean

YouTube: YouTube.com/DaraMaclean

 

About Word Entertainment

A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Love & The Outcome,Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Print, Word Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.

My Favorite Song Lyrics: Stellar Kart’s Hold On

One of my favorite songs of all times is Stellar Kart’s Hold On.  I love the simple lyrics and 90-ish sounding melody.  I bet you’ll like it, too!

Hold On

by Stellar Kart

If the stars don’t shine tonight
And tomorrow forgets the light
Hold on,  hold on to Me.

You are loved completely.
You mean everything to Me;
You will always be here with Me.

With everything you have,
Hold on to Me.
Don’t be afraid, I’m here to stay.
If your hope is running dry,
And your dreams have waved goodbye,
Hold on, hold on to Me.

tobyMac TV Alert!

I don’t normally watch the View.  Truth be told, I kind of find it annoying.  (Hey, I’m nothing if not honest about stuff I find annoying.)

Today, however, I might be inclined to actually tune in to watch The View on ABC at 10 CST.  tobyMac is going to be lighting up the stage performing ‘Me Without You’!

Set your DVRs or TiVO’s or whatever other recording apparatuses you use to watch shows if you’re at work, ’cause this will be one you won’t want to miss (especially ’cause it’s free!)

Faith & Family, Wishes & Dreams: An Interview with SWP Dave

Dear Readers:

Ok, so my feature articles from my interview with Dave Frey of the Sidewalk Prophets have all gone to print as of this weekend. which means I can officially release a special edition blog that includes all the best parts of the different Faith & Family Night stories from area publications.  If you live in Northeast Indiana, you may very well live in one of the more than 100,000+ homes that received one of these publications recently:  Fort Wayne Newspapers publications, New Haven Life magazine, West Bend Newspaper, New Haven Bulletin, WhatzUp Entertainment Newspaper, The Frost, East Allen County Times Newspaper, KPC News Media publications, or Northern Allen County Life Magazine. 

I hope you’ll enjoy!

  If you read all the way thru to the end, I’ll post some bonus material for you,  my blog readers!  First, I will tell you what Dave had to say about my Ohio BFF Jill’s favorite person in the universe, Chris August.  Second, I will post some links to previous blogs I’ve written about the SWP’s, and why I thought they would be perfect to headline the first Faith & Family Night Festival in New Haven. (I mean, I waited 10 years to make this happen, it kind of needed to be perfect, know what I mean?)  Finally, I will post a link to a story about one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, when I met my friend Pam from Minnesota (waving at Pam!!)

Enjoy!
B

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help me find it

One of the things that I believe is universal to all people in all places is the innate ability to dream; by ‘dream’, I don’t really mean fall asleep while strange scenes play out in the recesses of your mind. What I really mean is we all have hopes, and wishes, and, well, dreams.

For some of us, our dreams are relatively straightforward: to be a firefighter, a teacher, a doctor. For others, the dreams are a little more complex: to be the next Larry Bird, Beyonce, or Leonardo di Caprio.

For me, I believe that God, who uniquely and lovingly created me, also uniquely and lovingly created and placed the dreams I have in my heart.

Specifically, I’m referring to one of the dreams I’ve had for over 10 years now to bring an event to my adoptive hometown of New Haven that celebrates the strong foundation that this city is built on.  What originally drew me to New Haven is its rich history of  faith interwoven with the heritage of many legacy families and relationships that last for decades.

On June 8th,2013   in Schnelker Park in downtown New Haven, the New Haven Canal Days Festival is set to host the first ever Faith & Family Night headlined by the Sidewalk Prophets.  This is where my dream of hosting such an event will intersect with fellow Hoosier native Dave Frey’s childhood dream of being a singer; Frey is the lead singer of the Dove award winning, Word Record label band that is based in Nashville, Tennessee.

For Frey, there were two main dreams driving him as a kid growing up in Terre Haute, Indiana. “I dreamed of either being a Chicago Cub or being on stage since I was a little child,” said Frey with his distinctive chuckle in our interview on April 10th. “Since I wasn’t the most athletically inclined, I ended up going to school to be an English teacher at Anderson University.”

God, however, hadn’t forgotten about Frey’s childhood dream of being on stage. In fact, according to Frey, it was quite the opposite. “God just kept showing me that this gift he had put inside me was more than just a hobby,” he said reflectively.

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Dave Frey performs at Winter Jam 2013 on January 20, 2013

These days, Frey’s childhood dream is straight up reality; earlier this year, as the lead singer for the Sidewalk Prophets, he toured with Winter Jam, the #1 attended tour in the entire world in the first quarter of 2013, using his God-given gift to perform for more than 550,000 people in four short months.

“You know, especially once I saw bands like DC Talk and Jars of Clay and Third Day as a kid I dreamed of being on stage, and now here I’ve stood on stage next to each one of them. It’s like, ‘How blessed am I?’” asked Frey incredulously.

Well, as Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

 

 

 

When I conduct interviews, I have to admit that I really don’t have an official angle I work like a lot of writers do when they do interviews. Truth be told, I never do have an angle and it doesn’t matter if I’m interviewing former Governor Daniels or David Crowder. Like any proper journalist, I always have a list of questions to ask in case I develop a temporary case of amnesia, but aside from my handy-dandy list, my main objective is always to just ask some general questions and see what themes evolve over the course of a conversation.

This may not be the method taught at the Harvard School of Journalism, but it works for me; which brings me around to my point. Dreams, both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled, served as a touchstone of sorts in my conversation with Dave Frey.

Perhaps what I found the most interesting about how this theme kept recurring in our conversation was how Frey consistently pointed much of the credit for achieving his dreams back to others: to God, to his parents, his band mates, his friends, and even teachers from his hometown of Terre Haute.

“Growing up, I had this cloud of witnesses guiding me to truth and love and faith,” said Frey, referring to the verse in Hebrews 12:1 that sparked the Sidewalk Prophet’s latest song and album of the same name, Live Like That.

One such person that had a strong influence on the young Frey was his 10th grade history teacher, Dan McGrath. “There was something about him. You could see the passion inside him. It was infectious,” said Frey. “He loved history, and there are a lot of people who don’t like history, that are bored by it. Why are we rehashing the past, you know? Mr. McGrath just made you realize why history was important, that this was something you could learn from.”

“Watching him, I felt like I was watching Jesus teach his disciples. That’s the passion that Jesus brought, this desperate passion,” said Frey with passion in his own voice. “‘You gotta know this, because this is my heart,” he added after pausing for emphasis.

“I could just see His heart inside of Mr. McGrath. You know, in a public school you can’t necessarily lead kids in prayer but come to find out years later Mr. McGrath was a Christian the whole time. You know, he was showing me that without ever saying it,” Frey said softly. “I was incredibly blessed by his life, and by many other teachers. Teachers are so important in shaping the world.”

Another teacher who had an even more powerful role in shaping Frey’s life besides Mr. McGrath is his mother, who Frey told me has been teaching for 36 years. According to Frey, in addition to her work as a teacher she also serves as the “unofficial” chief promoter of the Sidewalk Prophets.

“My Mom will go to a show and ask people, “Who’s your favorite band?” If they don’t say Sidewalk Prophets, she’ll say “Oh, they’re good too, but I really love those Sidewalk Prophets!” Then she’ll go and buy them all t-shirts,” said Frey with a hearty laugh, adding “I’ll come back and Mom’s bought like 20 t-shirts. She’s our greatest promoter, that’s for sure.”

With that, Frey’s tone turns momentarily more serious. “She and my Father are both the reason I am where I am. They took me to church and showed me, ‘This is what life’s about: bringing joy to others and doing it thru the message of Jesus.’ Yeah, I am very blessed to have the mother and father that I have. Very blessed.”

As someone who has dedicated her adult life to encouraging and empowering young children and families, I love hearing stories like Frey’s.  Truly, it takes both strong parents and influential ‘others’, like teachers, pastors, and youth leaders to bring out the best in kids and ensure that every single child has the very best chance to lead a fulfilling life, a life where they have the tools they need to go out and forge a path to make their own dreams come true.

Perhaps that’s why having a Faith & Family Night to celebrate the importance we place on these values in New Haven is so important to me? No matter the reasoning, it seems my longstanding dream had once again kind of inadvertently found its way into the interview, and intersected with the life and times of Dave Frey.

 

 

 

“You know, I think you really have it in the right order: faith, family, friends,” said Frey. “That’s the order we ought to live our lives.”

I totally agree.

Yet, I wondered, ‘Isn’t it hard to do that when you are on the road more than 200 days a year?’ I mean, seriously, the Sidewalk Prophets are notoriously (in a good way) one of the hardest working groups around with a consistently punishing tour schedule. (For instance, did anyone else realize a few years back they did both the Rock & Worship Roadshow AND Winter Jam in the same winter? While driving a van? And they all lived to tell the tale? Pretty remarkable if you ask me. I barely survived a December road trip to Minnesota in a Honda Civic with my BFF and 2 youngsters.)

“We always have to realize that this is a calling that God has laid on our hearts,” said Frey in his usual gracious and humble manner. “We get to serve him in a mighty way and we don’t want to take that for granted. Not only do we serve him, but we get to do what we’ve always dreamed of. This is a double blessing. It blows my mind how blessed we are. We can’t take that responsibility for granted.”

With this responsibility in mind, Frey will return to his home state of Indiana with the Sidewalk Prophets co-founder, Ben McDonald, lead guitarist Shaun Tomczak, bassist Cal Joslin, and drummer Justin Nace on June 8th to rock the first ever Faith and Family Night in Schnelker Park beginning at 8 pm.

“We’re really excited to come to New Haven,” said Frey. He admitted that while growing up in Terre Haute, different festivals would frequently come to town to play, just not faith-based festivals. “That made it tough,” remembered Frey. “We’d have to drive to Bloomington or Indy or Illinois for the Christian music festivals.”

Frey recalled with a smile to his voice going to concerts at the park in Terre Haute with his Mom as child. “Mom would go to the park with her friends and I would head to the park with her friends’ kids. I would listen from far away. I wasn’t prone to loud music as a kid. I didn’t want to hear them blasting their music, so I’d go out to the swings and listen from afar,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t get over my aversion to loud music until I was in middle school.”

I think it is fair for me to speak for all the Sidewalk Prophet fans of the world when I say I’m really glad Frey got over his distaste of loud music.

“You know, that’s what’s great about outdoor festivals,” said Frey. “Not everybody wants to be front-row-blown-away-by-the-sound. (Side Note:  My BFF Sarah & I like to be front row center, blasted by the sound unless it’s a RED show.  Sarah may still be missing part of an eyebrow from the last time we got too close to a RED show.)   “There are people out swinging, and families interacting and having fun, and people just there for the atmosphere. Maybe someone who’s just there for the atmosphere will have their life changed because of what God’s doing. That’s our great hope. Hopefully our music is more than just sound bouncing off swing sets; hopefully it’s something that cuts to the heart, perhaps even unexpectedly.”

This is certainly my great hope as the Director of Festival Entertainment, and the great hope of more than 100 pastors and community residents who have been meeting with me since January to pray for the success of Faith & Family Night.

Now, with hope addressed, my mind comes full circle to the dream that started this whole idea of a Faith and Family Night in the first place. I am quietly reminded of something my favorite poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote: “God’s gifts put men’s best dreams to shame.”

This is so beautifully true; but perhaps Dave from the Sidewalk Prophets said it best in a slightly more modern way when he told me, “When I stand on stage, getting to do what I love, it’s a gift; but when anyone just tries to do something that they love, and spread the love of God, He’s going to bless it when it comes from a real and genuine place. He really is.”

I, for one, am pretty sure that the musical gifts that New Haven is about to hear courtesy of the Sidewalk Prophets on June 8th will exceed even my most ambitious dreams.

Praise God for that!

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Beth Stauffer would like to thank Mr. Frey for taking time away from his vacation with his family to conduct this interview.  It is sincerely appreciated!

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Faith & Family Night Concert Information:  Saturday night, June 8th, 2013.  Pre-show with Central Lutheran School students begins at 7:45 pm at Schnelker Park, Prospect Avenue, New Haven, Indiana.  Hosted by WBCL 90.3 FM.  Opening act–Word artist Love & The Outcome at 8:00 pm, followed by the Sidewalk Prophets at 8:20 pm.  VIP Wristbands for premium seating available for $10.00 donation at the New Haven Parks & Recreation Department, 1125 Hartzell Street, New Haven, IN 46774.

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What did Dave Frey say about Chris August during our interview?  This is a direct quote:  “Chris August is a big jerk.”

OK, Jill, calm down.  He was kidding.  Really, he was totally joking.  I actually thought it was pretty funny!

Dave then went on to say that he and Chris August are actually good friends, and even went to a hockey game together recently.  So, I think it is safe to say that Chris August is not a big jerk.

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Why were the Sidewalk Prophets my #1 choice for Faith & Family Night?  Check it here

Not convincing enough?  Maybe my 3-year-old friend Ned can help.  Check out her Sidewalk Prophet story here

Here’s the link to read the story about my incredible friend Pam.  I last saw Pam and her family in December when I was in Cheese country (aka Wisconsin), and they are all doing exceedingly well.  Since I wrote the linked letter in June 2012, Pam’s sister Daria has completed several rehabilitation programs available to her, and the family prays that she will be released early for good behavior by September.  Please join me in praying for Pam, and Daria, and the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the entire family to be met.

Caught Dreaming–Andy Mineo featuring for King & Country

So, I recently sort of discovered a new (to me) artist that I really kind of like by the name of Andy Mineo. According to the essential reference guide known as Wikipedia, Mineo is a Christian hip hop artist, producer, minister, actor, and music video and TV director from New York City. He is signed to Reach Records, and his first mixtape was released in 2009 and has what I’m thinking is the best title EVER…Sin is Wack (vol. 1).  Mineo has sang background vocals for Lecrae and collaborated with both Tedashii on his album Blacklight and Lecrae on his award winning album Gravity.  His first full length release, Heroes For Sale, with Reach Records hit stores on April 16th, 2013.

One of my favorite songs on the album is the song Caught Dreaming, which features my favorite Australian born dynamic duo, for King & Country’s Luke & Joel. You can check out the YouTube video for the song below, and the entire album is for sale on iTunes (and for previewing on Spotify!) Check it out and let me know what you think!

 

Finding Favour’s Debut Good Enough to Steal (Three Times Over)

I love getting packages in the mail.  Not bills, but actual packages—especially ones that have new music tucked neatly inside.

Last week, I was super excited when one of my favorite cyber pen pals, Sarah from Tennessee, e-mailed me asking for my mail mail address.  Her cryptic message said something about sending me some new music that she new I would love.  Since I am almost certainly convinced that Sarah may very well have the best job in the world, I was undeniably excited about what the mailman would be bringing me.

Sarah knows infinitely more cool people than I do, which is (and isn’t) saying something.  At the top of that list (in Alex’s mind) is Luke and Joel of for King & Country fame.

Finally, my special delivery arrived and it was almost like Christmas.  I quickly read the enclosed note, which was quite delightful and made me laugh (and was added to my scrapbook, by the way).

Then, I pulled out the shrink wrapped CD containing the self-titled debut EP of the new group, Finding Favour.

The first thing that came to my mind was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Seriously, that is what I thought.

You see, the self-titled debut EP by Finding Favour and I already have a long and somewhat sordid history even though it has only been available since March.

Back in March, I had an advanced review copy of the Finding Favour EP on my iShuffle to listen to while my friend Jill and I were on a road trip.

Jill liked what she heard so much, she stole my iShuffle; still have yet to get that back.  (Hint, hint, Jill, if you are reading this—I’d really like my iShuffle back.)

Jill’s full review of the Finding Favour EP?  The following are direct quotes: “This CD is the BEST EVER!” and “I may like Finding Favour almost as much as I like Chris August!”  If you knew my friend Jill, you would know that she is a veritable nutcase about Chris August; she frequently refers to him as the ‘Justin Timberlake of Christian Music.’  She doesn’t throw around comparisons to how much she likes Chris August lightly, that’s for sure.

The second copy I had of Finding Favour’s EP my 7 year old niece stole from me in April.  Well, technically, she didn’t steal it…she just gave me the big, brown doe eyed look and asked me “Please, pretty please, can I have this?”  I mean, really, what I am supposed to say to my favorite niece in the whole wide world?  “No, you can’t have it.  Auntie B needs it for her blog.”  I don’t think so.  She’s 7, and doesn’t really care all that much about my blog unless she is prominently featured in it or it directly leads to the two of us having an all expenses paid spa day.

So, I gave it to her; and by gave it to her, I mean I gave her my entire iTouch.

Of the EP, my niece has said in her official review, “Its way better than Justin Bieber.  Can you get me a t-shirt?”

At the time I received my special delivery from my cyber pal Sarah, I had yet to hear more than the first two tracks of the Finding Favour EP, Shake the World and Love Stepped In.  I can wholeheartedly say after listening to the first two tracks that Finding Favour is way better than Justin Bieber.

I must say, however, I was feeling some very undeserved animosity towards Finding Favour.  How dare they record a project that is so good that both one of my dearest friends and beloved niece would steal from me?!  I mean, the nerve!

After the 2nd theft of a Finding Favour EP in my possession, I had given up on ever listening to the whole thing; yet, last Saturday I found myself in possession of another copy, a hard copy, of the CD.

I put the CD in at home, and Alex and I listened to the first few tracks while puttering around the house.  Without hesitation, Alex gave it a thumbs up, although he did have one question:  “Do these guys know how to hula hoop on stage while they play the guitar?”  (Alex is currently obsessed with the Bossy Frog Band.  Their guitar player hula hoops while performing.)

Honestly, I was surprised Alex even gave Finding Favour the time of day; he is devout in his loyalty to for King & Country.  If Luke and Joel start hula hooping and sport a giant frog costume while in concert, I have no doubt that Alex would forget all about the Bossy Frog Band.  So, for Finding Favour, to garner a thumbs up from Alex is roughly equivalent to winning a Grammy.

Seriously.

So, while the third track on Finding Favour’s debut project played, a song called Slip On By that I hear on the radio all the time and LOVE, I headed to the other end of the house to run the vacuum.

When I came back to the living room, the music had stopped playing.

“Alex, what happened to the music?” I asked.

“Daddy took it,” Alex replied.

Sure enough, the CD was gone.

So was Jon.

Long gone.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never see that CD again.

So, I did what any rational person would do:  I went on iTunes and bought my own copy, another copy, and made sure I have a copy stored on the Cloud for future use.

I have listened to the entire Finding Favour EP at this point, and I have to say, I can’t blame my friends and family for stealing the prior copies from me.

This CD is that good.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though; feel free to ask Jill, or Alyssa, or Alex, or Jon.

Disclaimer:  If anyone steals my current copy of Finding Favour’s EP that is downloaded on my iPhone, I may have to hold the band responsible because I can’t afford to replace another Apple product.

Just sayin’.

 

3 Quick Q&A’s With Beth

So, I get a lot of e-mail from y’all (which I love!) and I know from previous Q&A’s y’all love my little Q&A sessions when I let you peek inside my mind.  It has been several months since I’ve had time to do a Q&A blog, so I thought today I would break my silence (so to speak) and answer three of the best e-mails I’ve received from my much loved readers so far in the month of May.  In the past, I’ve answered all kinds of questions ranging from who designed my patchwork heart tattoo (I did!) to where I get some of my writing inspiration to how I manage to avoid getting speeding tickets.  Here goes!

Question #1 comes from Leisa in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (Side note:  Leisa, I’m waving to you!  Can’t wait to visit Murfreesboro to speak at a conference later this summer.  Maybe I’ll see you there, hint hint!)  Leisa writes:  “Beth, how did you know you wanted to be a writer?  Did you go to college to be a writer?”

Answer #1:  Let me answer the second part of your question first, Leisa.  No, I did not go to college to be a writer.  Technically, I’m a teacher by trade.  Here is my however, however; when I was in college, I always excelled at anything that had to do with writing.  I loved writing papers, essay tests, that sort of thing. 

I remember as a little girl my Grandma (who was also a writer and poet) gave me an old typewriter that was the best gift I ever received.  I ran that thing into the ground!  When I was 11, my Dad broke down and bought me a Panasonic Word Processor at Sam’s Club for $89 (which was a lot of money back then!)  I wrote my very first full length, 189 page YA novel on that word processor in 13 days in the summer after my 6th grade year. 

I was always either writing or reading growing up because that was my passion. 

As I became a young adult, I mistakenly assumed that I could not make a living by just ‘writing’.  I figured writing was just more of a hobby, so I pursued other career paths for 10 years until it became very evident that my hobby blog and short story writing was way more than just a ‘hobby’.  That was when I decided that I had to follow my passion, and trust that God had placed this love and these dreams that I have in my heart; I believed that because of this, He would see it through to completion. 

So, my best advice is…if you have a gift and a passion, follow it to the ends of the earth.

You don’t have to wait to get a college degree in it (well, this may not pertain to you if you want to be, say, a surgeon or a lawyer or something like that.  You should definitely wait until you finish school if that is the case!)  If you love to write, then write (and read.  That’s an important part of the process!)  If you music, then by all means play music (and listen to music.  That’s also an important part of the process!)  If you want to have your own talk show, then get out and talk to people.  Figure out what you want to do, then do it! 

Many blessings to you on your journey, Leisa, and much love!

Question #2 is from Tanya in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada).  (Side note:  I love Canada!  And Canadians!  Speaking of which, I can’t wait to see The City Harmonic on Saturday!  One of my faves!)  Tanya writes, “I’ve been reading your blog since 2012 and love you so much.  I want to know who was the first big name music person you interviewed and who has been your favorite person to interview?  And do you get nervous when you interview famous people?”

Answer #2:  Hi Tanya!  I love you too!  🙂  What a great question!  Are you an aspiring interviewer?  If so, you are on the right track!  Let’s see, I would say my first really big break as an interviewer was in June 2012 when I had the opportunity to interview David Crowder for a feature story about him.  That was a huge coup for me as he doesn’t do a lot of press, and that summer he was only playing at 2 festivals (and I got to interview him about one of them!!) 

I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, but let me tell you I was SO nervous!  It was literally 100 degrees that day at an outdoor festival, and I was puking my guts out in the parking lot beforehand.    Thankfully, I managed to pull it together and we had a great interview.

Since then, I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities to meet really amazing people from all walks of life to write about.  I’ve interviewed all kinds of people from the Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, to Emmy award winner and comedienne Vicki Lawrence.  I think probably one of the nicest people I’ve interviewed this year is Mike Weaver, the lead singer from Big Daddy Weave.  He was very friendly and funny, and I’m pretty sure the ‘Big Daddy’ in Big Daddy Weave is representative of the big heart all the guys in the band have for Christ. 

I do have to tell you one funny story, though.  Back in November I had the chance to do some short interviews with Matthew West and Mikeschair, and got to meet Lindsay McCaul and the brothers from Everfound.  On the way home, my friend Sarah and I were talking about people we NEVER wanted to meet, and I had 2 on my short list–TobyMac and Peter Furler.  I told Sarah I was 100% certain I would lose all ability to talk if I ever came within 100 feet of either of these individuals because I have LOVED them since I was approximately 12 years old. 

Needless to say in December 2012 (about 2 weeks after this conversation), I was backstage at the HitsDeep Tour to interview Blanca from Group 1 Crew and lo and behold, who should I run into but tobyMac himself.  He introduced himself (LIKE THAT WAS NECESSARY!) and I did the same.  He jokingly asked me if I had any questions for him since it was his tour, and without missing a beat I asked him “Yeah, what should I do about my 6 year old son who likes to sing and dance on the kitchen table to ‘Eye on it’?’  He laughed and said, “Let him.  You gotta let him.”  Then he talked a little about his kids, and I stood there pinching myself the whole time because I could not believe I had an actual conversation with tobyMac without throwing up all over him.  It was a stellar moment in my life. 

Just one more thing–guess who I’m slated to meet this June?  If you guessed Peter Furler, you are correct.  He’s coming to the same festival I interviewed David Crowder at last year.  I may or may not die in anticipation of this upcoming interview between now and then!

Question #3 is from Leigh in Pensacola, Florida.  (Hi Leigh!  Did my Aunt put you up to reading my blog?  She lives in Pensacola!)  Leigh writes, “I saw you at a conference last summer and again last month and wondered if you changed your hair?  I like it!”

Answer #3–Thanks Leigh for noticing!  I actually got rid of my highlights and went back to my au natural color of dark brown.  Too much maintenance to keep up with the highlights.  Plus, I’m already prepped to join the Witness Protection Program if Faith & Family Night at Canal Days is an epic failure.

 

Thanks to everyone who has sent me an e-mail!  If you have a pressing question on your mind, send it in to me at Beth@BethStauffer.com!

Much Love,

Beth

Faith & Family Night Contest Winners Announced!

Hey y’all!  Thanks for the great response to yesterday’s contest to win a pair of VIP Wristbands to the Sidewalk Prophets concert at Faith & Family Night at the New Haven Canal Days Festival!  In case you were wondering, the correct answer to the trivia question is:  Green Eggs & Ham (scroll down to see the actual YouTube Video of SWP Dave performing ‘Green Eggs & Ham’).

The first 5 people out of the near bazillion responses I received are….drum roll please….

Holly K. from Centreville, Ohio

Samantha R. from New Haven, Indiana

Ken C. from Fort Wayne, Indiana

Cassandra W. from Southfield, Michigan

Doug T. from Mooresville, Indiana

 

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!  If you are a winner, you will receive an e-mail from me shortly with instructions as to what to do next.  I’ll see all of my winners at Faith & Family Night on June 8th!  (And, if you didn’t win you can still come!  The concert is free, you just won’t be able to sit in the VIP Section with me…ha!  That sounds so uppity of me, doesn’t it?)

Faith & Family Night News and Exclusive VIP Wristband Giveaway!

For some of you, the following may be new news.  For the rest of you, the following will be old news combined with an entertaining new twist.

On Saturday June 8th during Canal Days, the city of New Haven (Indiana, not Connecticut) is holding a free ‘Faith & Family’ night in Schnelker Park beginning at 8 pm.  .

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with New Haven and/or Canal Days, you may be wondering, like Dave Frey of the Sidewalk Prophets was when I interviewed him for the Festival Guide last month, just what exactly is a Canal Days Festival?

“Is New Haven like the Venice of Indiana?” Dave asked me.

While that would be completely awesome, alas, it is not.

(For more information about the history of New Haven, the Canal Days Festival, and the 1st ever ‘Faith and Family’ Night, visit the official website for Canal Days, www.NewHavenCanalDays.orgAlso, to find out how you can win a pair of VIP wristbands to Faith & Family Night, be sure to keep reading all the way to the end of this post!) 

There is a lot of exciting stuff scheduled to go down at Canal Days this year (I would know—I’m in charge 🙂 )  Of course, I’m very excited to see the new duo, Love & the Outcome, play along with my old favorites, the Sidewalk Prophets; however, if I’m being 100% completely honest, I’m really the most excited to see the opening opening act on June 8th—the Central Lutheran School (CLS) choir!

I’m telling you, these kids are AWESOME, and I can’t wait for y’all to come out and hear just how hard they have been working on their portion of the community concert.

Perhaps some of the reason why these kids are so awesome is because they have an AWESOME music and band teacher, Mrs. Best.  As I recently found out, Mrs. Best (like me) is also a fan of the Sidewalk Prophets.  In her infinite wisdom, she decided to incorporate teaching the different classes that are participating in the community concert about the music of the Sidewalk Prophets.

For instance, the lower elementary students in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades learned about some of the different instruments the Sidewalk Prophets play (banjo, guitar, drums, etc.)  They also watched some YouTube videos of the band in concert, and, as I learned today, watched a video of lead singer Dave singing the book ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?’  (Uh, more on that in a moment.)

As a reading buddy to the lower elementary students, I’ve been able to field many questions by the youngsters about both the upcoming concert and the Sidewalk Prophets in general.

Here are a few of my favorite questions I’ve been asked so far:

Liberty, age 9: “Can I have pink microphone for myself?”   Answer:  No.

Austin, age 8:  “After we sing on stage, can I give you my autograph?”  Answer:  Yes.

Bryce, age 6:  “Can I play the drums?  I promise I won’t break anything.”  Answer:  No.

Alex, age 6:  “Will they be bringing an actual wrecking ball?”  Answer:  I hope not.

Madison, age 5:  “Next year, can we get the Bossy Frog Band to come instead?  They are the best band EVER!”

By far the most popular question , at least in the minds of the Kindergarteners, is “Will that one guy be wearing the funny hat with the horns?”

The field is split 50/50 as to whether the scary hat is a generally good idea or not.  The 6  year old boys all think the hat is brilliant; the 6 year old girls, not so much.

Case in point is adorable Lilly, a red headed kindergartener with freckles and a big front-toothless smile.  Every time she sees me, she asks ‘How many more days until I sing on a real stage?’  She loves to sing, she tells me, and wants to be a singer ‘about Jesus’ when she grows up.

I think that is a grand idea!  Today, however, I noticed Lilly didn’t seem as excited when I told her how many days it is until June 8th(26, in case you were wondering).  In fact, she seemed downright terrified when I told her.

“What’s the matter, Lilly?” I asked.  “Aren’t you excited  for Canal Days?”

“I don’t know,” she said, hesitatingly.  “Is that one guy going to be there?” she asked.

“What ‘one guy’?” I replied.

“You know, the one in the scary hat with the scary singing book,” she said, her eyebrow raised insistently in my direction.

I took me a few seconds to figure out what she was talking about, and another few seconds to keep myself from laughing at her description.  I’m pretty sure this may be the first time in the 46 year history of Bill Martin Jr.’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear that it has been referred to as ‘scary’.

“Well, Lilly, I’m pretty sure he will be there.  He sings all the songs,” I told her.

Lilly’s eyebrow fell, along with her face.  She looked decidedly pale, which is kind of a feat in itself for a redhead who is usually pale anyways.  “Is he going to wear that scary hat?  And sing that scary book?” she asked in a small voice.

“No, I’m pretty sure the scary hat and scary book don’t travel with the band,” I said.

I admit, that is pretty much a bold faced lie; for all I know, the scary hat and scary book do travel around the world with the Sidewalk Prophets.

Lilly looked relieved; me, not so much.

Let’s hope that the Sidewalk Prophets haven’t revamped their show since Winter Jam to include an opera-inspired retelling of Brown Bear, Brown Bear or I’m going to be in big trouble with a pint-sized firecracker.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for….I’m officially announcing a contest to win a pair of VIP Wristbands to the Canal Days Faith & Family Night on June 8th!  I have 5 pairs to give away.  Here are the very few but important official rules:

  1.  You must be able to attend the Faith & Family Night on June 8th, 2013 in New Haven, Indiana.  This means you have to provide your own transportation to the show.  I will not be providing round-trip airfare or hotel accommodations with the VIP Wristbands.  (Sorry!  Low budget operation here!)
  2. You must not have won any previous giveaways on Spin: The Blog in last 12 calendar months.
  3. This giveaway has no cash value and is not transferrable to any other party.
  4. Only 1 entry per person, please, and only 1 winner per household.

Now, here’s how you win.  It involves answering a trivia question and e-mailing me.  Follow the steps below exactly to be eligible to win!

  1.  Here is the question you must correctly answer :  “SWP’s Dave performance of  ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’ was not the first time he donned a “scary hat” (AKA Viking helmet) and sang a classic work of Children’s literature.  Name the other famous Children’s book that Dave has read online wearing the “scary hat”.
  2. E-mail Beth@NewHavenCanalDays.org with the correct answer.  You must include “SWP VIP” in the e-mail heading.
  3. The first 5 correct responses will receive a pair of wristbands.  If you are a winner, you will be asked to provide your name, address, and a phone number where you can be reached in order to claim your prize within 24 hours or your prize will be forfeited.

If you don’t end up winning this contest, never fear.  My friends at WBCL 90.3 FM are doing a giveaway of their own beginning on Monday, May 22nd, 2013 on the Morning Show.  Larry and Ken will have ‘Live Like That’ CD’s and VIP Wristbands to give away every morning up until Faith & Family Night on June 8th, 2013.  Good luck!