April 30, 2017

Liturgy Featured at Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly

When I served as the Director of Music for the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Colorado State University (1998-2014), I composed liturgical settings (music for worship) in several different styles.

Christ Is Our Peace, is one that I've described as the Blues-Jazz-Grunge-Islands Fiesta.

Several congregations across the USA have made regular use of this setting for their congregation's use, and even more have made legal use of portions of the liturgy through their CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc.) license.

It was very nice to learn that the Rocky Mountain Synod (ELCA) (which encompasses the inter-mountain west—Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico and part of Texas) chose to use this setting for its annual gathering assembly.

It was even more gratifying when we learned that our daughter (now on her internship in her final year of seminary) had been invited to preach for the opening worship.

She expressed some (as expected) nervousness at this responsibility, but when I told her that they had chosen this liturgical setting for that evening's worship she was both excited and comforted!

This was being composed at the end of the last century and was recording and published in 2002.  Now, 14 years later, it continues to find a way to help people worship.  That is gratifying for this composer.

Winfield Photos


Guitar on Friday morning, Stage 3.
Here are some photos from my stage performances at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas this past September.  These took place after the torrential Thursday rains had ceased and things were getting back to normal.
Thanks to Ilace Mears of Missouri for the pix from Stage 3 and to Bradford Rush of Ohio for the pix from Stage 2.

Hammered Dulcimer on Stage 3 (Nick Blanton
compact carbon-fiber model dulcimer)

McSpadden mountain dulcimer on Stage 2 on Saturday.

My daughter, Kaitlin, flew in from Berkeley, CA to sing with me on Stage 2 on Saturday afternoon! (Huss & Dalton Guitar)
Showing the brand new turkey feather quill (my pick) that I stripped and fashioned for that day's performance on my Ben Seymour Galax dulcimer on Stage 3.


Back for Baccalaureate



Capital Alumni beneath the gate
Capital University, Mees Hall Auditorium, was the site of the Baccalaureate Service for my daughter, Kaitlin's, Graduation in early May.
The "new" permanent thrust in front
of the stage in Mees Hall.

I was honored when Pastor Amy Oehlschlager invited me to play music for the prelude of the service.

I played both mountain and hammered dulcimers on the stage where I used to work when I was a student back in the 1980s.

"First Snow"


In those days, I was part of the Theater Production Staff and the Mees Hall Stage Crew.  I told those stories to Joe, the sophomore who is currently a member of the stage crew, commenting on all the improvements in the facility.

As one might expect, walking through campus several times brought several treasured memories to the surface.



These are now overlaid with Kaitlin's freshly minted memories as this place has become an important part of her growth.  When I attended, I never imagined having a child follow me in the places I walked, worried, studied, grew and played.

This wasn't my first visit since my commencement in 1981, but it was significant for marking a point in our family's history.

...And because I was without a pick to play my mountain dulcimer.

Throughout the tour I'd been wearing pants that have a "pick" pocket, in which I carry my flatpicks, in order to be ready to play at a moment's notice.

This day, however, I was dressed up and the picks with were still in my jeans!

What to do?  (They were actually only just a couple of blocks away at my sisters's house, but...)
Joe with the Joe Walsh Pick

Stagehand Joe had an excellent solution:

Pulling out his wallet, he produced a pick,
given to his Columbus radio DJ father by Joe Walsh.

That's the one I played the tunes with.  And then got him to hold for this photo.

Lesson:  Always remember to thank your stage crew, because they can help save your bacon at any time!

None of us gets through any challenges in our life alone.  We don't get here by our own effort, we can't survive our vulnerability by ourselves, we're always standing on the shoulders of those who went before, those who point the way, pave the path and give us nudges and fervent pushes along the road.  Sometimes they are calling to us from the future as well as pushing from the past.

We are all an Answer to Prayer.  (Kaitlin sang on this recording with me in 2005.)