Posts tagged ‘Bryan Ashley’

Djembe Thanksgiving – Part 5

Djembe Thanksgiving
Part 5:
Drums in Church – Some Concluding Thoughts

Read Part 1: The Drummers and Joe
Read Part 2: Kurzweil Jeff
Read Part 3: Oy! Logistics, Permissions and Switzerland, Oh My!
Read Part 4: A Joyful Chaos!


Kemi Awosile

My friend Kemi Awosile put me in contact with Steve Okwor, an African drummer who organized the drummers for our Thanksgiving Day service at The Mother Church (TMC).  She had sat in and drummed with this group before, and so I asked her how she felt about her experience.

Kemi said, “I am in awe of the communication that occurs when two or more people sit down to drum.  The inner and outer rhythms, the call and response back and forth and the pure joy of working together and off of one another all leave me breathless and spell bound. For me, it is miraculous and magical to get to play with these folks.”


February 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm 1 comment

Djembe Thanksgiving – Part 4

Djembe Thanksgiving
Part 4:
A Joyful Chaos!

Read Part 1: The Drummers and Joe
Read Part 2: Kurzweil Jeff
Read Part 3: Oy! Logistics, Permissions and Switzerland, Oh My!
Read Part 5: Drums In Church — Some Concluding Thoughts

One of my most favorite times on Sundays and special service days is my morning walk over to the church.  I love to see the sun’s light starting to illuminate the church and the huge plaza with the reflecting pool that runs right by it.

Morning at The Mother Church (Tony Arruza/Corbis)

There is often a security guard somewhere along the plaza all bundled up that I wave to, and there is such peace, tranquility and beauty. Thanksgiving Day was no exception.

I always think of this phrase from a favorite hymn during my ritual walk:
“A glorious day is dawning and o’re the waking earth,  The heralds of the morning are springing into birth.” 1

As those morning heralds, I like to get into the church good and early while it is still quiet.  On this morning, I needed to get there even a bit earlier to get warmed up.  The drummers were coming!  I had to be ready!

January 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm 2 comments

Djembe Thanksgiving – Part 2

Djembe Thanksgiving
Part 2:
Kurzweil Jeff

Read Part 1: The Drummers and Joe
Read Part 3: Oy! Logistics, Permissions and Switzerland, Oh My!
Read Part 4: A Joyful Chaos!
Read Part 5: Drums In Church — Some Concluding Thoughts

At our first rehearsal, Joe Galeota, our drum leader from Berklee College of Music, told us a little about his background – and he set the stage for our music making.

He told all of the drummers, “OK, Jeff and Julia are going to play and sing the arrangement and we are just going to jam.  That way we’ll get to know each other.”  And jam they did.  They all just fell in with Joe.  It was so enthralling, watching and listening to them.  Eventually, Joe settled on different drums and shakers and parts for each one in the group.

Meanwhile, further behind the scenes, I had asked Jeff Williams, our TMC consultant to arrange the ideas that he and I had been working on to merge a beautiful “folky” Inspirational pop song with the simple, joyful Nigerian hymn that I had discovered.  Both songs had musical grooves that worked together so well – and they both possessed a simplicity that spoke to the occasion.  After that rehearsal with Joe, Jeff and I worked on concretizing the ideas for the arrangement, and then Jeff went to work.

January 15, 2010 at 11:52 am 2 comments

The Kingdom Of God: A Follow Up


Follow up
Inspiratus Interview
with Composer Greg Granoff

Read Part 1 of the Greg Granoff Interview
Read Part 2 of the Greg Granoff Interview

greg_granoffBy the time I posted the Inspiratus interview with composer Greg Granoff, I had already sung two of his songs at The Mother Church in Boston where I perform each week.  I felt I had a real sense of his music by then, and I had become a true fan!

In his interview, Greg mentioned that his favorite song was “The Kingdom Of God.”

Well, when I first heard this song about a year ago, I was very moved by the beauty of its unique melodic and harmonic structures.  Shifting keys from minor to major and a constant conversation between the voice and keyboard fully engaged me and drew from me an immediate emotional response.  I was excited to explore this piece further, but I had to wait until last Sunday, September 13th to sing the song in a service.

“The Kingdom Of God” is a dramatic song, and it tells a truly dramatic story.

September 18, 2009 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

Have I Got A Song For You! – Part 2

song of unityCoverMany of you who regularly search for that next great piece of music to sing in your worship service — You Know Who You Are — have asked about the solo I performed on June 7, 2009. The occasion was the day of Sunday Services preceding the Monday Annual Meeting of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 2009.

As many of you know, this year’s theme for Annual Meeting was “One Accord, One Place.” The Sunday Services definitely supported this theme.

After going down many different roads of exploration, in search of that perfect song, the right idea for the solo just floated to the surface in a very quiet moment. That’s usually how it happens for me.

July 15, 2009 at 2:46 am Leave a comment

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Inspiratus by Julia Wade


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