Thursday, July 28, 2011

Singing a lot at Children's Medical in Dallas . . .

For the next 3-4 Thursdays, I will be singing with the Hugworks folks at Children's Medical in Dallas. These sessions will be my prep for a final solo, at which time I will have completed my Theraputic Music Entertainment (TME) apprenticeship.

The main focus now on my part is music memorization. My many year reliance on a notebook with words and chords has been the major roadblock for me in this process. It's hard enough carrying a Guild 12-string all around a hospital, but also a notebook and music stand?

Nope, just not practical, and it's just not professional either.

That, I believe is the take-away for me in this entire apprenticeship process . . . understanding that the songs I sing and play on guitar . . . are part of a craft . . . and treating always like a craft is how my approach to it needs to be for the rest of my life. The additional challenge is, of course, that my full-time job is as a United Methodist pastor, which allows me to sing a lot, but not full-time, the point at which music memorization becomes easier.

In the end, I am going to come out of the entire process a better singer and guitarist. And, I will continue to improve, and never again take what I do for granted.

It has been a good journey.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just heard that Dan Peek is no longer with us . . .y

Heard yesterday on our local 70's station that Dan Peek had died this past weekend at 60.

He was a founding member of the group, America, with Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley.

60 years old is too young. No news on a cause of death, and I am at the age where that doesn't interest me anymore. My former morbid curiosity is one of the things I have let go of in favor of spending what time I have left in more noble efforts.

Dan often had some of the lead intro's on guitar for America, and had the high vocal parts as well. He perhaps is best known for writing Lonely People. He left the group, tired of the drug scene and touring, and went solo for a while, recording Christian music later in his career, and performing with the Peek Family Band.

A sad day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tom McDermott

Good to see that Tom McDermott has a great new web site you can go to by clicking here. It's also a link in my "Storytellers Stuff" section below.

Tom is a very talented multi-talented musician, singer and master story teller.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hugworks Intensive Workshop Day 2 and 3

I am a good tired!

Yesterday, we gathered at Cook's Childrens Hosptial in Ft. Worth for the second day of the Hugworks Intensive TME Workshop. We sang for several groups of children in day/game rooms, and did several in room singing sessions. We joined together after lunch for a long jam session in the central lobby area, which was a bunch of fun.

We finished the afternoon with a long singing time in one of the the long-term care rehab rooms, followed by several more room visits. After a meeting to go over stuff for today, we all called it quits.

Today, we met at Children's Hospital in Dallas. I did not realize how big Children's is. We walked and walked and walked. First a meeting, then over to sing in the lobbies of several clinics, which I really enjoyed. After lunch we played for a group of kids in one of the playrooms, followed by our being on the hospital TV station playing backup music for 2 sessions of Musical Bingo. After a closing review, we all headed home.

I am not sure what I expected to get out of this workshop, but I did realize that I know far more songs from memory than I thought I did. That in and of itself made all 3 days very much worth my time. I am glad I took part in this.

I will be singing at Children's again several times in August. After that, I am hopeful that we can arrange for my "solo" (final test) and certification.

For more info about Hugworks, check out

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hugworks Intensive Workshop Day 1

A long day at the Hugworks office in Hurst, TX. After reviewing the new TME apprentice training manual, we had a discussion with two music therapists for pointers on how we can better identify which songs we should be singing to children when we go into their hospital rooms. Interesting to hear that music therapy often has nothing to do with music, but in helping the patient/client have ownership of a decision. Their advice was practical. We will all become more effective now at "reading" the needs of those we sing to.

In the afternoon, we began a discussion about increasing the number of songs in the "other song" listing of the current TME music catalog. We each grabbed copies of Johann Anderson's "Songs" book and a couple hours later, we had a full legal pad sheet of songs that should past muster with the Child Life Specialists who will be recruited to vet out the songs. Speaking of the "Songs" book, I have had a current copy for many, many years . . . probably back to first time I was introduced to this great music resource in 1979 at a Youth Directors training camp held at the UMC Canyon Camp in Oklahoma.

I enjoyed some private coaching time with Jim Newton today. Jim is a good friend, and to be honest, I have greatly admired him from afar for many years. I have owned most of the albums, tapes and CD's that he, Paul G. Hill and Noel Paul Stookey have put out over the years under the Celebration Shop/Hugworks banner, not to mention the accompanying song books. Jim made a couple of suggestions that I will take deeply to heart. Paul Hill helped with identifying the basic songs for my personal song catalog. Great friends both. Great teachers/mentors both!

And . . . the Guild 12-string more than carried it's weight today!!! An awesome instrument. I need to take the Martin 12-string to Children's Hospital in Dallas on Wednesday. Tomorrow we will be at Cook's Children's in Fort Worth.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grapevine Guitar Works is expanding . . .

Over the past 3 months, I've been trying to help Sean with a remodel of the GGW showroom, located upstairs in the Grapevine Antique Mall.

Section by section, we've been repainting walls, and forming new areas for guitar displays. Sean's idea for how the store would look is starting to pan out really well.

Sean is now carrying new Fender and Squire electric guitars and basses, and new Fender acoustics. He is still one of the largest independent Taylor dealers in the country, as well as on of the few dealers carrying new G&L and Parker electrics as well as Eastman and Cordoba acoustics, including ukuleles.

Showroom hours are 10 AM - 6 PM Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours start a little later and end a little earlier. Check the GGW website for more info.

My thanks to Sean for sponsoring my Theraputic Music Entertainment ministry to area nursing homes and for children in hospitals for over 5 years now. I one day hope to be able to have helped Sean to the extent he has helped me. Not only is he my sponsor, but also a dear friend.

Please consider doing business with GGW for your guitar and accessories needs. You will be glad you did. And if you see me painting or hanging guitars . . . please say "Hi", and I'll be glad to tell you more about Hugworks and Theraputic music.

God's graces still amazes me . . . ><>

Friday, July 8, 2011

A great video to learn more about Hugworks . . .

I meant to put this up a while back, and completely forgot! People ask me what Hugworks is all about, and I am happy to share my answer to that from my perspective. But the video below is in Jim Newton's own words.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, July 7, 2011

1st time to sing at a Ronald McDonald House . . .

My wife's company has a corporate sponsorship arrangement with Ronald McDonald Houses all over the country. This evening, my wife and fellow co-workers cooked and served dinner at the RMD House in Ft. Worth, TX.

I got to tag along, as I was invited to come provide music during the meal. I am very, very glad I went.

I mostly sang songs from the Hugworks TME (Theraputic Music Entertainment) catalog because they are the songs I am needing to memorize. These are the songs I sing for children with Jim Newton and Paul G. Hill (the Hugworks guys) at DFW area hospitals. They were a good choice for this evenings get together, as all the parents and children in attendance were there because of a child / sibling being at Cook's Children's Hospital just a block away.

I really enjoyed the evening, as my wife and her co-workers unselfishly gave of their time to cook, serve, wait on tables and clean up afterwards. I sang for about 90 minutes, and even I for once thought I did pretty good. The acoustics in the room were awesome!

One little girl ran up next to me and did all the actions for "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round." She was so cute. She ran back later and hugged my leg.

Yeah, I about melted . . .

I hope I get to do this again soon.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hugworks Intensive TME Workshop reminder . . .

A friendly reminder to those interested . . .

Hugworks ( is going to host a special "intensive" Theraputic Music Entertainment workshop beginning this coming Monday, July 11 through Wednesday July 13.

This special event will take place at the Hugworks office in Hurst, TX on Monday, and at several area children's hospitals on Tuesday and Wednesday, making this an intensive "hands on" TME experience, including singing to, for and with children.

Contact the Hugworks office ASAP for more info at 817-268-0020.

I Believe in Music . . .

To quote a favorite song of mine . . .

I could just sit around, making music all day long.
As long as I'm making my music ain't gonna do nobody no harm.
And who knows, maybe I'll come up with a song
To make people want to stop all this fussing and fighting
Long enough to sing along.

I believe in music. I believe in love
I believe in music. I believe in love

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Time to put it all together . . .

It's time. It's time to finish up the Theraputic Music Entertainment apprenticeship I started close to two years ago.

On July 11-13, I will be attending a Hugworks TME intensive workshop. Afterwards, I will finish up my song memorization requirements, and take my "final," which is a solo performance at an area hospital, under the observation of one of the Hugworks leaders.

It has been a positive experience, but like a lot of volunteer activities, what I was able to do and accomplish was very much affected by stuff at the church, including Ken Diehm's recent death.

I took off 3 months from the program until the time I knew that our new Senior Pastor had been selected. And now, my schedule is hopefully opening up enough to allow me to focus on the program and get it finished. Especially since our VBS efforts for this summer have concluded.

It's time.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer VBS . . . You gotta love it!

10 VBS sessions (AM and PM) in 5 days! Wow!

I am pretty sure we have over 500 total a couple of those days. Awesome.

I have written before, both as a pastor and as a singer/guitarist that I truly have a passion for Vacation Bible School. I have some wonderful memories of grand times, great fun, good food, and singing, singing, singing, singing.

Besides my late maternal grandmother, I cannot remember a place or time where I was encouraged to sing as much, as often, and as loud as those times when I attended VBS as a student, later as a youth helper, and as an adult leader.


The kids are tired. The youth helpers are tired. The adult leaders are tired. But everyone is smiling!

God's grace still amazes me . . . as does Summer VBS!!! ><>