Saturday, December 20, 2008

One of my favorite Christmas songs ever!

I have had a lot of trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year, and I've figured out why.

It's because I haven't listened to my favorite Christmas CD this year. It could be the middle of September, and if I hear a song from this CD, I'm geared up and ready to go for Christmas.

This album has been one of my favorites ever since it came out. About the same time, my friend Andy and I had to work at KLWN in Lawrence on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It was then, sitting through the strict Christmas Eve playlist of the "solemn 40" Christmas songs we had to play. There was a list consisting of people like Tennessee Ernie Ford, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Guy Lombardo and Kate Smith that we were NOT to stray from on Christmas Eve. We survived that night of holiday molasses, but only because of the hope dancing on the horizon of Christmas day. On Christmas day, we could play contemporary Christmas songs...songs we selected. This was our time to shine. Our time to share music we knew was good that was being kept from the people by the rigid restraints of holiday tradition at the station.

That Christmas morning, as people were at home listening to me play Christmas music, as people prepared their home for family arriving soon, as people enjoyed Christmas breakfast, I received numerous phone calls asking the name of certain artists or songs, not to mention many, many compliments on the music selection.

This was one of those songs. It was pretty upbeat for KLWN standards, especially to be playing it before noon. This is "Gloria" by Michael W. Smith, from his Christmas album.

This entire album is phenomenal! If you have never heard it, you are missing out on a tremendous collection of work. This album is so good, it moved Andy and me to take action.

Before Christmas tours were all the rage, we had an idea. This album needed to be heard live. So, we contacted Michael W. Smith's people and inquired about him coming to Lawrence to perform this CD live on the KU campus at Hoch Auditorium (before the fire). I don't think we realized the enormity of the request we had made. We certainly didn't think (or know) about what needs to happen for a concert to come to town. For this to be done right, we needed more than Smitty, we needed his band and an orchestra. Looking back, it wasn't a realistic request and it was bigger than both of us.

We were told that Smitty spends the holidays with his family and that touring wasn't an option for him during that time of the year. We understood and let the dream die.

So what happens a few years later? Amy Grant (who Michael W. Smith played piano for) starts a Christmas concert in Nashville. Before long, they take the show on the road year after year. And this year, who do you think went on a Christmas tour?

Michael W. Smith.

I'd like to think that Andy and I planted a seed. And that seed's name was "Gloria".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sentimental Dad

Call me sentimental.
Exactly one month ago, I was running late for work, just like I do everyday. Actually, it was more like walking late for work. I knew I was late but I was in a very controlled form of expidited motion making my way toward the office.
The previous evening, Amber was in the driveway...focused...ignoring the activity around her...a large piece of chalk in one hand, a blank concrete canvas before her. She worked and worked feverishly, never distracted by the buzz of children playing around her. When she finished, she had drawn a football stadium. She must have been inspired by Andrew and his friends playing a pickup game of football in the front yard. She was very proud, as well she should be.
I knew that rain was coming our way later in the day and thought what a downer it will be when her hard work in the driveway is washed away before we really have the chance to appreciate it.
I started my car, closed the garage door, backed over the artwork, and headed toward the office.
I didn't make it to the end of the block when I decided to be even later for work. I drove around the block, grabbed the camera and captured Amber's creation before it was gone.
So, I bring you, Amber's football field...immortalize forever via the gift of digital photography.
Good job, Amber!
And you know what?
Nobody noticed I was late.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tunes for Tuesday

I meant to start a "Music Monday" entry where I would share a favorite song every Monday, but I missed it. Here it is Tuesday and I'm itchin' to share a rare, Christmas favorite by one of my favorite artists of all time. I've seen her in concert more than any other. And, if you use the 6 Degrees of Seperation theory, I'm only one person removed from her via several different paths.

This song was made available on cassette as a "cassingle" from Target when you purchased her album "Home For Christmas". It's become difficult to find, but today, I'm sharing it with you here.

This is Amy Grant and "Let The Season Take Wing".

Several years ago, I edited a Christmas greeting video with my friend, Christine D., for the TV station we worked at using this song. We gathered old movies and photgraphs of our families and from co-workers and set them against this song. Here's the video we came up with.