21 December 2012

Music Day

Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to present to you a rare gem. It's an unlikely setting, but it's breathtaking in its ability to push the boundaries of tradition without going completely overboard trying to make it sound cool (*cough* Relient K *cough*). Gentle and delicate in some places, yet powerful and soaring in others.

And it features Rick Florian. What else is there to say?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the only Christmas song White Heart has released to date:

Title: Little Drummer Boy
Artist: White Heart
Album: Christmas
Year: 1988
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

14 December 2012

Music Day

I had my favourite Christmas song in the world (that's available on iTunes) lined up for today, but now, after that shooting in Connecticut... I picked a different song. There's always next Friday.

This song may admittedly seem a little unorthodox. (But then, I'm not known for following the 'say-all-the-right-things-whether-you-mean-them-or-not' herd.)

I picked it, though, because though there is heart-wrenching grief now and I'm not going to deny that -- there is hope. That man did not escape judgement. When he killed himself, he thought he was off the hook. But instead he found himself standing before the throne of God. And God, the perfect Judge, judged perfectly. Make no mistake, justice has been served today, far better than even the best court on the planet could.

And as for this world, this terrible, broken world... it will be fixed one day. And then the tears will be stopped and gently wiped away, the cries of the children (and the adults) being hurt physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually every day will be silenced. Justice will be served in full. And the world will be right again.

Title: All The King's Horses
Artist: Petra
Album: This Means War!
Year: 1987
Label: Star Song
iTunes here; YouTube here.

All the King's horses and all the King's men
Gonna run down from Heaven from where they've been
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Gonna put this world back together again
Gonna put this world back together again...

13 December 2012


So I was kind of throwing myself a little pity party again (when will I ever learn to stop that?) -- an old youth group acquaintance just got a huge break into the industry he's been dreaming of for years, my sister is getting her stage script read by a local theatre producer, and a friend of mine got some of her artwork published (it was a fairly small scale, but published nonetheless).

And me... I was just kind of sitting and listening to the same fifteen seconds of the same song over and over and over trying to come up with the next sequence. Like I have for the past year.

Separately, those were all genuine 'congratulations that's awesome!' moments, but all of them in the same week had me reeling a little. Why are they getting results that have people going 'wow, good for you' and I continue to just sit here and be criticised for not having a 'real' job?

Then last night while looking through a drawer in my filing cabinet I found a pink piece of paper with my writing on it -- a list of steps I needed to take to draw me closer to my dancing goal. I remember writing that list -- it was probably only about four to six months ago.

As I read it, I realised I could already check off three things. Things that had seemed insurmountable then. So I did. I literally got out my trusty pencil and checked them off.

Then I started thinking about what I do have going for me now. I have a dance teacher who is totally excited about the fact that I'm so interested in choreography (she let me borrow one book she had on Benesh notation and just this week gave me another booklet she had that talks about it). I have one dance right now that's been absolutely on fire since I picked it up again after NaNoWriMo. In just ten and a half months, I've choreographed eleven dances -- over forty minutes' worth. That's well on the way to being enough for a respectable concert. I now have enough foundational tap that I can begin to experiment -- to choreograph (to say nothing of the fact that I now have tap shoes with which to do it).

I had none of this a year ago.

It may not feel like it, but I am moving closer, closer, closer to the dream...

So I keep working, keep practicing.

03 December 2012

The Girl In The Mirror

The girl in the mirror has a small round face, black pants, blue top, and her hair is tied back.

That little detail makes all the difference. Pulling the hair back can completely alter a person. It has certainly altered the girl watching me from across the studio.

Aside from the teacher, she is the only one in the room. Her height -- or lack of it -- no longer matters. It's not even visible. The dull pain in her leg from a strained muscle is a distant thought.

She is dancing.

And she moves with confidence and dare I say it? a touch of joy as well.

This is a different girl than the one in ballet class, the shy girl who struggles with jumps and whose hips are consistently uneven due to slightly crooked bone structure. This girl has shining eyes and an easy smile. She learns quickly, something she has yet to master in softer shoes.

For once she is dancing with her whole body, not just the feet moving with breathtaking technique but devoid of emotion. Her shoulders, her head, her arms -- they all join the feet as they find and follow the beat.

The girl in the mirror tonight has a touch of daring. Not flirtatious daring... daring just to relax. To smile, to allow herself to have fun. To let her whole self feel the rhythm, not just her feet.

The girl in the mirror is dancing joyfully. And possibly for the first time, she is willing to allow it to peek out through a crack in her hardened exterior.

25 November 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day 24/25

Things learned during today's (well, yesterday's now) noveling session:

If you watch VeggieTales' Josh And The Big Wall, then go write a novel involving a high-powered army commander and two alien shovels, the scene will be eerily reminiscent of the Keep Walking scene in the film -- only without the clever song.

Also, when you spend most of the day listening to White Heart (*cough* Rick Florian), then start writing, you will describe every single character's voice and vocal inflections in great detail. (Especially if the White Heart in question was the Highlands album -- the one with the tricky harmonies in it.)

Also, making a really really disorganised hospital receptionist lazily try to find a file for a man who believes his wife may or may not have been kidnapped actually eats up a lot more words than you'd think.

I now know why I never hear any White Heart on classicchristian247.com when I'm writing (between the hours of 11 pm and 2.30 am) -- they play it at 10 pm. (Learned this when I started my writing sessions earlier than usual tonight. Now that November is almost over...)

And... I just broke 90k! (Total of both novels.) Finally on par with Novel Two for the first time since I started writing the stupid thing -- currently at 34,218. Day 24 (yesterday's) quota was 33,333. Day 25 (are we really that far already?) is about 36,666, but I may try to hit 40k.

20 November 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day 20

I've hit 50k on the first novel (which I will update later when I have more time). Suffice to say I had a lot of fun writing it. It's not done, but right now I have to finish the second novel and then I'll go back and have more fun with that first one.

The second one... yeah. Not. Going. Anywhere. Even the inclusion of the Traveling Shovel of Death (and nearly two million of its cousins) hasn't sparked anything. I hate this novel. But I've started, so I must get at least 50,000 words out of it.

I posted this on Facebook a few minutes ago:

(Second novel) I'm supposed to be at 20,000 words by the end of the day. I'm at 9,686.
And I have three hours of driving, five hours of dance classes, and worship team practice.
*beats head against keyboard in effort to make more words*

So yeah. I'll write a better update once I'm caught up.

(By the way, my total for November -- Novels One and Two: 65,693.)

Oooh! White Heart song (Maybe Today) on classicchristian247.com!

Back to writing!

08 November 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day 8

I finished out my 3.30 am writing session at 24,771 words. When I woke up again later this morning I crunched the numbers and discovered that in order to finish this thing by 14 November -- which was my goal -- I have to end today with 28,500-some-odd words.


So now I have write 4.5k, memorise a dance, get some choreography done, practice tap, study that Benesh book my dance teacher gave me so I can get it back to her (I'll have to explain that later), make dinner for nine people, and I really should shower already...

As for the story itself, it's, well, not. The thing pretty much consists of tap jargon and White Heart songs. There's also a little something about an old eighties rock band getting back together, but that doesn't write nearly as exciting as it sounds. I'm so desperate for more words that my character broke the fourth wall last night. (And it wasn't just a little crack either -- he pretty much drove a steamroller through it.)

But I'll say say this -- despite the fact that my fingers keep wanting to type Jekyll And Hyde (as in the Petra song), I will love White Heart forever for naming the song Dr Jekyll And Mr Christian. (I mean, I'll love White Heart forever anyway, but this is a thank-you-for-the-word-count-boost kind of love.)

So as I write this (3.17 pm, though I'll probably publish this when I get on the computer later tonight because I don't trust the Blogger app not to mess it up), I'm at approximately 26,000 words.

Two and a half thousand to go before midnight...

(11.00 pm)

I totally did it! I'm all caught up now.

I just put transferred my writing from Lila to the main document on my computer and the tally comes to 29,356 words. (I also managed to make dinner and shower too.) Now I'll probably send a couple of emails and then I really should start memorising that dance already... I've resigned the tap practice till tomorrow. Pretty much everyone else in the house is asleep already and wouldn't be too appreciative of tap dancing now anyway.

06 November 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 5 Recap

Actually, this isn't so much about NaNoWriMo as it is about the emotional roller coaster.

First, tomorrow -- I mean later today -- I'm going to be in a meeting which may or may not result in (some of) my choreography getting staged.

I know.

So, naturally, I'm a little nervous. And excited. And I have no idea how I'm going to present it. And I have to wake up early for it and as such I have no idea why I'm writing a blog post at two in the morning because I should really go to bed.

Add to that mixture the fact that a friend of mine from my ballet class, who I've been dancing with for five years, suddenly transferred classes, effective this week (if I understand correctly). This leaves me as the only one left in my level. There were still four of us last year. It was quite a blow, actually.

So despite my shock and depression, I managed to write two thousand words in an hour and then, desperately needing to be cheered up, decided to head on over to the NaNoisms thread. And now I can't breathe and my stomach hurts (from silent laughter), but at least I'm not fighting tears anymore.

02 November 2012

Music Day

I've been cramming my head full of classicchristian247.com due the the illustrious novel-writing occasion and last night (or early this morning), I heard this song.

Dude. I laughed so hard. Listen all the way to the end -- he gets so sarcastic at the end. It's great.

Title: So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt
Artist: Keith Green
Album: So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt
Year: 1980
Label: Last Days Ministries/Pretty Good Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

It took a bit for me to warm up to this song (until the line the ground opened up and had some of us for lunch). I never realised Keith Green was this versatile. Nor did I realise how great a lyricist he was -- think of mixing the Steve Taylor/Peter Furler team with Larry Norman. Great stuff. (Seriously, who else would ever come up with a line like Manna burgers!)

31 October 2012

NaNoWriMo Eve

Pre-NaNoWriMo checklist:

Some idea of plot?


Names for most of supporting cast?


Tea (kindly supplied by friend)?
It was here, but I can't seem to find it...

Writing buddies?

Work done on choreography that I planned on getting out of the way before NaNoWriMo starts?
...Not really.

Barely-suppressible heart-rate-elevating excitement?

Writing music (classicchristian247.com)?
Uncertain as of yet. (Thanks a lot, superstorm Sandy.)

Writing music (iTunes)?

Furnace running?

Second plot for when I finish the first one early?


Fresh batteries for Lila?


Annual final-hour-countdown freakout with writing buddy over Facebook?

(Well, all the important stuff is covered, anyway.)

And now, fellow writers, let us charge forth to the path of glorious exuberant creativity! For the rest of the month may our battle cry shall echo the words of what's-his-face from Mythbusters, "I reject your reality and substitute my own."

Bring on National Novel Writing Month!

EDIT: 9 November 2012
It wasn't even NaNoWriMo yet and already I was making NaNoisms? Are you KIDDING me?

26 October 2012

Music Day

Just discovered this song thanks to my seven-year-old sister (whose nickname could very accurately be 'Walking Dance Party'). I was already kind of familiar with the band but not the song, and dude, if you ever need a feel-good dance song, this is a keeper. (And I could hook you up with the Walking Dance Party's playlist -- just keep in mind that she is only seven years old.)

Part of the reason I love this song so much is that the first time I heard it I choreographed pretty much the entire chorus. In one listen.

Oh, did I mention that said choreography was in tap? (Yay!) Hopefully I'll be able to choreograph the rest of it pretty quickly even with my limited experience.

Anyway, here you are. Kick off that awesome weekend.

Title: Snazzy
Artist: Go Fish
Album: Snazzy
Year: 2007
Label: Go Fish Kids Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

23 October 2012

The Battle, Day 3

My spider kit is ready.

A board is propped upright beside me, for dropping on the enemy from a height. It also doubles as a place to practice that tap sequence from Monday that I seem to have forgotten (which annoys me, because how am I supposed to practice and improve if I can't remember it in the first place?).

A slab of pure marble that I found on the dryer rests in my lap. The sucker's got to be at least eight pounds, probably more. This is also for dropping on the enemy from a height.

A long piece from a set of wooden blocks sits on my choreography table beside me, for parry-thrusting the enemy as it tries to scale the walls. Provided I can bear to bring my bare hand to within eight and a half inches of that thing. (Ugh. I can't even bear thinking of the crunch it'll make... ugh. *shudders*)

And though it's annoying me to no end, I'm still wearing my shoes.

You, spider, will die. I have to finish a very intricate piece of choreography and do my dad's tax papers before the first of November. The more you ruin my concentration and throw off my project-accomplishing trajectory, the more horrible your end will be.

So, last chance. Get out of my room. Lest it become your coffin.

21 October 2012


I am crouching on my chair. My left foot is clothed in my brother's massive work boot, my right is wearing one of my dad's work shoes. Every two seconds I look down at the floor below me, then glance at the wall just a foot and a half beyond my computer.

Because I know it's here. And I know it's still alive. Probably not even frightened.

Little bugger. It knew exactly the one location it could sit on its fat butt and taunt me with its presence yet be unreachable. It's moments like these which make me want to put 'machine gun' on my Christmas wish list. I don't care what one of those would do to the wall, I just want that thing out of here.

Oh, I've heard the stories of cockroaches. Of rats. Of tarantulas the size of dinner plates. You might say I'm being a little irrational here.

But listen, here in Alberta, the spiders get huge. Huge. And freaking terrifying.

Black, with thick legs, a good inch long (when bent!), and tiny spindly bodies which somehow makes them all the more threatening. And huge. You know that famous Alberta beef? If we ever get a shortage of cows we could move on to the spiders that grow here and no-one would be any the wiser.

And it's October. October. The spiders should all be dead. Spring is the dawn of the spiders, what the freak are they doing still hanging out in my room now? Why can't they ever go live in the bathroom or something? At least you don't sleep in the bathroom. I have to somehow manage to get to sleep tonight. And I had planned on knocking out another thirty seconds on this choreography that's almost done...

That's slightly impossible when just putting your feet on the floor -- even shod for battle -- is cause for terror. If my bed weren't a loft bed, I would definitely be sleeping upstairs tonight, I don't care how uncomfortable the couch is. As it is I doubt I'll sleep easy knowing that thing, that horrific grotesque freak of nature is still here, in this room, alive and unafraid.

My feet are falling asleep. Last I saw the enemy, it was under the desk, too far back for me to reach. Probably still hiding under there, just out of sight, just out of reach, laughing at me.

I guess I'm going to bed early tonight. Wasn't quite the motivation I was looking for though.

19 October 2012

Music Day

Lately I've been loving this song. It's another song I remember from childhood, but in the past two weeks or so it's captivated me, both musically and lyrically. (Seriously, this guy is the lyrical and theological precursor to Lecrae.)

This is also a rare occasion where you'll hear an electric guitar solo in a Michael Card song. And it's a pretty good one too.

Title: Scandalon
Artist: Michael Card
Album: Scandalon
Year: 1985
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

To some He is a barrier
To others He's the way
For all should know the scandal of believing

Today it seems the Scandalon offends no one at all
The image we present can be stepped over
Could it be that we are like the others long ago
Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble?

18 October 2012


My thoughts aren't currently coherent enough for me to make a full post on one topic, so I'm going to throw down some sound bites because I miss posting.

So I've been working on a ballet for twelve. I was trying to do it start-to-finish in the month of September... didn't quite work out that way. At this rate I'll be lucky to finish it by the end of October.
Oh, but it is gorgeous. It's turning out even better than I'd hoped. The best I can say is that it's a bit like a symphony. A symphony of dance.

In case it's not obvious from recent Music Day posts, I've been on a HUGE White Heart kick. I have Servant's The Dance (I love this song), Michael Card's The Promise, and David Meece's Early In The Morning all lined up to be choreographed next and all my creative brain wants to do is White Heart, White Heart, and more White Heart. I may just have to knock out that Say The Word duo that's been simmering in my head just to shut it up. (And Early In The Morning has a deadline on it too...)

Okay, I know I've gushed about Rick Florian's singing before, but seriously, anyone who can sing Silhouette without bursting a lung is a truly amazing human being. I tried to sing it the other day and almost passed out (the fact that I had a cold and don't yet have the lyrics memorised is a mere trifle. That song is darn difficult).

NaNoWriMo is coming! I actually have a solid plot idea too -- a tap dancer, an ex-rocker, music, someone recovering from depression, road trip, concerts, touring... it is going to be SO. MUCH. FUN.
And in case I finish that one early (which I think is likely), I also have a second very good idea that'll easily make 50k (famous last words...).

Tap classes -- on Monday my teacher asked if I play an instrument. I said no. She seemed quite surprised and asked if I sing. I said, "A little."
Apparently, according to her, my musicality is very, very good. Earlier in the class, she had said I was a natural. And then she taught me this step -- I think she called it a pullback -- where you jump and while in the air, you tap your toes on the ground. I (mostly) got the hang of it in two minutes (according to the clock in the studio). She was clearly amazed and told me it takes most people weeks to figure it out.

Also, I loathe YouTube right now. Loathe. Excuse me for being in Canada.

12 October 2012

Music Day

So last night our church hosted a Fraser Campbell concert. So, of course, I went, even though I really only knew one song. (In this province, you take what you can get.)

It was good. I liked the first half especially, where they put out all the rock stuff (no surprise). They played some stuff from their album and rocked up a few old 'church-y' songs. They're pretty good with a crowd, and then they pulled a couple volunteers from the audience to drum up some more excitement for the one song. Actually, it was a contest between the two volunteers who got the most out of their half of the crowd, and the winner would get a prize.

Never underestimate the youth groups in this town, and especially don't underestimate those specific volunteers. Both the lead singer and the drummer said later that they'd never seen a conga line in a church before (to say nothing of the fact that said conga line included willing participants in their sixties).

Personally I enjoyed watching the bassist, introduced only as Dan. He had that Bob Hartman head-bob thing going on and for some reason that fascinates me (mostly how they can move their heads side to side while moving their hand up and down). The drummer was pretty phenomenal too.

Fraser Campbell himself reminded me of Peter Furler -- maybe it was the bald head and the guitar, but his singing voice was similar and the lyrics are definitely in line with Peter Furler's style.

All in all, it was a good concert. I'd definitely go again, even if it wasn't free.

And just listen to the passion in this song...

Title: Arms Of Love
Artist: Fraser Campbell
Album: We Love You
Year: 2009
Independent release.
iTunes here; YouTube here.
Website: frasercampbellmusic.com

Today I listened to the album we picked up after the show... it's rather more low-key (in fact, I think I enjoyed the concert more than the album), but it's still worth a listen. Like I said earlier, he's got a very Peter-Furler-like writing style (I'd put this album on about the same level as Newsboys' Devotion), but there's also a definite Delirious? vibe on it.

And they're Canadian -- what could be better?

04 October 2012


So it's nearly 2 am.

I'm still on the computer hanging out on the NaNoWriMo forums despite having to work tomorrow and not getting nearly as much choreography done yesterday as I'd hoped.

And then... and then...

The furnace clicks on!

My day is made.

27 September 2012

This Is Why I Still Live At Home

So my youngest brother is in the hospital overnight (please pray for him, by the way; this is the worst I've ever heard him), and I wound up watching the others until Dad got home from work. This requires me to cook supper.

The ensuing phone call to my mother went something like this...

Me: How far in advance do you have to start scalloped potatoes? That's what's on the menu.
(Clarification: Meals around here are planned out and posted on the fridge weekly.)

Mom: Actually, it's probably too late to start scalloped potatoes.

Me: So then what do I make?

Mom: You could have soup.

Me: I don't know how to make soup.

Mom: *sigh*

And now she'll be upset when they get home because she just cleaned the stove and of course the soup boiled over.

22 September 2012

Music Day

Yes I know, I missed Music Day. I had it all planned out too... but last night when I was supposed to write it I felt like crap, so it's a day late. (Incidentally, did you know that it's possible to experience salt withdrawal? Apparently it is. Methinks I should re-evaluate my eating habits.)

So I finally gave up on the bookstore and ordered the new Lecrae album from his website. The CD is still on its way, but I purchased the package that includes a free MP3 download (it was the same price as the CD-only and it was killing me that I hadn't heard it yet).

Let me get this out there right now -- this is a phenomenal album. Musically, it's on par with anything else out there. Very creative. It's obvious they put a lot of time and effort into it -- very refreshing, especially when you think about every other genre covered by 'Christian' artists (the same cookie-cutter acoustic guitar chords for thirteen songs in a row, anyone?). Seriously, though. Good stuff.

It should probably come as no surprise that Gravity (the track) is one of my favourites -- it's got kind of a retro video-game vibe (or maybe it's just me).

Free From It All hit me pretty deep. It reminds me of me, just it's not huge crowds that love me as long as I'm perfect... it's those who should love me unconditionally. It's frightening, in a way. And this song captures it so well.

Fakin' always makes me think of this one Calvin and Hobbes strip -- where Calvin asks his mom for money to buy a devil-worshipping, suicide-advocating heavy metal album, and his mom says, "Calvin, the only reason these bands haven't killed themselves in ritual self-sacrifice proves that they're just in it for the money like everyone else." (I hope that quote isn't copyright infringement.)

I personally find the tracks Violence and Mayday kind of annoying, but I think those are a little bit too modern for my ears. If you're into the current secular sound, these will probably really appeal to you. (Confe$$ions probably would fall into that category as well.)

And Buttons? Gah. Most adorable song ever. Mrs Lecrae is a very lucky woman.

I like the intro to I Know. It's... cute, almost (I realise I just alienated all the serious rap fans out there). Actually, I really like the music throughout the whole thing, especially the sound effects like you hear at the end. Lecrae's really feeling the rhythm here.

Lucky Ones. This one almost became today's featured song. Just listen to it. It's a beautiful song.

And now, for today's 'official' song...

Title: Falling Down
Artist: Lecrae
Album: Gravity
Year: 2012
Label: Reach Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Trip Lee is definitely on his game here. I like his part in this. Also, I like the part in the hook where Lecrae (finally) comes in -- I see the sky falling... and ain't no way to stop it...

Actually, it almost sounds like kind of a downer song (it's more of a warning than anything else -- reminds me of 2 Corinthians 5:20), but it's so catchy.

14 September 2012

Music Day

Heard this on the radio the other day.

Tap dance forthcoming. (Eventually. But hopefully rather soon.)

Title: Living The Dream
Artist: Downhere
Album: On The Altar Of Love
Year: 2011
Label: Centricity Music
iTunes here; YouTube here.

So. Catchy.

Luke 9:23. Matthew 13:44.

12 September 2012

Tap Shoes

Today I bought my first ever-pair of tap shoes.

Let me say that again -- TAP SHOES! :-D

Ninety-four dollars (ninety-eight with sales tax) (for comparison, my pointe shoes are $80 per pair), but they're TAP SHOES!

And now, all that choreography; all those brilliant ideas I've had -- dances to songs like His Heart Was Always In It, Invitation, Let The Children PlayBye Bye BabylonMore Sold Out (and that's just the White Heart)... Save Your Life, Ready Or Not, Somebody's Gonna Praise His Name, Walk Away From Love, Don't Waste Your Life, the 2010 remake of Angel Of LightI Want To Be A CloneNew Earth, everything -- all that is now within my reach!

The ultimate goal? Independence Day by White Heart. That will take SO much work and practice, but it will be SO worth it.

Classes start on Monday...

TAP SHOES! *squeals*

(I am such a dance nerd.)

10 September 2012

A Daydream

Lately I've been entertaining this idea -- kind of a daydream, but not really because at this point I'm not set on making it a reality (though it's appealing enough to be the basis of my Script Frenzy 2013 project).

But there are some times where I do want to make it a reality.

And it's this -- to own (or have a share in) a Christian record shop that carries all the good Christian rock, the 80's and the 90's, plus probably some of the newer stuff. A sort of buy-sell-trade place, since not a lot of the 80's stuff is in print anymore. And then I can not only have access to any of the albums I might like, I could make money off it too. There's a decent fanbase for this stuff if you know where to find it.

Not only that, but I could also get real creative and add a café and a stage. Like a real stage, without a massive grand piano sitting on it (it annoys me how Christian bookstores invite people to 'come play on our stage'... and then you're limited to only piano because that's all the space there is on the stage and you can't move the thing because it's invariably on a platform).

Yes. That would be lovely.

Oh, also, I could actually get albums the day they drop, too. That alone could be worth the cost of renting a space and paying employees and stocking the place.

Your suspicions are correct... this is indeed a thinly veiled rant.

The daydream is real (it has roots in April 2012), but the sarcasm is new.

See, Lecrae's crazy-ridiculous-intense-phenomal-highly-anticipated album Gravity released this past Tuesday, the fourth. On Thursday I went to the local Christian bookstore to buy it.

Not only was it not there, it wasn't even on their list of new releases this week. And I know it released in Canada because I previewed it on iTunes Canada early (really early) Tuesday morning. We asked the girl at the counter and she had no idea why it wasn't anywhere.

Now, what really bothers me is the fact that tobyMac's (also highly anticipated) album Eye On It, released the week before. And the music section in this particular venue is absolutely drunk on it. You can't blink without seeing another Eye On It cover somewhere. Okay, so maybe I really really really can't stand tobyMac to begin with, but even so, that's ridiculous.

So if you see Gravity for sale in central Alberta, let me know. I've had cash set aside for that album for weeks.

07 September 2012

Music Day

You know, it was really easy to do this when it was White Heart month. Now I have to take at least a week off of White Heart or else the whole point of designating it White Heart month in the first place is moot.

Ah, but I will make it. Somehow. There are '80's rock bands other than White Heart... and hey, this one has some new stuff on the iTunes Store! (Anniversary re-releases are the best.)

This entire album is phenomenal. I can't even recommend just one song, so I'm picking one at random here. (I'll probably wind up featuring another two or three songs from it eventually.)

I really like the intro on this song (synth work), and the vocals are probably one of his best (though there's a lot of that). And the drums in the 'pre-chorus' -- I've always liked those. After the fantastic opening, the chorus actually seems kind of anti-climactic. But the verses and the bridge are a treat.

Musically, it has kind of a haunting sound... I like that. And I like how the vocals bring it back to earth a little.

This is one of the best of the era.

Title: You Are My Rock
Artist: Petra
Album: This Means War!
Year: 1987
Label: Star Song
iTunes here; YouTube here (you may have to turn up your speakers a bit at the beginning).

Through the desperate night my soul cries out to You
Longing just to hear Your voice...

06 September 2012

September With A Vengeance

The first of September dawned autumn with a vengeance, blustery and cold. Technically it's still summer, but now -- all cheer! -- winter is coming and Christmas will be here again.

The furnace even ran the next morning, and rain and grey skies dominated the weekend.

I wonder why it is that the cold weather makes everything seem cosier and more inviting. Like you're wrapped up in a quilt with a tea even though you haven't had a tea in weeks and are in fact freezing because everybody else in the house still insists on opening the windows and blasting the electric fan.

There's something about the first days of autumn, I've noticed, that makes music seem better than normal. Stuff like Petra's album This Means War!, 1980s music, and almost anything by David Meece seems particularly warm against the biting wind. Looking out the window by the table when I'm working on choreography is a far more absorbing activity now. Lightly fluttering green leaves in the sunlight are lovely, but boring. Trees bent sideways by the storms that dive-bomb us through the summer are disconcerting. But trees with still-green leaves blowing nicely in a stiff wind and a grey-white sky that could almost hold snow... this is the best of both worlds. This is the backdrop to a daydream.

31 August 2012

Music Day

This is my Saturday-morning-drive-to-prayer-walk/community-clean-up-day song. (Well, actually, I play the whole album on those days, but this song is one of the reasons why. Urban Renewal is the other one, but it's not on iTunes.)

I'm the type of person who listens to a song (or artist) because it challenges me or generally makes me think. It's one of the main reasons I hardly ever listen to 'secular' music -- let's face it, there's not much to chew on in a lyric like whoa oh oh, you don't know you're beautiful.

And this song is a challenge. Are they working harder at what we think is wrong; Than we are at what we know is right... Are they? Are we? Am I? If not, what do I need to do to change that? It's a question I constantly need to ask myself. It's so easy to settle for 'good enough' and no longer strive for 'best.'

(Also, the beat in this song is just way too catchy to resist.)

Title: More Sold Out
Artist: White Heart
Album: Emergency Broadcast
Year: 1987
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Are we gonna sit back and let them take control
When we've got His power in our soul...

24 August 2012

Music Day

This song is darn near legendary here at the asylum.

This was the first song I ever completed a dance for. That was back in April (I think 10 April 2012 will live forever in my memory), but it kick-started my choreography in general. It was during this song that I realised, yes, I can do this. And I'm not even all that bad at it.

As for the song, this captures the band at its finest. There are so many little things that make this song amazing. (And I listened to this almost non-stop for ten weeks, dissecting the timing and listening for cues for the dancers and deciding what step would best fit this bit of music, so I think I've picked up a few things.)

There's the bass, toward the end -- it starts as a short solo, then the guitar joins it with a really fast, very quick rhythm (the part that was a nightmare to count).

There's that whistle at the beginning.

There's that drum kick in the middle of the first verse (after the cold winter streets of your life...).

There's the part in the chorus where the guitar deviates from the steady 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, for like a measure before returning to the beat.

Then, of course, there's the singing ability of the one and only Rick Florian.

But above everything else, the proof that this is a fantastic song... is that you can listen to it almost non-stop for ten weeks and still love it. Seriously. It is impossible to overplay this.

I give you...

Title: Sing Your Freedom
Artist: White Heart
Album: Freedom
Year: 1989
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Can't drown out the truth
Or chain our beliefs
Can't drown out the song
Of those who are free...

19 August 2012

This Shouldn't Bother Me Anymore... But It Does

This is going to be a bit of a self-pity post. Consider this your fair warning.

So my grandmother is still on her 'Kate-needs-to-get-off-her-presumably-lazy-backside-and-get-a-job' kick. Never mind that I'm working one full-time job and two part-times and am still crazy enough to be seriously considering another potentially full-time job and another part-time.


So today at church, one of the worship team members came up to me as my grandmother was telling me about this utterly fantastic job opportunity she saw in the paper, and tried to thank me for running the PowerPoint.

I don't get a lot of compliments (and most definitely not in real life), so I was carefully recording this moment in my head for future reference.

But instead of letting me have the moment, my grandmother butted in and told him to tell me to get out and get a job.

Sensing a potentially explosive situation, he cut his compliment short and left. So then did my grandmother.

And the recording in my head, meant to preserve a rare compliment, contains only another reminder that I will never be good enough.

I know what you're all thinking. I know what you're going to say. You'll say that I have a lot of talent, that I shouldn't give up just because of one person, that she probably doesn't understand any of this, that I'm not the only one to feel this way. And I do thank you all for that. Those reminders are definitely helpful.

But just once, I'd like for someone to look at me and not automatically assume (or be told before they have a chance to form an impression) that I'm stupid and lazy. I'd like them to be able to hold a conversation with me without telling me everything that's wrong with me (as if I didn't already know and hate myself for it!), to be able to look at me and be able to truthfully say they appreciate me. That it's okay for me learn this whole life thing as I go, that I don't have to have it all perfect the first time. That even if I mess up, they will still love me.

17 August 2012

Music Day

I hadn't actually paid much attention to this song -- after all, on the album it's preceded by Bye Bye Babylon, Sing Your Freedom, and Let The Kingdom Come; three of the best White Heart songs ever, one right after another. By the time you've listened to all that you're reeling from the sheer epicness of it all and your brain takes some time off to process it, thus mostly missing the next couple of songs.

But the other day I really heard this song for the first time.

And my reaction was... wow. Just wow.

Such emotion. Such honesty. Such raw vulnerability.

You can almost see Rick looking in the mirror as he sings that line... I look into the mirror; Have a silent fear; There is no-one really there... He nailed this song. Absolutely nailed it. He captures the apprehensiveness so perfectly.

Title: Eighth Wonder
Artist: White Heart
Album: Freedom
Year: 1989
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

I've been thinking about me
Wondering who I am
Trying to be somebody
Wondering if I can...

15 August 2012

The Precipice Of The Creative Process

I love this part -- just finished another dance, just listened to a couple of favourite songs as part of the decision making process, and for the moment all one sees is the sheer potential of the piece I'm about to dive into. No can I listen to something else already? no brain, I order you to cease and desist with the pas de bourreés, just wow, this dance is going to be so beautiful.

14 August 2012

Ponderings -- Rock, Ministry, And Church Problems

The other night I was watching a video on YouTube about Petra's ministry.

From both a musical and ministry standpoint, these guys were a huge deal back in the '80s and early '90s. Many, many people came to know Christ through the work they did. You still see testimonies on Petra's Facebook page from people who got saved (or realised their existing commitment to Jesus had to be deeper) at a Petra concert in such-and-such a place during this tour in this year.

Today we have no equivalent in the Christian music industry. Today, pastors and youth leaders lament dwindling attendence and widespread lack of passion in those who do attend church. Why?

Perhaps a question to ask is what did Petra do differently? How was it that five guys on a stage led so many people to Christ, and today we have an entire Christian rock industry and the youth groups and churches are still shrinking? What was Petra doing then that we're missing today?

They presented the Gospel.

I personally have never had the privilege of attending a Petra concert (unless owning the cassette copy of Captured In Time & Space counts). However, it's widespread knowledge (among the fans at least) that they shared the Gospel, carefully and explicitly, at every concert. This goes back to the earliest days of the band, even before Greg X Volz came on board the first time (and that was a while ago).

However, I have been to concerts of today's 'Christian' rock bands. I've seen the Newsboys twice, plus Flyleaf, Starfield, downhere, and what is possibly one of the most recognisable bands in Christian rock today, Skillet.

Not once did I hear them explain the Gospel. In fact, by and large they toned down the 'Jesus factor' so much that their songs are more likely talking about a girlfriend than the Creator of the universe and Saviour of our corrupted souls. I could go into a long discourse right here on how Larry Norman (sort of accidentally) launched the 'Jesus rock' movement precisely so that more people would hear the Gospel and live in accordance to it.

The fact is, somehow we Christians, both inside and outside the arts, have forgotten somewhere that in order for people to be transformed by the Gospel, they need to hear the Gospel first. How shall they call on Him whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear... unless someone tells them?

10 August 2012

Music Day

This month I'm going to feature only White Heart songs. Because White Heart is my favourite band and August is my birth month and since it's the crappiest birth month of the year I need something to cheer me up... right?


This comes mainly because I NOW OWN ALL THE WHITE HEART ALBUMS!

Possibly sometime this month I'll make a list of the albums in order of fantasticness, but for now I'm just going to feature one song.

I think this is my favourite from this album. I love the melody in the chorus (It's a mask you wear to hide...) This also would have been one of the very first times White Heart fans of the day heard just what Rick Florian was capable of as a vocalist. (This was his first album.) And seriously, is that keyboard bit between the first chorus and the second verse not the most awesomely retro thing ever? (Okay okay, maybe not the most, but it's up there.)

Think of this as the White Heart version of Petra's Altar Ego (from Back To The Street, same year. And now that I think about it, that was also John Schlitt's first album with the band. But I digress).

Title: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Christian
Artist: White Heart
Album: Don't Wait For The Movie
Year: 1986
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; live version (complete with drum solo and bass solo) on YouTube here.

(In case you were wondering -- I seriously did not see that there were five Fridays this month until after I decided to make it White Heart month. Honest. And anyway, I missed one, so there's only four now.)

01 August 2012

Betting The Farm (Or Boat...)

So the other day I was griping to a friend (he wouldn't say it like that, but that's what I was doing) about how decidedly not supportive my family is about this whole dance thing.

It's really frustrating because most of them are Christians as well. They understand my faith. They know God, and how great He is. Yet they think I'm crazy when I tell them I'm just going with what God is telling me and have no 'serious,' 'logical' plan for the future outside of just going where He leads me.

Um, what gives? I want to grab these people by the shoulders and get right up into their personal space and say, "Don't you trust God?!" I mean, He created the entire universe, He keeps all of our hearts beating even now, He created me for His purpose and for all my life you've been encouraging me to find out what God wants me to do and pursue that and now that I have, you tell me it's stupid? Do you know what you're saying? You're telling God He doesn't know what He's doing.

Anyway, so I was griping about all this to my friend and I believe somewhere in there I said, "So right now I'm just kind of betting the farm that this is what God wants and giving everything to that. Either I'm acting on my trust in Him or I'm completely crazy."

And he said, "It's like when Noah built the ark. He spent a hundred years in the desert building this huge boat and everybody else probably laughed at him and teased him and thought he was crazy. And then they all died and Noah lived."

That shut me up. And believe me, once I start ranting, that's no small accomplishment.

27 July 2012

Stream Of Consciousness -- The London 2012 Opening Ceremonies

(If I was on Twitter, my updates during the ceremony this afternoon might have gone something like this...)

~ Okay, the Rona commercials are officially the best of the Olympics. (I still miss Frank and Gordon though -- remember them from Torino 2006 on CBC?)

~ The music at the end of the opening bit, when they'd just forged the ring -- that was beautiful. I don't remember it anymore, but I remember thinking it was beautiful.

~ Can you fathom how many people were just dancing? And then how many people were technicians, working the lights and giving direction? How crazy organised was this? More crazy -- how much time did the choreographer spend on this? I'm sure he had assistants, but still -- I have trouble keeping track of a sixteen-person formation in my head. I can't even wrap my head around several thousand.

~ I seriously almost got my camera so I could take a picture of the rings against the darkening sky, even though it was on the TV screen. Stunning. The colour was fantastic.


~ Wow, Mr Bean got old... still just as funny though.

~ Holy man that's a lot of spandex... I mean, I wasn't around in the seventies so I don't know, but that still seems excessive...

~ That dance to Abide With Me was so cool! Though I wouldn't have put it to such a solemn song.

~ I would so love to be a part of something like this. It doesn't matter where or how or in what position -- I just want to be on that stage.

~ Ha, look at all those iPhones in the parade of nations.

~ Are you freaking kidding me? Am I seriously going to have to listen to that crappy I Believe song every hour for seventeen days -- again? No. No. Just -- no. (And to make this worse, I think this is a network decision, meaning we Canadians are the only ones who have to suffer... come on CTV, really? Really? There haven't been any half-decent songs recorded since Vancouver 2010 that you could play ad nauseum?)

~ I hope nobody in London planned on getting a 'decent' nights' sleep tonight. That light show would wake anybody.

~ I wonder just how many human beings there are in that place. You have all the athletes from all the countries, you have the spectators, you have everyone who shows up on the stage at some point in the show, you have all the technicians and the cameramen from who knows how many networks...


~ I so want to pull off something even a fraction of this magnitude.

~ Did you see the ceremony? Did you see how many people where there, giving their all for this? How much effort and detail and practice went into this? And Heaven will be something like this, only more so -- all the people praising God with this intensity and passion and exuberance. And it won't be over in four hours -- it'll go on for eternity.

Glory To The King - The Somewhat Extended History Of The Dance (So Far). And Music Day.

Remember the other day when I mentioned I was working on choreography for Glory To The King?

Actually, my choreographic work on it predates even Sing Your Freedom. I started working on it in early January. It was the first bit of Benesh notation I ever did.

Initially I managed to turn out six pages, however, my enthusiasm flagged and I was lured away by a different project -- You Are The One (which was also put on the back burner later in favour of Sing Your Freedom before I went back and completed it at the end of April).

A couple times over the following months I glanced over the pages from Glory To The King, but found no real desire (or self-discipline, more accurately) to add to it.

However, it's a fantastic song. I wanted there to be a dance to it, there needed to be a dance to it, but those pages intimidated me.

After finishing Them at the end of June, I was at a loss for what to do next. I had a handful of songs I was considering, but nothing that really jumped out and grabbed me.

And there it sat in my 'current choreography' playlist, like it had for over six months.

Glory To The King.

Reluctantly I brought out the pages I'd already written -- about forty seconds' worth of material -- and looked them over.

The intro was all right, but my counts were completely wrong. It was impossible to follow the timing. I revised the intro concept very slightly and rewrote the entire sequence on fresh paper, with the proper time signatures.

And then I stalled out again.

It took weeks just to reach the beginning of the first chorus -- a mere thirty seconds of music. Only in the past four or five days have I managed to complete the chorus and the second verse. Now in the trenches of the second chorus, I'm finding inspiration a little easier to find, but I feel like it's getting repetitive... I seem to have notated an awful lot of parallel retierré jumps in the not-too-distant past.

But in a weird way, it reminded me of the days when I was slogging through Sing Your Freedom. I was definitely more enthusiastic about that project than this one, but the sitting down and listening to the same ten seconds again and again and again and again, waiting for my brain to come up with something to go with the next measure, trying to wrap my head around who needs a separate stave on this page and who can I lump together as I try to figure out the details of yet another formation change -- the mood of this one is as close to the Sing Your Freedom days as I've gotten since I finished it in mid-April.

And while the small reminder of the Sing Your Freedom days was a little refreshing, the big break came last Thursday, the 19th.

While out running errands, I listened to David Meece's CD Once In A Lifetime (Star Song, 1993). Track three is this song called Brokenness. When I was little, I never paid the song much heed -- it was slow and 'boring.' However, in recent years I've been paying more attention to all the songs on the album. And Brokenness is a beautiful song. I looked it up in my choreography notes binder and found notes for both a solo and a group of five. Since I knew I would have to choose eventually, I tried to make my decision then -- save me some time and energy later. Ultimately I decided on a solo. And since I was desperate for something, anything, to distract me from Glory To The King while still accomplishing my purpose in life, I began to compose the solo to Brokenness.

And it kick-started my imagination for Glory To The King.

At first, I was just happy that I'd finally gotten a bit of a second wind (even if it was more of a breeze than a real wind, but who's splitting hairs?) for Glory To The King. But as I thought about it, I realised that Sing Your Freedom also had really taken off when I picked up You Are The One again and started working on that alongside.

Sing Your Freedom is for eight dancers. You Are The One is for four. Glory To The King is for six. Brokenness is a solo. Large dance, small dance, both at the same time.

I can't help thinking maybe I've finally figured out the trick to this.

(This 'shake-it-up' idea may be obvious to some, but keep in mind I've been writing novels at an average of two per year since age fourteen. You can't afford to mess up your plot by working a second one at the same time. You immerse yourself in one novel, one plot, until you've got it written out and the rough draft done.)

As promised -- I think it was two weeks ago now -- here is the official Music Day information:

Title: Glory To The King
Artist: Peter Furler
Album: On Fire
Year: 2011
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Why do I like the song? Well, to pare it down to one little phrase, it would be this: exuberant joy. Any other words I could put to this would be inadequate. In fact, my primary struggle with the choreography is not in trying to keep it low-key enough to match the music (which is usually the case), it's the fact that short of piano wire, the excited jumps physically can't get any higher and without the threat of fire or something the joyful leaps cannot be performed any faster than they already are.

It's here!

Lift up your hands and sing
Glory to the King!
The King of everything...

21 July 2012

A Wonderful Moment

Went onto iTunes to buy Trip Lee single. Found THEY NOW CARRY THE ONE WHITE HEART ALBUM I'M STILL MISSING!

This would have been even better news if I had more than sixty-two cents on my iTunes account. Ah well; at least my birthday's coming up... (*cough cough* any relatives who might be reading this *cough cough*)

17 July 2012

Why I Don't Have A Nine-To-Five Job - The Practical Reason

For the past month and a half or so I've been seriously contemplating sucking it up and getting a *shudder* nine-to-five job. After all, college and (hopefully) three or four extra dance classes do not pay for themselves.

Of course, in order for me to work a nine-to-five job, I have to actually be slightly conscious at nine o'clock in the morning (actually, it would have to be more like 7.30 to allow for the commute).

So last week I put my abilities to the test.

Our church was hosting their children's day camp that week and I had been pressed into service as Official Event Documenter (translation: photographer). The camp ran from Monday to Friday, from nine till noon. This meant I had to be at the church at 8.30. Which meant I had to be leaving the house at eight. Which meant I had to be awake by 7.30.

In order to do this, drastic measures were required. I forced myself into bed by 12.30 am every night. This meant I accomplished approximately half a page of choreography over nine days (I've been known to do six in one day). Over the course of the week, my mental capacity deteriorated greatly. I don't think I've ever felt so stupid and unproductive in my life. By Thursday I couldn't focus on anything for more than two seconds. Every time I tried to do something productive I became narcoleptic. Basically, I was a zombie.

Last night was my first night in over a week that I didn't have to be up at a certain time the next morning. So, like the rebel I am, I went straight on through till 4.30 am before going to bed. Sure, I didn't wake up till 11.30, but I've already gotten three pages done on Glory To The King (among other miscellaneous household tasks) and was contemplating doing some more choreography once I publish this. You can get a lot done in fifty minutes.

So basically, either I get a 9-to-5 and be a zombie for the rest of my then-cursed life, or I keep looking for something slightly less square-peg-in-round-hole and can then continue with the work God seems to have called me to do.

11 July 2012

Creative Brain Is Being A Jerk

You know what's annoying?

When you haven't done any substantial amount of choreography for like three weeks and then you put yourself on a guilt trip to catch it all up because you don't have forever but every time you so much as click on the iTunes window you fall asleep, even if it's still five hours before your regular bedtime. And then after several weeks of this nonsense your frustration grows to the point where you're thinking 'why do I even bother putting in all that effort to waking up in the morning with intent to do something with my life if my stupid brain is going to put me to sleep every time I want it to do what it was created to do in the first place?'

I think that must be one of the most annoying things in the world.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm not supposed to ever ever ever choreograph Glory To The King... which makes me sad, because it's a fantastic song which totally screams for jumping and high kicks and jazz hands and general all-round joyful exuberance. (In fact, I'm thinking I'll feature this song for Music Day this week, if I still remember by Friday.)

30 June 2012

What Would I Have Missed?

June 30.

It was two years ago today that I nearly lost my life in a car accident.

I didn't know the date at the time (I'm often lucky just to know what month it is). But since that week it's been etched into my mind. Hardly a day goes by where the memory of June 30, 2010 doesn't nudge at my consciousness.

I feel, in a way, that I've been given a 'bonus life,' like in a video game. Especially in the first year after the accident, I would hear the name of the date and my first thought would be, 'the day I died,' in the same casual way I associate certain dates with friends' birthdays. It took conscious thought to remember that I hadn't died (actually I hadn't even been seriously injured).

It was such a catalyst. Before the accident, I was depressed, numb to everything, at times suicidal -- in fact, just that Sunday I had been poking out of habit at the idea of suicide again, in the wake of some especially cutting words directed at me by a member of the youth group, whom I had previously considered a friend.

But on June 30, laying in that hospital bed, completely immobilised as I waited for them to take x-rays, thinking about the events of an hour before and what could have been -- suddenly I realised I wanted to live. I've not been suicidal since.

As I lay there I wondered, what if I had died? What would I have left?

That set me into a completely different mindset. If it was not yet my time to die, then what was I supposed to do with my life until it was?

Starting 1 July 2010, I pursued the answer to that question like a madwoman. It's become a bit of an addiction, that question... What am I supposed to do with my life? This year? This week? Today? This moment?

My searching and praying pointed to my passion for dance, but that's too long for this post. It also pushed me deeper into encouraging other people and other things as well.

Today, though, on the two-year anniversary, I started thinking -- what would I have missed? What have I experienced since that day that I wouldn't have if I been five inches further into the intersection at the time of impact?

I would never have seen my little brother (six months old at the time), learn how to walk and I would now be missing watching his vocabulary increase at a daily rate.

I would have missed two years of dance by now (going on three).

All those dances in my head, those pieces of choreography I kept reviewing over and over in my mind so to keep them fresh until I knew how to write them down -- those would have been gone. Sing Your Freedom, You Are The One, King Of Kings, Apathy Alert, The Gift, Them -- those would never have been composed or written down (now that I think about it, I didn't even know any of those songs at the time).

The novels Reuben, Rebecca's World, Chasm, Hidden Beauty, and Kidnapped would never have been written, even in rough draft form.

I would never have gotten to own this MacBook.

I would never have been introduced to Lecrae, classicchristian247.com, or (gasp!) White Heart. (No wonder I was depressed -- the White Heart content in my brain was low.)

In a similar vein, I would never have gotten to witness the release of John Schlitt's The Greater Cause (just ordered my copy today!).

I would never have been able to graduate.

I would never have gotten to experience for myself the peace and joy the Holy Spirit gives (another story for another post).

I would have missed last night's beautiful sunset.

I would have missed out on a good thousand or so fantastic songs (I found something I wrote just weeks before the accident saying I had 493 songs in my iTunes library. I'm currently pushing 2,000 and probably have another 500 tracks in my iTunes wish list -- never mind the stuff that isn't on the iTunes Store).

I would have missed my friends' wedding a few weeks ago.

There are so many others. Every moment is one I might never have seen. Every breath is one I might never have taken but for the grace of God in providing that five-inch space on 30 June 2010.

As someone who has been given a second chance, listen to me: Don't waste your life. When I woke up that morning, I would never have guessed it could have been my last.

21 June 2012

You Know You Need To Go To Bed When...

...you're making a playlist and humming Fool's Gold and you wonder what that song would have sounded like if John Schlitt had sung it.

And then you remember John Schlitt did sing it.

That's when you need to go to bed.

16 June 2012

Music News...


So far there doesn't appear to be a Canada date, but hopefully, hopefully there's a booking agent in Alberta who'll bring it about because it would be a total dream come true... right up there with seeing a White Heart concert and a Classic Petra concert.

Come on, tell me you don't want to hear Walk Away From Love live...

PFR website/blog here.
Source (as posted by the classicchristian247.com Facebook page).

10 June 2012

New Experiences

So last night I went to my first 'real' dance.

By that I mean my first everybody-on-the-dancefloor thing.

See, some friends of mine got married -- it was inevitable; we all saw it coming years ago -- and after the ceremony and everything I joined most of the wedding party at the dance.

I hadn't been to a wedding since I was five years old. And at that wedding I was one of the flowergirls and pretty much stole everybody's attention. Even my aunt, the bride, had to share the spotlight with her flowergirl nieces. (And believe me, I soaked it up. I was a total princess back then.) Here I wasn't even in the family, I was just a friend from church.

Anyway, after a gorgeous ceremony, there was the dance.

I half-considered not coming, since I'm hopelessly single and wasn't sure I would be able to find anything else to do aside from sit there awkwardly.

But then I realised I knew most of the people that would probably be there, so I went -- if only because some of them I hadn't seen in a long long while and I hoped to do some catching up with them.

One of them was Kristin. She'd been in England at school for nearly a year now and had finally come back for the summer. Upon arriving at the hall, I made my way over to her and her sister Annika. And within the first three songs, they had teamed up and dragged me out onto the dance floor.

It was weird. Sure I've been dancing 'officially' since I was six years old, but that's classical ballet -- completely different from a roomful of random people bopping around to the Black Eyed Peas. I think I had a harder time of it than the people who have no dance training. I had the rhythm, but I didn't have the freedom. The first few dances were incredibly awkward, but it was even more awkward to sit and kind of look around the room, so I joined Kristin and/or Annika (whichever one was on the dance floor at the time) in dancing to the songs that interested me.

Eventually I grew more comfortable. (Watching a few old friends reveal sides of themselves I'd never seen before helped -- I had no idea my fellow church PowerPoint person could dance!)

And then came a rarity -- a song I actually knew. Cotton Eyed Joe.

Kristin and I had been on the dance floor anyway, so we started on that.

Apparently the version of the song I knew was about a quarter of the length of the actual song -- just when I thought it was wrapping up, it would go back and start all over again. And again. And again.

However, dancer pride does not give up easily. I was nearly spent, but kept going. Kristin had long been reduced to swaying side to side with an extra little 'bop' on each side.

But I had raised the bar too high at the beginning to let myself back off now. I fell into a rather tap-like rhythm -- 1 2 3 4... 1 2 3 4... step side ball change hop, step side ball change hop, step side ball change hop, step side ball change hop, clap, quickly improvise another four-count sequence in time for the next barrage of counts...

About halfway through, I really began to enjoy it. I let myself experiment with the rhythm a little -- three measures the same, the fourth different, or one completely different sequence right in the middle of somewhere, snapping fingers, the odd clap as the guy got to Joe in Where did you come from, Cotton Eyed Joe?

I've never really improvised before -- and most definitely not in public. It was different. It was interesting. And it was actually kind of fun. Even though my sister was probably watching, and so was the guy who told me I was worthless and would never amount to anything, and so was the former youth pastor who probably only knew me as a frowning, nit-picky, selfish shrew, and so were Kristin and Annika's parents...

I probably didn't look like I was having fun. Several times over the course of the song I caught myself counting (out loud, but thankfully not louder than the thumping speakers) "1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4...." and when I'm counting like that I'm usually frowning in concentration. I noticed I was staring through the ceiling as I focused on keeping up with the song. But despite my efforts to tell my face I really was rather enjoying myself, the quick pace of the song demanded way more attention than my facial expression.

But now that I've improvised in public, I'm itching to do it again. It gave my choreographic mind a totally new angle to work from for a few minutes, an angle it had never seen before. Something radically different from the heavily technical, formation-based, every-finger-placed stage numbers I've been demanding of it lately.

So now I need to hang out with more people with upcoming weddings.

08 June 2012

Music Lately (Brought To You By Music Day)

Some music I've discovered recently (you know, aside from the new John Schlitt album):

New Earth (Single)
Jason Zerbin (2011 - independent release)
iTunes here; YouTube here.
Never heard of this guy until the other Sunday night. I was almost home and the PFR CD had reached the end of the song. There wasn't time enough for the next song, so I switched to radio and hoped the station wasn't playing Mandisa, tobyMac, or Phillips Craig and Dean's disgustingly-overplayed Revelation Song.
And it wasn't. It was playing this song.
It made me think of the Kimberlites, though not as heavy in the style (the Kimberlites are good, but you can only take so much). It was happy (come on, there's whistling!), the bass was perfect, and it was a fast beat... so not typical for the local 'Christian' music station. I was hooked right away. One day there will be a tap dance to this.
(Also, apparently he's Canadian -- in fact, it sounds as if he's from the same area I am.)

Your Great Name
Natalie Grant
Love Revolution (2010 Curb Records)
iTunes here; YouTube here.
I'd heard this before on the radio, but kind of ignored it. After all, if you weren't paying attention (and I usually wasn't), it sounded like standard 'inspirational' radio fare. Everyone who listens to these stations knows Natalie Grant without realising that they know Natalie Grant -- she's played constantly, but somehow slips beneath our consciousness.
A few Sundays ago, though, our pastor played this song -- the full six minutes of it -- before communion. I dimmed the lights (for I was on lights/PowerPoint), the sound guy cranked it, and we all sat and soaked in the song for six minutes. It had been a pretty slow service, and this really brought it back around. Even the slightly compromised YouTube quality added to the experience.
This song is totally different to me now. I recommend blasting this at top volume. Connect high quality speakers to your computer if you have some, and close your eyes as you listen. It will make all the difference.

Kerry Livgren
Odyssey Into The Mind's Eye (1996 Kerygmatic Music)
iTunes here.
I heard this one on classicchristian247.com. Normally I don't get into instrumental stuff, but this one got my attention. (Probably the synth -- I'm a total sucker for a synthesizer.) The song seems to go on for quite a long time, yet as it starts to wrap up one starts to feel sad that it's over already -- it's so beautiful. And Liquidity is the perfect name for it -- it all flows and sinks and blends and eddies and drapes itself nonchalantly over everything and yet the underlying beat keeps the silky quality from slowing it to a stall. It's fantastic.
I listened to this the other day at about 2 am and accidentally choreographed most of the ending before I realised it. So then, of course, I stayed up till 3 am writing down the choreography so I wouldn't forget it. (I think it was even a dance night too -- meaning I had to be up at 7.30 the next morning for dance class.)
Sometimes this song almost makes me think of White Heart -- something Mark Gersmehl might have come up with (and come on, can you not see Billy Smiley rocking that guitar interlude?).

07 June 2012

Artists Explained

Found this on the Carman Facebook page (talking about his cat trying to wake him up...).

"He doesn't understand. I'm a musician. I have no 6.00 am on my clock... anywhere."

Your artist friends have now been explained to you.

P.S. -- For those who are interested, Carman is currently raising money to record a new praise and worship album. Details on his Facebook page if you'd like to be a part of that.

30 May 2012

National Choreography Month - Day 30

Finished The Gift!

It's definitely my best work so far. I wish I could see it on the stage right now.

Also, not only do I have the dance complete, I also have backdrops and lighting figured out (I may or may not have been procrastinating at the time...)

So, with all three of my planned NaChoreoMo dances done, I'm now in the process of picking my next project. I don't expect to finish it by tomorrow at 11.59 of course, but now that I've found my way back in the groove again after basically going artistically MIA for two weeks, I'd like to milk the momentum The Gift has given me for all I can. I feel like I kind of cheated myself out of NaChoreoMo during those two weeks and now I'm trying to make it up to myself. Because really, I could have accomplished so much more than just three dances but I didn't because I let Apathy Alert pysch me out for two and a half weeks.

It's kind of weird having free time, actually. I hadn't realised how much I'd been holding NaChoreoMo over my head until I finished The Gift and sat back and thought, 'so what do I do now?' So for the past two days I've been importing cassettes (White Heart's Redemption and Petra's Captured In Time & Space -- and oh, is a live album ever a nightmare to split into tracks).

I intend to start work on another dance tomorrow (or possibly later tonight). I'm a bit undecided as to which one, though. Usually I have one that jumps to the forefront of my mind and won't let go, but this time I had to scroll through my iTunes library a bit and compile a list.

It's about five songs long, but the two that really attract my attention are PFR's Them and Farrell & Farrell's Hosanna Gloria. As of this moment I think I might go with Them.

Also, for those who care about statistics...

Seven minutes forty-five seconds of music. Seven pages of notes. Fifty-four pages of choreography, at a minimum of sixty frames per page. This equals approximately 3,240 frames, since I know for a fact that there are a few pages which had more than sixty frames on them.

Note that those are the numbers for just the three dances I had originally planned on doing at the beginning of May (King Of Kings, Apathy Alert, The Gift). This does not count the rather sizeable chunk I composed for part of Kerry Livgren's Liquidity, the intro to White Heart's The Cry, or the ending sequence to Petra's Counsel Of The Holy. Take that all together and you could probably add a good minute and a half onto that first number.

27 May 2012

National Choreography Month - Day 27

Apathy Alert is DONE!

And actually, I think it's probably pretty workable. I was seriously worried about choreographing the guitar solo, but I think it turned out rather well (given the fact that most of it was just me desperately throwing random steps in there).

Onward to The Gift! (DeGarmo & Key, 1983)

I have five days to pull it off.

25 May 2012

Day 25 - National Choreography Month

Ways to drive yourself crazy when you're doing choreography at 2.21 am:

- Listen to next song in choreography queue and get yourself all excited to choreograph that one... and then realise you still have forty-five seconds left in Apathy Alert (with one of those cursed fade-out endings to boot), and you've been in a total choreographic block for two weeks.

- Fall asleep too early on the night when you were supposed to be catching up on the backlog.

- Forget whether you counted the last four measures in double-time or half-time.

- Run out of room for project notes... on both desks.

- Two words: iTunes Store.

21 May 2012

National Choreography Month - Day 21

1.49 am -- Just spent two hours reading stuff on contemporary dance, jazz technique and the Shim Sham on the Internet. My eyes are tired now. Thinking maybe I can throw some jazz walks into Apathy Alert somewhere. Also, now I have a really annoying song in my head but I don't know what it's called -- just some song on one of the videos of some girl in a really skimpy dress that was actually more like a shirt. How can anyone walk on a stage before hundreds in that getup without either dying of embarrassment or freezing to death?
Sort of dreading choreographing The Gift. Yesterday morning I realised I've only heard that song like five times in my entire life -- I only picked it because it was short and I was feeling like an underachiever for only planning two dances.
Apathy Alert has picked up a little (as of early yesterday morning, before I went to bed), but it's fast becoming a Sing Your Freedom-like show of potentially-impossible-to-execute technical prowess. And speed. Because technique and complex sequences are nothing without speed to make it look even more amazing.
Also, getting sick of the song Apathy Alert. I've been solving the problem by listening to Sheila Walsh and reading random dance articles online. Unfortunately, that's not very choreographically productive.
Sort of intimidated by all the stuff I read on choreography though. Most of it was modern/contemporary-based, but still. I can't expect any of my output so far to get noticed. It's horrible stuff. But I only have till September to get some solid performance-worthy choreography in place if we want a shot at getting our first decent-sized gig. Thank goodness I'm not the only choreographer on the team...

3.10 am -- Just killed spider the size of a dinner plate. Off to bed now... though whether I'll actually sleep now is another matter.

12.39 pm -- My mother is yelling at me again because I'm apparently not productive enough.

7.39 pm -- Finally starting work (of the choreographic persuasion). Apparently today was spring cleaning and as such I was unable to report for duty till now. Am starting work at about the 2.04 mark of Apathy Alert.

7.59 pm -- Got a phrase divisible into threes? Eschappés are your friend. I doubt the poor saps -- I mean, highly skilled and amazing dancers -- who actually have to perform the sequence will agree, though.

8.30ish pm -- Am now at the 2.34 mark. (I'd like to know how I managed that kind of speed because I'll definitely need to replicate this feat in the future...)

11.45 pm -- iPod just randomly crashed and made me lose my place. Continuing on... Almost done notating the eschappé/relevé sequence.

18 May 2012

That Moment (Music Day)

So I finally bought Classic Petra's album Back To The Rock the other day.

Basically it's Petra (the Greg X Volz mid-80s Petra), but they redid a bunch of their Greg-era hits -- 'modernized' them a little. Since the original Petra was technically disbanded a few years ago, they now call themselves 'Classic Petra.'

On the Petra Zone forum I'd read quite a few 'meh... I didn't like it' reviews, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect. In fact, I probably wouldn't have bought the album if I hadn't already heard the redone versions of Rose Coloured Stained Glass Windows and Adonai (two of my all-time Petra favourites) on classicchristian247.com and loved them both. (Seriously, you wouldn't think mixing strings and an electric guitar would sound like anything, but they do it on that first track and it sounds AMAZING.)

Anyway, so I bought the CD and the next Saturday afternoon my mother and I went birthday shopping for my sister so we listened to it.

It's good.

Usually I'm a total 'original-version-is-always-best' purist, but these are some good remakes.

The first couple of songs have some seriously kicking bass. Clean, formerly an eighties synth track, is now a thumping growling electric guitar extravaganza. Let's just say now I finally understand why people call songs 'crunchy.' This is it.

I don't know if the extra guitar brings it out, but in Bema Seat and More Power To Ya, you can really tell how much Greg's voice has matured. At one point I actually said "He sounds like Steve Green" (which only warps your mind until you remember that Steve Green was once the lead singer of White Heart).
(I just messed with everything you ever thought about Steve Green).
(You're welcome.)
It's not a bad thing though. At least he (Greg, that is) can still sing. Even twenty-five years after his last Petra concert he still hits all the notes.

Grave Robber took a little warming up to, but the use of strings really amps up the drama.

They also added two new tracks -- Back To The Rock and Too Big To Fail, the former written by Greg and the latter by Petra founder/guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire Bob Hartman.

Back To The Rock starts out a little slow and to me it seems almost off-rhythm, but it picks up well in the chorus. And oh man is it ever catchy. I was singing it for the rest of the day. Here again you can really tell how Greg's voice has mellowed.

Too Big To Fail -- Bob Hartman does it again! This is brimming with the 1980s/early 90s enthusiasm that all Petheads know and love. I love how the bridge loops back to the pre-chorus and the chorus again and then they rock out for a while and then they go back to the bridge and do it again. It's a fantastic, soaring song. This is one of those you turn up and sing along with no matter how bad your singing voice may be.

But what I really wanted to talk about was the remake of Angel Of Light.

It's another one of my favourite Petra songs. In fact, I featured it on Music Day a while back.

They put in some pretty sweet guitar for the remake, but there's this moment where (in both versions) all the instruments drop out and they all sing, a capella:
Angel of light
I see you glow in the night
But you only bring darkness to my soul...

On soul, in the original 1981 version, the guitar slides back in and draws in the other instruments for a full-on musical experience by the time they sing the next line.

In the new version, they layered all the members' voices and added an echo so the a capella already has more resonance. Then, starting on but, there's a couple slaps on the drums and on soul, the guitar comes screaming back in and BAM! a wall of sound hits you and almost knocks you off your feet.

When I first heard it, I was actually stunned breathless. It was so epic.

My only problem now is this: how to choreograph something even half as epic to go with that moment...

Title: Angel Of Light
Artist: Classic Petra (yes, iTunes lists them as just 'Petra,' but iTunes isn't exactly known for their accuracy)
Album: Back To The Rock
Year: 2010
Label: Classic Petra LLC (independent release)
iTunes here; YouTube here.

And, of course, I recommend buying the whole album... (also I recommend pumping up the bass and turning up the volume).

10 May 2012

National Choreography Month - Day 10

So after blasting through King Of Kings in less than 72 hours, I have now pretty much stalled out on Apathy Alert.

It's not even a lack of inspiration -- I have plenty of ideas. But my brain has been spinning for the past few days. Part of it might be backlash from choreographing nearly two minutes' worth for eight dancers in three days, but most of it is me trying to adjust to my dad being home all day every day (he accidentally amputated a couple of fingers and is now off work for two weeks) and my sheer excitement over both John Schlitt and Lecrae dropping projects within two days of each other.

Hopefully yesterday will put me on track though.

I don't remember if I mentioned this (and if I did, it might have been in a post that never ended up getting published), but NaChoreoMo is actually a joint venture -- it was invented by my dance friend and I (after discovering on 26 January that January has already been declared National Choreography Month. We weren't about to wait that long for it to come round again so we made our own).

I hadn't seen her in nearly a year. However, long story short she was at my ballet class yesterday to touch up on her technique due to an upcoming audition. I had an extra hour after class and she arranged to stay the extra hour with me, specifically so we could compare choreography notes.

First of all, she's a total overachiever. She showed me a list of songs she intends to choreograph to this month. It was somewhere around six when she first pulled it out. By the time she put the notebook away it had gone up to about nine. Sure, they're all solos and duets, but still... it makes my list of three look positively apathetic.

Second, she's so passionate about the craft that it wears off on me even through the epitome of soulless communication (Facebook). To see her in person again and talk choreography is like a shot of espresso to the creative (and happy) mind.

Third, as of yesterday she's now choreographing a Highland dance solo and a contemporary solo for me. (The contemporary one should be interesting. I've been training in classical ballet since I was six years old.) If that isn't inspirational, I don't know what is. Perhaps it means more to me because I seemed completely 'off' in class yesterday and totally not worthy of one solo, let alone two. It seems to have given me a bit of a kick in the backside.

I haven't added to my workload (because with my brain in this frazzled state it would be insanity to attempt to force anything more out of it), but if I finish Apathy Alert and my third planned song in a timely fashion, I've long had a song in mind that would make a good solo for her. If I have time once these two are done, I might try to throw that together too.

P.S. -- No word on a White Heart reunion yet.

09 May 2012

The Week Of Great Musical Excitement

Can I make one more John Schlitt post? (I'm not his publicity agent, honest. Though wouldn't it be epic if I was...)

Seriously, though. This interview. Funniest. Thing. Ever. I wish I could put this on my iPod.
(Link as posted by the John Schlitt Facebook page.)

Coming later this week... the ever-nerdy Kate on Lecrae's mixtape! (And possibly another John Schlitt post -- me reviewing the new album... stay tuned...)

I don't think I've ever before witnessed the release of a new album by a band/artist I love (mostly because the bands I love have a nasty habit of fading away before I discover their epicness)... and this week I get two of them!

All we need is a White Heart reunion and my week will be complete.

05 May 2012

Missing Out...

John Schlitt's new album comes out this Tuesday. Lecrae's dropping a 'mixtape' on 10 May. And Michael W. Smith is here in concert on Saturday (at forty freaking dollars per ticket. Seriously? I saw the Newsboys for like ten bucks at the same venue two years ago).

SUCH an epic week in eclectic music -- and I have no money. I'm already missing the Pethead Convention in Indianapolis (because it's in Indianapolis and I'm... well... not).

And even if I did have money, I'd have to put it to college.


03 May 2012

Day 3 - New Personal Best!

For the start of our self-proclaimed National Choreography Month, I decided to knock off the shortest song on my set list first, to give me some momentum.

The lucky winner was Petra's King Of Kings (from Petra Praise... The Rock Cries Out, 1989 Word Records). I already had a strong idea for it and it was only one minute and forty-five seconds long. Perfect.

I just finished writing the end pose about ten minutes ago. That's three days, start to finish. I had no choreography written beforehand (as per our mutually agreed-upon rules for the contest), this was all from scratch.

Things learnt:

1. A song that does not end with a fade-out is about ten thousand times easier to choreograph an ending to. Both of my previous pieces had fade-out exits and each took me at least three days to figure out.

2. 'Echoes' (in which one dancer does a movement, copied by the next dancer a beat or half-beat later, copied by the next dancer a beat later, etc... also called a 'ripple') are a pain. in. the. neck. They look fantastic on stage, but choreographing them is a common cause of being admitted to the local insane asylum. This is why you hardly ever see them despite their effectiveness.

3. You can give the illusion of a different rhythm by holding a beat between steps. This is especially effective in a song with a quick tempo (not that I've ever really tried it in a slower song, but I would imagine it would be more obvious that you're holding a beat when the beats come slower).

4. Writing a dance for pointe is actually harder than you'd think. You can't just do any old thing like you can in jazz or something -- you have to be conscious of where the dancer's weight will be and how it would have to move to change to the next position and you have to be especially careful about the ankles -- one awkward move and you could snap your foot off.

Onward now to DeGarmo & Key's Apathy Alert. (Commander Sozo & The Charge Of The Light Brigade, 1985 Power Discs)

I hope to finish it by the fifteenth, worst-case.