Pictures by Fergie Medar! Thanks so much Fergie! You really captured the intensity!
Friday Night May 17th we played at The Power Station in Troy, NH (filmed for Cable Access Stations across the country)
and Saturday Night we played our Pre-CD Release Party/ HOPE worldwide fundraiser at The Stable in Chelmsford!
Then Sunday was our annual Walk For HOPE at Franklin Park in Boston! WOW!
For anyone who has ever put on a show, an event or some such thing- you know there are a million details… choose the date, the location, haggle about the price or arrangements, will there be food- gas money or transportation, available equipment, sound crew, clean up crew (forgot to arrange that one- thanks to all who pitched in!), writing songs, practicing, rehearsing… securing the players- then they forget or get sick or their car breaks down- or their kid gets sick… posters, social networking, phone calls, emails… seems like the list is endless- and then add in- ” This is for TV!” Now we have to look even better- the clothes, the nails, the hair… and The second night was a fundraiser- who will speak? What will they share? The schedule… oh my GOODNESS!!!!!
Are you overwhelmed yet? But God is GREAT and my band and friends and family are way greater than these obstacles!
Just a couple weeks before the shows… we were in full speed rehearsal mode… our dear bass player: Kenny Hester was in a terrible car accident. By the grace of God – he was mostly ok- but his left hand was badly injured making bass playing impossible in the short term! This broke our hearts since he is so special to us!
I called all the Christian bass players who I thought could or might do the shows- but at this point they would have to learn about 18 songs in a very short time and have the time- and be willing to do ALL THIS FOR FREE! God sent us an angel in Jerry Maday who I think I reached on Friday or Saturday 2 weeks before the shows- He came that weekend to rehearse with us and all the rest of the rehearsals and made it happen excellently! We were so grateful!
But the challenges continued.
Jerry on Cello here, Johnny rockin’ out with back to Julie- see Brian and Paul in background on drums and percussion
Thursday night May 16th we planned to rehearse- But at the last minute we couldn’t use the Berklee buildings (heightened security after the Marathon Bombings- couldn’t get a key after hours…) so we had to scramble for a location- Our drummer, Brian Schwartzentruber came through with getting us space in Arlington at a building our church had just acquired to start a new church location! It was closer than Berklee and had free parking! Of course there were lots of stairs- and we had LOTS of equipment! Ralph was not feeling well at all- so thanks to our crew- especially Paul Meninno (percussion) and Brian- I still have a back!
But the rehearsal was rough and at least three of my singers and musicians were not feeling well.
Friday we hauled our stuff up North to Troy NH!
We battled Friday afternoon traffic to find this quaint, yet remote club. I really liked the atmosphere- but the sound was very boomy in the room and it was hard to tell how we did… The engineer assured us that the sound on the board was much better than in the room and that the TV show would be great! We can’t wait to see it!
But there were many special moments during the night.
This was a night to worship and share our hearts.
We shared scriptures before certain songs and I shared many stories about how God had moved in my life- and thus the inspirations for these songs.Anselm Beach gave a little message about hope in Jesus- and he dug deep.
One of the best parts of this night was that my Dad came to see us with his friend, Russ! It was so special that they came!
I also had some of my wonderful voice students- Christina, Kylie and my Hannah an Caleb singing on one song- they were well behaved as there was lots of waiting and sang with great hearts and enthusiasm on “Hope Faith Love” when it was their turn!
We also had Dana Schmitz that night singing the male lead part on “Nothing Like the Love”- country rocked it!
Saturday night was the one we really went all out to bring in the crowds:
Our Pre- CD Release Concert/ HOPE worldwide Fundraiser!
I had decided to concentrate on HOPE programs in Haitti and India to encourage the families and communities of my students to come. I have several students for each of these countries.
It was a fantastic night in almost every way! We had a nice crowd, the band CRANKED!
Ralph, my awesome keyboard master hubby was so “On” that night- his solos were dazzling on “I’m a Mess” and “Hope Faith Love” and “I Trust in You” to name a few! And you should have heard him play the fiddle on “Nothing Like the Love!”- And what a sweet cello solo on “Precious!”
Jammin’ Johnny V Vicaire was on fire on the lead guitar!What a night! It was so much fun rockin out with him! He really shown on our new song ”
Waiting on You”- a sort of Heart-like rock ballad- but he nailed the country rockin on “Nothing Like the Love” and played oh so sweet fills on my new favorite: “You Are”- my jazzy love song to my Lord. But he was just great all night- not only playing- but his presence is commanding and fun to watch.
Paul Meninno played percussion with us for the first gigs this weekend- and he was really fantastic! And he brought a fan club with him!
I can’t say enough about how Jerry filled in on bass- or should I say “Basses!” He brought a fretless and an 8 string, too! Really wonderful!
Brian held up the rhythm with his best night ever- rock on, Brother!
And what can I say about my troop of back up vocalists! Thank you thankyou thankyou! Back up parts for my songs aren’t always easy… and these loyal soldiers put in the time to give sweet harmony all night! They were: Diana Wick, Gabriel Paradise, Jim Cafarella, Theresa Schmitz, William Cox and Anselm Beach! Gabe and Anselm had special parts: Gabe filled in for Dana on “Nothing Like the Love” (because Dana had another gig previously committed) and sang about the love of a father for his children very convincingly for a college aged single kid! Anselm sang the voice of God on “Can You Here Me Now”- and he and I had this little dramatic bit on stage – it was fun- and I hope effective! I’ll have to look at the video!
Finally- children are always the stars of the show- On “Hope Faith Love” we had my students Sarah and Kylie and my twins Hannah and Caleb! A little side story here… On Friday night we had plenty of microphone inputs so the kids had their own mics at the Power Station… On Saturday we had limited inputs- so- when it came time for the children to join us on stage- there weren’t enough mics for the adults and kids together- so instead of having the kids come on stage, I came out front and sang the out-chorus’s with them around me. Then the adults stepped back and let the children take their mics for the very end. I couldn’t have planned it better- I think the whole effect was powerful. BUT- when I saw the video I had to laugh: When the kids were around me, some had that “deer in the headlights” look, Caleb just wanted to hug me and Hannah was holding her ears because (as she later explained) “It was so loud!”- while she smiled and bobbed around!!! yikes! And when they went on stage, noone moved the music stands which were at adult level and completely blocked Hannah’s upper body- now when she was singing with all her heart and even doing the right actions ( I could see her hands peaking out from behind the stand!
Another favorite song for me that night was “Love Life Like I Should”- it just felt so good!
I also LOVED our evolving arrangement of “Jesus Wept”- which would have been GORGEOUS excepted for a couple chords I blew on the bridge- oh well, I don’t think I messed anything else up all night (except the song order at one point!) Which is pretty good!!!! because, as we all know- I am a mess!
Oh- I must add- all the tunes we did from the last CD- including “Get in the Water,” “Grace,” “Coffee Song” etc went really well, too- I still love that record, too!
Gail Scott Key was our host– in her wonderful warm way she led us through the evenings events and shared about HOPE’s incredible impact after the Earthquake in Haitti. She also shared a statement written by Camilia Wick, a young woman adopted from Romania at age 7, now in college- and how HOPE worldwide had given her a family and belonging.
Anselm was our man to share about the programs in India– and he shared from his heart and did research to back it up with details. It was moving.
Ilona Sewell was a fantastic behind the scenes help– she organized snacks for the event. She also enlisted three women to set up and decorate! Incredible!
For $10 people got food, entertainment… unbelievable!
But of course, The evil one couldn’t just let everything go smoothly! I got a text Saturday morning from my lead soprano back up singer, Jessica Lewis– “Julie, I went to the doctor today and I have Pneumonia! I won’t be singing tonight, I’m so sorry!” NOOOOOOOOOO! I got Theresa Schmitz to cover for her at the last minute- bless her heart- but Jessica! You were so missed! We love you!
Bottom line- it was an incredible night- we even raised over $500 for HOPE programs!- See the story of my generous children at my “The Heart of A Child” Blog!
Ralph said we’ll have another big show once we have our “Let My Light Shine” CD in our hands! We’re close- just the last two months have been crazy with live shows… not just these- but Women’s Day, Easter, student recitals and more…. But we really want it in hand in July! Pray for us! Please kep up with our schedule on my website: www.julieksings.com/shows
Thank you again for everyone who has pre-ordered our new CD! Please contact me if you would like to do so!
Bravo to all who helped make our big show weekend a BIG success!!!!
- Carolyn Grasso on video
shot a whole bunch of videos at the Stable that are already up on YOUTUBE at www.youtube.com/julieksings
Lots more pictures of the audience and more at my Facebook.