Hold on to your hats, or whatever else you have to hold on to.  I’m about to get pretty bold here.  To me, it’s all in line with that “BIGG Church” mentality I’m hearing about these days in my actual brick-and-mortar church here in Utah.

As a refresher from last week, BIGG = Boldness, Inspired, Grace-oriented, Generosity.  And, yes, to me it ties in very well with some work that’s going on and that’s been going on behind the scenes since the first of this year among myself and some friends — new and old — in the Bay Area of California.  The thing is that no one who’s been working on it so hard behind the scenes has been making a paycheck from it … yet.

Music From The Heart

It’s about “The Church of Music.”  Click here to read again about the very first seed of “The Church of Music” that was planted.

Yes, technically I am still unemployed.  I am still drawing unemployment checks on a weekly basis that don’t come close to meeting the financial needs of my family, so anyone who thinks unemployment checks are a nice handout but it’s all part of a welfare system going to people who don’t deserve it … well, don’t get me started on that.  But those checks do help to stretch out that retirement money we have left that’s paying the big bills now, which is basically all that’s keeping my family from complete financial ruin.

I’m still getting more gray hairs in my beard that I’m fighting off with Grecian Formula so as not to leave potential employers with the impression that I’m too old to do a job.

No, even though I’ve been working hard with this group in California without drawing a paycheck so we can try and build a brand new business from the ground up (that’s the American way, remember?) it doesn’t mean that I’ve totally given up on finding a job elsewhere until the California thing takes off — and it will take off!  Today will mark the ninth day since I had my first phone interview with the University of Utah for a job that I applied for many weeks ago but I won’t know anything about a potential next step on that job for a little while yet.  And just last week, I put in a fistful of job applications for a tech company in Boise that’s apparently going to be doing a lot of hiring — thanks to a tip from a brother-in-law who’d love to see us in Boise.

And, hey, three months have gone by since I started this blog so — according to a blog marketing website that I was in contact with way back toward the beginning of this monster — I now have enough of a track record that I could start seeing about selling ads for my blog!  That’s an option!  My everyday “followers” number is at a respectable level for the short time “a view” has been going, my average outside daily “views” are increasing.  Anyone want to see ads in my blog?  I’d pull that trigger if it meant keeping my family from having to stand in line behind our church’s ICOR truck next winter (not that friends and family would allow that to happen)!

By the way, ICOR is going out to Pioneer Park in downtown Salt Lake City again next Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Mountain Time if y’all would like a heavy dose of harsh reality in “these modern times.”  And I will be in a position to get a different perspective from what I’ve written about here with ICOR before, so “stay tuned” to my blog next Sunday.

The truth is, I’d rather keep this blog ad-free and just say things the way I see it and feel it for as long as this thing has life, which I hope is for a long time to come — or as long as I have life.

And, the truth is, I want to see this “Church of Music” get off the ground.  Why?  Because there’s something very good to believe in here.  There’s something very good in this movement.  It’s not about individuals who are very gifted making a name just for themselves.  There’s a real sense of “community” in this.  It’s about a group of people in fairly similar circumstances pulling together to help each other out, and making the best lives possible for themselves and each other.  That’s something I believe very strongly about, always have and always will.

None of the people here who are doing the work behind the scenes are stinkin’ rich, they’re mostly all just like me — working-class people who either have full-time jobs, or are working at getting one, or they’re trying to make a go at making a living creating this music that they love so deeply.  Some of them are working their tails off in a two-income household, living modestly, making some extra money on the side with their music because that’s all they can do musically because they’re too focused on making a living with their outside full-time jobs, and still having a hard time making ends meet in our economy.

They see other gifted people out there like them — around the nation and around the world — who are in the same boat.  And they want to help them as well.  The Bay Area … well, that’s just where “the roots” of this movement are.

In my mind, this is (like my own church pastor has talked about for the last two weeks) a “BIGG Church.”  It’s “The Church of Music.”

There are some serious misconceptions out there about music and musicians.  Some of them are earned, unfortunately, through tragic events or sad circumstances because so many musicians are celebrities.  You don’t see much world news being made these days from common, everyday people who end up dying — whether intentionally or accidentally — because of their drug and/or alcohol addictions.  You see it all too often from people who are famous musicians — including one in just the past week.

One little “debate” I got into this past week was on Facebook over a music-related story, specifically this one that I’ll share here in its entirety:

“A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Passing by ...

“Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

“A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

“A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

“The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

“In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

Joshua Bell

“No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

“Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

“This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

“One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

“If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

Want to see the actual VIDEO behind this story?  Here it is …

The “debate” I had with the Facebook “debater” involved a pretty sweeping bit of stereotyping that isn’t necessarily based on facts, and if there are facts to back up his statement I’d like to see them.  The discussion went exactly as follows (having to do with street musicians and people on the street passing them by without paying a dime to help them out … even if the musician happens to have world-class talent):

DEBATER:  “… how would most commuters recognize that this was a world-class musician — as opposed to a penniless homeless man seeking attention? As modern street smarts tell us, in most cases of musicians playing on the street, the money goes toward buying drugs. While it is lamentable that the musician received modest compensation for his masterful performance, the reasoning in the minds of the fast-paced commuters that day doesn’t necessarily show that they don’t care about the high-quality music. In my own mind, a musician working towards proper recognition wouldn’t be playing on the street/in a train station. They’d be working at it through proper outlets of music distribution.

“Real musicians still exist, and people still value their music. Digitizing everything only has changed how it’s done.”

MYSELF:  “Some serious generalizations there, (DEBATER). Drugs? Most? Really?”

DEBATER:  “Well excuse me for my lacking rhetoric. But the point stands — street musicians have better outlets with which to promote their music. In this day and age of the internet, getting music out there through social media is much more productive than playing on the streets.”

MYSELF:  “Even on that point, easier said than done. Publicists help. Musicians aren’t publicists.”

DEBATER:  “Well, if they want to get anywhere, they’ll have to be. Historically, most bands played gigs for years before getting a real break. In fast-paced modern culture, it’s incredibly easy for someone to pick up guitar, or another instrument, and start a band. There’s thousands if not hundreds of thousands of bands hoping for stardom here in the United States. And as information becomes more accessible, there will only be more. Being able to present yourself as someone who stands out of the crowd is now an essential skill in the independent music industry.”

And it ended with that.

Now, this “debater” is a young local man who may have some musical talent of his own.  I only say that because his Facebook profile photo shows him with what appears to be an acoustic guitar in a flexible case slung over his shoulder.  But, the truth is, I’ve got scars on my body much older than this young man, and I think he may still have some things to learn in this world through experience, Internet or no Internet.

The bottom line is this:  Whether it’s musicians yesterday, today, or tomorrow, they make lousy publicists.  Gifted musicians are people who mostly want to focus on that aspect of their craft, their God-given gift of creating art — in this case, that art being music.  But artists who paint don’t necessarily make good publicists either, and nor do most other people who use any other form of God-given talent for art of any form or fashion.

They mostly make lousy publicists!  Not all, but most that I know.  And that IS a fact that most of them that I know would readily admit.

And that’s where someone like me comes in.  That’s what makes me “The Wrangler” here.  “Wrangler Herc!”  That’s me.  And here I go again …

Dylan and Lester Chambers

“The Church of Music” is going to be putting on its first live, online streaming “service” this coming Saturday, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time, live and direct from the studio of Chick Petersen in northern California.  It will feature “the pastor” of this congregation, Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers fame.  Want to know more about Lester and his brothers?  Click on the link below:

The Chambers Brothers’ biography on Wikipedia

Want a ticket to the show that won’t cost you much at all?  Maybe as little as less than what you’d pay for five king-sized Butterfinger candy bars?  Click on the link below:

TICKETS:  Lester Chambers and his Blues Revue!!!  Live from California, 6 p.m. Pacific Time, Saturday, February 25

And you’ll have to forgive me in advance if I continue to pump up this show a bit.  It’s just that I care a bit too much about it … for good reasons.  There are too many futures involved here.  There’s a lot invested here, and I’m not talking about money that’s been put into the “collection plate” already.

This is a “BIGG Church.”  This is “The Church of Music.”  And this is just the beginning.

We want to go MUCH BIGGER than Yoshi’s in San Francisco:


7 thoughts on ““The Church of Music,” Part 3 — The Movement

  1. Hi John, Just a bit of flavor from Sonoma Town here in the Wine Country. Yesterday Six bands performed all day long in a fundraiser for a local person in need . 100 percent of the proceeds went directly to Cody. Not a single band or band member was paid or comped even a beer or bag of chips. The sound engineered … 100 percent donated, stage set up and breakdown…100 percent Donated, Moose Lodge…100 percent Donated. Everyone came to love and to play for someone in need. There’s your Church of Music ! It lives in the hearts of musicians, God will sort out the rest.


  2. The “Debater” completely missed the point. It wasnt about recognizing the performer or about the proper metric for measuring musical success. Whether its a homeless drug addict or a world class violinist doesn’t matter….do you appreciate the beauty of the music and make time for it simply for beauty’s sake, or don’t you?

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