Welcome to the Power For Life Now e-newsletter. This is my first newsletter to inaugurate my new website, and I am delighted to be able to share with you the “goings-on” I’ve experienced this past year in both my personal and business life, as well as some of the exciting things yet to come.
As many of you know I moved from Campbell, California to Boulder, Colorado in 2012. Amongst other things, getting new license plates is a real symbol of change! I haven’t had to change to another state’s plates since I was 23 years old.
Other highlights of 2012 (besides new Colorado medical and car insurance) are: In March, I began studying the music of Africa, country by country, with (then fiancé) Jeannine Goode-Allen and Gary Grundei. We have been taking a country a week! This is part of ongoing research as we are developing a performance project based on the joyful power of that continent’s music.
I began studying African singing! Yes, learning songs from a wonderful African teacher, Nii Armah Sowah, who also teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder. This is also research for the project mentioned above, which has as its working name, The Africa Project.
In May, I began taking African Marimba classes. You guessed it… another activity that is both fun and allows research, connection and engagement with Africa.
July saw the publication of my new book, I’m A Black Man, Who Are You? It’s available for purchase at Amazon.com as a paperback or e-book! (Click here to purchase)
I presented at a weekend retreat in Boulder on the theologian and mystic Howard Thurman, who was Dr. Martin Luther King’s mentor. Renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox was the featured lecturer each day. I presented on Saturday for an hour as well as sang, tap-danced and performed original poetry, all designed to inspire the retreat participants to contemplate their lives in a specific way and then create art that expresses their deep insights. The next day, Sunday, I preached at the hosting First Methodist Church, along with Matthew Fox, as we engaged in tag-team preaching using Howard Thurman’s deep meditations as a basis for our speaking. I even tap danced part of the sermon, while the congregation listened to a recording of Howard Thurman speaking. A retired Methodist minister in attendance came up to me afterward. She said it was the most creative thing she had ever witnessed in the pulpit..!
In August, Jeannine Goode-Allen and I married in a private ceremony in Crestone, CO. In Colorado, you can do your own ceremony without any witnesses, if you register with the state first. Well, that is what we did. We created a beautiful one-hour ritual. It was just Jeannine and me… and God.
In October, my wife presented Hildegard’s Journey Through The Senses: A Traveling Exhibit at the Creator Mundi Gallery in Denver, CO. A sold out crowd was treated to a wonderful lecture, sampled
Hildegard’s nerve cookies and heart wine, and sang her O Viridissima Virga, while I accompanied the voices by playing a Tibetan Singing Bowl.
November 2, 2012 saw a joyous new emergence. Jeannine and I launched our innovative, groundbreaking monthly offering, Tap into Transformation, where we use the arts, including tap dance, to engage attendees in personal and spiritual growth.
I was featured soloist in the play “Church” by Young Jean Lee, performed at the University of Denver. I sang lead on a well-known spiritual, “Ain’t Got Time To Die”, backed by a choir of wonderful singers from around Denver/Boulder.
Jeannine and I played with our Marimba Band, “Knob Mentality”, as part of the Kutandara (our marimba center) Moon and Stars Fundraiser at the A Spice of Life Events Center. We opened the program with the song Nyungwe followed by Mananga. With nearly 300 guests, 28 tables, 14 sponsors, and 10 bands, the 2012 Moon & Stars Fundraising Event was a smash success, and we were honored to be a part of it. Plus, playing the marimba is just plain fun!
I had a total hip replacement done on my right hip! I just plain wore it out over the years with all the activity I placed on it. As of January, 2013, I have been released until next year’s check up already!! Alright, back to doing splits! And skiing! And running! And jumping!..with much more appreciation of the body. Okay, the splits may take awhile as I get range of motion back.
I directed the Mosaic Gospel Choir, of which I have been a member for 2 years. Our esteemed choir director, Gary Grundei was unable to direct, and it was a privilege, honor and complete joy to step in and direct the concert on December 2nd.
The production crew for Feathers On The Breath Of God, which I am directing again, met at the Bas Bleu Theater in Fort Collins. The show will run there July 18-21, 2013 and publicity for the event has begun. Jeannine, who wrote and created the production, is very excited to present and perform this unique story again. One major difference between this production and the one done in 2011 in Boulder is that yours truly will be taking on the role of Archangel Michael. Jeannine and I are starting to envision the revised choreography, as she and “Michael” will be able to interact directly now, through singing and tap dancing! It will be the second time I’ve portrayed an Archangel. I played Gabriel in another production. Hmm…two archangels in one lifetime?
December 7, 2012: Tap into Transformation #2
We explored with the group where we all wanted to “go” in our lives and prayed for our journeys as a community using our feet! Jeannine and I both played songs on the keyboard. I played my song “Being Alive” and recited poetry. Jeannine shared her poem “When Death Comes” and sang and played Gounod and Bach’s “Ave Maria”. We did it as a duet, with me singing a tenor harmony line.
January 1, 2013: Power For Life Now website www.powerforlifenow.com & Facebook page is launched, www.facebook.com/powerforlifenowllc
Jan. 4, 2013: Tap Into Transformation #3
We expanded on our third edition of this event. We included African drumming in our opening song and also used this powerful and grounding sound as the backdrop for our tap prayer. Tap Prayer is a way to express where we’re going in our lives (Waya-waya), and a method to engage and transform our blocks, allowing us to move forward regardless of the obstacles or storms (Boba-ay) that befall us. The biggest miracle of the evening is that the people who showed up perfectly fit into the tap shoes we had available. Oh what a feeling as the group did a circle tap-dance! We ended the evening in a deep meditation accompanied by Jeannine playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on her new Steinway!
Jeannine, Gary Grundei and I are very excited to attend a show at the Boulder Theater on January 15th of Femi Kuti and his band Positive Fever. We’re looking forward to being inspired by this African musician who has been nominated for 2 Grammy’s and follows in the footsteps of his father, the Nigerian musical genius, Fela Kuti, who inspired a Broadway Musical of the same name. This is also another conscious engagement with music from the continent as we are guided in creating The Africa Project. January 8… I took my first Djembe drum lesson! Oh, what a feeling, as my hands screamed with joy and pain! But I learned how to get several different sounds out of the instrument… and settled into the reality of beginning a long relationship with my new drum, which I received from Jeannine for Christmas.
On January 24-26th Jeannine and I are honored to be presenting at Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs. Benet Hill is home to a wonderful group of Benedictine nuns who are very interested in learning more about Hildegard and exploring new forms of prayer and meditation such as our Tap Prayer. We will be presenting to the Sisters, staff and two of their ongoing classes. Later in the year we will return when Benet Hill hosts a Hildegard week, which will be open to the public.
March 13-23, 2013: I am traveling to Germany for Birthing Visions, A Pilgrimage and Creative Retreat in Hildegard’s Homeland. The retreat is facilitated by my wife, (Dr. Jeannine Goode-Allen), Rev. Matthew Fox and Susan Coppage-Evans, D.Min. I am trying to learn German quickly (how many of you are laughing?) so I can enjoy the trip even more with less of a language barrier. Go Rosetta Stone!
First Friday of every month join Jeannine and me for Tap Into Transformation.
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Have a great 2013!