It was January 2013 that I had last visited Rev. Deb & Unity of Kona. I shared my SingDanceShine Playshop with them and Rev. Deb shared with me her dream of what her music ministry and bigger ministry in general could be.
Rev. Deb had such fire & passion around this vision, that she continued with such enthusiasm, carrying the Sunday service from singing to preaching, even if the congregation could not match her joy & excitement (some days). All you performer friends, you know what I mean...sometimes you're at a 10 and the audience, bless their hearts (as a Karen Taylor-Good would say) might be peaking at a 3. What do you do? The show/service goes on!
That's exactly what Rev. Deb did - she let the music carry her, she stayed true to her vision. and wowie maui, her "flame" attracted the perfect music ministry peeps to play with!!! I met 4 spectacular musicians/singers (and I mean seasoned pros - even a multiple Grammy winner) who were recently drawn to the Big Island, then drawn to Unity of Kona. In fact, Larry Seyer, beautiful guitar player/composer/multi Grammy winer, felt compelled to volunteer his service and just joined the board.
Talent, heart, playfulness, brilliance...this is what it was like to play with them and you can bet, the congregation's energy was up'd too because this fun stuff is contagious!!!
On top of that, I got to support some singers in their community with voice lessons and for a number of them, I felt lik we were drawn together - no mistake. They shared my exact story, where fear (if unchecked) could have ended their love for music & singing. One sweet man, simply needed an opportunity (somewhat forced upon him...by me) to sing in public again & we made that happen in Sunday service, and you know when you've "got them" - there's a twinkle in their eye, they've touched on something that they can forget - it's called their inner power :) So awesome - so I know he'll be singing solo soon & more importantly enjoy sharing his God-given gifts!!!
And another singer, was Kaylee - a young girl (maybe 7 or 8). A well-meaning teacher said some negative things about her voice and sometimes that is all it takes to have someone shut their creativity down. At the start of her lesson, her hanai tutu (that means "adopted" or extended Grandma) tried introducing me to her. Kaylee was so shy - she didn't make eye contact & in fact started crawling away, hiding in the chairs. Soon her Tutu left with Rev. Deb and somehow, I knew exactly what to do.
I talked to her about songs she loved. Kaylee wanted to learn the piano - so we played there a bit, even learned rhythm on percussion instruments. Then sneaked our way into singing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" (which I was going to sing the next day at service). I gave Kaylee her special solo & echo parts. We got really into it, so it just felt like pure fun! She was beaming by the end of her lesson & I said if she came the next day, she could help me lead it.
Unfortunately, Tutu & Kaylee missed this opening song during service. At the end, she asked me about singing the song - she didn't know she missed it. When I told her the song was at the opening & that I wouldn't be doing it again, she started crying :( I said I'd invite her up on another song, but I know how it is when you've got your heart set on something...so my wheels started turning & I thought, what would the audience love more than to help create a pivotal moment in Kaylee's life.
So I decided this was the way to start the concert...I told the audience briefly about Kaylee being discouraged by a teacher around her music and asked them if they would join me to offer her a different experience around her singing & creativity. They said YES and she bolted to stage. Kaylee sang right next to me as I played the piano. So happy, in her bliss, knowing all her parts! Then at the ending as the energy kept building, I shoo'd her forward in love & told her to go own her moment and she did and she loved it! Fear & self-doubt was melted by joy & love that day...probably joy & love can do that everyday :)
So grateful to be a small part of Kaylee's story!
And the icing on top of all of this was meeting the most amazing couple...I call them my new besties - my gay boyz, that showed the kind of love, fun, brilliance, talent, heart of service & wow I feel that I am finally able to see in myself!!!
All in all...a heart-filling, uplevelin'g time was had by all the "moths" drawn to our collective flame!
p.s. Right after this, I was whisked away on a mini-vacation at Waikaloa Beach Resort w/ my ohana. Below's a pic from my Mom's Bday party w/ family & Unity of Kona friends.