Guitars For Glory: Guatemala Documentary Short

Guitars For Glory Documentary: San Cristobal Verapaz, Guatemala from Sprig Music on Vimeo.

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Giving stuff away is amazing. Way better than getting something yourself. (It’s almost like Jesus knew what he was talking about).

Jennifer and I had the honor of representing Guitars For Glory during our recent trip to Guatemala last month. This meant surprising three people with brand new guitars. We made sure the cameras were rolling, and managed to produce something we’re all proud of. (Thank you, Sprig Music).

Sure, who wouldn’t like a free guitar?

But what the documentary doesn’t show is all the back-story behind the recipients. Like how Rudy’s father abandoned his family for the US, and Rudy was left to be provider for his four siblings and mother; today, he’s a pillar in his family and his church. Or Roger, who’s given himself fully to educating children, and makes in one year what I make in three weeks. Then there’s Willy, who’s always wanted to lead people in worship on guitar, but knew it’d be impossible, seeing as how it’d take him and his entire family over a decade to save up enough combined money to buy one.

The stories are real. The tears are real. Because the people are real.

And that’s the power we have as being part of the world’s wealthiest people.

Please watch the video. Then thoughtfully consider three things:

1.) Giving to Guitars For Glory so they can continue to spread the message of hope in Jesus through music.

2.) Sponsor a child with Inn Ministries, our hosting organization in Guatemala. I can’t say enough about these people. They’re the real deal, and you’re having a daily impact on children when you give toward their education.

3.) Let me know what you think—about all this. I’d love to hear.

You were born to rock. So get to it.

ch:

Raul Midón

Raul Midón live

Yesterday, we discussed what good art is supposed to do, and the fine art character sculptures of Stéphane Halleux and his new animated movie.

Here’s some more inspiring work by multi-disciplined musicians Raul Midón. I really don’t want to say anything else. Just come back here and comment when you’re done watching. I’d love to know what you think.

ch:

Gallop Amps

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I was at a friend’s 50th birthday Saturday night in PA, and one of his best friends flew in and surprised him from Las Vegas.

Nice friend.

Don Gallop is a church planter, something I respect highly. And as his tent making, he builds custom, one-off amps. As we talked more, I realized this guy can model any board out there, or build to whatever idea you hear. What a gift! From super quiet circuits, to fat and dirty, he can dial it in.

I was totally amped(!), and thought – shoot, if we’re going to buy amps anyway, why not buy a custom build at a fair price, and support a guy who’s planting a church in Vegas?

Now that’s money well spent.

gallopamps.com

Pass it along.

ch:

New Look, Same Incredible Resource: Nina Hopper Vocal Studios

I’m very proud to announce that my amazing, talented, and enigmatic mother – from whom so much of my personality is derived – has officially begun taking new vocal students here in Northern New York.

For those that know about Nina, her diverse musical background, and her history in the greater New York music community, this is an obvious blessing for those in her new home of Jefferson County. Since moving here 10 months ago, I’ve been eager to see what she (and my father) will impart to this region to enrich and beautify the lives those who live here; the joy of appreciating and creating music being just one of those contributions.

For those who don’t know about her, I’m excited to see their response, for she is one of the most talented, enthusiastic, joy-filled people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. And her passion for the arts is certainly one of the main reasons I am thriving as an artist today. I owe her a deep debt of love.

So help me spread the word, if you don’t mind; at the very least, tell those you know in Northern New York about her website. She’s accepting new students at the moment, and getting a terrific response. I’m so excited for her, and for those whose lives will be touched by her just as mine has.

Go make some noise!

ch:

Ignite: Musicians Conference

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My home church, New Life, hosted the first Ignite: Musicians Conference on our campus in Watertown earlier this week on Tuesday. The heart was to invest into the training and betterment of artists and engineers in our county by bringing in high-end, Christian teachers and coaches at no expense to attendees.

The night consisted of two parts: breakout clinics for individual disciplines, and a group clinic on the main stage with the entire team.

We also asked the teachers to come in early so they could offer private lessons to people in the community (*the only paid portion of the event, with payment going directly to the teachers).

I think the event was a win-win, allowing musicians in our region free access to quality training, and giving teachers a chance to impart their skills to willing players along with giving them a revenue stream.

Here are some pics from the event that I posted on Instagram. Enjoy!

ch:

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Sing Hallelujah

Mike Kim and Nate Cronk performing “Sing Hallelujah” at Red Booth Studios


My buddies Mike Kim and Nate Cronk just released their new single together, Sing Hallelujah. Go snag the track on iTunes, and watch the music video on YouTube. (You may or may not see a crazy bald white guy in the video). The video was shot on-location at Red Booth Studios in Rochester, NY – shout out to the notoriously good-looking Brian & Kim Moore.

Hope it blesses you and all those you know.

ch:

Opening for Phil Wikcham

The only thing better than hosting Phil Wickham at your church is being asked by the promoter to open for Phil Wickham at your church. Such a privilege is exactly what Jenny and I will be doing on Sunday, October 21st at 6pm, along with The Royal Royal.

If you’d like more information, including tickets, please visit New Life.

ch:

It Feels Like a Crossword Puzzle (Worship Song Writing with Brenton Brown Day 3)

Today wraps up my third and final day of posting notes taken from the worship song writer’s workshop I sat in on with master song writer Brenton Brown. Of his three points, this was his shortest, but poignant nonetheless.

In fact, I’ll leave it worded exactly as he delivered it.

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It Feels Like a Crossword Puzzle

Sometimes writing a song is like trying to fill out a crossword puzzle. Which I suck at. The puzzle says, “Name a five-letter word for a flat service.” After drilling my brain for hours, I decide there simply is no such word. Then in desperation I walk around the house asking people, “What’s a five-letter word for a flat service?”

Table.

Man, what didn’t I think of that? Because I wasn’t really dedicated to hunting the word down. I just wanted it easy.

Stop rhyming the last word in a stanza with praise, and name, and grace – there are other words out there that work. Please hunt them down! Work at it!

‘Nough said.

ch:

Behind The Scenes

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Yet another of my dad’s (Peter Hopper) fantastic sayings growing up was about touring in the music industry:

It’s 90% grunge and 10% glory.

And about sound engineers and production staff:

If it all goes wrong, you get all the blame. And if it all goes right, you get none of the glory.

And while some of my favorite jobs in both music and church ministry go largely unnoticed, they remain the most rewarding. There’s simply something extremely gratifying about knowing you had a part to play in making an atmosphere beautiful.

The Christian Musician Summit that Jennifer and I recently attended was a perfect example of this. The main sessions were held in The Chapel’s worship center (aka “sanctuary”). The scene people walked into each morning and evening – with anyone from Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown to David Crowder and Christy Nockles leading worship – was what you see pictured above. Nothing short of spectacular. And seemingly effortless.

But being the associate pastor production junky that I am, I snuck in for all the sound checks and asked to poke around the stage. (Geeks are only happy to oblige other geeks). What I saw were the “guts” of these main session events: 5 audio staff, 3 camera operators, 1 lighting director, and at least 4 people in the video command booth up top. Not to mention that the physical framework for any set looks more like a sound stage for Mad Max Beyond the Thunder Dome than a gorgeous worship setting.

The most beautiful parts of our lives are those that have the most people behind them and, if all the lights are shining on them, are actually the ugliest.

So here’s to all the people – parents, pastors, mentors and friends – that know the most unattractive elements of our lives can be quite beautiful when set in the right context.

ch:

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Just Play


[Picture courtesy of @jacobmilea]

Anthony Hoisington asked me to sit in with Brothers McClurg on two songs for worship this morning at New Life.

What a treat.

I appreciated his kindness and desire to honor our house. But I also loved his desire to just play.

Sometimes we need to just play. Because while life’s certainly about responsibilities, stewardship, faithfulness and progression, God ultimately made our lives to be enjoyed by Him, with Him and for Him.

Notice the word enjoy there. It echoes what Jesus said in John 10:10 when he was talking about the reason he came to the earth:

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (Amplified)

Sometimes in life, we just need to play. For the sake of playing.

I cherish my children for encouraging – and sometimes begrudgingly provoking – this behavior in me. Admittedly, I don’t always feel like playing. But there is tremendous value in doing so: responsibilities devoid of the inevitable pursuit of play are unsatisfying.

It’s also training for heaven. One day, your only responsibility will be to play with your Father. (Better start getting used to it).

ch:

Music News: Mosaic Tonight, John Tesh in May

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Jennifer and I will be performing at Mosaic tonight at 49 Green Bush St., Cortland, NY. It will be my first time back to play in Cortland County in at least 6 years, so I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

We’ll also be leading worship and I’ll be speaking in a joint service at Cortland Assembly of God Sunday morning.

Jennifer and I also found out yesterday that we’ll be opening for John Tesh at the Watertown Fairgrounds Arena on May 9th. We were approached by Amp
Entertainment last month about the idea, which we loved, and awaited John’s approval. We plan on performing some classic covers as well as some of Jennifer’s jazz originals with a three-piece band.

See you on the road!

ch:

Praise Him As If You Couldn’t

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Today I live in the United States of America.

Today is Sunday.

Today I was given the chance to freely worship God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit.

I often wonder what it would be like to have been born and raised deaf, only to hear for the first time as an adult, either through a divine miracle or modern technology. Or perhaps blind, only to see later in life. The fact is I don’t cherish my hearing or my vision like that person would.

Similarly I don’t think I cherish what I have at New Life the way a Christian from North Korea would.

Today, worship the Lord as if you couldn’t. Then take note of that person and the way they cry out, lift their hands, dance, celebrate and appreciate the presence of God. Because you’ll need reminding when you forget what you have. ch:

YWAM (JEM) French Web Store is Live

The world is full of amazing people who work tirelessly and namelessly behind the scenes to promote the Gospel. I am privileged to have befriended many such people over the years, and count it an honor to serve along side them with many of their selfless – and often covert – exploits.

The French-speaking world was blessed yesterday when Youth With a Mission’s French counterpart, Jeunesse en Mission, launched their first-ever web store for the general public. It is full of amazing resources, including books, CDs, teaching materials, and sheet music, to both equip Christians and reach the unsaved.

Based in Yvderon, Switzerland, JEM works fervently to publish original works of Christian littérature and music, doing all the translation, printing, producing and promoting themselves. My hat’s off to Sylvain Freymond and his amazing team; heaven will speak of their exploits for eternity.

If you know anyone in the French-speaking world – Christian or not – please forward this link on to them. It is an invaluable resource and further proof that God gifted mankind with technology for the singular purpose of promoting the Kingdom; everything else is just an added blessing.

And of course you can order Le Ciel Touche La Terre (Heaven Meets Earth) on there as well. Enjoy! ch:

Fait du Bruit

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Our first three meetings here in Switzerland have been joy-filled and boisterous. Or maybe I’ve just been boisterous. Either way, as the Swiss say, I like to “Fait du bruit,” or make noise.

This shot, care of Fredo Bovigny, is from last night’s worship event in Escale. As expected I soaked through my shirt within the first two songs.

Right now I’m sitting on a couch tucked amongst some mountains in Sion recovering from an amazing post-church meal (merci Pastor Sandy and Laureline!) and hoping this espresso buzz kicks in soon. Tonight Jennifer and I will be playing with our band for a regional night of worship.

Thanks for all your prayers! ch: