Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting you through summer (with acronymns)

So, remember how I was promising to write more often? Well, I had my fingers crossed. Let us jump in, shall we?

Late April, I flew westward for my annual YNS meeting (which is an acronym, and you'll have to guess what it means). Then I met up with Michael at his house and we traveled w-a-y up north to North Hollywood, which is so far north it has "north" in its name. Had a great concert, and drove way back down over the mountain to Michael's house.

The following weekend, not having had enough of flying across the country, I flew back to California, and we drove north of North Hollywood to play in San Luis Obispo. (As you can imagine, none of those three words passes spellcheck.) Had a great afternoon concert in a cool-looking church. Then, we zipped up to Seattle, where we played in Poulsbo. (Which also does not pass the spellcheck test.) The next day we flew home.

Obviously, it was time to head south, so we flew to Houston so we could play a really fun concert in Conroe, being reunited with the fellow who hosted in the Ag Building in Geneva, Nebraska, which is probably where Michael got the idea for his daughter's name. I should remember to ask him sometime. (Plus, I wonder why they didn't call her Ag Building?) After that, we flew back home for a few days, I got a new tattoo, and then it was obviously time to hit the southeast, so we flew to Tennessee and played a concert in Johnson City, where everyone is named Johnson I think.

From there we drove over to Martinsville, VA (where everyone is named Martin, of course), and played a fun concert in the local theater. Super great hosts. Good crowd. Then a race to the airport to fly home again. Off for a couple of weeks, until we needed to get a little Nebraska fix, and flew to Omaha, then drove to Grand Island, where we played for the Nebraska Synod Assembly. Had a great time, and met a pastor who has been ordained for 75 years. Yes. 75 years. 75. Years. Three fourths of a century. Back when Pluto was a planet, and World War I didn't need a Roman numeral.

Then we were off forever. Or so it seemed. Not a lot of concerts get booked in June for some reason. Must have to do with the impending summer solstice. But have no fear, July is here!

To start the month right, we flew to Edmonton, which is in Alberta, to play at the LCC National Youth Gathering. (Another acronym you'll have to decipher on your own.) Had a great week with lots of people who all carry colorful money around. Since it was freezing cold to these timid southern fellows, we needed to get some warmer clothes. So . . . on July 4th, Michael and I went to The Bay (Canada's Department Store) and purchased official Olympic CANADA hoodies. Yes. On Independence Day. In Canada. Thus, it's obvious we can never run for president. And, as an aside, if this event were held a century or two earlier, these hoodies would've been made of beaver pelts, and purchased at the same store. However, on the extreme upside, the hosts gave us sparklers on July 4th, and 500 Canadians sang our national anthem to us. It was quite moving, actually, and I would show you the video, except that my camera seems to have been stolen by some Delta Airlines employee. Well, perhaps "stolen" is too harsh a word. Maybe they're just still inspecting it, right?

After a fantastic week in the True North, Strong and Relatively Inexpensive, it was time for us to ease our way down south to Montana, where we played for the Western States Region of the UCC (another acronym). Had a fantastic few days in Billings, including a brisk walk up the mountain to retrieve my cell phone from a rental car at the airport. While in town we also played a concert at a local Lutheran Church, which was fun and Montanan!

Back at the UCC event, I was able to record a fun version of our Lions song on the last day. I set my camera on the piano, and filmed away. Sitting in on the drum is our new friend Masankho, who lives in the San Francisco area, where the fog is in a hurry.

After Billings, I went home for a few days, and Michael rejoined his family on Geneva's First World Tour, currently in The Great Lakes State. Exactly halfway through July, Michael and I began the drive south. After about 1,000 miles, we arrived in New Orleans, where the YAV's (acronym alert) met us near the dumpsters and carried in our tons of stuff, out of the kindness of their hearts! (I'll tell you, the V stands for Volunteer, and that is exactly what they did.) The reason we had tons of stuff is because the organizers once more threw caution to the wind and invited us back to the LC-MS NYG! (That's a double acronym there! And the second is not a football team.)

We had an amazing (and busy) week in New Orleans. Played 12 times in three days, and every single concert was as fun as the next one. Met a couple new bands, and our friends Alathea, Echelon, and Tangled Blue were there, so it was kind of a band reunion week. After the YAV's helped us load everything back out, we began the drive north. Along the way, we golfed in Mississippi and Missouri, with the piano player having slightly better scores in the first LAF Summer Classic. Then we stopped in Jefferson City, had a great concert with a fun group of folks in front of a blue curtain, and then headed further west. Currently, we're sitting in a Starbucks in Kansas City, about to drive once again to Lamoni, IA, where we're expecting to have a Spectacular week!!!

Oh, bee tea dubs, I have a couple of announcements:

We're in the process of finalizing details for the Luther 500 Festival, to be held in Wittenberg, Germany! It promises to be an amazing week, with amazing people, in an amazing place, all to begin celebrating the 500th anniversary of Luther hammering on the door of a church. Check out the website for more details!

Also, you can follow us on Twitter, if you do such things. Our username is hengh, or you kind find us by using the e-mail address Or, there's that button up there on your right you can click.

More later, you people you . . .