What News? October 2003
(terry gonda newsletter)

terry's Eighth Notes

Thankfully, we're still on track. We're in mixdown for a sampler release at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference (mid November). First release concert is at Vic's Music Corner, in Rockville MD along with another Michigan artist...who else..Jen Cass and the lovely Lisa Beth Weber. All three of us will be presenting a CD release that night. Should be a great show. I'm losing count how often Jen and I have shared a stage this year. We first met in February at the MAMAs coffeehouse in Birmingham, MI and haven't been able to shake each other since. :) Speaking of releases, her new album is tremendous.

I'm actually really excited about how the CD is turning out. We brought in Marion Hayden...extraordinary jazz bass player in from Detroit and a member of Straight Ahead. She played on my demo tape back in '93 and I wanted to bring her back for the full CD. There's also another appearance from my father. You may recall, he sang on "If You Needed Me" on Mud and Milk.

Our and about...

You may remember that back in May, Jen Cass opened for me at the benefit concert...well I had the pleasure of returning the favor in June at the Trinity House in Michigan. It is a really warm and wonderful venue in Livonia in an unexpected place. I recommend seeing shows there. Very intimate.

In July, met up with many friends in England and laid groundwork for CD release in UK.

Then came the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in New York, where I was one of 24 showcase artists (along with Jen Cass and Terry Farmer). Pictures below. It was a glorious festival.

terry farmer, jenn cass, terry gonda
tg at falconridge


For me, it was very powerful to reconnect with the presence of Holly Near. She was a major influence for me in starting out as a professional performer. Watching her again was a kick in the butt. "I've gone soft" I said to myself. Her influence may have had lingering effects because....

In September, I combined my engineering world and music world as I participated in a September 11 memorial during the the Army SMART conference. The "SMART" stands for Simulation and Modeling for Acquisition, Training, and Requirements. I know...a mouthful. Basically, the premier Army Modeling and Simulation conference. Below is the text of my comments before singing "Calls You", which I wrote two weeks after Sept 11. This was in front of a room full (200 or more) Army decision makers both civilian and military, including 4 star General Kern.

"Thank you for the opportunity to share musically with you today and through out this conference.

Although I must say, I have mixed feelings about being at a conference of your mentors and peers and having them come up to you, smile and shake your hand and tell you to give up your day job.

Chaplain Rodriguez and I are here today to remind ourselves and all of us why we are here at this conference trying to be more SMART in our practices.

We are a nation at war.

As we pause to reflect and remember the series of tremendously tragic events of two years ago, there is much to digest. There were numerous songs, poems, and essays that poured out of the broad spectrum of emotional response to the pain we experienced that day and the days that
followed. I will sing one of those songs.

As I watched those images again on my TV this morning and listened to the planes flying overhead towards Detroit Metro Airport, I was tempted to think that history will judge us on how much power and how much cleverness we use to address the events of Sep 11, 2001 and the climate that lead up to those events.

But while those are important factors, I believe the future will be shaped by the amount of love we use to deal with those events.

True courage and a true tribute to the lives lost that day, rely on resisting the urge to hate and to instead fight the Great Fight and push past the terror in our hearts towards the Light that dwells at the core.

For if we do not balance our power and wit with the wisdom that only love can deliver, then after time, we will be hard to distinguish from our enemy.

And that would be the ultimate tragedy.

I wrote the following song two weeks after Sep 11, after the
conclusion of a weekend retreat."

And then I sang "Calls You." I'll not include the words here...they're in two other newsletters already. But I was greeted with overwhelmingly positive remarks of gratitude by many of the attendees-including General Kern. The most moving however, was from a man who worked in Pentagon under the Secretary of Defense, who was still shook an hour later and thanked me for the words and song. So many people lost friends and colleagues that day and it is still freshly painful for them.

I often wonder at the rather strange journey I'm on and the choices I've made to work two careers and the wisdom (or lack thereof) of doing so. Times like this...it all makes sense.

If you're in Michigan, hopefully I'll see you on Halloween after you've given out treats or tricks. I'll be in costume and with band and am really looking forward to it.


Oct 31 - Halloween

Pontiac MI
Live! From the Living Room Acoustic Showcase at the Blue Note Cafe
7 N. Saginaw. $10 donation.
(248) 451-0765

Matt Morrow opening. The Blue Note Cafe is on Saginaw just north of Pike and 2 blocks south of Huron (M59) in downtown Pontiac. Enter through the double doors to the 7 N Saginaw building. Parking is on the street or in the public lot ($3) on Pike Street.

Dec 3
Vic's Music Corner
Rockville, MD
Terry Gonda / LisaBeth Weber / Jen Cass
Triple CD Release Party!
Call Reba Heyman (301)984-1897
$12 in advance/$15 at the door
Located at O'Brien's Barbecue, 387 East Gude Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, 301-762-3395
Delightful Room. Smoke free, Good Food, Quiet During Performances

Dec 11
Back to Detroit Rescue Mission as a guest of the Broe Tabernacle Choir-a musical therapy choir for persons with closed head injury. The choir tours in order to deliver an inspirational message of hope and to build awareness of close head injury.

Parting Notes
Sure are turbulent times...

I'll close with the lyrics to one of the songs on the CD. It is called "Always Our Children".The title comes from a pamphlet put out by the US Catholic Bishops on the topic of a pastoral response to homosexuality. The song lyrics seem particularly poignant now with the heated controversy and many news stories surrounding the issue of gay people in the church and same-sex marriage. I wrote the song before a powerful event at our church where we came to just listen with open hearts to the painful stories of parents of gay children and of catholic gay and lesbian people. It was hoped that we could try to bridge the heartbreaking divide between the two sides of the issues by focusing on listening, compassion, and love. The evening was very moving. In my heart I believe there is a way forward to discuss these issues respectfully and humanely and not from a place of fear and mistrust alone. Caricatures aside, there are good people on both sides of the topic. Two articles were forwarded to me recently and I share them with you as an example of compassionate responses (at least in my opinion).
Blessings on all.


http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20031023_1901.html, and http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2003/10/25/at_a_crossroads_on_gay_unions/

You call to us now
With a tug in our heart
As we listen to stories
That could tear us apart
You call to us now
You call to us now
To love

May we hear your call
May we do our part
To embrace each other
With listening hearts
May we hear your call
May we hear your call
To love

Always our children
Always God's children
We are all God's children
Yearning for wisdom

We gather together
We pray for your Grace
To see your presence
In each other's face
We gather together
We gather together
To love

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