Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Life Likes Taking Sharp Turns

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dean plays the festival of the arts w/ matt churchill + fred knapp

have you ever experienced the perfect opportunity falling in your lap?  the day before, you’re thinking: “boy, wouldn’t it be fun to try _____.” then the next day, you get an email saying: “dear you, would you like to try ______?”  ever since i submerged myself in music by constructing my drum studio in january, teaching my first drum lesson in America in february, and auditioning for a jazz quartet in may, i’ve been wondering what i should do with summer.  with summer comes a great opportunity: exploration.

i got an email one morning from dean windemuller, a local singer-songwriter who had graduated with a music degree from wheaton’s conservatory of music a few years ago.  i’d met him when i was invited over to a friend’s house for dinner last winter, and we hit it off because he was a musician, and so was i.  not long after the dinner, we got together to jam, and some time later, he invited me to drum for him at one of his shows.  fast-forward a month or two, and he calls me up again to drum for him at a church where he was asked to lead worship.  shortly after this gig, i got the email.

i won’t summarize the email, but in a nutshell, he gave me an opportunity to work the business side of his music.  so everything from promoting his shows, to booking him gigs, to managing his mailing list and fanbase - i would be in charge.  i mulled it over, quickly realized that i had a pretty good skill-set for the job with my background in media, entrepreneurship, and music, and wrote him back with an invitation to come over and talk out the details in person.  after a very positive meeting, i decided to hop on board with a start date set for the beginning of june.

june arrived, and we set our priority list.  one, i needed to book him shows.  two, i needed to promote his gig at the elbo room in chicago on june 30 and get some people to go.  through some very fortunate circumstances, i booked dean to play the Festival of the Arts in downtown Grand Rapids the first weekend of june.  i called up fred knapp to see if he wanted to be dean’s drummer for the gig, and to my surprise and delight, he agreed.  so i managed to book a show a few days after starting the job, which was definitely encouraging.  now i’m working on promoting dean’s chicago show in late june.  boy, what a ride!

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listen to his music here

if you dig his music and would like to hear from him, shoot an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and we’ll add you to the mailing list.  you’ll get free tracks, access to exclusive content, and news on past and upcoming shows.

Posted by Nehe555 on 06/19 at 01:10 PM
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

And That’s A Wrap!

summer’s here. academically, that is. the weather’s still quite cool, and we haven’t been consistently in the 80s yet. but i can’t complain, because my semester’s over!

there are a couple of strange feelings. first, it’s really difficult to finish strong. after reviewing the same material over and over again, I get so antsy that I just want to be done with it all and take the exam. however, the exam date is still 3 days away, and I can’t help but think that there could be a question on something I didn’t look at. so I keep on reviewing everything possible, because I don’t want to get lazy now and throw out all the hard work I did during the semester. it’s a struggle against the self, and I can dictate the outcome. I could just set my books down, or I could strive for my best effort. second, some of my friends are a year above me, and it’s strange hearing them talk about their last class ever. or their last essay ever. or their last exam ever. I can’t imagine being in their shoes one day and putting academics behind forever. or a least for a long while.  just yesterday my housemates and i visited the picnic for the graduates on commons lawn, eating good food and congratulating our senior friends.  there were so many people there, mostly friends and family of graduates.  i can’t imagine doing that one day.

Posted by Nehe555 on 05/17 at 10:46 AM
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Day of Birth Emily!

my blogging neighbor just celebrated her 21st birthday yesterday, hooray!

Posted by Nehe555 on 04/23 at 02:07 PM
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Big Bin Studios

in a previous post I mentioned meeting charles driscoll of big bin studios. a few days ago, my friend ryan and I drove over to tour his studio in Hamilton, Michigan. it’s one of michigan newer studios, and it has been getting some press because of its unique location. the studio is housed in a converted grain silo way out in the countryside by holland (a city in Michigan, not the country). like most music studios, there’s no huge neon sign, which can be great for artists trying to get some work done without fans walking in every 5 minutes for autographs. besides hanging out with Charles, we got to meet the other engineer, Jordan stonehouse, who happened to recognize me from young life. apparently, he was the video intern at the young life camp I went to last summer. I’m always surprised by how we’re all connected somehow.

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Posted by Nehe555 on 04/23 at 01:44 PM
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Dance Guild

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everyone involved with dance guild

I never knew that one of calvin’s student organizations had around 300 members. Dance guild is an organization for students interested in dance, whether ballet, tap, lyrical, or hip hop. each style also has a beginner, intermediate, and advanced group so people can dive right in and begin performing. each semester, they put on a showcase at the FAC featuring their various dance groups, and this semester I managed to make time and see the show. Some of my friends were performing, so I wanted to cheer them on. Besides, one of them had been nagging me to buy tickets since last semester. How can I reject such dedication?

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Posted by Nehe555 on 04/23 at 01:25 PM
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Jazz Vespers

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the crowd included visitors for the festival of faith & writing

it all started with an email.  my friend and neighbor across the street, matt gruppen, shot me an email earlier in the day inviting me to see his jazz group perform at jazz vespers later in the evening, so i scheduled it into my calendar and made sure i’d have time to stop by.  i’d heard of jazz vespers before, but i’d never attended one.  every so often, student news would announce poetry readings and live jazz down at the cave cafe in the evenings, but because i had little interest in poetry, the event didn’t seem that appealing.  what made me go this time was the live jazz.  i’ve been trying to familiarize myself in jazz for the past month, especially jazz drumming, and this seemed like a great opportunity to see how a jazz group interacts live.  i’m just trying to figure out the drummer’s role in the whole group, because i’ll probably be doing some jazz drumming in the near future.

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Posted by Nehe555 on 04/23 at 12:41 PM
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Switchfoot and Emery at Calvinsi

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jon foreman in the crowd next to my friend min woo

“It had to have been Switchfoot with partners-in-rock Emery and Athlete that turned it up a notch on Saturday night in Calvin’s Fine Arts Center. I thought it was just a “Spinal Tap” joke that amplifiers could be set to 11. It was the loudest, craziest set to visit Calvin in years.” -Ryan Alons writing for Chimes, Calvin’s student newspaper.

this is my second time seeing both switchfoot and emery.  i really haven’t been to that many concerts, and many can beat me in a name-how-many-concerts-you’ve-been-to contest: “oh yeah, i’ve seen dave matthews band 57 times.”  of course, i have a big disadvantage because i lived in hong kong for 8 years.  the only major concert i saw in hong kong was alicia keys, and that was pretty incredible.  i should’ve seen westlife when they came by. bummer… irish boy bands don’t come by the US very often. anyway, back to grand rapids.  the fact that this was my third time seeing switchfoot probably means something.  yeah, they have a fantastic live show, and i think they’re much better live than on CD.  in my opinion, that’s quite an accomplishment, because you can always refine your work in the studio.  made a mistake?  no problem, we can rerecord until your budget for studio time runs out.  oh wait, you’re self-produced?  never mind then, you can fine-tune to your heart’s content.

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Posted by Nehe555 on 04/11 at 04:42 PM
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Definition of Faith

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i don’t see snow anymore!

my pastor, rob bell said this once in a sermon (i don’t remember it exactly, but i’ll try to paraphrase) with great conviction and celebration: “we in grand rapids know what faith is.  faith is believing that one day, the sun will shine, the snow will melt, and spring will come.”  an inside joke us grand rapiders share is that the winter lasts forever.  BUT, spring might be just around the corner.  we’re above freezing now during the day, and we’re also seeing more and more sun.  you don’t understand how excited i am about the sun (well, you might if you’re reading this from grand rapids).  just the other day, aaron and i hauled up our patio table from under the deck and had our first dinner party.  grand rapids is so beautiful when the sun’s out and it’s not freezing.

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Posted by Nehe555 on 04/08 at 08:30 PM
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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Battle of the Bands

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hanging out backstage

young life and red bull sponsored a battle of the bands at the intersection, and bands from all over the city competed over studio time (courtesy of big bin studios) and press kits.  i was drumming for one of the bands, AM Bandits, a three-piece punk outfit created just in time for the show, and my band was amongst 7 or 8 other talented groups.  during down times after my set, i managed to snap a few photos and write a bit for this blog.  read on to come backstage with me!

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Posted by Nehe555 on 03/29 at 11:32 AM
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Double Duty with fifty6

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the setting for fifty6’s epic musical

it’s been a while since i played for a church service; the last one was probably for madison church freshman year with nalini, then the coordinator for the mosaic program and now the head of calvin’s barnabas program.  there were definitely some rough spots in my playing, but for the most part it all went pretty smoothly.  there’s still a lot of work to do before i’m confident enough in my drumming ability to play impromptu sets at local jazz clubs.  but heck, it’s a start right?  so i was blogging away during breaks in the morning on my phone, and i’ll include excerpts from my “journal” below…

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Posted by Nehe555 on 03/23 at 06:03 PM
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Break 08: Music Chicago

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i’m not even a guitarist, but this place was heckuvalotta fun!

My friend travis and I took a two day vacation to Chicago during spring break. We were both sticking around Grand Rapids, but we didn’t want to stay here all break. I wanted to stay to get some stuff done with drums, and travis was staying so he could get flown out to NYC for final round interviews at Goldman Sachs. The while trip was kind of spontaneous and it resulted from a conversation I had with my friend laura. She lives out in Chicago and was going home for the break, and she said we were welcome to visit her and stay with her family.  So we took her up on the offer. Besides visiting her and hanging out with her family, we also had some pressing music agendas. First, we were getting a tour of a studio in downtown Chicago called comma music, along with its sister production facility particle audio. Second, we needed to try out some guitar amps, and Chicago guitar shops have a much better selection than guitar center in grand rapids. With our itinerary loosely planned out, we headed off 2 hours behind schedule on Monday morning. But we weren’t really late, because we don’t have any deadlines on vacation.

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Posted by Nehe555 on 03/15 at 02:17 PM
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Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Calvin Art Show

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a very full house

i’ve never been to an art show before, let alone a calvin art show where many of my friends were displaying their work.  when i first walked in the door, i didn’t get very far.  i kept bumping into people i knew, and it was fun catching up with various friends.  half an hour later, i got to the artwork, and i loved what i saw.  being someone who works in the creative industry creating digital art, being at an art gallery was like being in a whirlwind of inspiration.  there was so much to see: clothing, pottery, photography, paintings, illustrations, and more!  i won’t bore you with my interpretations of the artwork; who wants to hear them anyway, especially when they aren’t even close to the artist’s original intention?  instead, i’ll dedicate this post to photos from the show.  click read more to see the photos, and for you facebook viewers, click view original post first, then click read more.  enjoy!

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Posted by Nehe555 on 03/02 at 01:40 PM
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My Blackberry Turned Into an iPhone

I just bought an iPhone yesterday, which is sweet, but the sweetest part is that it only cost me around $20 after lots of ebaying and negotiating with at&t. I did nothing illegal; I just utilized some of the bargaining skills I acquired on the streets of hong kong. The fact that wireless providers really want new customers, and the fact that sales clerks at cell phone stores work on commission also helped my cause. Anyway, I’m looking forward to using this nifty gadget to fulfill my blogging needs. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been blogging more than usual, and that was because I could blog from anywhere with my blackberry. I won’t be blogging any less now that I have an iPhone. Check back often, and I hope my life can be of interest to you!

Posted by Nehe555 on 03/02 at 12:08 PM
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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Chatting with an Alumni

I got a call from steve visser, calvin graduate from years back and now owner of New2You Shoppe, an upscale thrift store by calvin dedicated to reducing tuition at Grand Rapids Christian schools through their profits, and he wanted me to help fix a mac computer he was trying to sell. I’d met him before shopping at his store, and he’d given me some incredible deals (it might’ve helped that I’d known his daughter, who lived on my sister floor), so I gladly agreed, figuring that I could finish up some reading as I reinstalled an operating system. Anyway, he picked me up from my house, and on the drive there we chatted about how calvin people seemed to get married very quickly. Apparently, the situation today is very similar to what life was like during his career at calvin.  We joked about how calvin sends out advertisements to upperclasspersons for its premarital programs, which seems to be calvin’s way of nudging us in the side, whispering “are you engaged yet?” into our ears. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad calvin offers these programs. We were just joking around.

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Posted by Nehe555 on 03/01 at 03:05 PM
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Auditioning for 5th and 6th Graders

My friend jill and I got an email from mars hill saying that they were looking for a rhythm section for their 5th and 6th grade band to finish out the school year. With Jill being a bassist, and with me being a drummer, we thought we’d audition for the spot. After rainchecking due to terrible weather conditions, we finally made it over there to meet with jim keat. After fielding some questions and talking about our musical journeys thus far, we headed over to the shed (that’s the name for the sanctuary) for a quick jam session. I found it a little strange to sit behind the same drumkit that I stare at every sunday. Maybe it’s just me, but I think musicians like to watch the person who plays their instrument during music worship.

We did the audition thing, going through a few songs. The sound system wasn’t setup, so I couldn’t really hear jim on the acoustic, nor jill on the bass. I just kinda watched and guessed at what was going on, which is never a good feeling, but it still happens every so often. I think every performing band has had monitoring issues at some time, and you just have to deal with it. That is, unless you purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of sound equipment and get personal monitoring systems for everyone. An unlikely scenario, but I can still dream.

So now we’re both waiting to hear back from Jim.  If we get gig, we’ll be playing biweekly with biweekly practices.  Not a huge time commitment, but fun nonetheless.

Posted by Nehe555 on 03/01 at 03:00 PM
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