I feel extremely honoured to have my song, Close Your Eyes , chosen for the first song in this beautiful slide show about Katherine Ducharme’s Malawi trip where she and her team built a school …which is now certified.
Read on ( from Katherine…)
I have completed my video that includes pics from my last 2 trips to Malawi. Thanks so much for letting me use your song to start my video. I so get every word of your song Laura. It includes many of the messages that I so often try to share with people that ask about my visits to Africa.
I tried to match some of my photos to the words of your song.
I could write pages…actually I have done so, about my experiences, but one of the first things that I learned when I first visited the primitive village of Njewa is that we do not have to change these people. Many Westerners and Europeans have felt that is what they need to do in Africa, but I have to say that some of the most beautiful souls I know, live there. They are hungry, and have the right to clean water and education, but otherwise, they are mostly happy. There are challenges no matter where you live.
The school that we built in 2007 and the additional block with 2 more classrooms that we built in 2008 are now educating 350 orphaned and marginalized children. In October 2013 our school was finally recognized as a certified school by the Ministry of Education in Malawi. We have all certified teachers now and the teaching syllabuses and student books for all subjects.
I have just received a $10,000 donation that will keep our feeding program going for these children. They each get 1 meal a day of a fortified porridge where they otherwise may just have to go hungry. I could not believe how healthy the children looked last year. There is still a lot of malnutrition, but I believe we are tackling it head on. You will see pictures of the 60 new triple width desks we built last year. For the first time, all of our students our sitting in desks. We painted both buildings, inside and out. We handed out over 300 hygiene packs that we brought from home to our students and some of the secondary students that we know.
I should leave it at that for now, or I will never get this sent…
I hope that you enjoy the video.
Just received this mp3 of Jason Homyshin’s rock song, Freedom !, from James Seabrook at Two Bodies of Water Studios. James did a great job with the instruments, the recording ,and his voice sounds fantastic ! I had fun writing this music and fun with the harmonies in the studio with Terry Bachynski. Loved the drummer’s work too and of course….well done Jason !!!!
What a summer this has been!
Saturday turned out to be a picture perfect day after a rainy , cool Friday.
A perfect day for the fun run for Spina Bifida/ Hydrocephalus .
The volunteers did a wonderful job as usual …all orchestrated by Kiray.
I felt very honoured to be asked to play for the event once again and although 3 of our band members were out of town we managed acquire a drummer in my niece, Alaina Pellizzari.
I love playing a mix of our originals and classics and I look forward to next year’s event.
Myself and SpiritLine had a wonderful day of song ….at a hair salon!
Altimo Hair Salon in Edmonton, Alberta, allowed us to set up our music gear and perform about 75 songs to try and raise money and awareness for Dr. Pandey’s Dandelion Root Research for the prevention of cancer – ( in Windsor Ontario).
Mickey at Altimo tried to raise money through his ” working on hair roots ” and we all ‘ rooted ‘ for the success of the day.
We had SO much fun and sang and played our hearts out from 10:00 am until 5 pm . We raised some money but are hopeful that next year we will do even better!
We have to find the cure for this terrible disease. ( Dr. Pandey was instrumental in helping my sister and fellow singer, Paula Drew, fight off her 4th stage cancer.)
I cannot believe that this music journey that started on Feb. 22nd, 2014 has finally come to a close ( for now!) .
E.J. Lajeunesse boasts a beautiful theatre with plenty of room for audience and performers alike. The stage was so expansive that it was easy to fit all of us who were in the large HOPE IS band. Although we had a decent crowd of wonderful supporters they seemed dwarfed in an amphitheatre that seats 400!
But I am so very very happy to say that our last concert was also a wonderful success and we had some lovely, moving comments about the night afterwards. I felt very good about the show and I am very pleased with the sound that Joe Collins at Polaris Studio provided.
It was also so much fun to surprise my sister, Mary, with a spotlight on her own original music. It was Mary’s 50th birthday that actual night so instead of playing one of my new tunes at the end of the first half …I asked Mary if she would mind performing one of HER tunes for us all. The band soon caught on to the music and Paula and I were able to assist with some impromptu backup harmonies.
Of course we sang happy birthday with the audience and presented Mary with a cake.
What an amazing honour to play with these great players. And SO incredible to play with Dominique Roy, our trumpet/keyboard player who came in from Edmonton..via his visit to Toronto to play for me. I flew in the great Albert Felicitas too from Edmonton to play keyboards as well and of course his wife, Paula, was also with us from Edmonton.
Mary and Paula were beautiful as always with their perfect harmonies but we missed our sister, Pamela’s voice . ( Pam is in Vancouver at the moment) .
All the planning, all the travelling, all the hiring and all the renting( or borrowing) of musical equipment is all worth it to me. The beautiful supportive smiles I witnessed while performing and the incredible comments I have received about the music make it all worth it.
I am so lucky to have had Mary East by my side with regards to planning this entire journey and I had lots of help with the moving of all the equipment in and out of the various venues too. My husband, Terry, allowed me to chase this dream . Can you imagine how amazing it was to have Terry ‘open’ for me at the 4 largest shows and to stand near me with his beautiful bass playing and singing?
And I know it isn’t ‘luck’ . The blessings I have received have been a hundred fold. Now my hope is that people that have received the new music from HOPE IS will find blessings too . Our world needs hope. We need to be that hope for others.
Times will continue to be challenging in our world . But I believe that if we can ‘open the eyes of our hearts’ we will see the great love that God has for us . We might not be able to ‘ put our fingers in the wounds ‘ as Thomas did but we might do good to remember the words of Jesus, ” Blessed our those who have NOT seen and yet believe ” . There is great hope in these words.
Whenever I can I like to go to care centres in different cities to sing for the folks there : patients, their families, visitors and caregivers. Today was ” Met ” Hospital and it was a very positive experience. It was so much fun to watch the nurses gathering to chat about the tunes ( I was told it was all good…ha ha) , the folks in wheelchairs , smiling, giving us the thumbs up and even the ladies in the gift shop conducting us from afar.
The ‘us’ in this case was my sister, MaryAnne East , and my husband, Terry. All three of us took turns on guitar and vocals and we would sing harmonies for each other too. It feels good to bring ” Hope Is ” to folks. I only pray that this wee hour of music could actually bring actual hope to at least one person.
We certainly gained much from the experience and I am so happy for this chance.
Terry Bachynski started the show off right with his funny and inspirational , original tunes…complete with powerpoint!
We had the privilege to play to a packed, supportive house and the sound was crisp and the band was tight. What a joy to sing this hopeful music. I have already heard that some folks were touched by the songs and for that I am grateful.
Thank you to all who helped make the evening a great success and thanks be to God!