We flew out to San Diego to be at the “City of Refuge” again (we were with them in Feb. ’04 and also 28th Sept.-4th Oct.). During our time there we led the team on retreat for 5 days and generally got involved with their weekly routine. This included packing up food to be distributed to the poor and homeless and visiting a large night shelter where we played music and chatted with the homeless. There were also two weddings of people who have been part of the project so Martin was seconded to play along with other musicians. The rest of our time was kept busy with helping people move house, drum circles and lots of one to one times with people from the team. As ever we left feeling that we had been amongst people of similar hearts and that we would be back……
14/25th Dec. Holland
We flew to Holland, on the invitation of Frank Van Essen, to be evolved in a “Classic Gospel Festival”. For roughly 10 years these Christmas shows have been performed in various parts of Holland and have proved to be very popular. Martin was playing kit on some pieces and percussion on others, whilst Bekah was the narrator. Altogether there were about 30 singers, 5 musicians, a dancer (2 on the last night) and a narrator on stage. Then there was a large crew of light and sound tech. people, who at each location arrived 10 hours before the show to set up the stage, video screens, etc….and were able to create a great atmosphere with the use of backdrops, candles, dry ice…..etc.. Beyond that there seemed to be countless people setting up stalls (with C.D.’s, books, videos etc.,), people setting out chairs, caterers and general volunteers. Frank obviously spends a lot of time drawing together many talented people to make this all work.
We were made really welcome and loved the time we had with the musicians both in the rehearsals and over snatched meals prior to performances. In the shows, the combination of the music, dancing and video footage was very powerful and at times profoundly moving. Our only sadness was that in these shows, as well as in the Christmas Eve event in Amsterdam, not a single song was sung in Dutch….We love their language and music and it felt as if something was missing with everything being done in English.
We flew back on Christmas day to arrive at Newcastle with the sky blue and the sun shining, but as we drove west towards Shropshire (To see Bekah’s parent’s), we drove straight into a snow storm!