Thursday, August 21, 2008

So far, 2008 has been the most impactful year of my life

Lots of personal and professional growth and expansion this year, including music workshops here and overseas, and I turned 50.

I enjoyed an amazing year as Artistic Director of San Diego’s premiere male jazz vocal group, In aChord Men's Ensemble. Focusing on close harmony jazz and pop tunes, we al
so performed several of my new arrangements of songs like, “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “Lonesome Road,” “Route 66,” and “Swing Down Chariot.” 

Our personnel shifted dramatically with the loss of 3 members and a net gain of 3 new singers; fortunately the guys rose to meet the challenge in a great way. We performed in the annual San Diego celebration, Christmas on the Prado, as well as concerts at Rancho Carlsbad, Harborview Chateau (an Alzheimer's facility), the San Diego GLBT Center, and a concert for the community at University Christian Church in Hillcrest. 

I’m proud of the guys and wish them well as I transition to other solo work starting this fall.

In May I traveled to Hamburg, Germany (with my Boston sister Vivian) to lead my 9th Hamburg Gospel Music Workshop, and what a time we had! More than 65 singers from across Germany attended the 4-day intensive worksh
op which culminated in a public concert raising funds for a local hospice. 

My dear friend and “collaborator in gospel crime,” Anja Struccholz did an excellent job of making this whole project come together. And dear Vivian continues to amaze me, as she did when we sang at home as kids in NC, with her artistry and humility! If only she had thought to remind me not to forget my passport...

I spent Memorial weekend in Malibu attending the California Men’s Gathering. It was my first time attending; nonetheless, I lead a workshop, “Men Singing from the Heart,” and it rocked!

Nearly 40 guys signed up for the class and we poured ourselves out in rhythm and song. We even closed the Talent Show with a couple of our tunes. My heart was opened through the experience of this gathering, and once again I was personally and spiritually rewarded by using music to build community (a theme I plan develop further).

For my 50th birthday, I invited 18 local friends and colleagues to dinner at Humphreys by the Bay. It flowed naturally and was a heart-filled, beautiful evening of amazing food and incredible company which I’ll always remember.

The most impactful component for me this year has been the six month long Spiritual Ministers in Training Program (SMITS) sponsored by OAR. SMITS has been described as “the path back to you,” and I couldn’t agree more! Though I expect the impact of this training, this coursework, to ripple in the years to come, I can say with certainty that I have been touched like never before by this work. And I can’t say enough about the generosity of gifted OAR teachers, like Chriss Lemmon, Karen Koblenz, Penny Guinther, and Peggy Lebo. Thanks, guys!

An alumnus of SMITS and a dear friend, Richard Kidd developed this website for me – thanks, Richard!

Stay tuned for upcoming concerts and workshops!


ET Freeman said...

I really like your website. The only thing missing is an ode to me (LOL).


Michael Broyles said...

So nice to read all of this about you! Hope all is well!

Michael Strassberg said...

Hi Phillip...this is Mike Strassberg. Wow, you are a real Renaissance man! You have done a lot and never lost that creative, self-expressive fire. I have been well, and I speak to Sandy regularly. It would be great to catch up with each other. My e-mail address is