Wednesday, May 13, 2009

End of the World

In case you've not experienced this for yourself, let me share with you an irrefutable fact -- some of the most pivotal moments of life begin as what seems like a coincidence. Ancillary conclusion -- there are no coincidences.

Case in point, End of the World Records. Bear with me, as it may take awhile to get to the point part of this case, and how it relates to Grassroots Productions. The first thing you need to know is that I am a huge fan of bagpipe music. (I told you this might be a long road.) While other girls were swooning over David Cassidy, my heart belonged to the Band of the Black Watch -- my dearest wish was to see them perform live. (Yes, I got to go see them in high school. No, I never got beaten up.) The reason this is important is that it was my love for bagpipe music that took me to the High Point Theatre almost 5 years ago to see the first concert by Jamestown Pipes & Drums. As a part of the concert, the band had invited the wife of one of their pipers to perform.
Her name was Andrea Reese, and when she began to sing her first song -- one of several original compositions she played that night -- my mind lit up like a lightning storm on a late August night. Despite the fact that the sound technician couldn't find his way around a sound board for anything, my world was transformed. I knew I was privileged to be hearing an amazing talent.

So the second thing you need to know about me is that I was trained to be a stage manager so when I go to the after party, I am compelled to shoot my mouth off about how much better the concert could have been if this, that and the other thing had been done differently. Ah yes, I'm sure you can see what's coming -- by the end of the night, I had pretty much agreed to stage manage the second concert (in fact, I stage managed two more concerts, joined the band and learned to play a tenor drum before it was all through, but that really is another story).

In addition to being so bedazzled by bagpipes that I practically signed my life away to a band, I also managed to gush all over Andrea Reese in a very teenage, star struck fashion. The result of that was a phone call from Andi a couple of months later, asking if I wanted to drive to Lenoir with her, where she had a date at a recording studio to lay down some tracks for her CD. Well, gosh, what almost 50 year old, crazed fan, singer wannabe wouldn't want to do that? Andi was livin' the dream, and I was gonna tag along as far as I could!

So who knew that tucked away in Lenoir, NC is Epiphonic Studios, an amazing recording studio in a renovated Catholic Church, complete with stained glass windows? Founded by Nate Pritchard (who has worked on albums for the likes of Martina McBride, Allison Krause and Dave Matthews), Epiphonic is an artist's dream come true. After a day in the studio with Andi, I was more smitten than ever -- with her music, with recording studios and all that wonderfully geeky equipment (so many buttons, so little time), and with the entire music industry as a whole. As much as I would have given my right leg to have even a fraction of Andi's talent, the truth is, I was chosen to clap and cheer.

You never know when inconsequential events in your life will prove to be turning points. So here we are, four years later. Over the years, Andi and Nate have both become good friends of mine. I have been lucky enough to get to watch, not only the evolution of Andi's first CD, Rain, etc., which will be released on May 26th, but the birth of Nate's new NC record label, End of the World Records -- every bit of which, from the artists to the labels that go on the CDs, has roots in North Carolina. Their desire to bring their passions to life has inspired me in ways I could not have foreseen. And it has been my pleasure and my joy to be chosen to clap and cheer all along the way.

Now -- what in the world does this have to do with Grassroots Productions, you're still asking? Well, I have had so much fun clapping and cheering, I want to share the fun with the rest of the world. On May 31st 2-5pm at Center City Park, you, too, can clap and cheer for Andrea Reese as she performs at our very first Sunday in the Park of 2009, along with another little group you may have heard of -- Polecat Creek.

Did I make my point about there being no coincidences? Perhaps it will all be clearer when I see you at Center City Park on May 31st. Hey, who knows, maybe later I'll let you listen to my bagpipe music collection.

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