Thursday, January 24, 2013


Maybe you've heard the new songs by Christian rock/worship band Anthem For Today on LIFE 100.3 ("Inside Out" and "Falling Asleep At The Wheel".)

I posted some photos of the CD release party, during which they announced me as their manager, mentioned on a previous blog.

This is an exciting time! We're booking shows, choosing radio singles, t-shirts, stickers, making promo materials and setting goals. I'm lovin' it! I'd forgotten how much fun this is!

For a couple of years I avoided this position because the medication I take for depression messes with my concentration and... what was I talking about, again?  Oh ya, concentration. :)  It also messes with short term memory. So there are post it notes and checklists galore. I guess the band didn't think those two idiosyncrasies would be a deterrent so they took me on.

This week we're getting lots done. Mmmm - it's gonna be a great spring and summer!

Go here to the website - or facebook! 

Monday, January 21, 2013


Light snow falling over the lake. It's a quiet day at home.

Thinking About: My dad's generosity, upcoming Sharathon, Anthem For Today goals
Listening to: U2 mix of songs on my iPod
Reading: Jesus Calling
Praying for: the above, trusting, hearing.

My current devotional is "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. It's like Daily Bread - one page for each day of the year. The interesting thing is that she writes it as if it was God speaking to you. The message is not about God; it's from God. It certainly personalizes the message.

The message that is sticking with me is about how God orchestrates each day, if I let Him. So, on the days when things are running smoothly I may be unaware of His presence in the situation. And when the days are not going well, and there seems to be many of them, maybe God is doing something important. I need to tune in and see what He's doing, listen, and above all, not try to figure it out.

As I was reading, thinking and praying, Bono was singing, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it get away." Nice.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


In a previous blog, I mentioned my dad passed away on January 5. It was unexpected but at the age of 87, it wasn't completely unexpected. Some of you already know that my Dad was often a trigger for my depression. He could find the negative in any situation and I didn't handle it well. However, the last time I saw him was Christmas Day and it was fabulous, positive, fun and hopeful.

Three days after my dad passed, my dog was diagnosed with nasal cancer. Her nose has bled intermittently for a couple of months and my worst fear was now realized. She's 11. When she was 9 she had bloat, so, since surviving that, I feel every day has been a gift. She's lived a great life but the next few months could be agonizing.

If that's not enough, a few days later I found out that my mother-in-law is being moved into a seniors assisted living home. That means she'll be leaving her house of 50-plus years - the same house my wife, then girlfriend, grew up in. As an elderly lady, leaving her home and all those memories must be very hard. She's a very with-in lady; her problems are only physical, and my wife and I are concerned that she may not enjoy the new home and her health will quickly drop.

This blog brings three sad situations together, but I am looking at each of them separately and dealing with each with a different set of emotions.

About five years ago I was at a Christian conference where Kathy Troccoli was the guest speaker. She said, "You tell yourself you will never survive the passing of a parent. You tell yourself you won't make it." But, she said, "God gives you the strength when you need it. Not now, but when you need it."

I recalled that message as I sat with my mom when she died. That was three years ago and Kathy's words were absolutely true. God gives us the strength at the moment we need it most. I'm hoping God to do the same three more times. 

It's going to be hard. 2013 just started.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Ok, so it was announced today that I'm managing the band. I've done band management three times before in my Kingston years, a while ago. I managed two top 40 cover bands and a glam-metal band. Booking shows, booking PAs, coaching the band, working through issues - it was a great experience and brings me as much joy as does radio. I vowed to never do it again, though, unless it was for my own kid. Lately, I suppose because of my interaction with recording artists, their music and airplay, there has been some management opportunities, but I stuck to my vow.

Then, Anthem For Today happened!

Davey, me Robbert and Pip - just before the show.
Tonight was our CD release party in Flesherton, ON - their homebase.  They did a 6-song set complete with song explanations, which made it more than just a concert - it was an intimate show with 100 fans, family and friends. Pip Lucas, the singer, talked about the songs, many written by Trevor McNevan from TFK, including their first single "Inside Out" which has 14 radio stations playing it.

We cut the band cake, bought merch, gave out copies of the album and announced the second radio single being released Monday. (Falling Asleep At The Wheel).

Pip, Robbert and Davey are great guys, coming from great families. I look forward to do some fun stuff together!

(The top photo was taken by Evan Duran. Excuse the crappy photos that follow, taken on my iPhone. I love the iPhone but let's be honest - the camera quality sets us back 40 years!)

Pip Lucas "Falling Asleep At The Wheel"

AFT booth next to the LIFE booth.

"Inside Out...."

Robbert van der Grift (bass), Pip Lucas (vocals, guitar), Davey Hooper  (guitar), and the band cake!

Anthem For Today - in Flesherton.

The official band photo - Davey, Pip and Robbert

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Two days ago, Dad died from an aneurism in the middle of the night. It was fast, he died quickly.

Only a couple weeks ago we celebrated Christmas at our house in Oro Station. Dad came, feeling good. It was positive and cheerful.

Now he's gone. I've been trying to put into words how I feel, knowing Dad (and Mom) have passed away. He was 87, so every time I saw him, I kinda thought, "this could be the last time". We talked a lot recently about death, wills and estates, memories, burials, looking at his childhood photo album and talking about the best memories at our cottage. So, while I knew that anytime could be "the time", the feel now is a bit like - he left without saying goodbye. He just left.

I went to the hospital to see him after his passing. My brother went in the ER first and came out a bit freaked. "He looks like a dead man. His mouth is open and he's pale." He cautioned me and I worried that this last visit might really mess me up, but I felt compelled to go in. I stroked the bottom of his foot for a few moments. I couldn't get any closer and I couldn't look at his face - it was a bit freaky. I spoke a word of son-to-dad thanks, and left.

I'm glad I went in to see his body. It makes his passing real. I know he's moved on. He's not coming back. (As he wasn't a Christian, only God knows where he is.)

Dad (and Mom) were supportive of everything I did. They backed me in my pursuit of radio, moving from town to town. It was hard for us all when Janice and I moved to Nashville but soon we were back, and in Barrie, where God had something very big planned for me. Even as far back as 1979, when Janice moved to Kingston where I was working, they gave their blessing, although reluctantly. (We were married two years later.)

Here are some memories.

Christmas 1995 at home in Toronto. L-R Mom, Dad, Janice Shirley (back), Crystal (front), Me and Brett.

Dad and me at The Waterford. I beat him at pool, maybe twice.  Granted I am a poor player, he was pretty good with the cue stick even behind his back!

50th Anniversary in Barrie.

May 1995 - Dad's birthday in Toronto at the house I grew up in.

May 1981 - Dad's birthday. (L-R Mom, in mirror my aunt Shirley and my Grama Baird (Dad's mom),  and my Dad.

Mom and Dad - 25th Anniversary, at the cottage.

1981 - my Mom and Dad's favourite place - our cottage in Hastings Ontario on the Trent River.

1973 - at Serpent Mounds, near Keene Ontario. We spent many summers having picnics and looking at  Indian bones. L-R Dad in the captain's cap, Janice, me, Mom. Look at that Habachi!

My very favourite photo of Mom and Dad - at the Waterford, their last place together in 2008. Mom hated getting her photo taken and this one is so good of her.

Christmas 2012 in Oro Station - just days ago. Me, Dad and my brother Bob. Dad loved our new house. Without him, we would not have moved here.
Christmas 2012 video

Gosh, scanning these photos and especially writing these captions is very hard. Good memories, though.