The first Guitar Mama Showcase group began almost five years ago now.  It grew out of a need for a group of friends to get together, set goals with accountability and rejoice in achievement.  All these months later, with hundreds of songs behind us, this first group has become so much more than a guitar-accountability gathering.  We have grown together in our lives, jobs, families, celebrations and losses.  I expect and hope that we will continue to do so for a long time.  The music brought us together, but the relationships have grown far beyond the making of sounds.

One of the key events that led this group to its collective strength, both in the realms of music and of friendship, was the first retreat.  “Guitar Mamas Go to Camp” is how it was classified in all my planning.  Getting out of the “usual” to connect has bonded this group, and has led to the growth of the Guitar Mama movement and subsequently, the Brotherhood of Strings.

The Valley Winds Music Association’s recent trip to Cuba emphasized the same point.  We came together as individuals gathering around the making of music, but out of that common interest, relationships have been formed and strengthened through sharing time together.

For many people, the choir community is extremely important.  For some, they move to town and find the base for their whole new life through people at choir.  For others, battling divorce, loneliness and loss, getting together once a week to sing is literally a lifeline.  Yet even though some of us have been singing together for years sharing an adventure like the Cuba trip has intensified the community – allowed us to develop relationships and know each other more.  The Association will be stronger for it, and I believe it will show in our music making.  I’m excited to witness it.

There are a couple of chances to gather around music coming up and I encourage you to take advantage.  Get to know some folk.  I heard recently that the average Canadian adult has not made a new friend in the last five years.  Let’s skew the data.

From the upcoming Evening with Mike Petroff to the June Mama Retreat to the fall Beginner Retreat – not to mention Summertime Jams – I encourage you to come on out and grow in relationship build around sound.  As our little puddles of community gather strength and grow, they’ll overlap and connect.  In this culture of disconnection, I can’t imagine anything better.

Shine on.

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