Saturday, February 19, 2011

GraceFlock to Florida

Just a heads-up. GraceFlock is working on a tour schedule to Florida April 7-10. Clearwater on the 9th, and hopefully Tallahassee on the 7th, Gainesville on the 8th. More as we know it...

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Life" is Here!!

After ten months of studio work, GraceFlock's third CD is finally available for sale. Check our website for details. The title of the CD was inspired by how many songs related to various stages of life. In fact, the word "life" is sung nine times in the CD. We also flexed some alternative instumentation in this CD. Bassoon, clarinet, steel drums, autoharp, a horn section, church choir and more. We've even thown in a Christmas song for good measure ("Gloria in the Highest"). Enjoy, good fans of GraceFlock and order copies to share with your friends. Remember, this is an outreach and evagelism tool, not just a CD to enjoy yourself!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Studio Status

Just needed to update our fans on our CD progress. 14 songs are planned and I've finished with most of the foundation instruments. Now getting into vocals and will add flair instruments later. Just finished a session with Kathy's vocal, piccolo and even bassoon (yes, bassoon!!!) in one afternoon. Pretty well wore her out. Keep wathing this post and I'll keep you up to date on our progress.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One more time!

Just when you thought the GraceFlock 2010 Summer Tour was over, we added one more concert. GraceFlock is heading down the road to Newnan, GA, for a concert that we had originally scheduled in Summer 2009. We will play at 7:00 pm, Sunday, July 18th at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Newnan. See you there!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Tour 2010 Concludes

Sorry I couldn't post while on the road - I was having technical issues. Here's what I can think of tonight after driving 12.5 hours today...

It was short, but it was chock full of memories for the band and (hopefully) for the audiences with whom we celebrated. In Ringtown, PA we were part of the 200th anniversary celebration of St. John's Lutheran. The next day (Sunday June 27), we traveled to Lutherville, MD to celebrate Vicar Paul at St. Paul's Lutheran who was completing his internship to return to seminary. Both concerts were joyful celebrations of the love of Christ.

The Ringtown concert, it must be noted, was also an emotional experience for the congregation, the community, as well as GraceFlock. Just a few days before our arrival, the community learned of the tragic death of 19-year old John Anczarski, a member of the congregation, who was biking across country with three other friends to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. John was struck by a car in New Mexico and died a couple days later. The community is in deep grief over the loss of this beloved young man and we did our best to honor his memory, life and mission with our concert. For more info about this tragic event, click here.

Lutherville was an interesting experience in that almost no one knew us. At the end of the concert though, we visited and shared stories with many of the audience. One gentleman said he and his family were only going to stay for five minuted but ended up staying for the duration because they loved the music. Another gentleman was visibly moved by the songs (and said so, too) and pledged to come to Peachtree City to worship with us some day. Quite a testimonial from people who didn't know us from Adam!

Kudos and thanks to Kevin Kahley for being our roadie and merch table guy on this trip! More importantly, praise God for keeping us safe on our journeys and allowing us to share His love with others. What a great thing we have going!!

Watch a video of GraceFlock (and a little fan) in action!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brandon on Bass

Hey, just wanted everyone to know that Brandon's bass work in the studio for our third CD has been exceptional. There is that added tension when Dad is the producer, but he's putting his nose to the grindstone and churning out some really clean, artistic tracks. Dad is proud!! Nice work, Brandon!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Drums are Done!

Well, it took a while with all the other things in life going on, but I've got the drum tracks mostly cleaned up. Now on to some bass (ready, Brandon?) and a few guitars. This is fun, but it takes so loooooonnnnnnggg!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back in the Studio

Ms. Karla spurred me to get back into the blog. It has been a while. Actually, I've taken a bit of a GraceFlock breather while our congregation went through some tough times. The strain took its toll on my motivation and creative inspiration, but one can't fend off the Holy Spirit forever. :-) As of about two weeks ago, GraceFlock is back in the studio!!

We've got 14 songs planned, but we'll see how many make it to final. Gary and I have laid down the "scratch tracks" (man, am I glad only a few people ever hear those - yeesh!!). Mark Summers has been in the studio and put down some outstanding drum tracks. Some of his fills are Phil Collins-esque!! I've even got Preston playing drums on "Sinking Sand" which he did with us on tour last summer. Had to do that to match Brandon's guest appearance on the first CD (trombone on "Serve On"). Gotta encourage the future, ya know!

Speaking of tour, we're planning on a quick trip to Pennsylvania in late June. I'll keep you all posted as we get closer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


So, I don't know if any of you remember me... I used to play violin for GraceFlock. :-P
I was just looking through the blog, and decided that I should post something. I'm in a writing mood.

Currently, it is spring break for Luther College, and the Luther College Symphony Orchestra is on tour! Hence, why I'm looking at GraceFlock's tour blog. We spent today in Denver, Colorado, just hanging out and enjoying the nice weather. We are playing 8 concerts in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas this week, and we'll be back in Decorah on Saturday night.

This tour reminds me so much of last summer with GraceFlock. I'm trying to apply everything I learned from that tour to this tour as well. Lessons about being flexible, staying happy even though times are tough, enjoying the long rides, and getting to know the people you are with are so relevant here! There are over 100 of us on tour, I think, and even with spending 5 hours a week in rehearsal, I haven't gotten to know any of them really well. This tour has been so good for that, and it gives me hope that I will get to know them as well as I got to know everyone on the GF tour last summer.

Even though I'm doing ten million things at school (and loving it), I miss GraceFlock. Coming back and playing during breaks isn't the same anymore, but I still miss just doing my thing every Sunday morning and enjoying the music with those in the band. I don't get to do that kind of stuff here. I have played at church services occasionally, but it's a different kind of playing. It has expectations and pressure, and back at COS, I felt that whatever I did didn't matter - it was just the message that I was trying to get across that mattered. And now that I'm away from COS, I can see that what I did was really important, and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of GraceFlock.

Anyway, I hope everyone in GraceFlock and at COS is doing well - I miss you, and can't wait to see you all Easter weekend! I'm not bringing my violin home, though, so don't get too excited. I'm looking forward to being in the congregation this time around. :-)

Blessings and Peace from lovely Colorado, and I'll see you soon.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Living Bread

Debuted a new song today and, wow, was it fun!! Great harmonies, great guitar solo (Frank), bass work (Brandon) and kickin' drums (Preston). The song was "The Living Bread" and was based on the Ephesians and John scriptures for today. I was worried it was going to be a "oil painting song" in which the congregation just looked at us, but they were singing right off the bat. How cool!! What a way to end the summer!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lutheridge Workshop

Proof that websites work: A co-organizer of the Music Week at Lutheridge Camp stumbled across our website when looking for info on contemporary Lutheran worship. What resulted was an invitation for us to present our workshop at the event. Gary was on travel and Lans could only able to commit to one day (Monday, July 13), but the response to the workshop was excellent. Representatives from several congregations came away excited about doing contemporary worship and seeing a way to make it happen. THAT, is what GraceFlock’s outreach ministry is all about. We Lutherans need to expand our reach to those who can be touched by Christ with this form of music. They are out there and, with the wonderful support of Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran, GraceFlock is helping Lutheran churches minister to that need.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So many comments

Playing ten locations in nine days was quite the feat. We will long remember the joys of setting up (what's that buzz?!) and tearing down and packing and unpacking and playing in the heat and singing with passion and the joyful interplay during the concert (How close can we get to Kathy during Sing to the Glory?) and of course, sleeping in many different beds. The two workshops were great as people from several congregations traveled long distances in some cases to come talk about contemporary worship. It was great to see the interest level!

But what will live with me more than anything are the comments people made to us after each concert. As a songwriter, one positive comment about one song from one person will keep me going for a month! And we received positive comments again and again and again at each location during the entire tour. Lans already spoke of some in his blog, so I'll just try to give you an overview of the type of comments that I heard after the concerts.

"I loved the words. Don't stop writing those words!"
"I was so hoping that you would play Eyes of Hope as that song is my favorite"
"You guys really looked like you were having a lot of fun up there!"
"I loved every song. Every one. I kept waiting and figured you would play one that I didn't like. I expected that.....but I loved every single song!"
"The words just said so much."
"How did you first decide to write songs rather than just sing other people's songs?"
"This was so much better than I expected."
"I never knew a Christian concert could be so fun!"
"You could really tell that you played together a lot."
"I could relate to that song about worries, because I have a lot of worries."
"I could really understand what you were saying."
"There would have been more people if it wasn't so hot." [Amboy]
"There would have been more people if it wasn't so cold." [Naperville]
"I wish we would have shown you more how much we liked it."
"Great job!"
"I wish [fill in name] would have been here."
"Where are you playing next? I need to call my friend there."
"Where are you playing Thursday? I have my kids and maybe I can drive there. How far is it to Washington, IL?"
"You guys were really good!"
"I'm so glad Carol (my sister) told me to come!"
"You certainly had a lot of energy!"
"That last song needed to be louder!"
And my favorite from one of my relatives to another "Does he think he's 25 again?!"
Actually I stopped counting at 27 and refuse to grow any older. That probably explains more than I want to admit!
Seriously, the comments told me that we reached people.....we touched people......People who had no expectations when they came to our concert. In almost all cases, they had not heard of us and really had no idea what to expect. And none of them were members of Christ Our Shepherd. The songs work outside of our congregation! Wow! I always thought they would, but it was really wonderful to get such positive reinforcement from people who I had never met before! Bringing these and other songs to touch people's lives is what will bring us to play again somewhere, sometime, somehow. It will happen.......though maybe not nine days in a row!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Other than someday coming to our heavenly home with Christ, there is no sweeter sounding word or more comfortable place than one's own HOME, and we're there! GraceFlock trickled into Peachtree City last night between 9:30 and 11 p.m., depending on which car we were each in. The truck and van arrived at 11 p.m. to a warm welcome - complete with a "Welcome Home" sign - by several congregation members who came to help the weary band members unload. What a great homecoming! Thank you all!

I hope the blog posts have captured some of the feelings and experiences we've had on this tour. There were just too many to report in detail, but you should get the gist. Above all, you should know we felt the incredible support of our home congregation and loved ones while on the road. You just can't imagine how good that felt and we thank you for it. Even those little things (e.g., mowing our lawns, collecting the mail, feeding pets, covering for us at work) while we were away showed us the love of Christ. You are all such special people.

So... now what? Well, after each of us recovers, tends to our families, pays bills, gets back to work, cleans our house, etc., we'd like to throw a post-tour party and invite all our supporters and friends. We'll have more info about this in a while. We've got video, pictures, stories, and songs to share!

The concert at Resurrection Lutheran in Newnan, which was postponed because of the death of Kathy's mom, will be rescheduled for a later time - possibly this fall. July is too busy and too soon to make it happen. Sorry!

And now for some home, family, and self time to recharge the batteries and reenter the mission field of daily life. The love and peace of God which passes all human understanding be with you all! Amen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Finale

Well, friends, we did it! We made it through ten performances in nine days and are still talking to each other. :-) Seriously, we finished our final concert tonight to a crowded sanctuary at Faith Lutheran in Washington, IL. It was another receptive and grateful audience comprised of all generations.

For the band, hitting that final chord of Changed tonight was a bittersweet moment. All the hard work, long hours, long drives, sore muscles, fund raising, rehearsals, songbook writing, packing, unpacking, planning, visiting and, above all, ministry has nearly come to an end. By all accounts, it has been a most successful endeavor, and we're just a bit sad to have it come to an end. We have touched many and they have returned the favor to us. Standing on this side of ministering, it is just amazing how rewarding it is. We can only attribute it to the gift of the Holy Spirit which gives the more it spreads.

O.K. We're tired and satisfied, but the work is not finished. GraceFlock is already discussing the next phases of its ministry...but we'll need some time to recover and regroup. We thank you all for following and supporting us through this blog. We'll have more to share later, but for now, we're headed to bed so we can start the long drive home tomorrow. Peace and blessings to all of you.

Good night.

Quote of the Day: "Go in peace, serve the Lord!" (Lans at the end of the concert tonight, followed by "Thanks be to God!")

Outdoor Concert in IL

We did our first (and only) outdoor concert of the tour last night. Just our luck that it was the coldest July 1st on record for the area. Fortunately, our guitars and violin held their tuning just fine, and with a little extra effort, the flutes held theirs, as well. The cool weather knocked down the attendance a bit, but probably knocked down the mosquitoes, too. The pastor of Word of Life in Naperville, IL (Gary Peterson - what a coincidence!!) was eager to have us play outside because the congregation is trying to have greater visibility in the community. Judging from last night, his goal was met. He said more than half of the audience was comprised of non-members, and we saw several people stop and listen as they were walking or driving by.

In a new twist for us, we had an opening act. The praise band from Word of Life played three songs to open the night. They did a great job, and it was a special treat for us to sit and listen to another act. Word of Life is doing some wonderful things!

Through the tremendous hospitality of Ann and Del Boland, the entire band stayed at their home for the night. They, along with David, are doing just great in Naperville, and we had the chance to catch up with each other during the wonderful breakfast they cooked for us. What a blessed and special family! We sure miss them!

Speaking of missing loved ones, we wanted to let the rest of the GraceFlock family know they have not been forgotten on this tour. In fact, the script for our opening introduction (read by a pastor or congregation member) thanks those of the band who were not able to join us for the tour, and it thanks them for their love and support. The ones who made this tour possible are not necessarily only the ones who went on it. Mark, Sue, Robin, James and Karen, y'all are appreciated more than you know.

Well, friends, just one more night (Washington, IL). We're going to try to reschedule the Newnan, GA concert for July 10, but I have to check with the church first. Pencil in the date and watch for an update. Gotta go eat that last piece of bacon and then hit the road. Keep us in your prayers. The Lord is at work in and through us.

Quote of the Day: "That wasn't just a concert, that was a SHOW!" (Del Boland, to the band after last night's concert.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why We're Doing This...

Each concert, we're finding, takes on its own personality. Last night at Bethel Lutheran in Madison, WI was no different. Compared to some of the smaller towns in which we have played so far, playing at Bethel was like playing at Shea Stadium - huge, cavernous, with a spectacular sound. Performance-wise, we matched the site, I think, but it was what happened as a result of the performance that moved us the most and reminded us of why we are doing this. We had many comments such as, "I didn't want it to end," and "Now THIS is what I want our contemporary worship to sound like." We even had a man in the back standing, with arms uplifted during "Here I Stand."

But even those accolades pale in comparison to the young woman who stood there, hand in hand with her husband, telling me that he hadn't had time for church and had never attended a Christian concert before - but he was now interested in seeing more concerts. And the single dad who wants to bring his young kids to our next concert (tonight in Naperville, IL). The Holy Spirit was at work last night and we were but its vessel. Friends, this is why we are doing this.

Quote of the Day: "Happy Birthday, Frank!" (The whole audience at Bethel Lutheran to Frank on his 58th birthday.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What’s Wrong with Us Lutherans?

“I just don’t understand us Lutherans,” she said to me. “We’re so polite and reserved. I’m 67 years old and full of rhythm and drive. Your music made me want to get up and sing and dance, but we all just sat there!!”

That happened at our concert in Shawano, WI last night and it has been a common theme expressed after each of our concerts. One woman said it succinctly to me, “It was a great concert. I’m just sorry we’re so Lutheran!” No apologies needed because we’re grateful of the chance to share our ministry. Still, we can’t help but wonder what keeps our Lutheran fannies glued to our seats and our arms politely in our laps when the Holy Spirit is trying so hard to inspire us to stand/move/act. You know, this is not really about concert behavior, it’s a metaphor for life!!

Despite the woman’s lament, the concert last night in Shawano was a great experience for us. The crowd was more into it than she perceived. It was our biggest crowd so far and, thanks to Gary’s sister, they already knew our music well. They were already roaring their approval before we finished our closing number (Changed)! What a great concert! What a great crowd! Like Jackson Browne sings, “you can sit there and watch or you can thrill us, too.” Shawano, you weren’t nearly as much the stoic Lutherans as you thought. You thrilled us! O.K., so you didn’t stand up and sing, “Oh, won’t you staaaay, just a little bit longer...” but we can live with that.

Preston had the thrill of the tour when a former drummer of The Grass Roots (big time rock band of the ‘60s and ‘70s) complimented him on his work behind “the kit.” We’ve also been asked to consider playing a feature spot at a Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Festival in Marion, WI next August. We’ve got to think and pray on that one.

In another monumental breakthrough for the band, we’ve got Christie STANDING behind her keyboard now, just like Paul Shaffer on the David Letterman Show! She looks good back there. Next, choreography!! Oh, I’d better be nice to her or she’ll hit me with another water bottle!! You’ll have to ask her about that one!

To our friends and family back home, we’re tired, sore, road-weary, and a bit homesick, but still enjoying ourselves doing the ministry you have sent us to do. The message of Christ’s love for his children is being shared widely in this region through the gift of music the Father has given us. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel these next few days.

Quote of the Day: “Two rights don’t make a wrong... wait a minute... the other way around!” (Kathy, intervening in a sibling dispute between her sons after five hours in the van, which abruptly dissolved the spat into laughter.)

Muffed Lyrics of the Day: “In the depths of the loneliest valley ... I have come to dwell ...” (Me getting my Voice of the Shepherd verses a little shuffled ... the song ISN’T supposed to be so depressing!!)

Suggested New Verse for Gary’s Trust in God: “How can I see my words, when the lights go out on me?” (When all the concert lights went out briefly due to a bumped switch ... Fast thinking sound/light chick, Laura, got them back on quickly so not a beat was missed.)

Medical Status: Lans at 90%, Kathy’s back is no longer spazzing and simply aching now, Penny’s bruises/scrapes/cuts are healing.

That's it for now. Heading to Bethel Lutheran in Madison to unpack and set up.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

GraceFlock Re-emerges!

Well, you probably wonder where we disappeared to these past couple days. Our blog faltered because of the lack of available internet access while on the road and because the primary blogger got wiped out with a wicked head/chest cold with fever. The life on the road is tough and I spent any spare time lying in fetal position fighting the aches and chills of the disease. Great timing, eh? My goal is to not infect anyone else on the trip, but the likelihood of that is low! Pray for our health.

Anyway, we've made it through three concerts and a worship service in the past three days, each of them successful in their own way. Glencoe was special because it brought together some friends and family of Lans' past. The poingnant moment for Lans was meeting his godfather, Rev. Paul Rothfusz, who recently has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Gary's hometown (Amboy) was extra special because we got to see the place for which White Church on the Hill was written. We had a great family gathering/meal before the concert. Doing a concert in a small, old church was a bit of challenge, but we perservered! Thank goodness for extension cords. Oh, and by the way, air conditioning in Minnesota is NOT a luxury! Uff-dah!!

The next morning (today), we conducted a special worship service in the hometown of Christie Pederson. Coming from a family of 13 kids, the pews were filled with excited and joyous Quam relatives, among others. We were clearly an anomaly for the congregation because, while they were grateful for our musical offerings, they seemed quite preoccupied with the new sounds emerging from the front of the sanctuary. We enjoyed a delicious meal with the congregation afterwards. It amazes me how contemporary Christian (Lutheran) music crosses so many generations these days. Our music touched congregants of all ages.

We finished the day playing a concert at the church of our beloved friends, Karen and Jeff Pahl in Rochester. It was preceded by a workshop (which Gary conducted so I could sleep off the virus - thanks, Gary!!) which was attended by respresentatives from several congregations in the area. Again, there is clearly a desire to learn how to do contemporary worship in Lutheran congregations.

The concert tonight was one of our best ever. My voice held out for most of it, and the rest of the band was spot on. Oh, there are always a few bobbles, but we're really getting this concert thing down. More importantly, we're getting the Lutherans inspired. Tonight, I even saw one person in the audience raising BOTH hands in celebration as we played our final song. Imagine that! Lutherans raising their hands in joy! I smiled and winked at him!

We have met so many new friends and rekindled old friendships on this trip, that it's hard to express it all. The grace of God runs deep through this area and it is reflected in the genuiness and love of the Lutherans of the Upper Midwest.

BTW, Karen and Jeff (and Victoria) all say, "Hi!" They're having a wonderful time in the frozen (yeah, right) north of Minnesota. Tomorrow, Shawano, WI - our longest site-to-site drive of the tour. Seven down, five to go!

Quote(s) of the Day(s): "Being on tour is a lot like life." (Karla, recognizing that the fun part goes so fast and the hard work lasts a long time.)

"May I spit?" (Kathy to Karla as they were sharing a sink for primping and brushing teeth before the Rochester concert.)

"I give up. It was a lot easier the first time. Beginner's luck, I guess." (Laura, after trying to back the trailer into position.)

Medical Status: Lans (head/chest cold from hell), Kathy (wrenched back muscle and knot on the head from Lans pulling the van door on her), Penny, countless scrapes, cuts and bruises on her hands and legs.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Minneapolis Moved

Hello, Friends! We're firmly in the routine now, after having finished our second concert last night. We were at St. Matthew's Lutheran in Columbia Heights and, although the crowd was small due to a whole bunch of community and church activities already underway, they made up for it in enthusiasm and hospitality. We even had our first mosh pit, although the entire pit was only about hip-high! Several of the crowd were Rothfusz relatives, some of whom I hadn't seen in years. It was a special treat to have them there. An extra special treat was the appearance of Liz Heller, one of Gary and Chris' musical and Christian inspirations from long ago - the woman who married Chris and Gary. Waaaay back in college days, Gary and Chris (and several others) were supported financially and spiritually on a musical tour around the west coast. Although the years have slowed the lovely woman, Liz and her husband were there in the front row, singing along with us during the concert. It was a moving moment for me and I'm sure Gary and Chris feel the same.

The ministry we are doing is working. Last night, the Music Director of St. Matthews bought our song books and asked if she could start using our songs in their worship. "Yes," I replied, "that's why we're doing this!!" We had a nice long conversation about how hard it is to find contemporary Lutheran praise music that has "meat" to it - not just shallow praise songs. The same thing happened the day before at First Lutheran in Alexandria, where representatives from at least seven other churches from the area attended our workshop and the concert. Someone even came from New Ulm which is in southern Minnesota. There is clearly a thirst for contemporary worship in the Lutheran church and we are helping to satisfy it.

It's hard to explain the energy we feel when the concerts start. The setting up, taking down, and traveling wears us out (most of us took naps on the church pews yesterday), but when the concert starts, the Holy Spirit enters the room and we come alive. That's the only way I can explain it. Now, if only the Holy Spirit would help us remember our words, chords, bridges, tempos and breaks better... but, hey, we're not complaining. That's just the picky musicians in us. God is definitely at work here.

Finally, I want to publicly thank Sue Field for her efforts in making our trip to St. Matthew's a success. She took on the bulk of the advertising, coordinating and even cooking (with help from husband Matt) for the event. Without her selfless efforts, we would not have had a place to play last night. Thanks, Sue!!

Quote of the Day: "You've gotta stop talking so much!" (Karla to Lans after last night's concert.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Down...

What a wonderful night!! We played our first concert at First Lutheran in Alexandria, MN last night and it was an awesome experience. Having not played together for a week and a half, being rather road-weary, and wedging a one-hour workshop into the mix before the concert, we felt quite ragged, but the audience responded well. (Karl, we received many comments about how energetic and dynamic we were. You'd be proud of us!)

We had well over 100 in attendance, with many of them attending the workshop ahead of time. This is a growing and vibrant congregation, as attested by the amount of activity in the church when we arrived. Our hosts were great and we all slept like rocks! Now, on to Columbia Heights for our next concert. Gotta go!

Quote of the Day: "Hey, I nailed (the bass riff), it was the rest of you who were wrong!" (Brandon)