Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

The Glorious Expansion Of An Idea

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016


Why does a light bulb symbolize an idea? Because it represents the expansion of light – the pouring in of light upon a particular subject.

And that’s exactly what is happening now with Is Anybody Listening? – Concert Theater and Webcast. The light around it is growing brighter every day.

It started out to be a piece of concert theater that explored the lost art of listening through music and song, but it has developed these past few months into a far wider and even potentially mammoth project that through both music, multimedia and live performance will explore the awareness, and subsequently the healing of the problems of the world around us.

Consider the power of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s We Are The World released in 1985 and unifying the world, raising millions for charities and going quadruple Platinum in a few short weeks.

Consider the impact of the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love to the Woodstock Nation of people uniting under the banner of Love and essentially standing up against the war in Viet Nam and working for peace.

Consider Peter, Paul and Mary’s If I Had A Hammer, Paul Simon’s Homeless, Joni Mitchel’s Parking Lot …

 The list goes on and on.

Music is a timeless connective that goes beyond language and culture and has the power to unify thought.

And so Is Anybody Listening? — more than any one thing — is about Awareness.

The first step of healing is always to identify the problem, the cause – not the result, but the mental cause of a problem. This is our intention here at Watchfire Music – to identify World Issues that need our attention – not through fear mongering headlines, but through positive value focus on awareness and healing. And while we’re at it, be highly entertaining.

Have you ever been healed by a song? Many have. Music is one of the most powerful tools of communication that we have to effect world thought.

So in June of 2016 we will first present the pilot performance of this endeavor, Is Anybody Listening? and then run it all summer as we develop it at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, New York’s newest arts center.

Our first act’s offerings will explore the World Issues of the universal quest for Truth, the dignity of women, racism, aging and dementia, dissolution and solution, and the present solution to it all, Love.

The second act will take one of the greatest problems we face in the future, that of Global Water Scarcity, and begin to investigate it in depth. Aptly named H2O, the concert and webcast uses nature’s cycle of water as a metaphor for mankind’s journey, his grappling with mortality and its multifarious meanings, and finally mankind’s eventual rise to a higher consciousness.

As water follows its natural cycle from sky to earth, to river to ocean, and back to the heavens, so man struggles in the same metaphorical cycle. “H2O” deals strongly with the world-wide problems with water today, its relationship to global warming, and correlates these issues with man’s moral responsibilities to the planet and its people.

The very same water

That is wetting your lips

May have flowed through the streets

Down in New Orleans

 

Or flowed down the cheeks

And spilled upon the piano keys

As the brilliant Tchaikovsky sat

And wrote his Pathétique.

 

Here on this rock

As we journey through time

We live by the grace of water

For it bears within its essence

This miracle of life

And infuses this life into the world

From “Water”, Music and Lyrics by Peter Link

Here on this planet, “Where there is no water, there is no life.” And yet life is everlasting, eternal. A higher consciousness will some day clarify this seeming contradiction and put an end to this fear of scarcity. This is the kind of awareness that we hope to bring to mankind. We are not governed by the laws of matter as it seems, but rather, ultimately, by the laws of Spirit and the Spiritual world that our Spiritual leaders have been revealing to us for centuries.

We hope to continue this exploration through music and lyrics, using the new and exciting tools of technology that are at our fingertips to communicate our findings.

We hope you will join us in this endeavor.

Contact:

Marivic Bay Mabanag

For funding opportunities and partnerships

Email: marivicmabanag@yahoo.com

Cell: 415.845.5004

Or

Peter Link

CEO & Creative Director

Watchfire Music

Email: peterlink@watchfiremusic.com

908.608.3189

IDEA

Update On “Is Anybody Listening?”

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

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The news is all good.

Our RocketHub crowd funding campaign succeeded on several different levels. Though we did not meet goal, we ended up with $15k plus that we did not have before we started. We not only paid the costs of the campaign, but also ended up with a substantial profit to move forward over the next few months.

We also learned many things about our constituency, our tribe. We learned what kinds of people cared about what we were doing and what kinds did not. We learned who our true fans were and we learned who is content to just watch. And we learned about the types of people that we will cater to and those who are simply just not that involved. This was hugely helpful.

Because of what we learned, we shifted the project and pointed it in the directions of interest. I’ve always said, “We serve you. Tell us what you want in the way of inspiration and inspirational music, and we’ll do our best to provide it.”

You spoke; we listened.

In meetings just recently Watchfire Music will now partner with the Sheen Center For Thought and Culture, NYC in producing a wide variety of inspirational music both as live events performed in and webcast from New York City, and also as a series of 20-minute video modules that can be repurposed for a myriad of events ranging from theatrical to corporate and from church to charity productions.

These modules will address a myriad of world problems, inspire in a most entertaining fashion with pertinent songs and arresting visuals, and tune the ear and eye to a better sense of listening to the heartbeat of the world around us.

“Is Anybody Listening?” will focus the imagination and attention of people around the world on the problems that we face and the solutions that are at our fingertips, and is a clarion call to the world to pay attention.

Our focus audience and clients:

Individuals Seeking Inspiration

Corporations

Fund Raising Benefits

Theatrical Presentations

Nonprofit Charitable Organizations

Church Groups

Here are just a few examples of the issues that the modules would address:

Water — Global Water Crisis

Healing Response to World Tragedy

The Intercession of Science and God in the Universe

Corporate Promotions and Public Opinion Issues

Shootings and Gun Control

Spiritual Awareness

Healing Depression

Terrorism

For those of you who donated, we are working now on fulfilling our obligations to you and clarifying your part in this endeavor over the next few weeks. Thank you and welcome to the fold.

We now have well over a hundred dedicated people working on this project. Our goal is to now add some zeros to that 100. We need each of you to reach out to others who share these interests and would like to help.

These monies and these ideas are just a start, but there is a strong professional foundation underlying this project that insures its success. Between the Sheen Center and Watchfire Music and other great professionals that we will attract, this project will move forward and through music will inspire the world to better listening and therefore better action and reaction.

Join us. It’s a most exciting road we travel.

Great News!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

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Just in. As of last Friday and a two hour creative meeting with the staff of the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, our project has taken a quantum leap forward!

In addition to the webcast, Watchfire Music in conjunction with the Sheen Center would also create a series of 20-minute Music/Video modules that address a myriad of world problems from a library of interchangeable video songs that will provide the content for each 20-minute module.

This all comes under the banner of “Is Anybody Listening?”

The modules would be used to focus the imagination and attention of people around the world on the problems that we face and the solutions that are at our fingertips.

The modules would address a number of issues and can be re-purposed at will to fit the needs of organizations around the world. They would be presented through webcasts and video streaming with live hosting by, but not limited to, the following:

Individuals Seeking Inspiration
Corporations
Fund Raising Benefits
Theatrical Presentations
Nonprofit Charitable Organizations
Church Groups

Here are some of the issues that the modules would address:

Healing Response to World Tragedy
Water — Global Water Crisis
Corporate Promotions and Public Opinion Issues
Corporate Workshops
The Intercession of Science and God in the Universe
Shootings and Gun Control
Non-Denominational Spiritual Seeking
Terrorism
Spiritual Awareness
Healing Depression
Life, Death and Beyond
Armed Conflict and the Nuclear Potential
Celebration
Poverty and Hunger
Epidemic

So even the Theatrical Concert and Webcast, “Is Anybody Listening” can be shaped to fit your organization’s needs in length and content.

Pretty cool, huh?

Your contribution will support all of this. Campaign ends this coming Wednesday, the 16th.

Thanks for listening.

Is Anybody Listening? — A Few Thoughts #5

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

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Dear Friend,

The Theatrical Concert and Webcast, Is Anybody Listening? is only the beginning here.  It’s just the first of many inspirational concerts that we can do over the years to come.  We have a family of people out there who number around 50,000.  That is enough to support this and many other eventual related webcasts.
We also have a new theater organization in the Sheen Center that has asked us to lead the way for them into the future.  The pieces have been put together and are in place.

The money isn’t.  Hence the RocketHub campaign.

The $30,000 goal will not fund everything we speak of, of course, but it is start up monies and it will be proof of how serious people are out there as to their interest in supporting this state-of-the-art project.  Essentially, we are pre-selling these concerts right now and proving that we have an audience for this kind of entertainment and inspiration.

This is a way of finding out what’s real and what’s not.  Again, this is our very thoughtful response to the need that has been so beautifully expressed in countless letters of gratitude for what we are doing and how we are doing it.

The bottom line is that this campaign sends many signals.  Is the world, or more specifically, our tribe, ready for inspirational concert webcasts?  Will they stand up and support it?  Saying they’d like Julia to come to their city is one thing.  Putting their money down is another.

Let’s find out.  The best way to find out is to shake the tree.  Then see what fruit falls.

We’re asking you to help us shake the tree.

You can find out more here: “Is Anybody Listening?”

Thanks for listening,

 PJL-Signature-footer

THANK YOU to those who have already funded our project.
We kept you on this list so that you can follow and/or spread the word.
 

Is Anybody Listening? — A Few Thoughts #1

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

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Dear Friend,

I’m going to write a series of letters to you over the next couple of weeks on the subject of our RocketHub Crowd Funding Campaign.

Hopefully they will be insightful, entertaining and informative, but one thing for certain – I’ll keep ‘em short.

The first point is that crowd funding has changed over the last five years since we did our first. We raised over $12,000 in 3 weeks to support the release of my Goin’ Home CD.

Back then, it was a novelty, this crowd funding idea – this idea of giving just for the simple act of giving. Today, it’s probably been over exposed – everybody’s asking and fewer are giving.

I was concerned about this aspect going into this project, but the need was there on our part and it clearly solves a great need on our tribe’s part, so both Julia and I thought it a no brainer.

We started out great! 20% within the first week …

But I promised to keep it short, so …

I hope you’ll stick with me here.

Please visit our “Is Anybody Listening?” project and watch the video.

We’ll speak again soon.

Many thanks for listening,

 PJL-Signature-footer

THANK YOU to those who have already funded our project.
We kept you on this list so that you can follow and/or spread the word.
 

God Is Your Rock

Monday, November 30th, 2015
Ragan Courtney Back Then

Ragan Courtney Back Then

“God Is Your Rock” is a make over of a song that began decades ago from the pen of lyricist Ragan Courtney. Ragan was my best friend at the time and we roomed together in Greenwich Village and lived our hippie lives.

Ragan was also an aspiring NYC actor at the time and we had met studying acting at NYC’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater where we studied with Sanford Meisner, one of the fathers of American Method acting.

The song, lyrics by Ragan and music by yours truly, was entitled “I’ve Tried Hard” and referenced the Biblical lines about foxes having holes and birds having a nest, but Jesus (as a baby) having no place to lay his head. It was catchy and fun, but strangely a downer because ultimately it said,

I’ve tried hard
I’ve done my best
But now there’s nowhere to go except the road

And that’s just what Ragan did. Eventually, he left NYC and went back home. However, here’s where the story takes an unexpected turn. He became a huge star both as a lyricist/playwright, actor and inspirational leader in the Christian Music world. There he married one of the top singing stars of that world, Cynthia Clawson, and the two of them had wondrous careers and even had their own very popular church for a decade or so in Houston, Texas where Cynthia sang and Ragan preached.

Ragan Preachin' / Cynthia Clawson at Piano

Ragan Preachin’ / Cynthia Clawson at Piano

I was always proud of my pal, Rags.

When Julia and I moved a little over a year ago out of NYC to the country (after 40 years living two blocks from Times Square any place with trees is the country) I reorganized all my past files and notebooks of decades of writing into new and better files. I found myself sitting in my basement for a week every day going through my life as a songwriter and looking through hundreds of songs. With most of them I could remember parts and pieces – the ones that never got recorded, but a few I could not remember at all.

Then I came across “I’ve Tried Hard.” As I read through the lyrics, the entire song came back to me as if it had been written yesterday. I thought to myself, “Hmm, this one’s really sticky. I could really do something with this.”

So I started fiddling with the lyric and one day I just decided to turn it positive and out popped the God is your rock concept. So I finished the new lyric, using much of what Ragan had written before, and called him to see if he might approve.

He did and “God Is Your Rock” was born again.

Jenny Burton

Jenny Burton

It did seem the perfect song for Jenny Burton. You might call it a Gospel flavored rock-a-billy song and I knew she could eat it up. I needed a song for Julia’s Duets album that both she and Jenny could sing together. Julia, being a classical crossover artist would not have been my first choice to sing this funky little song with Jenny. But the idea kept coming up.

Julia Wade

Julia Wade

For a period of time Julia grew up in Georgia, so she had a sense of southern funk to her. On top of it all, Julia’s an actress and is great at morphing into characters when she performs. So we went to work on it. I’ll have to admit that she really surprised me. I think she did herself proud on this song and further expanded her amazing range of styles.

Jenny was a big help as well leading the way stylistically. For her it was a natural and she brings both a spiritual commitment and also a fresh sense of humor to the song.

When you get a chance to see and hear our theatrical concert and webcast, “Is Anybody Listening?” you’ll see the song performed by the two songbirds. It’s truly a fun moment in the show and raises the roof a few inches.

God Is Your Rock

Music by Peter Link

Lyrics by Peter Link and Ragan Courtney

Julia

Foxes have holes

Birds got a nest

But Jesus had no place to lay his head

And now I know

Just how he felt

 

Mountains are high

Oceans are wet

Well I’m about as low as I can get

And I know

I’m all by myself

 

I’ve tried hard

I’ve done my best

Jenny

But maybe your best just ain’t good enough

Without the Lord in your life

 

Girl it’s a long hard road

Julia

Yes it is!

Jenny

When you’re goin’ it alone

Julia

It’s so lonely

 

Jenny

So why not make it a little easier

Julia

Uh huh …

Jenny

Uh with the Lord by your side

He’ll carry you all the way home

 

Remember God is your rock

God is your rock

And his faith in you is solid as stone

 

Julia

You mean he’d carry me

All the way home?

Jenny

That’s right!

Julia

There by my side?

Jenny

Yes sir!

Julia

Bearin’ all my burdens like a long lost friend …

Well I don’t know girl

I think I been gone too long

 

Jenny

But Julia

God don’t hold

No bad blood

Forgiveness is the essence of His humble heart

God is your rock

An’ He don’t let ya’ down

 

Julia

I’ll try hard

I’ll do my level best

To open my mind back to letting him

Come in and be in my life

 

Jenny

And when the road gets long

He’ll always be your song

Step by step settin’ your mind at ease

With all the rhythms of His soul

They’ll carry you all the way home

 

Remember God is your rock

Julia

God is my rock

Both

And His faith (in you) is solid as stone

 

So people take heed

We got what we need

God is always with us when the trouble comes

God is your rock

Mighty in His power

 

Foxes have holes

Birds got a nest

An’ now ya’ know the truth about what God knows best

That God is your rock

And God IS your home

 

[Ad lib Section]

 

God is your rock!

At The Heart Of It All

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

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So here I was, a guy, setting out on a course to write an album full of songs about the relationships of women – Woman 2 Woman. Now I’m no fool and I realized immediately that I would need some help on this so that I would speak with some authenticity and not just from a “guy’s” point of view.

So Julia and I decided to get some advice from her sisterhood of friends out there on the internet.

She asked, “What bonds us together into sisterhood?” The response from the sistahs was powerful. Here are only a few of the many.

“Unconditional love. Through out all my best and most successful relationships with women in my life that’s the thread that binds us. We just absolutely love each other no matter where we are in our journeys. We may not like each others choices much but we still just keep on loving. And laughter. I can’t forget to mention that.”

“I think it’s our sharing from the heart with each other. We listen to each other and share our stories, our experiences. We “feel” for each other.?”

“Honesty, openness, empathy and acceptance — the willingness to overlook character flaws in ourselves and other friends — mostly a sense of humor and intelligence, which seem to go hand in hand. Genuine affection, motherly common sense and the ability to say I’m sorry and forgive.”

 “Unconditional love — it’s the motherly love of grace reflected. Can never leave us. Women are expected to express it.”

“But the sisters who are genuine are the ones who keep listening; who don’t condemn, judge, or advise without being asked for their advice; who are there to help brush you off and set you back on your feet after you’ve stumbled; and who can laugh with you when everything seems to go to crap. The nurturing, comforting, essence of wise women – the unconditional mother-love — the love without ego — this is the strength of women.”

 “UNDERSTANDING…of each other as sisters, women, of the trials and joys peculiar to women, of the emotions women seem able to exhibit that men do not, of birthing in a way men cannot, (even if they do birth ideas.) My husband says he is convinced women share the same brain!”

This vital information provided me with a worksheet for the entire album.

At the heart of it all was a very special kind of sisterhood.

The Singer

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Jan Horvath is not only a great friend of Julia’s, but also a most special friend of mine. Talent oozes out of her pores. She was a member of the original Broadway company of Hal Prince’s “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” and performed the roles of both Christine and Carlotta. Other Broadway credits include “THE THREEPENNY OPERA” starring Sting, “SWEET CHARITY” directed by Bob Fosse, “OLIVER!” and “STARDUST”. In the National Touring Company of “CATS”, Jan played the leading role of Grizabella.

A powerful singer and actress she is also a most promising composer and orchestrator. I had the pleasure of teaching her orchestration the last couple of years that we lived in NYC, and she was simply full of the music and a natural.

The decision to start with Jan as one of our NYC vocalists was made in a snap because she so fit the role of a sister to Julia. She looks like a sister and often sounds like a sister when they sing together. Sometimes, when mixing the song, I lost track of who was who and had to look at the tracks to check.

Special insight: This gorgeous soprano also plays the tuba.

At The Heart Of It All

Music and Lyrics by Peter Link

We come from two different worlds

Brought together by chance

By the unsung

The unseen

And the great unknown

 

Two lives traveling two different paths

Two minds separated by skin and bone

Still there’s something making us like sisters

A thread that binds this love unconditional

We all share

 

And the way we laugh when life seems to stumble

Is a mingling of many things

It’s a balance of emotions

Primitive and tethered

The synergy of sisters and friends

‘Cuz that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Sisters

Yeah that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Friends

 

And the way we weep when life crashes ‘round us

Is to dry our tears and carry on

It’s the picking up of pieces

Through the fire and water

The synergy of sisters and friends

‘Cuz that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Sisters

Yeah that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Friends

 

We live in confusing times

Struggling to get through

But we each have

Each other

And this trusted grace

 

Two souls goin’ at it on their own

Two minds separated by time and space

Still there’s nothing like knowing there is someone

Out there daring love unconditional

Free as air

 

And the way we are

When we are together

Is the real you, the real me

We’ll be dancing on a moonbeam

Laughing ‘til we’re loopy

Free to be whatever we be

And that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Sisters

Yeah that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Friends

 

And the way we celebrate this devotion

Is to take each girlfriend by the hand

And let go when she needs to

And be there when she needs you

It’s the synergy of sisters and friends

And that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Sisters

Yeah that’s what’s at the heart of it all

Friends

Sisters

And friends

Sisters

And friends

And that’s what’s at the heart of it all.

 That’s right!

Why Duets? Why Not?

Saturday, November 14th, 2015
Cynthia Clawson

Cynthia Clawson

I donno, it just seemed like the thing to do. Here we lived in New York City and knew all these fabulous singers that we had worked with over the years, so Julia and I sat down and started to dream about who it would be a gas to work with on a duets CD.

Surprise! The list was 3 to 1 women! Don’t know why; it just worked out that way. So we started to pare down the list to a workable list, a serious list of real possibilities. Finally one day I came up with the idea of Duets – Woman 2 Woman and soon after that, Julia came up with the idea of Conversations With Wise Women In My Life. We liked ‘em both and after going back and forth for a couple of days finally decided to use them both.

So there it is:

Duets

Woman 2 Woman

Conversations With Wise Women In My Life

 A bit long, perhaps, but we felt rather intriguing. I had already begun this song called Nothing’s Impossible and every time I worked on it I heard all these harmonies to the melody, so it seemed the natural one to work on first.

Now the question, “Who to start with?” Well, let’s start with the most improbable choice, one of Julia’s singin’ heroes, Cynthia Clawson.

Referred to many as the “singer’s singer” and called “The most awesome voice in gospel music” by Billboard Magazine, Cynthia Clawson has received a Grammy and five Dove awards (The Christian Music Oscar) for her work as a songwriter, vocal artist and musician. Her career has spanned over four decades with 22 recordings to her credit. http://www.cynthiaclawson.com/

The chances of getting her to do it (or to duet, pardon the pun) were slim, but luckily I knew her husband, Ragan Courtney, a Christian Music icon himself, from the past, so I thought we might have a tiny chance. So I called Ragan after many years and carefully proposed the idea.

Turns out that Cynthia Clawson was a Julia Wade fan! Knew her music and owned some of her albums. A most pleasant surprise and a total coup to start the project with.

We flew them both into NYC from Houston, Texas for a wondrous long weekend of singing, filming, getting to know, and catching up. Had a blast! Recorded the song and also video’d parts of the session for future use.

So we had one in the can.

Then life swerved, as it often does, and the project got mercilessly pushed to the back burner by huge changes in our life. Julia touring, reshaping our staffing, moving out of NYC to the country, rebuilding the studio, rebuilding our lives …

We knew the idea was a great one and we’d had such a great start, but then again there was that old foe, Time, staring us in the face. But I’m a dogged kind of guy. And I own a studio. And I’m married to the singer …

So why not?

And so we began again …

Slowly at first because it’s not easy to schedule 10 busy professional singers – yeah, scheduling was the next obstacle, but that too is just a matter of being dogged, and like I said …

So then there was Georgia, and Jan, and Jenny, and Margaret and Gwen … and Emily …

Stick with me and I’ll share some very interesting stories of the times and trials of Duets and the making of this CD.


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