Singing with Brethren is always an adventure. This fall, we traveled to Portland, OR for a weekend of concerts. On our day off, we decided to head to the beautiful Oregon coast in search of Mo’s World Famous Clam Chowder and ended up having quite the adventure. As we approached Cannon Beach, I immediately recognized the iconic Haystack Rock from the 1985 classic film The Goonies. This is one of my favorite films of all time, and I was elated by this unexpected find. We, of course, also found the legendary chowder! That day also included a visit to beautiful Multnomah Falls and a hike to an incredible beach cove filled with sea anemone.
I took my family along with me for my most recent Brethren adventure. My father, stepmother, and sister traveled with me to Washington, DC for our Christmas Concert, and we arrived a few days early to enjoy some time in the city. We visited the Holocaust Museum, several Smithsonian Museums, and lots of local restaurants. Along with my family, several of my students who are from the DC area were also able to join us for the concert, and we put them all to work taking tickets at the door!
Being a part of Brethren means being a part of a family. Whether on an adventure or preparing for a concert, our time together is always encouraging and uplifting. I am looking forward to traveling to Florida with the guys in March to sing at 2014 Southern Division ACDA Convention. I am sure there will be lots more stories to share!
Jennifer, Marion & Robert Matthews, Mark Tilley, and Gary Glick
A Brethren Christmas is tomorrow! Here’s a sampler platter….no, just an app-ee-TIE-zer:)
The Christmas Creep. Sounds like a painful affliction doesn’t it? It is, in a way. Christmas Creep refers to the merchandizing ploy to begin “The Holiday Season” (and the shopping madness that lies therein) earlier and earlier each year. It seems like we’re just taking off the Halloween makeup and vampire teeth when BAM!, the Holly, the Ivy, and the Mistletoe begin creeping into our lives. This gives us two full months to enjoy department store sales, Santas, and family get-togethers (anybody out there remember a little holiday called THANKSGIVING?). But let’s not forget the most important harbinger of the Holidays: The Music. Christmas music is everywhere this time of year. It takes over your iTunes playlists, your car’s CD player, entire radio stations, there’s no way to escape it! Be it good or bad, sweet or sappy, secular or Holy, nothing announces The Christmas Creep quite like the timeless music of the season.
We are all familiar with Christmas’ Greatest Hits (“The First Noel”, “Angels We Have Heard On High”, “Funky Funky Christmas”, etc.) But how did those songs become Greatest Hits? How does a Christmas song gain its worth, retain its popularity, and continue to serve as a ministry of faith year after year after year? Much of this literature has certainly stood the test of time, but does that make it good? In many cases, yes! Simply put: A classic is a classic, and Christmas has an abundance (some would argue an over-abundance) of classic tunes. But if you’re looking to create a classic of your own, remember that the singer is often just as important as the song. From Bing to Elvis to Mel Tormé to Nat King Cole to Mariah Carey, many-a talented singer has delivered their classic take on some of our favorite holiday songs.
We all know the old Classics. But what about the new Classics? When will the next Oh Holy Night be written, and who’s going to write it? Michael Feinstein? Brad Paisley? Snoop Dog? Songwriters of America…Songwriters of the WORLD… where are you? Quit working on Duck Dynasty: The Musical and get thee to a nunnery – GO! – and write our next Christmas classic! Think of The Glory! Not only could you be muzaked into every corner of every neighborhood mall from Miami to Anchorage and back, you could also be writing yourself – dare I say it – into the Hymnals and History Books (not to mention the Hearts and the Souls) of every fruitcake-loving citizen in these United States. And – quite possibly – The World!
Or, you could write “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”. You’d be universally reviled, but terribly, terribly rich.
Which Christmas song is your favorite? Is there a particular rendition or arrangement you prefer? How did it become your favorite? Does it evoke an ideal you hold dear, a cherished memory from Christmas Past, or does it just make you smile? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Find out more about your favorite Christmas Carols here.
Hello, and welcome to the Tumblr blog for Brethren. We chose Tumblr because it is on the cutting edge of social media and fully integrates with all of the other platforms we use. We hope that you will stop by and visit us here from time to time:)
Because you are here now, you are probably somewhat familiar with Brethren, a Christian male vocal ensemble based in the Washington DC area. You may have seen us in concert or listened to a musical sample online. Whatever the case, this blog is intended to go a little bit deeper than the liner notes of the CD.
As you can see from the website, the group is comprised of a very diverse group of men from all walks of life from eleven different states. We have many talented voices who currently serve in the armed forces as well as civilians from a variety of careers. From teachers, to financial planners, to a car salesman, we have it all. The biggest thing we have, however, is our belief in God and our commitment to use our voices to serve him.
We usually perform over a dozen concerts a year and travel in the spring and fall. We typically travel with 10-12 ensemble members and utilize a larger choir when performing closer to home. We also perform as a patriotic ensemble, The Sons of Liberty, as well as a quartet as needed. We perform in a variety of venues for a multitude of functions.
There is someting very powerful about the blending of men’s voices. From the lowest pedal tone to the highest tenor and all the intricate harmonies in-between, we enjoy making music and people love hearing this ensemble.
As much as we enjoy performing, we also enjoy the company of each other. We have crazy coversations, meals, outings, etc. We hope this blog will allow us to share many of those antics with you as well. Through faith and fun, we are truly a Brethren.
A little sampling of the upcoming concert: “A Christmas with Brethren”. Program begins at 6:30pm on Sunday December 22 at Annandale United Methodist Church in Annandale, VA. For more information or to purchase tickets go to www.brethrengroup.com
A unique photo op on the Pacific Coast. Brethren takes in a full day of sightseeing on the coastline of Oregon prior to three full days of concerts across the state.
The Boys make a stop at
melanoma Multnomah Falls. A breathtaking landscape is an amazing way to start the day. We even granted an Irish Blessing on a pair of newlyweds! Click the link to hear our version.