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Meet Again (My Old Friend)

Reconnecting with old friends over social media is exciting. And kind of nerve-wracking.

Because we all change over time. We encounter various challenges that confront and perhaps alter our assumptions about what life is and how to live it. Perhaps we understand each other more… and perhaps we move apart.

Still, for me, I feel a need to integrate my past with my present and my future hopes. So I reach out to people I once knew, try to establish conversation with them again.

It’s about remembering good times, or about being grateful for important influences in my life, or about making amends – or any combination of those, and more. Sometimes that results in a real world meeting.

When I was a kid, it seemed like many friendships came about by chance or by parental influence, or around common connections like school. It’s not like kids get to choose a lot about their lives. So reconnecting with childhood friends, particularly, carried a certain level of nervous anticipation for me.

Once I got together with those friends, though, it became apparent that it wasn’t just chance that drew us together in the first place. Although shared experiences definitely help to forge relationship, maybe kids could have a better handle on the intangibles of friendship than adults do. Kid have fewer preconceived notions of what a good friendship should look like, so maybe they can be better at recognizing -on an intuitive level- when it’s happening.

Even though I don’t always occupy the same space on the political spectrum as all my longtime friends, and other aspects of our lives and notions don’t align, I’ve found that renewing those acquaintances has flowed into more natural interactions than I had hoped for. And that has been great.

Here are the lyrics for my song Meet Again (My Old Friend)

There’ll be a little bit of ‘Hallelujah’,
And a whole lotta ‘Remember when…?’
But will we wonder, ‘What’s it to ya?’
When we meet again, my old friend?

Will we feel the need for some ‘I’m Sorry’s,
Or has the river washed ’em ’round the bend?
Is there precious mettle still in those quarries,
When we met together my old friend?

And I know… there’ll be holding on, and letting go.
There’ll be letting things run with the flow.
And a bit of ‘You old so and so…’
– Then listening about the things we didn’t know.

And so… as we’ve traveled these years apart,
There have been moments that have brought you to mind.
And those memories we made long ago
Have become a kind of guide.

I think that is what tugged my heart
And made me really want to find
The person that I used to know.
I feel no need to hide.
I feel no need to hide.

So I’m glad that we have reconnected.
And I think that we’ll find in the end –
Once everything has been dissected –
It’s been good to see you, my old friend.
It’s been good to see you, my old friend.

There’s been a little bit of hallelujah
And a whole lotta “Remember when…?”
So I’m glad that we have reconnected.
It’s been good to see you my old friend –
It’s been good to see you my old friend.

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Overdue Thank You To Many But Not Enough

Whether or not my unusual music goes anywhere out there, I owe a big thank you to many people for their encouragement and influence. Since I am supremely absent-minded, I will probably offend someone by leaving them out… but consider this a beginning.

My first music composition professor, Linda Schwartz, who is now Dean of Arts and Science at Ambrose University. Thank you for your early guidance and the opportunities you gave me.

Olaf Pyttlik, who asked me to collaborate with him lyrically at one point, but who is so far beyond me. Thank you for your friendship of long ago and for sharing your time with me. Olaf is a music producer and composer with DACAPO studios in Winnipeg, and you may have heard his musical scores for any number of television programs/movies/ballet. He wrote a lot of music for the Ice Age franchise.

Allan Gordon Bell – Professor, University of Calgary. Allan taught me more music theory and composition, and I would have done well to heed more of his advice.

Derek Penney – Derek had a band in Halifax once, and he has written a fair bit of music himself. It would be great to hear it publicly sometime. Derek joined me for a couple of jam sessions, gave me some good advice on some songs and about learning from others, and is a super guy.

Fred Green – Fred is one of those people in the world who is underestimated and deserves a whole lot more appreciation. He jammed with me a lot, was really encouraging, and I consumed too much of his beer and hospitality. He’s a mensch – a really solid, good guy.

Rhonda Janzen – a singer-songwriter herself, Rhonda introduced me to my first studio, Music Center Canada. While I haven’t put out those early recordings for distribution, that was where I got my toe in the water, and the guys at MCC were good to me.

Sean Bruneau – Sean was once upon a time a producer for a TV network, and he told me about the studio I’ve been going to lately, The Beach.

Allie Henderson invited me to play my music for guests at Inn From The Cold one night. I appreciate her encouragement and that opportunity.

Doug Klassen, then pastor of Foothills Mennonite Church, gave me many opportunities to play my music in church (not necessarily the same stuff now out), and has always been super supportive of my musical endeavours.

Char Mikalson has always been super encouraging of me and my music.

Chad and June Miller are always there for me and my family, and have been really supportive of my music as well.

Dave Ginther – invited me to play some of my stuff for a Men’s Group Potluck. That was lots of fun!

Steve Larsen – is a local music producer who recorded some of my early efforts.

Rick Tarnowski is a super bass player who has jammed with me, and we’ll be doing more of that. Also, Darrell Krahn (percussion), Eric Friesen (Lead Guitar). Those three guys have joined me on stage, and we’re looking at more of that.

I’ve enjoyed a number of open mic venues around town. The most consistent one over the years for me has been the Ironwood Bar and Grill, hosted by Kit Johnson and Tim Leacock, who are fine musicians as well.

There was a college music and drama troupe too… Mark Bartel, Patty Neumann Bartel, Matthew Bartel, Jenn Mierau, Christine Siemens Huebert, and Lynnette Sawatzky Regehr.

And of course, my family has contributed to my life and thus to my songwriting. #MyDear1, who is rather publicity shy, plays piano and keyboards and sings, and she improvises all of that really well too. She has rescued me from my own musical (and other) errors on numerous occasions. Also, she writes a bit of music sometimes.

There’s also a guy named Gordie who I jammed with once. There are so many, but like I say, that will have to be a preliminary list. Thank you all!

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