Posi Music Week
6 Days of Amazing Events!
For Music Directors, Artists & Fans!
February 10 – 15, 2016
The beautiful Tampa Airport Hilton
The 11th Annual emPower Posi Festival!
February 11 – 15
Experience the most awesome gathering of Posi Music artists on the planet!
The wildly popular Pajama Jam acoustic music showcases
Namaste Cafe (share a song)
And the 11th Annual emPower Posi Awards
Thursday, February 11
3:00 - 6:00 PM
Posi Music Festival Registration opens
5:30 - 6:45 PM
WELCOME and ORIENTATION Hosted by Karen Drucker, Harold Payne, Sue Riley, and Richard Mekdeci
6:00 – 10:00 PM
Music Store/Silent Auction Opens
7:00 - 9:00 PM
GRACE NOTE PRESENTATION and Opening Concert
Rev. David Ault recipient
9:30 - 11:00 PM
Namaste Café - Open Mic - hosted by David Roth
Friday, Februay 12
7:30 - 8:00 AM
Early morning chanting: Led by Nathen Aswell
8:30 - 9:15 AM
Greet the Day: ~ Morning Music, Announcements, Inspirational reading
9:00 - 10:00 PM
Music Store Opens
9:30 - 11:30 AM
Keynote: Understanding My Why: Uncovering the deeper meaning of my life's work: David Ault
11:30 - 1:00 PM
1:15 - 3:00 PM
6 concurrent classes:
- Messages Hidden in Plain Sight (Vision Quest Mirroring): Jan Garrett and JD Martin
- Creative, Dynamic Music Ministry Claudia Carawan
- Self Mastery through Higher Creativity: Erika Luckett & Lisa Ferraro
- What’s a New Thought Song: Richard Mekdeci
- Today I Choose: Karen Drucker
- Harmony Class: Penny Nichols (This class will perform on Sat. night)
3:15 - 5:00 PM
7 concurrent classes:
- Choir Rehearsal (Posi Power Singers):Melinda W Allen (opening Posi Awards)
- Ensemble rehearsal: David Ezell
- Creating a Piano Part from a Leadsheet: Todd Lowry
- Alternate Tunings for Guitar: Tom Prasada-Rao
- Writing a congregational song: Tom Kimmel
- Music Director/Minister Communications Panel: Blair Tabor
- Free Your Voice: Anji Kat
7:00 - 9:00 PM
“Music That Matters” Concert featuring this year’s Honorable Mentions and first-time performers
Hosted by Karen Drucker and Harold Payne
9:45 PM till....
Pajama Jam Acoustic Music Showcases
Saturday, Februay 13
7:30 – 8:30 AM
Yoga with Anji
7:30 – 8:00 AM
Chanting with Nathen Aswell
Music Store Opens
8:30 - 9:15 AM
Greet the Day: Morning Music, Announcements, Inspirational reading
9:30 - 11:15 AM
Keynote: Daniel Nahamod “IT’S TIME: Hearing The Call, Taking The Leap”
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
1:15 - 3:00 PM
7 concurrent classes:
- Ho-Hum to Hallelujah! With Nuts and Bolts included:Melinda W Allen
- Vocal Workshop: Sloan Wainwright
- Office and CEO (Body, Mind, Spirit): Erika Luckett and Lisa Ferraro
- Discover Your Unopened Gifts: StoweGood
- I Sing My Prayers: Eddie Watkins JR
- Harmony Class: Penny Nichols (This class will perform on Sat. night)
- Tips and Tools for being booked at New Thought Churches by Sue Riley
3:15 - 5:00 PM
7 concurrent classes:
- Choir Rehearsal (Posi Power Singers): Melinda Wood Allen
- Ensemble rehearsal: David Ezell
- Beginning Garage Band for Ipad and Iphone: Tom Kimmel
- Sufi Dancing: Blair Tabor
- Grain of Salt Songwriting: David Roth
- Sacred Love Singalong: Daniel Nahmod
- Keeping Up With Copyright: Todd Lowry
4:00 – 5:00 PM
Meet the artists: CD and Book signings in the Music Store
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Mega PosiPalooza Concert featuring past Posi Award winners and nominees
Hosted by Sloan Wainwright and David Roth
Music Store closes
Namaste Café Open Mic - hosted by Jana Stanfield
Sunday, Februay 14
A Musical Faith Lift with Reverend Andrew Conyer
12:30 - 2:30 PM
Conference Banquet (live entertainment) The conference ensembles perform along with others
3:00 – till....
Mentoring Sessions: Extra fee applies. Sign up in the Music Store
3:00 -5:00 PM
Song Circles led by multiple artists
3:00 - 5:00 PM
4 Concurrent Workshops:
- Songs of Love: David Roth
- Spectacular You: Jennifer Ferren
- Beautiful Impact: Claudia Carawan
- The Way of the Peace-ful Improviser: Ed Trout
11th Annual emPower Posi Awards!
“Back Stage” Celebration -
$10 ticketed event with a cash bar. Join the artists for live music, singing, dancing and celebrating this year’s Nominees
This starts ½ hour after the close of the Posi Awards
Monday, Februay 15
10:00 AM – Noon
Nathen Aswell: Closing Circle and Heart Sing
Keynotes & Workshops
We're adding more soon so keep checking back!
Daniel Nahmod: “IT’S TIME: Hearing The Call, Taking The Leap”
In this dynamic and inspiring workshop, Daniel shares stories, songs, questions and concepts to inspire you to take the big chance, to chase the big dream, to take the scary step you’ve been putting off. What is it time for YOU to do? We’ll explore the choices we make, the actions we take, and the reasons we don’t… from the powerful thematic perspectives of Daniel’s “Time For Fire,” “Water” and new “Cornerstone” CDs. This workshop is sure to light a fire, inspire a thought, provoke an action… or simply remind you of a yearning you’ve long forgotten.
David Ault: Understanding My Why: Uncovering the deeper meaning of my life's work
This time with Rev. David will help you design a template for personal exploration regarding your work in the world. As Socrates stated, "The unexamined life isn't worth living." Here we will explore the deeper motivations to our soul's purpose and gain clarity behind why we are doing what what we are doing. Getting clarity on our 'why' helps us in determining what we joyously say yes to and what we can begin to let go of.
Anji Kat: Free Your Voice!
Yoga for Singers, Speakers and anyone who wants to express themselves fully
*Basic Physiology of the Breath and the Voice
*The Four Winds--Exploring Energy Pathways for Self-Expression and Health
*Basic Yoga Stretches and Postures to Open the Body
*Breathwork and Yoga Techniques for Freeing Your Voice
Penny Nichols: Harmony Singing
Have you ever wanted to learn to sing in harmony better, how to do it and where it is appropriate in a song? You will have a chance to experience for yourself the fun and unique qualities of singing in harmony and how to begin to master the skills needed to sing in harmony well. Both individually and as a group, we will work on listening techniques, how to recognize chordal relationships, pitch problems and how harmony fits into a melodic landscape. Join us for a fun and empowering experience!
Melinda Wood Allen: From Ho-Hum to Hallelujah!!!
How to take your Music Department to the next level
Is your music department stuck, troubled, or stagnant?
Want to start a band/choir/ensemble from scratch?
Add variety without sacrificing quality??
Create commitment and loyalty?
Avoid/heal drama and personality clashes?
Got a small group you want to grow?
A good choir you want to make great?
Being a great music director is 20% musicianship and 80% leadership.
We’ll discuss practical ways to begin, grow, deepen, expand the good, contract the not-so-good, have fun, and create a dynamic music ministry that’s a vital part of your church!
Eddie Watkins: I Sing My Prayers
Eddie will lead you in creating a musical setting to your daily affirmation.
Melinda Wood Allen: Posi Power Singers!
Singing in a group is like no other form of music-making. As a whole we become greater than the sum of our parts, demonstrating true oneness and creating a unique kind of magic while having fun, fun, fun!!
In just 3 rehearsals, we will come together, find our blend, acquire effective conducting techniques, and learn and polish beautiful, inspiring choral music to perform at the opening of the POSI AWARDS (!)—sharing the stage with some of the best positive music makers of our time. Come join us!
David Ezell: Instrumental Ensemble
Instrumentalists are invited to join together with other musicians in small ensembles. Ensembles who are well-prepared will be invited to perform for the afternoon banquet on Sunday. For those who preregister for this activity by January 8 we will recommend an ensemble group for each participant to join and suggest or arrange appropriate music. Facilitated by David Ezell. For comments and questions send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd Lowry: KEEPING UP WITH COPYRIGHT
This workshop will cover music copyright issues commonly encountered by churches, including projecting lyrics onscreen, printing lyrics in bulletins, photocopying music, recording church services, podcasting, live streaming, etc. The session will include Q & A and will also address copyright questions for songwriters and performers.
Todd Lowry is a licensed (non-practicing) attorney who was the Director of Business and Legal Affairs for music publishing giant Hal Leonard Corporation for many years.
Todd Lowry: CREATING PIANO ARRANGEMENTS FROM A LEAD SHEET
Many New Thought/Posi songs are printed only in lead sheet/fakebook format (i.e. melody, lyrics and chord symbols only). This workshop is designed to help keyboardists create full-sounding arrangements from lead sheets. Topics include: interpreting chord symbols, incorporating various accompaniment styles, how to embellish the melody, intros and endings, etc. We will use well-known songs from the songbook “101 Inspiring Songs—The Ultimate New Thought Fakebook” as musical examples.
Reverend Blair Tabor: Minister & Music Director Communication Panel
When ministers and music directors (musicians) plan ahead and communicate and collaborate, powerfully uplifting programs results. Let’s talk and go beyond complaining to creating.
Reverend Blair Tabor: Spiritual Dancing
Based on dances from the Sufi and other traditions, Blair Tabor will lead these dances and provide information on how to incorporate the dances into celebrations. The dances create an easy, fun way to have a spiritual experience with song and movement.
Ed Trout: The Way of PEACE-ful Improviser
The fundamental concepts that I focus on are: Present-mindedness, Everyone matters, Acceptance, Commitment, Enjoyment/ Enthusiasm. And yes, the accompanying acronym is PEACE.
The approach is fun and non-threatening. Failure is even encouraged as a path to growth and understanding. And every individual is supported in their efforts.
Lisa Ferraro and Erika Luckett: Self Mastery through Higher Creativity
This workshop uses practical techniques to break the blocks of habitual thinking.
Awakening to our Creative genius.
Lisa Ferraro and Erika Luckett: Artist and CEO Workshop
With Lisa’s psychology background along with Executive Coaching Certification in Emotional Intelligence, Peak Performance, Wellness and Spiritual Intelligence she created a class for creatives. It focuses on skills for balancing Body Mind Spirit and Creative functioning for success.
StoweGood “Discover Your Unopened Gifts” workshop!
StoweGood facilitates this exciting 90 minute “playshop” filled with music, healing laughter and tears. Explore what’s holding you back. Discover your hidden treasures. And, dare to live the life you’ve imagined!
David Roth: Songs of Love
Join David in the co-creation of a custom-made song for a sick child through the Songs of Love Foundation. Lively discussion about songwriting, co-writing, and collaboration will be followed by working together to fashion a one-of-a-kind song that will be provided to a family absolutely free of charge. After the conference David will send you the finished recording that will be provided to the family.
Richard Mekdeci: What’s a New Thought Song
Correct language in our music is as important as it is in our sermons. In order to define our unique theology, our music should reflect the sometimes subtle nuances that make a song “New Thought”. We will discuss what New Thought is, and compare some of our most commonly used songs to the We will discuss what New Thought is, and compare some of our most commonly used songs to the criteria we created. Participants are invited to bring their own songs to examine or suggest songs for comparison.
Tom Kimmel: Stars and Wishes Song Support
Speaking personally, I once avoided song critiquing sessions because I found they were often dispiriting. Thankfully a teacher taught me an empowering system of feedback called “Stars & Wishes.” All writers and aspiring writers are welcome. Bring your songs, pen, paper and a recorder. Open to everyone.
Tom Kimmel: Beginning Garage Band for iPad and iPhone
Of all the amazing tools that iPhone and iPad now offer, none is more useful to the songwriter and musician than GarageBand. This little $5 app has evolved into a powerful, pro audio quality, easy to learn multitrack recording plat¬form. In fact, a favorite GarageBand track can even be exported to a professional application (like Apple’s Logic). In this short workshop we will have a blast building a song or two together. If you have an iPad or iPhone with current iOS and up to date version of GarageBand, bring it to class and you can build a track on your own device as we go along. Open to everyone.
Claudia Carawan: Creative, Dynamic Music Ministry
Your music program is the heart of your spiritual community. In this workshop Claudia will facilitate brainstorming and open discussion on a variety of topics to enhance your music ministry. Topics included will be... Songleading, Great Music on a Tight Budget, Building a Band, Creating Awesome Musical Moments, Amping up the Fun Factor, Relationships with your Minister and Music Team and any other topic that might come up!
Claudia Carawan: Beautiful Impact
Through storytelling and heartfelt music Claudia shares random stories of beautiful impact- remarkable every day miracles. This workshop opens our awareness to the many mentors and teachers that have impacted us throughout our lives. It also opens our awareness to the beautiful impact we are making in our world.
Jennifer Ferren: Spectacular
Come one, come all to the greatest show of self-exploration on earth! Through music, creative activities and group play we learn how to unlock our powerful, unique, individual MOJO. Now is the time to step right up, leave your inhibitions at the door and let your inner Spectacular take center stage. Marianne Williamson says, "Playing small does not serve the world... As we learn to let our own light shine,we indirectly give others permission to do the same."
David Ault (2016 Grace Note Award Recipient) is an internationally known author and celebrated metaphysical teacher and speaker. He is an ordained minister through Centers for Spiritual Living and currently serves as the Senior Minister of Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. His weekly messages are heard and viewed by thousands across the world. Since his spiritual reawakening in the mid 1980s, Ault has traveled the globe offering his gifts as a singer/songwriter, speaker, and facilitator. He has established a thriving non-government regulated school in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which provides free education, medical/hygiene assistance, and agricultural and life skills training to hundreds of Cambodian children annually. He also offers humanitarian service trips there regularly. His stateside non-profit, Khmer Child Foundation, serves this initiative. David lives with his husband Ty Andrews in Atlanta, Georgia.
Daniel Nahmod is a California-based Singer/Songwriter, Producer and Humanitarian who has performed his profound, heart-opening original music for over one million people in 45 U.S. states and Canada since beginning his music career in 1999... selling 100,000 CDs to date and receiving literally thousands of standing ovations along the way. His songs are recorded and performed all over the world on a weekly basis. Recent media appearances of Daniel's music include NBC, FOX, CNN, CBS, PBS, E!, MTV, History, IFC, Bravo, and movie theaters across the United States.
Daniel's poetic and evocative message of peace, love and compassion across all nations, cultures and faiths has found overwhelming acceptance wherever he has performed. He has been a keynote musical presenter at benefits for such organizations as Habitat For Humanity, Operation USA, Achievable and Anti-Defamation League.
Daniel has presented his spectacular music and message for nearly all of the world's major faiths, including Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Bahai, and Mormon audiences, and has worked with some of the most influential and brilliant speakers and leaders in the world.
Daniel is a multiple Posi Nominee and has won multiple Posi(Tive) Music Awards through empower Music and Arts.
Jan Garrett & JD Martin are multi-award-winning singer songwriters who live and create their music in the mountains of Colorado near Aspen. Both are seasoned performers and creative guides who teach with a twinkle, and inspire by example. They call their 19-year partnership “The Heart of Harmony” not only because they are happily married (to each other) but because they get to write, record, sing, and play their music for appreciative audiences around the country, and beyond. Their music is rich and intelligent, a velvet-hammer wake-up call as satisfying to the soul as it is to the ear...songs to open the heart and refresh the spirit.
Nathen Aswell believes that his calling in this life is to inspire and heal through his heart-centered music making. His debut CD Little By Little is a powerful realization of this calling, fully intertwining his two passions of music and spirituality and joyously reminding us that LOVE is all there is, and that we are all ONE. Nathen honours his calling by performing at faith-based Conferences, Church Services, Kirtans (devotional chanting events) and House Concerts in both Canada and the United States, presenting his “conscious pop” music with his voice and the NS Stick – an 8-stringed electronic instrument that can be plucked like a bass, strummed like a guitar, or tapped with both hands like a piano.
Nathen is a proud supporter of Seva Canada, whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world. (Nathen donates 10% of all performance fees, and $1 from every CD and DVD sale, to Seva Canada.
Harold Payne is a multi-platinum and Posi award winning songwriter whose soulful uplifting songs and husky heartfelt vocals have graced stages around the world. He has written songs for such diverse artists as Rod Stewart, Patti Labelle, the Temptations, and long-time collaborator, Bobby Womack—literally from Peter Paul and Mary to Snoop Dogg. Although a major part of Harold Payne’s career has involved songwriting, he has maintained a performance schedule over several decades that averages 200 plus dates per year. He often uses his uncanny gift for spontaneity to create recap songs of talks just presented and custom material for various tributes, “team building” and leadership activities to help make these events more entertaining and interactive while still imparting important content.
Stowe Dailey is a singer-songwriter and best-selling author. She co-wrote the hit song, Long Time Comin’ for the group, Shenandoah. Her album, Angel Chants, was the sound track of Angel Stories, featured on T.L.C. She has co-authored five books, including Journey of Light, the story of her own troubled childhood and she is also a volunteer music therapist for Alive Hospice and cancer clinics. Stowe currently tours (with duet partner—Karen Taylor-Good) doing concerts, musical keynotes, workshops, and promoting her latest book and CD, Flying High.
Karen Taylor Good is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-author with numerous radio hits by Patty Loveless, Laura Branigan, Melissa Manchester, to name a few. Named Songwriter of the Year for the Patty Loveless hit, How Can I Help You Say Good-bye, she’s been the voice behind national jingles for United Airlines, Taco Bell, McDonalds and she’s recorded with Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson & Kenny Rogers. She is currently on tour (with duet partner—Stowe Dailey Shockey) doing concerts, musical keynotes, workshops, and promoting her latest CD, Let the Light In.
StoweGood: When you put these two together, they are StoweGood! Recent presenters of a TEDx talk, Karen and Stowe have shared their musical keynotes, workshops and concerts across the US, Canada and Ireland.
Karen Drucker has recorded 11 CDs of her original inspirational music and has won numerous awards for her volunteer work for performing and producing shows for organizations in need. Karen has been called a master of communicating presence and spirituality through music. She has been a professional comedienne, and has been the spokesperson for “Bread and Roses” (performing in convalescent hospitals, prisons, children’s hospitals, etc.). She started her own organization, “Artists For A Cause,” to raise awareness and funds for organizations in need by producing concerts featuring local entertainers. She sings, speaks and leads workshops at women’s retreats, mind-body & health conferences and various churches around the country. She also performs music for ministers, workshop facilitators, and authors including Joan Borysenko, SARK, Alan Cohen, Mary Manin Morrissey and many others. Her passion is making music, making a difference, and touching hearts.
David Roth has been leading workshops on songwriting, singing, and performance for more than two decades and is honored to be a part of the Posi Music Festival once more. Now in his 27th year of full-time music-making, David’s songs have found their way to Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the Kennedy Center, the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary concerts, NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis (his song, “Rocket Science” circled the earth in 2009), the “Rise Up Singing” Songbook, more than 300 New Thought Centers throughout North America, countless coffeehouses, conferences, concert halls, festivals, and 13 CDs on the Wind River and Stockfisch (Germany) labels. The former artist-in-residence at New York’s Omega Institute won his 4th consecutive Posi Award last year (among 10 nominations since we began) and joyfully returns to our gathering from his home on Cape Cod where for the past 8 years he’s hosted the Full Moon Open Mic, providing a forum for local musicians to connect and be heard while at the same time collecting donations for local non-profit organizations.
Jana Stanfield’s compositions have sold over 5 million CDs worldwide, earning her gold and platinum albums. You’ve heard her music on 20/20, Entertainment Tonight, Oprah, and the movie 8 Seconds, recorded by Reba McEntire and others. A multiple Posi Award Winning Artist, and winner of the Grace Note Award for spreading Positive Music throughout the world, Jana has shared stages with performers ranging from musicians like Kenny Loggins and The Dixie Chicks, to speakers like Deepak Chopra and Lily Tomlin. Through her Keynote Concerts, Inc., Jana performs at events like TEDx India, TEDxNASA, and she leads volun-tour trips around the world.
Claudia Carawan is vibrant, authentic and full of joy. Claudia is an award-winning singer/songwriter, inspirational speaker & performer whose music runs deep. Her voice has been described as “goose-bump inducing” and her original songs feature buoyant melodies fused with feel-good lyrics. In addition to being an award-winning songwriter, Claudia is also an inspiring speaker and teacher who facilitates classes and workshops. At the heart of Claudia’s music and mission as an artist is a belief that music is transformative. Claudia’s authentic and high energy approach gives her audience a feeling of empowerment, a strong sense of joy and the feeling that anything is possible.
Eddie Watkins JR says his music is an expression of all the experiences of his life. Eddie played bass on recordings with the Temptations and Marvin Gaye at 17, was “brought up” by the Motown Greats, became a studio musician, and eventually his life led him to a spiritual search.
Eddie served three years as the Music Director at Center for Spiritual Living in Las Vegas and 3 years as the Director of Music Ministries at Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle.
Eddie has recorded with: Marvin Gaye, Quincy Jones, James Brown, Santana, Cher, Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock, Pattie Labelle, The Pointer Sisters, Peter Frampton, Gato Barbieri, The Temptations, Phyllis Hyman, Norman Conners, Thelma Houston, Nancy Wilson, and the list goes on and on.
“I know what my life purpose is, to share this music with the world.”
Severin Browne performs solo to packed house concerts, intimate listening rooms, and even an occasional almost-rowdy bar crowd with friends from his SoCal roots. He is a sought-after guest in many singer-songwriter festivals and shows, and is regarded as one of the most delightful performers in the Los Angeles area. His brilliant lyrics invite listeners into the songs while his solid melodies carry the story from one note to the next. This natural and inviting delivery has charmed audiences for almost 40 years. Severin’s career has run the gamut starting with a stint in the 1970s as a Motown staff songwriter and artist during which time he released two albums. Since then, with three more solo records, many songs cut by others (Thelma Houston, The Dillards, Patti Dahlstrom, Colin Blunstone, Twiggy...), and a few movie placements, Severin has remained loyal to his songwriting. In 2012 he joined forces with five other songwriters, creating the “Tall Men Group.” This songwriting group also plays as a band and has released 2 additional CDs. He is a popular guitar and songwriting teacher at festivals, retreats and camps.
Sloan Wainwright is a singer and a songwriter of rare power and subtlety, serving up doses of the real and the mysterious in a soaring, soulful contralto that sends critics scrambling for metaphors equal to the thrill: “the aural equivalent of smoky, tantalizing aromas emanating from a soul kitchen;” “[her] thick as molasses voice gets under your skin in all the right ways;” a powerful, earth-mother voice that she pours into unexpectedly sensitive blends of folk, jazz, blues and funk.” Singing with the extended McGarrigle-Wainwright family, Sloan has rocked the house at Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, and has released seven memorable records since her self-titled debut in 1994. She brings the same energy to her work as a solo artist, melding the best of pop, folk, jazz, and blues to create a unique, soulful hybrid. Sloan has been playing clubs, concerts and festivals coast to coast for two decades, triggering tears, hoots and hollers with deeply personal lyrics that connect life’s mysterious dots. A born storyteller and poet, Sloan started writing songs when she was 10. “Sitting at the piano and making up songs was my playground— a very safe place, magical and mystical. I surprised myself with what was in my head and how it all fit together.” For the last 16 years, she has been sharing that process with students, spreading the gospel of personal expression and lyrical reinvention. Sloan’s open-hearted approach to singing, songwriting and letting loose has made her a treasured presence at a host of prestigious workshops, including The Swannanoa Gathering, Summersongs, Wintersongs, Moab Folk Camp and Richard Thompson’s Frets and Refrains.
Tom Kimmel loves sharing the craft of songwriting and encouraging the creative spirit in everyone. He’s released seven albums, published a book of poems, and his songs have been featured in films and television shows... and recorded by dozens of artists from Johnny Cash to Linda Ronstadt. As a teacher he’s shared his passion for writing and personal expression in workshops across the US and in and Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany. (Plus, he swears, he’s a lot of fun!)
Kate Campbell: Since making her recording debut in 1995 with the heart-rending Songs From The Levee, singer/songwriter Kate Campbell has since put together a body of work matched only (perhaps) by Emmylou in consistency, Lucinda Williams in terms of pure, wrenching, honest self-examination and self-revelation and no one for its sheer display of broad-based, intimate artfulness. While doing so, she has managed to include the likes of Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Maura O’Connell, Buddy Miller and the heart of the Muscle Shoals classic soul and R&B hit-making machine as both admirers and collaborators in her distinctly literate musical vision. Her endearing, clear-water vocal delivery, eloquent gift for storytelling (which has drawn repeated comparisons to such bastions of the Southern writing tradition as Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner) and easy command of a full-range of American music styles, have combined to earn Campbell recognition as a formidable talent by critics, musicians and a discerning public. Kate’s sublime Moonpie Dreams (1997) and Visions Of Plenty (1998) each garnered “Folk Album Of The Year” nominations from the Nashville Music Awards. As the daughter of a Baptist preacher from Sledge, Mississippi, Kate’s formative years were spent in the very core of the civil rights movement of the 1960′s, and the indelible experiences of those years have shaped her heart, character and convictions ever since. As a child of the South, her musical tastes were forged in the dampered, smoky fires of soul, R&B, Southern rock, country, and folk music. Kate Campbell’s music continues to inspire and enthuse a growing audience.
Tom Prasada-Rao: Once upon a time Tom Prasada-Rao quit his job and hit the road with his guitar. A thousand gigs, seven cars, and two stolen guitars later he’s still at it. Along the way he’s sold over twenty-five thousand CDs and won a bunch of songwriting awards. TPR got his start by winning the New Folk Competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1993. Since then he’s traveled the country playing coffee houses and music festivals - even making it to The Bottom Line, The Kennedy Center, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It shows in his music that he was born in Ethiopia of Indian parents and raised in DC. TPR teaches songwriting having honed his skills instructing at the University of Virginia for 8 years. As a record producer – many of his projects have charted on the Folk DJ list – most recently for Johnsmith. He’s penned songs for country artist Randy Travis, tabla player Broto Roy, and Christian artist Bob Bennett among others.
Melinda Wood Allen is an award-winning singer, songwriter and actress with over 27 years experience as a New Thought music director, voice teacher and choral conductor. A versatile performer, she sings professionally and authentically in a variety of genres from classical to folk, country, gospel, jazz, musical theater, and pop.
Todd Lowry is a licensed (non-practicing) attorney who was the Director of Business and Legal Affairs for music publishing giant Hal Leonard Corporation for many years. Todd Lowry has been the Music Director at Unity Spiritual Center (Albuquerque, NM) since 1999 and has also written 17 keyboard instructional books published by Hal Leonard Corporation.
Erika Luckett is an internationally recognized singer/songwriter. She is also a 2 time Emmy winning and Oscar nominated film scoring artist and graduate from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Penny Nichols is an award winning singer, a songwriter, a singing teacher and director of the non-profit organization for songwriters, SummerSongs, which produces a number of retreats and camps for songwriters. Penny has been immersed in the world of music all her life.
Sue Riley believes in the power of music to touch hearts and heal lives, and she loves to share her passion for music through a wide variety of means. Sue has been the Music Director of Unity Church of Clearwater for the past 15 years, and involved in their music for the past 27 years. She was the chairperson of Unity Worldwide Ministries Music Team for the past 11 years.
Sue is the Vice President of Empower Music and Arts, which is dedicated to “Changing the World, One Song at a Time”. EmPower hosts the yearly “emPower Posi Awards” in Florida, which recognizes excellence in songwriting for artists who create songs with messages of peace, interfaith, and joyous living. The Festival is now in its 11th year.
As one of the leaders in the genre of “Posi” Music (standing for Posi-Tive Music ), Sue tours the country performing in the PosiPalooza Concerts along with Richard Mekdeci and great artists such as Karen Drucker, Harold Payne, Faith Rivers, Daniel Nahmod, Megon McDonough, Tom Kimmel, and many others.
A prolific singer-songwriter, Sue has created 7 CDs of original, award winning, uplifting positive music. She just completed her 8th CD “Ready to Receive” which was produced by Daniel Nahmod.
Richard Mekdeci (mek-dee’-see) As the president of emPower Music & Arts Richard is at the epi- center of the budding “Posi” (Positive) Music industry.
Richard’s experience as speaker, singer and award winning songwriter spans a wide range, from performing with the Florida Symphony Orchestra as a trumpet player, to over 20 years of writing, producing and performing in Nashville Tennessee with artists like Kathy Mattea, Susie Boggus, Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Nelson, and others. He has produced or co-produced eighteen albums of Posi Music including six projects of his own.
During his 10 years at Unity Worldwide Ministries as Sacred Music Resources Coordinator he produced songbooks, the Sound Connections music conference and newsletter and provided music resources to churches around the world.
He currently serves as Music Director at Unity Renaissance Spiritual Community in Chesapeake, VA where his wife Paula is Senior Minister.
Jennifer Ferren has been speaking and performing her original brand of positive, inspirational, from-the-heart philosophies for the past 15 years. She is consistently invited to Spiritual Centers and conferences across the United States, where she gives unique, affirmative, insightful messages that are complemented by her powerful, soul-filled original music. She has released multiple CD projects, including the “Wings of Song Hymnal Accompaniment CD tracks”, which are tools to use with Unity Church® Wings of Song hymnals, as well as 5 solo Positive Thought CDs, which showcase her creative, eclectic talents as a New Thought & Positive songwriter & performer.
She is an award winning song writer and a dynamic entertainer.
Reverend Blair Tabor is an ordained Unity Minister of thirty-four years as well as an accomplished speaker, teacher, composer and musician. He has used his varied talents to inspire and delight churches, retreats, conferences and young people all over the country. Currently, he is serving in his twenty-eighth year at Unity San Diego. He has taught a wide variety of classes at the Church, including healing, prosperity, prayer, meditation, goal setting, Bible history, Unity principles, grief recovery, chanting and listening skills. He serves on the board of our Southwest Region of Unity Churches. In the past he has served the Region as president and Regional Representative. He also serves on the Unity Church of Alhambra Foundation and on the Music Ministry Team for Unity Worldwide Ministries. He is also an advisor to the board of the prison ministry New View, New Life. As a songwriter, he has written over two hundred songs. He has produced several CD’s and music books including a CD and book on Spiritual (Sufi) Dancing. He plays a variety of instruments and delights in making people smile.
Last year's emPower Posi Music Festival, was a jam packed weekend of music, workshops, and fun. Here's what some of the attendees are saying about the experience.
"Just want to send you a big hug of appreciation for the Posi gathering. It was really amazing. What a thrill to see so many remarkable artists working together to make such meaningful music. We loved it." (Flossie Ernzen, Licensed Unity Teacher)