Thursday morning, I got in my car and drove down to Nashville, TN for a Koinonia Coffehouse Reunion Concert. I went, hoping to see some folks I knew from my High School youth group, and I was successful: I did get to see my youth group leaders from back then. These people blessed me tremendously and I wanted to hug their necks.
Neck-hugging is important.
I also wanted to pick up some Dogwood music, and I was successful with that as well.
A bit of history:
Koinonia Bookstore/Coffeehouse was a ministry spin-off of some people in Belmont Church, started back in the early 1970's. They had Friday and Saturday night concerts there, and many many people were reached for Christ during that time. Lots of baptisms, apparently. Of course, spun off from all that were things like "New Believer's Classes" etc. All of it very woo-woo-charismatic and exciting.
But apparently those concerts at Koinonia were sort of the beginning of the Nashville contemporary Christian music scene. Big names such as Amy Grant (after she sang she was sitting right in front of me), Michael W. Smith (he was the warm up act at the concert...leading the audience in some songs of the "praise-n-worship" variety before the actual concert proper.
So, the acts that I most enjoyed were the singer/songwriter bits: Alan Robertson (I used to babysit his kids), Billy Sprague (He wrote "Oh Heavenly Father, Oh Light of the World...do you remember that one? My husband who lived nowhere near Nashville ever does. Music spreads, I guess. I knew Billy as the song leader for your youth group summer trip to Florida in 1984), Jim Weber (whose wife Mel was one of the most influential youth ministers in my life as a teen, and whom I will always love. Jim's music is good, too.) and of course, Amy Grant (who did a teensy bit with the youth group here and there...I remember she let a few of us girls sing with her on stage during church one sunday...I think it was Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet...does this mean I can claim to have been an Amy Grant backup singer? I think not).
But best of all was Dogwood. I cut my teeth on Dogwood's music as a kid. We were in Nashville and saw some Koinonia action in 1974, but most of the connection, for me, was the fact that somebody sent us boxes with record albums in them. Lots of Dogwood, some Fireworks (they sang at the concert as well), etc.
Life back then seemed very "happening", especially for these musicians, starting a whole new "thing".
Is it really as simple as some people getting together with a bit of equipment and a stage, some songs and a small audience? Perhaps it was back then. Right time, right place, etc.
When we came to America (25 years ago yesterday) my dad's first job was managing Koinonia bookstore during a time of remodeling and transition. By that time, the Koinonia concerts had been moved next door the the Belmont Church building. And it was all a big deal, a happening. Very exciting. But definitely not the simple and humble beginnings from ten years before. People seeking God, for sure.
So, there I was. At the reunion concert. Everyone was rather Geriatric except for Amy Grant, who actually must have some Merlin thing going on because she looked younger, not older.
And I wondered about people. Have they changed as much as I've changed? There's no time at an event like that to really sit and fellowship. It was more like: "Oh, Hi! Where are you now?" That's a loaded question, isn't it? What does that mean? Does it mean "Where do you live?" Does it mean "Do you still love Jesus?" The summary is quick: I live in Lexington KY, married, four kids, homeschooling them. The funny thing is, the people I saw who were my youth group leaders started their families later than I did, so we have kids the same age, even though I'm more than ten years younger than they are. So we talked shop a bit. One man's son is also on the Autistic Spectrum, so we compared acronyms: PDD, ADHD, AS...it's a parent of a kid on the the spectrum thing.
It was just so good to see people, even if ever so briefly. I also hooked up with my parents, and got to spend some time with them. We stayed at my cousin's house, which was great, too.
I gave out my blog addy to a few folks, so I'm wondering if they'll remember to stop by here and read this blog to catch up in that way. I hope so. I'm thinking of writing a "here's been my life journey since I graduated High School" type of post.
But not right now. I'm glad to be home again, and I'm glad the Holy Spirit has brought me to where I am. And I trust God has been faithful in the lives of my old friends as well.