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After many games of phone tag and much rearranging of schedules, the impossible has finally happened! I finally had a chance to talk with Kevin Brodie about The Christian Music Connection, a.k.a. CMC.
Between our conversation and finding CMC's nifty web site on-line, I was able to get a pretty clear picture of the exciting things happening with this organization, locally and nationally. So as not to waste any more column space with introductory filler when I have so much useful stuff to share, let's just jump right in to find out what this CMC things is, anyway, and why I think it's so cool.
The CMC was started in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1993. Since that time, they've grown by leaps and bounds throughout the United States, and in the Southeast alone have chapters in Atlanta, GA, Knoxville, TN, Morristown, TN, Bowling Green, KY, Greenville, SC and, of course, Louisville. According to their on-line bio, CMC was started "to build a community in which Christian musicians, singers, mimes, comedians and other performers can meet regularly for fellowship, encouragement, spiritual growth, accountability and artistic development."
Kevin Brodie, the coordinator of CMC's Louisville branch affiliate, says artist accountability is one of the organization's biggest concerns. Since some very prominent CCM artists have been involved in nasty scandals over the past couple years, the concept of accountability — being honest and responsible to another friend, pastor, counselor or group – has become very important. As Brodie says, the reason group accountability is so important is to make sure members affiliated with the organization live a spiritual life that isn't "just onstage, but is a part of [his or her] lifestyle".
Along with accountability, the Louisville branch provides an opportunity for local artists to hear about gig opportunities, share news of their ministry and music, and listen to industry insiders offer tips and encouragement about their chosen field. In February, Bride members Troy and Dale Thompson were the guest speakers – and gave those few members venturing out in the bad weather that night a mini-acoustic concert! In upcoming months the meeting will feature a local concert promoter and a CCM radio personality. CMC also publishes a directory of artists so that local churches, youth groups and civic organizations can match their entertainment needs with a particular artist or artists – a valuable networking tool for performers looking to expand their ministry.
But perhaps the biggest CMC news is that the 5th Annual Southeastern CMC Music Festival is being held on Saturday, June 21 at the World's Fair Park in Knoxville, TN. There will be non-stop music from 11 a.m. -11 p.m. on 5 different stages: one for heavy rock/alternative bands, two for acoustic and tracks performers, one for pop bands and the main stage that will feature headlining artists Tony Vincent, Jaci Velasquez and Carolyn Arends. Other than the headlining acts that will perform later in the evening, the festival is free. The Louisville branch has already been approved to send some of their members, and though I don't have a list of who those performers are yet, I'll keep you pasted as the time gets nearer.
The festival is a major draw that attracts large crowds, so it is wonderful exposure for up-and-coming artists and performers. Details about the festival will no doubt be covered in upcoming CMC meetings as festival time draws nearer.
And speaking of meetings, the Louisville CMC branch meets every second Thursday of each month at the Hillview Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 3331 Preston Highway.
Well, this just scratches the surface of the opportunities available with CMC, so I suggest you check out the CMC web site at http://www.cmcnet.org to find out more about the national organization or (even better!!) come out to the next meeting March 13 and discover the local chapter. The networking you could do there is more than enough reason to go, but the addition of friends, encouragement, accountability and teaching make this a can't-miss for any local CCM artist.
"Seize from each moment its unique novelty, and do not prepare your joys". --Andre Gide