Through 2011-2012  CCP and Larry are working in partnership with PACERS:  Celebrating Appalachian Communities.

Throughout Appalachia there are examples of celebrations and festivals that have positive financial outcomes and improved community resilience and well-being.  With generous assistance from the Appalachian Regional Commission,  PACERS will build upon and expand this tradition by holding in Section (Jackson County) and Camp Hill (Tallapoosa County)  comprehensive multi-day workshops that will develop replicable models for community festivals/celebrations while jointly training young people and community members to document their communities through the arts:  including music, photography, videography, and  graphic design.  Workshops will also include sessions on festival/celebration publicity and organizational requirements.  Workshops—beginning in August, 2011—will be two to three day events and will set the foundation for a local celebration.  They will be preceded and followed by school-based opportunities for students to undertake community documentation and celebration projects (e.g. photo essays, music or video CD’s).  Students and PACERS chapter will be provided with appropriate technology with professional support for its application.

Workshop leaders will include Dr. Jay Lamar, Director of the Center for Arts and Humanities (as well as other professionals associated with the center);  Larry Long, creator of Elders Wisdom Childrens Song (www.communitycelebration.org and www.larrylong.org) ;  Andrew Goetz, nationally recognized photographer (www.goetzphoto.com); Fred Fluker, graphic designer, and Dr. Jennifer Adams, Director of the Journalism Program Auburn University.  Local teachers,  musicians, and other community members will also participate in the workshops and in school settings.

Larry’s appearance on the Mary Hanson Show will be re-broadcast on Channel 6, the Metro Cable Network (MCN) on Sept. 5 at 9 PM in honor of Labor Day. The interview, “An Interview with Larry Long,” will also be seen on the Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) on cable Channel 17 at the following times:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 8 PM
  • Sunday, Aug. 28 at 10 AM
  • Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 8 PM
  • Sunday, Sept. 4 at 10 AM

Larry’s currently in Alabama leading workshops through his not-for-profit Community Celebration of Place and its program Elder’s Wisdom, Children’s Song. The organization goes into schools across the United States, bringing with it elders from the community-at-large who then share their life stories and life lessons with the students. The students then take what they’ve learned and create a song for their elder, which they sing during an honor ceremony for the elders.

It’s often a very powerful experience for everyone involved, and EWCS gets a number of emails every year from students who have been through the process and are still affected by it years later. This is one email that came in a few days ago, and Larry asked that we post it (with kind permission).

Hi Larry,

There is little to no chance that you remember me, as I was all of 9 years old when we met (I was the rowdy kid who played the piano). That year marked the inaugural year of EWCS in Spearfish, and you worked with my 4th grade class to pen a song in tribute to an effervescent and unforgettable Ms. Louise Smock. Now twelve years afterward, I remember that experience as one of incredible joy and significance, not only for the kids involved but for the entire community. I am so happy to see that this program not only continues to be a part of my old school, but has also expanded to other Black Hills communities.

As reports of recalcitrant youth across the globe fill the nightly news, it’s reassuring to know that we in the Black Hills are still teaching our kids to be good people, to appreciate the value of hard work, and perhaps most importantly, to afford our elders the adoration and respect they so deserve. Although I may not have understood the significance at the time, those few weeks we spent hearing stories from Ms. Smock and the subsequent songwriting we did with you were exceptionally memorable and will stay with me throughout my life. In short, as an alumnus of your first year program, I wanted to reach out and say thank you for doing this and for continuing to invest in our community. It means more than you could ever know.

[…] Music remains a huge part of my life and have picked up a number of new instruments and playing styles. Should you find yourself in Boston this year, or China/Singapore next year, bring a guitar and let’s play some music! I hope that someday, I can help carry on the EWCS tradition. You and Hank Fridell (If you speak with him or know how to get in touch with him, please send my best to him and his wife) created something great with this program, and I hope that I can be a part at some point. Would be a great honor. Until then, hope all is well. Drop me a note if you get a chance. Keep up the great work!

Best,
Max

Eight community organizations working on the tornado recovery effort in North Minneapolis were the recipients of funds from the June 12, 2011, benefit concert at the State Theatre.

Larry Long, who headed the organizing committee and was instrumental in organizing both the concert and the efforts to distribute the funds, was the main speaker at a July 13, 2011, press conference announcing the organizations and handing over funds and a framed commemorative print from the event signed by the performers.

The charitable dollars went directly to nonprofit organizations whose missions are to provide shelter, food, medical services, counseling, child care, utility assistance, youth mentoring and employment opportunities to the residents of North Minneapolis.

For more information, check out the Northside Benefit website at www.northsidebenefit.org.

TWIN CITIES — July 12, 2011 — Eight community organizations working on the tornado recovery effort in North Minneapolis will receive funding from a June 12, 2011, benefit concert at the Hennepin Theatre Trust State Theatre on Wednesday, July 13, 2011. The event will take place at Noon at the North Community YMCA Youth & Teen Enrichment Center (1711 West Broadway Minneapolis, MN 55411/ 612-588-9484).

NorthSide: A Twin Cities Community Benefit raised more than $100,000 with hard cash and ticket sale contributions of $26,600.00 and in-kind donations of more than $80,000.00.

More than 200 musicians, from Soul Asylum to Brother Ali and Sounds of Blackness to The New Standards, donated their time and waived their fees to make the event happen, plus many behind-the-scenes individuals and organizations, including the State Theatre, which was donated pro bono by the Hennepin Theatre Trust (See About the Northside Benefit Organization).

“Without a nickel in our pockets, our small group and our benefit partners successfully organized the Northside: A Twin Cities Community Benefit at the State Theatre on June 12th, 2011, and raised funds that will go directly to the organizations that are assisting residents of North Minneapolis on a daily bases,” says benefit co-organizer and artist Larry Long.

“Due to the enormity of the destruction to so many people’s lives in North Minneapolis — and the generosity of so many individuals and organizations — it was very difficult for us decide upon where our funds could be put to the most use,” Long notes. “We walked the streets of North Minneapolis. We talked to displaced renters and homeowners. We attended meetings and visited with many of the nonprofit organizations assisting the displaced people on the north side. We weren’t able to fund them all, even though each of them is well-deserving.”

Recipients of NorthSide Benefit Funding Charitable dollars will go directly to nonprofit organizations whose missions are to provide shelter, food, medical services, counseling, child care, utility assistance, youth mentoring and employment opportunities to the residents of North Minneapolis. The recipients include:

  • North Community YMCA for opening up their facility to tornado victims and giving free memberships to those hardest hit by the tornado. The North Community YMCA is known for working with and not simply doing for those in their community.
  • Elim Transitional Housing for answering the call of giving transitional housing to displaced renters and homeowners.
  • Urban Homeworks for their faith-based and practical innovative community development that works in partnership with low income families to produce dignified housing through developing a strategic network of good neighbors.
  • EMERGE— on behalf of the Northside Community Response Team (NCRT)— to specifically employ over 150 North Minneapolis youth and 13 adults to work on north side community beautification crews for 4-7 weeks during the summer of 2011.
  • God’s Prayer Center for giving food, shelter, and counseling to the hardest hit on the North Side.
  • Sweetie Pie Urban Farming for creating organic community gardens with North Minneapolis youth.
  • At Home Group for their willingness to establish a Northside Relief Transportation Fund to buy month long bus passes for tornado victims in need of getting to work, visiting family, or traveling to and from the North Community YMCA.
  • iRelief (aka mplstornado.info) for effectively keeping the entire Minneapolis community informed on how to be of help to those directly hit by the tornado through their Facebook site: Mpls Tornado. Plus, for directly organizing large food drives and benefits for the victims.

About the Northside Benefit Organization

The core organizing team for the Northside include: Arlana Vaughan, Sara Renner, Tonia Hughes, Catherine Reid Day, Claire Chamberlin, Stuart Paster, Martin Keller, LeeAnn Weimar, and Larry Long.

Contributing organizations and businesses include: Hennepin Theatre Trust, The State Theatre, Local Union 13 IATSE, Community Celebration of Place, Cordset Manufacturing, Smart Set, Inc., Loring Theater, Planet Claire Creative, Media Savant Communications Co., Storyslices, AVA Special Events, and the Minneapolis Foundation.

Artists, Emcees and Media Partners:

  • Sounds of Blackness
  • Soul Asylum
  • Brother Ali
  • Robert Robinson
  • Larry Long
  • Joyful Noize
  • Tonia Hughes
  • Billy McLaughlin Group
  • Toki Wright
  • Sara Renner
  • The TC Jammers: Featuring Jeanne, Patty, Jason and Paul Peterson
  • Jamecia Bennett
  • Cameron Wright
  • The New Standards
  • Dean Magraw
  • Prudence Johnson
  • GB Leighton
  • Brittany Delaney
  • Van Nixon
  • DJ Freddy Fresh
  • Darnell Davis and the Remnant
  • Kerri Noble
  • Ginger Commodore
  • Thomasina Petrus
  • Emcees T. Mychael Rambo, Robyne Robinson, Angela Davis (WCCO-TV)
  • Media Partners: KMOJ, Cities 97, The Current, 96.3, KBEM, KFAI

Hot on the heels of a wildly successful Father’s Day show at The Cedar, Larry will be joining Kevin Kling this Thursday, June 30, to kick off the Toast and Jelly Days Revisited Storytelling Festival.

Kevin Kling describes his zodiac sign as “Minnesota with Iowa rising…” Best known for his popular commentaries on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and his storytelling stage shows like Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log, delivers hilarious, often tender stories. His storytelling started when a friend from the now defunct Brass Tacks Theatre asked him to perform his stories. Since then, he has been awarded numerous arts grants and fellowships. Kling’s autobiographical tales are as enchanting as they are true to life: hopping freight trains, getting hit by lightning, performing his banned play in Czechoslovakia, growing up in Minnesota, and eating things before knowing what they are.

Join Kevin Kling and Larry Long as they speak and sing about a few things that are Dad.

In a Fathers Day tribute, Kevin and Larry head down the Dad side of the street, taking detours at an Uncle or two, a Grampa, or the guy that was there when you need to know which wrench to use.

In 1983 Larry and Kevin were in a circus together going down the Mississippi River on a boat appropriately named ‘The Calapso.’

They hadn’t performed together since…. Then last year they were together at a ‘Two Chairs Telling’ at Open Eye Theater and got on the subject of Fathers. It was clear pretty fast this would have to be a whole ’nother show.

After that meeting they’ve been scheming and tucking away tidbits, songs, pappy tales, etc.

And this is the day, as Dad would say, ‘to put gas in ‘er and let ‘er buck’.

Download the flyer for the show here.

Thoughts of Dad from Kevin and Larry:

“Dad told me everything important in a car…facts of life in a sixty seven mustang, divorce in a seventy two Impala station wagon… or sometimes he’d just turn to me and say, ‘kev, the day you own a pair of wing tip shoes is the day I stop worrying about you’ or ‘kev, don’t get killed just cause you know how’.

— Kevin Kling

The tree in the backyard of the house where I once lived
Was planted by my father and I when I was a kid
It was but a sapling, now it’s sixty foot tall
Giving shade to the green house on the corner in the park
Walking home from school with my father in the dark
“You’re my favorite son” Dad laughed.“But Dad,I’m your only one.”
The eyes of my father they’re looking down on me

—Larry Long, “Eyes of My Father”

Photo:  ® Tony Nelson 2011

We had so much fun doing the CD release concert at Loring over the weekend. Thank you to everyone who helped out and to everyone who attended! Here is a note from Larry:

Thank you all for helping to make last night one of the performing highlights of my life.

From house lighting on down to the sound board – from the divine harmonies of the backup singers to the Joyful Noize of Park Avenue Methodist Church choir –  from the steady heartbeat of the traps to the subtlety of the hand drum, triangle, and shakers – from the divine ethereal harmonics of the electric guitar to the rising tide of the Hammond gospel organ – from the vocal scats, to the Pentecostal chants, to the gospel swells, to the rising tide of each vocal line, beneath that low bass tone, on our journey home – to simply catch a glimpse – of a world to come – filled with love – that’s with us now – when we fill ourselves with that power far greater than ‘I’ .  . .

There was spirit on stage – there was magic in the room.   Everyone was happy and so was/am I.

With gratitude,

Larry

And we had some great feedback too!

Larry Long’s CD Release Concert was a masterpiece from start to finish, certainly his greatest artistic creation. It fully reflects three years of diverse work and cultures around the globe, incorporating deeply moving, inspiring music and videos celebrating heroes and sheroes from Tibet to the Japanese-American internment. Larry’s extraordinary ensemble featured a range of stars from the Minnesota music scene, from J.D. Steele to Tanya Hughes and Robert Robertson, who lifted the entire theatre to new heights. Larry allowed each star to shine and together they created a constellation so bright that it lit up the night and the lives of everyone present.

Love,
Terry

Terry Gips, President
Sustainability Associates
9000 W. 28th St., St. Louis Park, MN 55426
612-374-4765  tgips@SustainabilityAssociates.com
www.SustainabilityAssociates.com

———-

Larry, the concert was a tremendous testimony to all of your life’s work: telling stories through song, lifting up the voices of those we don’t hear, working for justice, bringing people of all races and backgrounds together, making fantastic music and inspiring people to be there better selves. Thanks for a wonderful evening.”

Pam C

———-

Hi Bro,
Congratulations on such a spectacular success Saturday night!  Everyone agreed it was your best concert ever. I loved every minute of it (as did the boys other than it being too loud for them at times) and was so impressed by your creativity and how brightly you shined and how you allowed others to shine as well. I was lifted to the highest places. It was an extraordinary gift to the community.

The main thought that came up for me is that it would be great to have another concert soon (just what you want to hear, right?) so that all of the friends of the people who came could also experience it. The word of mouth would be fabulous.

Another thought that came to me is that we should think about the possibility of a White House performance. I think Barack, Michelle and the girls would love it. How soon do you think you’ll have a video?

Love,
Terry

———

It was an honor to be part of such a meaningful and heartfelt concert. Beyond the music being off the hook, which it was, the spirit of the evening was overwhelming.

Larry, we (meaning the entire community, meaning the whole wide world) owes you a great debt for your earnest, thoughtful, painfully honest endeavor to truly be a person in the world that cares deeply about the suffering of others and wants to do something about it. Your energy and undying response to us all creates the possibility for great music to happen, for people to come together and for all of us to think about what we are doing.
Thank you!

With deep gratitude and love,
Marc Anderson

On Wednesday, April 20, 2011 the Camp Hill PACERS Chapter and Edward Bell High School will host the PACERS annual conference in Camp Hill. As usual the conference will include workshops and reports on the various projects and on the work of local chapters. Larry will be receiving an award for his work in rural Alabama through PACERS at the conference.

Besides receiving an award for his decades of work on behalf of people in rural Alabama, he will also be facilitating a workshop on Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song, and will lead Edward Bell alumni and students in singing “Camp Hill” songs written during his residency at Edward Bell.

For more information on the conference, view the schedule here.

On Thursday April 14, 2011, over a thousand supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality from nearly every district in the state are traveling to the Capitol to talk with legislators about their vision of making Minnesota a state where people are not discriminated against based on who they are and who they love.  In their meetings with legislators, Minnesotans will discuss  making our state a more equitable, safe and affirming place for LGBT people.

Gov. Mark Dayton will join community leaders, legislators, and Lori and Jeff Wilfahrt, parents of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, at noon to address the Rally for LGBT Equality. Shortly after noon the crowd will observe a moment of silence for their fallen son and for all Minnesotans who gave their last full measure of devotion to our nation. Larry Long will provide the musical entertainment throughout the rally.

Please join OutFront Minnesota for a celebration to kick off their Lobby Day for LGBT Equality, one of the largest citizen lobbying days in the nation, connecting thousands of pro-equality Minnesotans from around the state with their legislators. With the loss of pro-LGBT majorities in the Legislature and the imminent threat of a constitutional amendment to outlaw marriage — and even domestic partnerships — for same-sex couples, this will be one of the most important in our history.

So join fair-minded Minnesotans on Wednesday, April 13th from 6pm to 9pm at the home of Ann & Brad Swanson, 1873 Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, for food, wine, and an opportunity to learn what we must do to defend the rights of all Minnesota families.

There’s a piece in today’s MinnPost on Larry which talks a little about his history as well as the background on some of the songs on Don’t Stand Still. You can read it here.

We are presently producing two film documentaries of the songs “Tibet” and “Be Kind to All That Live”, both written through the Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song process, and featured on Don’t Stand Still.

When I was thirteen years of age, my father passed away. My family received help from good neighbors with food and letters of comfort. One of those letters of comfort came from my Little League coach, Mr. Mayeda.

Thirty years after my father’s death I came upon Mr. Mayeda’s letter. I was so moved by his words that I sought him out. He had moved to Oceanside, California. He was terminally ill. I called and thanked him for his letter of comfort to me when my father passed and for his years of volunteering as my Little League coach.

Mr. Mayeda said to me, “Larry, my family was part of the 125,000 Japanese Americans placed into internment camps during World War II. I have one favor to ask. Could you please write a song about the Japanese-American internment camps?” I promised Mr. Mayeda I would. He passed away soon thereafter.

In his honor, I visited the Manzanar Internment Camp in California and read books about the Japanese-American experience with hopes of inspiration. Nothing came in the way of a song, until now.

During one of my residencies, Mrs. Helen Tsuchiya, the grandmother of a child in one of my classrooms, shared her Japanese-American internment story with the chil dren. After she spoke, I discovered that her husband and she were best friends with Mr. Mayeda and his family, and that her husband had coached with Mr. Mayeda in the Babe Ruth League.

About the Documentary Film Videographer

Mr. David McDonald is producing both documentary films.   Before returning to Minnesota to raise his family, David McDonald worked throughout the world as a cameraman for the Reuters News Agency.  Presently, David lives in Grand Rapids, Minnesota with his family and is an independent multimedia producer, as well as instructor of mass communications at Itasca Community College and Leach Lake Tribal College.  David McDonald has been donating his services, but will have shared ownership of the final product with Community Celebration of Place.

Filming Timeline

On March 13, David will be filming and interviewing elder Helen Tsuchiya, who inspired Be Kind To All That Live, about her experiences in the Japanese American Internment Camp in World War II.  Helen was the photographer in the camp and her photographs will be the featured images throughout the audio of her song in this documentary. Featured on the recording of Be Kind To All That Live is Helen’s son, Todd Tsuchiya, a local dentist and leader of Minnesota’s premiere Taiko Drum group.

Documentary Film Release Date: April 9, 2011

We are presently producing two film documentaries of the songs “Tibet” and “Be Kind to All That Live”, both written through the Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song process, and featured on Don’t Stand Still.

In 2008 Gyatsho Tshering shared his life story with 3rd grade students at Valley View Elementary School in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, through the Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song program. Gyatsho Tshering established with the Dalai Lama the library to hold the archives of the Tibetan people in India.  In December 2010 the sound recording of Tibet was completed.

Artists and community members featured on the sound recording of Tibet include: Venerable Tibetan Monks Gendun Kelsang, Jampa Thupten, and Lobsang Jungnes from the Gyuto Tantric and Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery (Multiphonic chanting) ; Dolma & Yiga Tshering with family and friends from the Tibetan community of Minnesota (choral vocals and prayer), Marc Anderson (world percussionist), Dirk Freymuth (electric guitar),  Billy Peterson (bass), Ricky Peterson (keyboards), JD Steele (harmony vocals) and Larry Long (lead vocal, 12 string guitar).

Film Timeline

David McDonald has been making several trips from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis, Minnesota from January – March 2011 to cover select Tibetan events including:

  1. Gyatsho Tshering’s home
  2. Tibetan Community Cultural Center
  3. Gyuto Tantric and Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery
  4. Tibetan New Year 2011 activities March 5 – 20
  5. March 10 – Tibetan Uprising Day

Documentary Film Release Date: April 9, 2011

The Pioneer Press had a great article on Larry and his work with Community Celebration of Place/Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song:

Ruben Rosario: Classroom troubadour sings to children to honor adults

The man the legendary writer Studs Terkel once called ‘a true American troubadour’ was thick in the middle of his day job the other day — helping a class of fourth-graders compose a song.

‘Like the bullfighter/the brave matador/Like the bull in the arena, together we strive for/A life of balance, to live in harmony,’ the kids sang and swayed while Larry Long played the simple melody on his acoustic guitar.

“I’m excited about this song,” the 60-year-old Twin Cities resident told the class of fellow songwriters at the Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource magnet school in Crystal. “I would like to get a full orchestra.”

The song probably won’t crack Billboard’s Hot 100 anytime soon. But it wasn’t meant to. It was meant to celebrate the rich tapestry of the American experience in a tangible, communal way.

Read the rest