Thursday, June 30, 2011

We're making a CD!!!!

You know when people talk about summer being the time to relax and take it easy? Well, they're probably not musicians!

Our summer is shaping up to be awesome and filled with great stuff. We have lots of concerts in July, and our huge East Coast Tour in August.

We're also having an East Coast Tour Kick Off Concert on Wednesday, July 27. Mark your calenders, and I'll post more details soon.

As we've been planning the tour, one thing has been weighing on us (besides the price of gas!). Even though I have 2 great CDs, we still don't have an Infinitely More CD.

Well, that's about to change!

In an already crazy summer,
we've decided to record an Infinitely More CD!!!

Our church is about to install an awesome new sound system, so we're gathering a few musician friends for a few days of worship and recording! The CD will have a mix of hymns, praise songs, and our own originals.

All our songs will be recorded live-off-the-floor, which means everything will happen in one take. It's an old school style of recording, hearkening back to Elvis, Studio B, and Sun Records. In its best moments, live-off-the-floor feels like you're in the room with the musicians. It captures the sounds and spirit of the creative moment like few things can.

We're really, really excited about this, and all the details are falling into place. I'll post more as it all comes together!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Suggested Summer Reading...

It's that time! The weather is consistently warm and the garden is green. It's the perfect time to grab your favourite lawn chair (or beach chair, if you're that lucky), a tall iced tea, and a great book.

To celebrate summer reading, I thought I'd pass on a few books that I love. Please note this is only a very, very small list - as I looked at my book shelf and got excited by each tome, I realized that this could be the never-ending blog post!

(FYI - These are just my opinions. Unlike my book reviews, no one is giving me anything to write this. Of course, if you like one of the books, you're always welcome to send me a Kitkat bar...)

By Julia Cameron

A classic for all artists, and never to be underestimated. If you haven't read it yet, stop messing around and get it. And don't just read it, do it.

By John Maxwell

A fantastic book demonstrating that talent is only one small piece of success. With his vibrant illustrations and clarity of writing, Maxwell shows how character, courage, belief, and other personal traits can help you develop your talent to its highest level.

By Donald Miller

Not just because it's about God and jazz, but because it's brilliant. I've read it twice, and I've used the example of the confession booth more times than I can count. Read it before the movie comes out this summer.

By Lex Buckley

Written specifically for female worship leaders, but filled with lots of great, basic worship leading advice. My favourite are the chapters on leading worship as a pianist, a guitarist, or with no instrument (like me!)

By Lawrence Hill

A historical fiction tracing the life of a West African girl who is sold into slavery. Hardly easy summer reading, but one of the most challenging, disturbing, and inspiring books I've read in years. I can't recommend this enough!!


By Lisa See

One of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Another historical fiction, this time set in 19th century China. A wonderful story of friendship, with fascinating chapters on foot-binding and nu shu - a 'secret code' of women's writing. Another one to read before the movie comes out (though I secretly have high hopes for this film).

Oh, so hard to limit it to just 6! I may post another list next month.

Please list some of your faves in the comments section.
I always love a good book referral!

Book Review: Tithing by Douglas LeBlanc

When I saw another book in the Ancient Practices Series, I jumped at the chance to review it.

I'm often challenged by the concept of tithing, and in discussing it with other people, lots of difficult questions arise:

  • Is tithing only an Old Testament practice, no longer required of modern Christians?
  • If we see tithing as relevant for today, do we practice the Old Testament's 10% or the New Testament's give-it-all-to-God?
  • Are the unemployed required to tithe?
  • What if you want to tithe but your spouse isn't Christian?
  • What if you're in severe financial crisis and tithing will only add to your debt?
  • Is tithing only financial, or does it include Time and Talents?
Unfortunately, this book answers none of these questions.

LeBlanc chooses to teach about tithing through profiles of tithers. That could work, but in the average 12 page chapter, 10 are dedicated to their personal history while only 2 are dedicated to the person's thoughts on tithing. My other issue is that most of these people are not your average tithers. Instead, they're often people who have dedicated their lives to extreme examples of giving, or living in dedicated communities that consume less.

That would be fine if this were a book on generous giving, but it's not. Unfortunately, it relegates tithing to a mere subtopic.

I really wanted to like this book, but in the end, I'm afraid I just can't recommend it.


I hate having to write something negative about someone else's creative project. It gives me a stomach ache.

I'm going to write a post featuring some of my favourite books - kind of a Summer Reading List. Stay tuned...

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The First Gathering...

Okay, not technically the "first" Gathering, but the first where we've been in charge.

Tonight was pretty awesome. It's kind of the different between dating and being married. The stakes are higher, the commitment stronger. We can now think about long-term dreams...

Our team tonight was fantastic, and at the risk of bragging, we chose great songs (which makes all the difference!). Drew has decided to add pre-service music, so we shook it up a bit with The Beatles' "All You Need is Love."

"All Who are Thirsty" and "Come, Now is the Time..." provided an invitation to worship, leading into the always powerful "Our God."

Gerald then brought us into a place of focus with his song, "A Prayer Will Find You" which sounded so beautiful!

Drew gave a powerful and interactive message on the role of an informed conscience in discipleship, and we sent them out singing with "Beautiful One."

We've already started to make a few small changes. The pre-service music is one. I'm also posting a song each week on the church's Facebook page. Sort of a teaser video, so people can know what we'll be singing at the next service.

And because I'm blessed with an awesome Dad,
and so many wonderful men in my life:

Happy Father's Day!!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Gerald and I have been on staff at St. John's York Mills for almost two years now. Our role has been as musicians and assistant directors of the Worship Team.

I'm thrilled to announce that we've just finalized a brand new contract:

Starting this week, we are now
the Worship Leaders of The Gathering!

We're so excited about this new position! We've completely fallen in love with The Gathering. This casual, contemporary evening worship blends the best aspects of music, fellowship, and challenging, spiritual dialogue.

With this new schedule, we'll be at St. John's every Sunday evening, which will allow us Sunday mornings to visit other churches.

We're grateful to the leadership of St. John's for entrusting us with and supporting us in this new position. We're excited about leading the band, and creating an inviting and invigorating worship experience for our team and our congregation!

If you'd like to check it out, please join us some Sunday night:

The Gathering
St. John's York Mills Church
19 Don Ridge Dr.
North York, ON
M2P 1H3
Near York Mills subway, and Yonge & 401
Free parking
Come early for coffee and sweets!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Remembering Harold Lane

Since I heard of his passing this morning, I've spent a lot of the day remembering Harold Lane.

Many Gospel fans will remember Harold as a songwriter, arranger, and member of The Speer Family. But like many of my friends, I'm remembering a Stamps-Baxter essential.

In 2005, I attend the Stamps-Baxter singing school for the first time. There was an older gentleman who sat at the back of group singing. He didn't say much, but people treated him with a lot of respect. I only knew his name was Harold, and people called him H.

When Ben heard one of my songs, he pulled me aside and said, "H isn't teaching anymore, but he's a great arranger. Would you mind asking him to arrange your song? I'd really appreciate it."

Who was I to say no to Ben Speer?

So that afternoon, I found Mr. Lane and asked him to arrange my song. He looked at it and asked why I didn't just arrange it myself. I told him I didn't know how.

And that was the tipping point.

He told me to sit down, open my notebook, and grab a pencil. Over the next hour, Mr. Lane began teaching me how to write 4-part harmony. For the rest of the school, I met with him for an hour a day for private harmony classes. To say it was amazing was an understatement.

On one particular day, I brought along a book called "The 100 Greatest Gospel Songs" that I was going to use for my voice lesson later that day. Mr. Lane picked it up and said, "I wonder if I have any songs in this?"

I thought, "Is this guy serious?"

The book contained not one, but two of his songs.

To look at Mr. Lane that year, you saw an old man. Every part of him - physically, spiritually, mentally - seemed to move slower than the world around him.

But when he taught, a young, vibrant musician appeared. The transformation was almost magical, and always wonderful.

Over my time at Stamps-Baxter, I got to learn more about Harold Lane - the man and the musical legend - but my most treasured memories will always be those hours when he taught a young singer how to write harmony.

Enjoy heaven, Mr. Lane.

One of my favourite Harold Lane songs,
performed during a Stamps-Baxter closing program.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Country Vespers

With Rev. Margaret Rodrigues

Jazz Vespers has become a popular worship style in Toronto, and St. Philip's in Etobicoke has taken it one step further. In their Vespers series, it's not uncommon to find Mariachi Vespers, Klezmer Vespers, or even Polka Vespers.

This afternoon, we were the featured musicians for Country Vespers!

We put together a great program featuring some of Gerald's country songs, and some songs made famous by other artists.

I'm so excited by our song list, that I'm just going to share it with you here:

  • Just a Closer Walk with Thee
  • Somebody's Angel (Gerald)
  • A Church Song Broke Me Down (Gerald)
  • Anyway (recorded by Martina McBride)
  • We Shall Be Free (recorded by Garth Brooks)
  • God's Will (recorded by Martina McBride)
  • Every Church is a Small Town (Gerald)
  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken (The Carter Family)
In between songs, we read beautiful prayers focusing on the evening, the community, and praising God through music. Rev. Margaret Rodrigues shared a brief message based on Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line."

After the service, we gathered for a short reception. I loved working on this service, and I know we'll be adding the new songs into our concerts this summer.

FYI: We'd added a number of Southern Ontario concerts to our calender for July. For more info, please visit

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Infinitely More is taking on a great adventure this summer: our month long East Coast Tour!

This August, we'll drive over 6000 KM as we bring our music and message to the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.

We're super excited about our tour and all the great people we're going to meet, but over the last month, we've been watching a record high in gas prices, and it's giving us some apprehension about the practicalities of the tour.

We believe strongly in this tour, and it's important that we keep our expenses low, so that we can make our concerts accessible to churches of all sizes.

With that thought, we'd like to invite you become a


As a Tour Angel, you will partner with us to support our East Coast Tour, and ensure that every church who wants our music and ministry can receive it.

In gratitude for your financial support, we'd like to offer you lots of presents! The more you give, the more you get!


$20+ Level - an mp3 of your choice from any of our CDs, and the special Tour Angels E-newsletter. This email list will receive exclusive news regarding our tour adventures!

$50+ Level - an autographed CD of your choice, and the Tour Angels E-Newletter. If you already have all 3 of our CDs, we'll mail an autographed CD of your choice to your favourite friend in Canada or the USA.

$100+ Level - an autographed CD of your choice (again, for yourself or a friend), the Tour Angels e-newsletter, and 2 tickets to our East Coast Tour Kick-Off Concert! Details of the concert TBA very soon! (Tickets: $15 x2)

$200+ Level - an autographed CD of your choice (again, for yourself or a friend), the Tour Angels e-newsletter, and 2 tickets to our East Coast Tour Kick-Off Concert. PLUS: You will be entered in a special draw to receive a FREE HOUSE/BACKYARD CONCERT by Infinitely More! We'll determine a date that works for both of us after our tour.


To donate using Paypal or a major credit card, please visit

Cheques can be made out to "Allison Lynn" and mailed to:

Allison Lynn
c/o St. John's York Mills Church
19 Don Ridge Dr.
North York, ON
M2P 1H3

If you're unable to donate at this time, please know that we would love your prayer support!

Please send any questions to Allison at

To learn more about our East Coast Tour, please visit

And THANK YOU for supporting our music and ministry!