Friday, November 30, 2012

The Nativities Are In!

Last week, we put out the request for nativity photos for our upcoming Christmas video, 
and wow, did you respond!

The variety is astounding: all sizes, all shapes, all colours, all styles. Some are handmade with simple materials, and some are crafted by professional artisans. Some were created to fill an entire front lawn, and others fit in the palm of your hand. We even have a few with live figures!

There's still a few hours to get your photo in! 

If you'd like to submit your nativity photo, 
please email it to by tomorrow morning.

Thanks! I'll post a link as soon as the video is live! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Book Review: Neighbors and Wise Men, by Tony Kriz

I'm a huge fan of Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. When I saw that this book was written by 'Tony the Beat Poet' of Blue Like Jazz fame, I knew I had to give it a go.

Tony Kriz was raised in a 2-team Christian environment. There were those who had Jesus, and those who didn't, with no room for grey in between. Following a spiritual crisis, Kriz embarked on a journey of rediscovering his faith that took him to varied and expected places - a Portland bar, a Muslim country, an 'atheist' campus, to name a few.

I loved this book. Kriz's honesty and authenticity resonated with me. Faith is a messy business. Too often we want to put on our shiny, happy Jesus-faces and pretend it's all perfect, but who does that really serve? This book will encourage you to seek God in unconventional places and faces. Each chapter is great, but I'll forever return to his image of evangelism-like-a-sunset. Curious? In the advice of Kriz, "pour yourself a chewy India Pale Ale (or your beverage of choice)" and "let the epiphanies come."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com 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."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We Need Your Nativity!

Okay, not the whole nativity. Just a photo!

This year, we recorded Gerald's beautiful Christmas song, "My Heart is the Manger." Inspired by a Christmas sermon preached by my Dad, Rev. Hollis Hiscock, the song is a reminder to welcome the Christ child into your heart each Christmas.

To celebrate and share this song, we've decided to create a video featuring the primary image of Christmas: the Nativity. And that's where you get to join the fun!

Please email us a photo of your nativity! 

It can be from your home, church, school, or community. 
We'll compile all the photos into a video that we'll feature on our YouTube channel.

We're excited to see all the different kinds of nativities out there, 
and we always love projects where everyone can contribute to the greater cause!

Please email your photo to 
by Friday, November 30.  

We'll post the video in early December! 
Thank you for joining in our Christmas celebration!

The fine print:
- please make sure that you own the photo
- if any people are in the photo, please check that you have their permission to include the photo in our video
- we'll do our best to include every photo, but please understand if we can't fit them all in!
- sending your photo to us does not give us any ownership of the photo, but you are giving permission to include the photo in the My Heart is the Manger video for use on the internet
- send any questions to 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Flanders Fields, the Poppies Grow...

Today, we remember those who fought and sacrificed for our freedoms.

This is our Infinitely More arrangement of the classic poem of remembrance, 
In Flanders Fields, with music by Gerald.

Enjoy and share!

Lest we forget...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We're in a Christian Bookstore!

The Family Christian Bookstore in Burlington has become the first Christian bookstore 
to carry our new Infinitely More CD!

We've been shopping at this store for years, 
and we love their commitment to supporting local musical talent.

If you're in the Burlington area, please drop by the store and show your support 
by purchasing a copy of Infinitely More!

Click HERE for store directions.

Friday, November 09, 2012

New Photos!!

We've got all our GMA Week photos up!

You can see them on our SITE or FACEBOOK page.

With Female Vocalist of the Year, Ali Matthews.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

GMA Canada Week - Day #4 & the Covenant Awards!

GMA Week ended tonight with a closing banquet and the Covenant Awards ceremonies. 50 different awards were given out, for albums and songs in every Christian music genre imaginable. The majority of awards were given out during the dinner, with lots of chatting and visiting filling in the gaps.

This is the first year the Covenants have been televised, so at 8:00 we all moved into the CTS studio for the taping. The show was tight, funny, and full of fantastic performances.

The range of music was impressive. Downhere, Greg Sczebel, and Starfield provided the super cool rock element, while singer-songwriters like Ali Matthew gave moments of ethereal beauty. The show ended on a high note with a killer duet between the Toronto Mass Choir (recipients of the lifetime achievement award) and Newworldson. The whole night was incredibly entertaining, and a masterclass on great performing.

The Toronto Mass Choir and Newworldson.

Our GMA Week experience has really been fantastic, but like all great conferences, we'll need a few days to go through everything, and probably a few months to execute all the things we've learned in these busy days. We've been exposed to so much great music, so many great lessons - our job now will be the always essential follow-up. Contact the people we met. Go through the notes we took. Look at what we've been doing so far. Figure out where we want to go next and how we might apply this week's lessons on that journey.

Of course, first, we'll probably just need a good long day of recovery! Good night!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

GMA Canada Week - Day #3

Today was awesome. I'm going to need to take a good half day this week just to review my notes and figure out how to apply them all.

We had another full day of GMA workshops, focusing on promoting and touring your music. Again, the guest speakers were knowledgable and generous. The Q&A sessions could have gone on for hours and hours.

The artists in the room wanted to know about the obviously important stuff:

  • how do I book gigs?
  • what are good social networking tools?
  • do I need a publicist?

But what was wonderful were the powerful, personal, necessary questions that people also asked:

  • how do we deal with growing older in an industry that values youth?
  • how do we cope with the tension between family life and being on the road?
  • how do we handle issues of insecurity and self-sabatoge?

The answers were insightful and authentic. So often, Christian leaders feel the need to be so slick and perfect. There was none of that today, and it was completely refreshing.

Hanging with new friends, 
including Juno award-winning singer-songwriter, Greg Sczebel.

I'm posting some photos tonight on our Facebook page. 
Come take a look! 

Monday, November 05, 2012

GMA Canada Week - Day #2

Wow, how do I put all of today into a few words?

The day started with an incredible workshop on songwriting. Gerald and I have attended lots of songwriting workshops, both in Toronto and in Nashville, and this was one of, if not the, best.

Ben Cantelon and Greg Sczebel led the first hour, sharing their tools and knowledge of songwriting. I think what made today stand out was the attention to detail. They assumed that everyone in the room knew the Song 101 basics, so they focused on the themes of discipline and creativity. The two sound opposed, but they're both critical, and challenging, to songwriters of all levels.

In the second hour, a panel was formed for a Q&A session which, frankly, could have gone on for at least another hour or more.

At lunch, we continued to meet people and learn about their music and ministries. I don't know why I should be shocked at this, but I'm amazed at the huge pools of undiscovered talent in our country. The churches in Canada are so blessed by musical talent!

The "Record Your Song" Workshop.

After lunch, the workshop focused on recording, with a similar format as the morning. Things really took off in the Q&A, with really practical questions around the ins-and-outs of recording an indie CD. I asked a question about creating a live CD (something that totally intrigues me), and I was blessed with lots of information from the panel.

This evening was showcase night! Each artist on the line-up had crazy credits to their name: Covenant Awards, Junos, opening for major artists, and a host of other accolades. But more than that, they had fantastic songs and performances. The only challenge was trying to run back and forth between the two concert spaces to catch as many performances as possible.

The night ended with lingering and chatting, sharing stories and just learning more about everyone. These days are flying by. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

GMA Canada Week - Day #1

In Nashville, we had lots of chances to get involved with the Christian music industry. They practically meet you when you get off the plane.

But in Canada, everything is much more spread out, less obvious. So this week, we're attending our first ever GMA (Gospel Music Association) Canada Week!

It's 4 days of competitions, showcases, workshops, and concerts, ending with the Covenant Awards on Wednesday night. We're looking forward to meeting other artists and learning the ins-and-outs of the Canadian Christian music industry.

Today, we participated in the talent and songwriting competitions. Each performer had the chance to present a song in each category, and let me tell you, there is some crazy, undiscovered talent floating around in Canadian churches. Family bands to teenage songwriters, flautists to horn players - all using their unique musical creativity to praise God. I was completely amazed that for the performance competition, almost everyone sang their own originals!

After each person or group presented their song, the industry panel would provide some feedback. We sang "A Divine Heart Imagined You" for performance, and shared "Living Manna" and "You Take Me Higher" for songwriting. In both cases, we received great feedback and helpful suggestions.

The whole day was inspiring and challenging. When you see the talent out there, you can't help but get excited, but that little push comes too: what more can we do with our music to make the most of our talents, and share the Gospel message?

Tomorrow, the workshops begin!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Children's Ministry Conference

What a day of joy and encouragement!

Today, we sang and led worship for Making It Easier to Serve - Leading Children's Ministry Conference. This event gathered people in all kinds of children's ministries - staff members, Sunday school teachers, youth ministers, and pastors - for a day of workshops and networking.

We started the day bright and early (sopranos should never sing at 8:30am!!) with a mini-concert of music as people gathered. We mostly sang our originals, such as "Infinitely More," "A Divine Heart Imagined You," and the song Gerald finished in Rocky Harbour, NL, on our East Coast Tour, "Oh My God, I Love You."

For our portion of the opening worship, we led a rousing and soulful rendition of "Wade in the Water," which definitely woke everyone up! We also shared our song, "Let the Children Come Unto Me," which we specifically wrote to gather children together in worship. We made up packages for each attendee with music for the song, our Infinitely More colouring sheets, and our new brochure.

For the closing worship, we led the crowd in Psalm 104 set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and our pop/hymn mash-up, "Joyful, Joyful Meets Jeremiah." As a special tribute to all the attendees, we finished the day with Ray Boltz's "Thank You."

Throughout the entire day, we had the chance to visit with interesting and passionate people - arts educators, book sellers, teachers, musicians, clergy, and people who just love bringing ministry to children. I continue to be fascinated by the journeys and lives of people of faith. I wish "the world" saw more of these kinds of Christians - honest, simple, quiet people, plugging into their communities, reaching out to the fringes, seeking solutions, and trying to let people know they're loved.

These are the people who should be making the news. 
It's not always dramatic, but it is life changing.