Pastor Dan Damon

Pastor Dan DamonWhile working on this episode of Stories from The Point, I kept thinking of the proverb, “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.” Our guest, Pastor Dan Damon of Point Richmond’s First United Methodist Church, seems to lead his life by this wonderful saying. And in his audio postcard, he shares with us a personal experience that offers a similar encouragement to cut through the perfectionism that I’m sure holds many of us back from truly expressing ourselves.

Pastor Damon grew up in a fairly restrictive household, with very little exposure to any breadth of musical styles. But before entering seminary school and ultimately bringing together his two life passions – religion and music – Pastor Damon graduated college as a vocal music major. Even though he would have liked to major in piano, he admits, “I wasn’t a piano major because I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have the Bach and Mozart background. But I had enough voice and I got in as a voice major and sang my way through.” Yet, that didn’t stop him from branching out after college and learning to play musical genres he really hadn’t much exposure to until adulthood (rock, jazz, etc), on piano no less!

To me Pastor Damon is both a music advocate (an anti-snob if you will) and a true spiritualist (call it what you will). What I mean is this: Musically he is someone who truly appreciates the art of music, but works just as hard learning it as he does getting others to see that you don’t have to be a piano or vocal superhero to create music. And in regards to religion, this non-practicing Jew (me) truly appreciates how well he humanizes the practice of religion. In this day and age, I see religion most often equated to intolerance, fear, and condemnation. That’s not Pastor Damon. He has built the First United Methodist Church into a welcoming place where you can come to seek solace and support as well as to simply check out great music. To end, “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.” Don’t be afraid to be yourself. That’s what I hear in this episode of Stories from The Point. What do you hear?

The piano in the background of this episode is all from Pastor Damon. You can buy his CDs online at www.damonstuneshop.com/record.htm. You will find jazz, hymns, and solo piano. All of which are very enjoyable. To be sure, something for everyone.

Please remember, I love to read your comments. So, after listening be sure to leave yours. Enjoy this Story from The Point!

 

Visit Pastor Dan Damon online at:

www.damonstuneshop.com

Visit the First United Methodist Church of Point Richmond: www.pointrichmondmethodist.org

Do not to miss the two music series hosted inside the beautiful First Methodist Church of Point Richmond:

Point Richmond Acoustic: www.pointacoustic.org

Point Richmond Jazz: prjazz.org

Kit Eakle

Photo of Kit EakleIf you spend any time listening to live music here in The Point – or anywhere around the Bay for that matter – you’re likely to come across violinist Kit Eakle. He plays with no fewer than four groups and jams with a multitude of others. Most recently he has organized a series of local concerts dedicated to his passion of jazz violin. The shows also highlight some of the top violinists in the world. You can catch Kit’s Point Richmond Jazz Series in the cozy and well tuned First United Methodist Church. The current run is from October (2013) through May 2014 on every fourth Friday of the month. This is the first year but with your support we can all help make this become an annual event.

While Kit didn’t formally live here in The Point until his adult years, he certainly has strong roots in the area, as you will hear in his audio postcard. After graduating high school in near-by El Sobrante, Kit headed off to college on the East Coast but ultimately graduated from UC Davis. Then in the early 1970s, he and his former wife (a Point Richmond native no less) moved to Canada to raise their family. It was in Canada that his career playing music really developed. And while Kit has obviously maintained a solid path playing in bands, he is also a well-recognized music educator. If you have children, I strongly recommend his award winning music book In My Grandmother’s Garden. But without further ado, lets hear from Kit.

…And if you like the music you hear in this episode of Stories from The Point, definitely see Kit play live some time. As always, it’s a pleasure to read your comments, so please do leave them after listening.

Visit Kit online at: www.musickit.com.

Vincent Stephens

How does the saying go: “Good art is subjective”? Well, for pin-up and erotic art illustrator, Vincent Stephens, so is beauty. Vincent uses line drawing in a comic book style to celebrate his love of “big, beautiful women.” He does this with humor and a passionate message that big women are indeed beautiful! While his art may not be for everyone, Vincent is an extremely friendly and approachable guy who you will find most days at the Refined by Fire Gallery in downtown Point Richmond. Stop by there to chat him up and you’ll see what I mean. Better yet, come on down for one of the Point Richmond Art Walks – every third Thursday of the month – and you’ll get to see and hear Vincent playing bass along with other local musicians in the courtyard of Refined by Fire. Matter of fact, they are the ones you hear in the background of this episode! You can also find Vincent playing his gorgeous, custom made bass with various musicians at the Baltic restaurant or the Up and Under Pub (need I say, both are in The Point).

Yes indeed, Point Richmond has a good share of artists. I don’t know the percentage as compared to other places, but for such a small area, we seem to have lot of creative folks with a diverse body of works. In this audio postcard Vincent shares how the “work a day world” put him on his path to doing art full time here.

So, let’s join up with Vincent at the Point Richmond Art Walk. Remember, I’d love to hear from you and I know Vincent would too. So after listening, be sure to leave your comments.

 

Vincent Stephens can be found here:

 

Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan

Photo: Bruce Kaplan & Claudia RussellThere are so many wonderful people who live and work here in Point Richmond. And really, that is the inspiration that started this project – I want to share these voices with you! For episode 1 of the Stories from The Point podcast, I could not have been luckier to get the time to speak to a couple of very talented local musicians, Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan. They do a lot for the community here: one of those things is producing the annual Point Richmond Acoustic Concert Series at the First Methodist Church. If you are nearby I strongly encourage you to attend. Claudia and Bruce epitomize the neighborly and supportive way of thinking that I have found in so many people in Point Richmond.

So, go on, give this episode a listen to learn a bit about The Point through Claudia and Bruce’s take on this unique place on the San Francisco Bay. Don’t forget to leave a comment after listening.

 

Visit Claudia and Bruce online: