Monday, June 29, 2009

OS5 and Rachael Chatoor, just for Peggy!

Life is really funny sometimes. The way one thing leads to another, how unexpected twists and turns can bring you to places that lead you to people who eventually come together for one perfect moment.

I think I captured one of Peggy's perfect moments a couple weeks ago, and maybe a few other people's come to think of it. Dave certainly had a great day because he pulled off a wonderful surprise 50th Birthday party for the woman he loves.

It was a long time in the making too.

Dave contacted me early in the year through my website, he introduced himself and told me that he and his wife had followed my contest win on Jack FM the year before. He said he was planning a surprise 50th party for his wife and he thought it would be so great if I would be willing to play for the party.

I was touched by his sincerity and obvious desire to make an incredible day for his love, I wanted to help him make it a special day. The first thing I did was tell Dave to bring Peggy out to see me play live, suggesting that if she went home having enjoyed the music that evening, then he would know for sure he had the right act for his party.

So he brought his wife out to see me play and I wound up sitting at their table chatting with them, getting an idea of the kind of songs Peggy liked so I could plan the event accordingly. I so liked her warm energy, right away I noticed it, some people just have that warmth. I sat with the group for my entire break, so comfortable and fun was the conversation, and having now met Dave and Peggy and their engaging friends (all of them in on 'the secret' by the way), I was really looking forward to the gig myself.

Suddenly this was looking like it was going to be much more significant than just a night at work, it was going to be an event.

Dave contacted me the next day and confirmed he wanted me to play his wife's party and we started to plan how to make it happen. Though Peggy loved the duo she saw me play in, Dave wanted something bigger and more exciting for the party, he wanted a band. So I started thinking about the band I would use.

There was this one group whom I met indirectly through Jack FM, they are called OS5, and I first noticed them on facebook through the postings of their super promoter Shauna, who herself had found me through the Jack Contest and added me as a FB friend after I won it.

So on my facebook feed and in my mail messages was a regular stream of posts raving about her favorite band. One day I decided I had better check it out and am I ever glad I did because I really dug their stuff and became a fan quite straight away. In looking at their website, I finally understood what OS5 stood for. The Other Side of Five. They call themselves that because they all have day jobs and they practise, well, on the other side of five.

LOL, I liked that, and I wrote them an email saying so. Good for you, family guys. That was cool to me. And so began an online friendship and sharing of links and show info. One night when I was not working I came across an invite to a venue that OS5 was playing, which was not too far from me so I organized with the band to go see them play and sit in for a tune or two. I got up for my songs but wound up staying up on stage for rest of the night backing them up with vocals because we were all having some fun with the collaboration.

Shortly after that, we collaborated further as I was asked to sing background vocals on one of the songs OS5 was in studio recording for their CD. It right was around this time that Dave contacted me so the timing being what it was, I thought OS5 was the natural choice. I suggested Dave check out the bands website. Coincidentally, there was even a connection between the band and Dave and Peggy somehow. All the ingredients were looking ideal to make the day perfect.

After months of planning, a couple of rehearsals and a gig where I came to sit in with the band again, the big day arrived and it was so fantastically perfect in every way that I decided to take all the photos and footage from the event and use the song I sang on the OS5 CD to make a keepsake video of Peggy's party. It's a lovely memory of the collaboration between myself and the band. I think it turned out quite nicely and I want to share it with you.

Without further adieu, I say thanks to Dave and Peggy, and cheers to the awesome folks at the party who made it so much fun that night.

Special thanks to OS5 for asking me to be on their album, and for collaborating with me on this wonderful event. I love your music and I do want to invite everyone reading to check out the fabulous new CD here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm too Young for this Stupid Cancer CD released!

Cancer took my fathers life in 2007.

I took my grief, processed it, and turned it into a song. (There is a blog post about it and a video of the rough draft here . )

The recorded version of the song found its way to Matthew Zachary, a talented and inspiring young man who fought and won a mighty battle with a brain tumor. Matthew is the founder of Stupid Cancer, I'm too Young for This ( i2y), a youth advocacy website who assists young adults, living with cancer. Stupid Cancer does endless good for young adults around the world, helping them shed their fears by giving them real tools, leads, and advice, as well as connecting them with resources and support. Stupid Cancer (i2y) has been awarded and named as a top charity website on the worldwide stage. (one of Time magazines top 50 websites in 2007)

One of the many, many things that Matthew does is he assembles musicians from around the world who are willing to donate a meaningful song to his cause, and he compiles these songs onto a single CD which is sold globally, through CD Baby. The proceeds, 100% of which, go to the support of youths with cancer. Volume 2, has just been released, and I am very proud to be a part of it.

This is an excerpt from the CD baby blurb.

I'm Too Young For This! Volume 2 features 20 original tracks composed by a brand new community of young adult recording artists who have been directly affected by cancer, either through their own personal diagnosis or that of a loved one. This album, in particular, is toned to specifically address the darker realities of cancer survival in the young adult population in that three of the musicians – Katie Reider, Jeannie Kauffmann and Michael Minton – are being recognized and memorialized posthumously.

Founded in 2007 by young adult survivors and for young adult survivors, the I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation is a global leader in the fight against cancer working exclusively on behalf of survivors and their care providers under the age of 40. A TIME Magazine Best 50 Website for 2007, we have helped bring the cause of 'cancer under 40' to the national spotlight and rallied a brand new generation of activists to improve early detection, advocacy, research and support for this forgotten population.

"I wanted to create something radically different than other cancer benefit CDs," says Matthew Zachary, i[2]y Founder and young adult survivor. "Instead of simply slapping a pink ribbon on an existing compilation of songs by random pop artists, this project has deeper meaning and purpose as a practical educational tool that not only raises awareness for our mission but fulfills it simultaneously."

What a delicious and diverse album, there are artists from all around the world expressing a wide variety of music. Matthew, being an accomplished concert pianist himself, has excellent taste in music and an eye for quality, they are all recording artists in this bunch. I am honored to be included with these incredible people on this compilation. On the very first listen I thought, wow, I am part of this. Each song I heard impressed me in a new way.
Sometimes albums are criticised for having no theme, feel, or continuity in the music, and some would say that musically there is no real identity to define this CD because it is so diverse but in fact, I believe it is perfectly appropriate to have a collection such as this. I think the diversity of the music is reflective of how invasive cancer actually is in our society. It touches all of us, no matter who we are or what sort of rhythm we dance to, cancer affects us deeply as humans, and our humanity is the tie that binds.
And this is a beautiful CD.

I hope you will share this post with anyone and everyone, who might wish to support this very worthy cause! Just click the underlined words in my blog and you should be directed to the relevant websites, such as CD baby where you can purchase a CD online.
If you wish to know more, you can meet Matthew Zachary here:

You can also check out Rebecca Bollwitt's E! Online post on me if you missed it, the links there will also take you to Stupid Cancer!
To hear my song which is on "I'm too Young for This" CD you can go here: Credit to: Mick Dalla-Vee for instrumentations and arrangements, and to Millennia Sound Design for the production and recording. Thanks Mick, for taking my You Tube rough draft, and turning it into something I could send to Matthew for his project, you have been very helpful in my growth as a singer/songwriter.

I will leave you with this.....I am constantly amazed at how music can be used to connect people, share a message, build a community, bring a smile.

This is one of the reasons I choose to play/write music, its not just because it is good for my soul, but its good for everyone, the language of it is so universal. And it's for this moment right here, right now, where you sit at my blog reading about someone who is doing something wonderful for other people.

I hope it inspires you, moves you, touches you. This isn't a song to chase fame, it was written to be told in the village square, around the campfire, at the kitchen table.

Good for you Matthew Zachary, thanks for including me in this project, I am so glad my song found a home! I had an inkling of this when I wrote the song, a sense, lots of signs along the way, but the picture was not clear until recently. Thats how it seems to work. If I was ever asked to share a story of hopeful divine intervention, I could easily tell this story.

And with that, I will say this, hey Daddy, I love you, I miss you. Thank you for showing me the way. I am learning to swim in the deep end finally, keeping my head above water and everything.

xo Rachael.

Friday, June 5, 2009

League of Rock ($1000 Membership giveaway CONTEST)

I have the opportunity to make someones day, I mean, really make someone day, and very soon!

Rachaelpachelwasmyname, (my blog) has been given a full membership to the League of Rock, to giveaway in a contest!

People, could I BE any luckier?? Could you?

I am a girl who likes to spread the 'warm and fuzzy' around, and I have been asked to administer the single, thousand dollar membership prize to one lucky musician.

This is perhaps the coolest opportunity that's ever found me.

If you haven't yet done so, please take a moment to read the post below this one and browse the videos, information, and links to the League of Rock. Prepare to be impressed with everything you see, plan to be excited and want to join. (and for those of you who are going to skip that step, here are the footnotes )

So, without further adieu, I will tell you how you can win the ($1000) membership prize, but first I will explain that I have never run a contest or given away anything like this before, so I immediately thought of sharing the prize with tech savvy internet goddess and personal hero Rebecca Bollwitt (who is also very well known as Miss 604 and is one of Vancouvers most influential bloggers). Thankfully Rebecca was excited to jump on board, so together now, we will give away the prize through both of our blogs.

There are actually two memberships to be won and two ways to win them, the rules are simple:

The first membership draw has excellent odds because the only entries will be from the people who actually register and join the league before July 17th, so basically, all joiners will have a chance at winning their registration fees back.

[It's your first and best shot at winning a prize, and if you are interested, you need to really look at the program and decide to participate. Once you register for the course, you are automatically entered (with ONLY the other registrants). There are only 40 spots for all of Vancouver so the odds are good to win, but do take note, spots are already being reserved so if you wait too long, you'll have to wait for the next session. ]

SIGN UP for the L. O. R. HERE

Now if you don't manage to grab a spot at registration time, there will still be a chance. Because the big membership giveaway is where Rebecca and I come in. We are collecting entries through each of our blogs and one lucky entry will win a membership for an entire season (value $1,000).

Enter by simply leaving your name and info in the contest box at the link provided here:


BONUS: You can gain an extra entry if you Tweet about this contest using the hashtag #LORvan and link to either mine or Rebecca's contest blog post. Or, you can post our contest link to your own blog. Just make sure to come back here and post YOUR link in my comments box below, so I can find it and count it as another entry!

On the big League of Rock Vancouver launch party night at the Yale on July 22, Rebecca and I will bring all the collected entries with us and make the draw in person. You must be at the Yale when the draw is made to collect the prize.

Please note,

Deadline for entries is on JULY 14th!
(but you can still register all the way up until July 17th provided spaces are still availalable)

Make sure to listen for more LOR info on Rock 101!

And I want to send a special shout out to LOR corporate sponsor Long and McQuade , who have been the source of more awesome guitars and music gear over the years than I care to admit! For more LOR sponsor info go here.. SPONSORS

Good LUCK, and Rock on!