Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rising Hope

I am working on music for the Jesus House reunion concert coming up this May.

As I do this I am reminded of all my old friends from those sweet days.

One group that had such a big impact on a lot of us in this part of the world were a group of friends, Michael Goldberg, Susan Goldberg and Ross Johnson that made up the Christian trio, Rising Hope.

Michael and Susan were students at Great Lakes Bible College in Lansing Michigan. Ross was from Cincinnati and a student at Cincinnati Bible College. They pooled their assets, lived together and drove around the country fighting crime and saving the world from evil... uh. Well no they didn't actually do that. However they drove around the country playing music at churches, church camps, festivals, coffeehouses and pretty much anywhere they could sing about their love of the Lord.

They were not just musicians. Aside from having an incredible singing voice, Susan was blessed with a gift for visual art and did produced both covers for the two LP's. Michael was a photographer and put together their multi-media slide shows. Ross was a woodworker. Michael had the ultimate Martin 12 string guitar. I think it may have been a D35S12. It was a beautiful instrument.

Rising Hope included some of their friends to enhance their performance. Mikal Keefer didn't sing or play, but he had a great speaking voice. Nancy McIntosh added her flute and voice to their songs. In later days Chris Adams was added as a permanent bass player and permanent member.

The excellent thing about their performance was that it was multi-media. They would play their own songs and then have a visual arts show that utilized Mikal Keefer's voice over recorded music and 3 slide projectors that would blend photographs onto a screen.

Yes folks, this was many years ago in a galaxy far, far away..... before Power Point existed.

They wrote most of their own music or sang songs written by friends. Their voices blended well. Their style was quiet and acoustic-oriented.

Alas all things change and the 3 went their separate ways.

Ross Johnson married a wonderful Aussie girl named Lyndell and raised a family.

His woodworking skills have blossomed into luthery and he creates beautiful acoustic guitars.

Michael and Susan parted ways.
Susan, now Susan Rice, became a minister, studied at the American Christian University in France and is currently a missionary in Thailand.

Michael became a radio guy and is currently on WNKU as the morning host. He is also a noted artist in stain glass. I still see some of them on Facebook so it is nice to keep in touch and I listen to Michael aka Michael Grayson (reliable sources say the pseudonym was taken from a favorite professor) on the drive to work.

I miss their wonderful songs and their comradery.

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