"Rejoice Now All Men" & "Christmas-time (for Michael)": click to listen!
John Drahos came to us in the 80's through mutual acquaintances. He loved music and had been a DJ spinning Christian contemporary stuff, so he was predisposed to fit in with us. He came across as a big, bearded, positive, huggy bear kind of guy, and, best of all, he had a remarkable spirit of serviceability. We knew and loved his parents a great deal from our prayer community. His mother, though handicapped, was a highly successful writer with a wonderful insight and ability to explain the Faith and we treasured his whole family especially as intermarriage progressed within the group over the years!
As he became a total part of the LW family, Tony began to baptize him with an increasing number of silly nicknames which I initiated in the title above!! [Maybe others can comment with names I forgot or other stories about John in the comments below.]
He did all kinds of things, like helping in drama [see http://livingwatersblog-mlajoie2.blogspot.com/2011/04/drama.html ] especially as the farmer in Parable of the Talents. Like everyone, he helped with the crew and set up. But what we discovered is that he had his own musical talent. Over a long period, his musical contributions were myriad: he would contribute harmonies (like the basso profundo on the "It's Not the Same" recording) or add a keyboard line or join in with guitar.
Most of all, John seemed to have a talent for writing songs. I don't know exactly how many he's written, but I know it's a WHOLE lot. They aren't necessarily flashy or trying to impress musically, but if you listen, he's got a knack lyrically for expressing familiar stories and themes in a whole new way. It's a great thing. At first, his music was never done in the group per se [although, through all these years, he has used it a great deal himself through doing music for local churches and making recordings, including with his talented daughter (our godchild) Caroline].
But, eventually, we started having John perform his music in our concerts. At first, it was strictly a couple of solo songs because that's what they are essentially; but as time went on, many of us began to join in on some. I particularly enjoyed echoing on "Mountains Can Move" as one of the first. Later, we did "Father, Forgive Them" and others, but probably the most satisfying things we did were for Christmas shows. "Christmas Home" comes to mind, but what I have in hand here for you is a live version of "Rejoice Now All Men" from the 1993 Sheepgate concert. Greg overlaid some nice back-up guitar, I added a simple synthesizer part and everyone joined in on the vocals and the results are really 'Christmas-y', aren't they? A simple verse-chorus AB set-up it is , but oh so pretty and inspiring.
In the entry for "We're Gonna Stay", I described how John and I were roommates at 505 Pleasant and how we were asking God to help us find a wife and form families. John eventually married one of the dancers, Joyce Murphy, who's related to Greg, and and Julia and I are Caroline's godparents and...well, let's just say that the whole group married each other and got all related and all that! John lives right near Dave now with three great kids pretty much grown up. Everyone was excited to learn that Caroline is getting married next year. So, the faith family goes on!
All of LW family rejoices in the great gift that John and his family have been to us!