Thursday, April 30, 2009

really last

Okay, this is really the last post before the reunion.
I did not include an artist list in the previous post and decided that's not right so I'm going to include the list for the end of April and the first week of May.

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed the 4th Week of April

1972 - Alan Jones
1973 - Latter Rain
1974 - Muster Weekend
1975 - Rich Davis & Jackie Fathergill
1976 - Covenant (Karen & Jennie)
1977 - Denise, Lyndell, & Terri
1978 - Rick Roberts
1979 - John Gould
1980 - adamsfishyodor reunion tour III
1981 - Rising Hope
1982 - Minstral
1983 - Brad Coleman

April occasionally had a fifth Saturday:

1972 - Tim & Barbee
1977 - John Redell
1978 - Hymn
1983 - A film: "It's Friday But Sunday's Comin'" featuring Tony Campolo

This Week in History: Artists Who Played the First Weekend of May

1972 - Randy Matthews, special first anniversary weekend concert
1973 - Nothing listed for May & June in 1973. Not sure what I was doing...
1974 - Mark O'Hara
1975 - Donnie Yazell
1976 - Diakonoi, Andy Danzl
1977 - Ken Atkinson
1978 - Mark Ryman
1979 - Nothing listed???
1980 - Cathy Snyder
1981 - adamsfishyodor reunion IV celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Jesus House.
1982 - Brethern
1983 - Linda McKay

the last post

Well, this might not be the exact last post.
I'm still thinking about it.
I've had several people ask if I might continue a while longer.
If so, it will be through the summer so I get to list everyone who ever played the house.

But, it's the last post before the reunion.
I'm in my office listening to "It's About Time" the Jesus House CD Project.
42 songs of really good music. Very interesting, eclectic collection of styles and moods.
I have five songs left and have enjoyed this first complete listening.
The project begins with a surprise addition that I think everyone will enjoy.
It concludes with a great song by Mike Wilshire titled Magnify which includes vocals by Kent Odor, Marc O'Hara and a multitude!

I love hearing all these songs, most of which, were performed at the House at some point in the 14 years. On the CD they are mostly performed by the original artist. I hope you are blessed by this project and find it a regular part of your inspirational and devotional life.

Hope to see all of you on Saturday, 3:00 - 11:00 pm
Highview Christian Church 2651 Adams Road in Mt. Healthy
Dinner will be served at 5:00 pm catered by Skyline Chili. Donations to cover the cost of food will be essential.

Blessings, love & grace

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This will be our fifth!
And it's just a few days away.
I'm really impressed by the people who are flying in from out of state and in at least one case, from out of country.
It will be wonderful to see everyone.
Preparation for the reunion has prompted memories, some of which I've written in this blog.
Some memories are good.
Some memories are painful.
Life is a series of experiences; some great and some bad. From those experiences come memories.
I think that those who are attending the Reunion are people with good memories of the Jesus House.
Good memories of friendships established within those walls.
And for some of you, good memories of becoming a Christian.
If past Reunions are an indication, a good time will be had by all.

The First Reunion: May 14, 1989 at Fellowship Christian Church
It was a one-day reunion beginning at 2:00 with Terry Fisher and concluding around midnight with fishyodor and friend Marc O'Hara. Also included that day were Hodgie, Lee Benken, Deny Brigance (with band) Rough Draft, John Gould, Loyd Boldman (with band) and the Willoughby-Wilson Band. The reunion was organized by Joan Boertlline with a promotional poster by Loyd Boldman.

The Second Reunion: April 30 & May 1, 1999, Pleasant Run Church of Christ
An expanded reunion with the addition of Friday evening. Seventeen artist or bands played and Dr. Foster spoke.

The Third: May, 2001, Pleasant Run Church of Christ
A similar cast of characters, once again two days, and the return of Dr. Foster who told the story of his experience at our very first Conglomerate. He said that when he left the previous reunion, he didn't know if we would ever ask him back but just in case, he wrote the message he would present. It was a great message. adamsfishy had to play without Kent so Marc O'Hara, once again filled a spot with us. We concluded the night with spontaneous worship that included Jim Wilson, Rick Fields, Hodgie joining Marc, Christopher and me on stage.

The 4th: May, 2004, Pleasant Run Church of Christ
adamsfishyodor was back in full-force! Deny Brigance showed up! We toured the Jesus House property!
It was a great reunion.

And now, the Fifth and, no doubt, final Reunion: May 2, 2009, Highview Christian Church 2651 Adams Road in Mt. Healthy, not far from the Jesus House Building.
A great line-up of musicians plus a brand new, hot off the duplicator, 42 song double CD of many of your favorite original songs from the Jesus House performed by the original artists. It will be yours free just for attending, and sitting through a brief, 45 minute presentation on a unique opportunity we want to offer you on some vacation condos in, no, no, there will be no presentation on vacation condos. The CD's are free to you as a gift from the artists who wrote, recorded and performed the songs.

One of the most dramatic reunions is found in the Bible in the story of the Prodigal Son, sometimes referred to as the Forgiving Father. The son had no idea what kind of reception he would receive upon arriving at his childhood home. When he asked his father for his share of the inheritance, he was, in essence saying, "Dad, I wish you were dead." He knew he was arriving back home as a failure. He brought no gifts from his travels other than an empty stomach, worn out clothes, and a broken spirit. The humility with which he intended to approach his father was his lesson learned. That is until he found himself in his father's forgiving embrace. Then he learned about love and grace. The father knew how to host a reunion!

I thank my God for you whenever I think of you. My constant prayers for you are a real joy, because we have worked together for this gospel from the first day until the present. I am confident of this: that the One who has begun his good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ. It is only natural that I should feel like this about you all - you are very dear to me.
Philippians 1:3-7

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Muster Weekend

A few weeks into 1973 the staff of the JH decided we wanted to organize a "revival!"
Lots of churches used to have fall and spring revivals, but we knew, since it was the Jesus House, it had to be something different. First we needed a name.
That was because everything at the Jesus House had a name or a nickname.
Kent, Chris and I spent an afternoon at the CBS library researching names.
Kent found it: Muster! (It had an exclamation point the first year)
We created a logo.
We created t-shirts.
We created posters.
We scheduled a speaker (Tom Smith the first year. Excellent choice.)
We scheduled a band. (An unknown group from Michigan named Rising Hope.)
In addition, we scheduled as guest soloists some of the JH favorites. (John Gould, Randy Moody, & Rich Davis)

The results?
An incredible weekend of evangelism around Cincinnati, including Sunday afternoon at Eden Park, three evenings of meetings at Highview Christian Church with a 150-200 people each night, and great number of people becoming Christians or renewing faith in God.

The long-term results were several. First, we decided to host Muster annually, which we did for six years. Second, as a result of meeting at Muster, Tom Smith invited Rising Hope (specifically Mike Goldberg) to become Campus Minister at Miami University. Mike & Susan Goldberg, Ross Johnson & Mikal Keefer moved to the Cincinnati area and became an important part of the Christian music community.

After two years of Muster at the Highview building, we moved it to the Jesus House. The following is the guest line-up for each year.

April 25-27, 1973 (Highview Christian Church)
Speaker: Tom Smith
Music: Rising Hope
Featured Soloists: John Gould, Randy Moody, Rich Davis

April 26-28, 1974 (Highview Christian Church)
Speaker: Gene Hardaway
Music: Rising Hope, Latter Reign, adamsfishyodor
Featured Soloist: John Gould
Mixed-Media Presentations: Mikal Keefer

April 11 & 12, 1975 (Moved to the Jesus House building.)
Speaker: Grant Edwards
Music: Rising Hope, Brothers of the Son (another Michigan group this one including Kent Odor's brother Kevin)

April 9 & 10, 1976
Speakers: Lewis Foster, Grant Edwards, Mikal Keefer
Music: One Lane Road

April 15 & 16, 1977
Speaker: Mike Reinus
Music: One Lane Road, Prodigal

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed the Third Week of April

1972 - Dave Ooten, Jerry & Lynn, Girls from Bowling Green (Not sure who the girls from Bowling Green were. Were they from Bowling Green, Kentucky or Bowling Green, Ohio? I have no idea.)
1973 - Marc O'Hara
1974 - No artist listed on the calendar. It was the week before the second year of Muster. I must have been too busy to record the artist. The following day I played at Mt. Washington Church of Christ and the week before afo played at Charlie Pater's Church(?)
1975 - Rick & Hodgy (Yes, they have two cuts on the Jesus House Recording Project!)
1976 - Tony, Sharon & Anita (Probably Tony Ross, Sharon Wilson and Anita Workman before she was Anita Workman.)
1977 - The Final Muster Weekend
1978 - Randy Matthews (We substituted an annual concert from founder Randy Matthews instead of doing Muster Weekend)
1979 - Rick Fields (Where was the band?)
1980 - One of the Flocks (a small group) from Fellowship Christian Church. Must have been a musical Flock!
1981 - The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
1982 - Minstrial
1983 - Willoughby-Wilson Band This was University of Cincinnati night at the Jesus House. Some of the Campus Fellowships brought groups of people to the House for the evening. We had almost 200 hundred people packed into the place!

Where Are They Now?

I mentioned Rising Hope in the description of Muster because that brought them to the Cincinnati area for the first time. You might be interested to know where the members of that group are residing and what they are doing. Michael Goldburg lives in Cincinnati and can be heard Monday - Friday in the mornings on WNKU playing an incredible selection of music. Susan is now a pastor, just finished up an Interim position in France and is ministering in Tailand. Ross Johnson lives in the Cincinnati area, leads worship at his church and will be appearing at the Jesus House Reunion. Mikal Keefer lives in Colorado Springs and applies his considerable creativity to his position at Group Publishing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


As you gaze at the people in the previous two posts you may have recognized a few faces, perhaps even your own. One of the joys I experienced during 14 years at the House was people. I look at those faces and realize I was spoiled because the people who showed up on Saturday night wanted to be there. I was not faced with the problems youth ministers encounter because of students who are forced to attend youth group by their parents. I was not faced with problems many pastors have from church members who have lost passion for Jesus and enthusiasm for church but attend out of obligation or tradition but do not enjoy being there. Week after week people showed up for the concerts with joy and enthusiasm. I'll admit there were nights when things did not go well. Sometimes the musicians were boring or very inexperienced. Sometimes the musician was not connecting with the crowd. Sometimes we had technical problems. But those nights were the exception. The normal experience at the Jesus House was celebration, worship and genuine excitement about Jesus, the music and being together.

As I gazed at those photos supplied by Christopher Adams I saw faces of people I dearly love. People I miss. People with whom I have had "one big time in the Kingdom" and look forward to having "one big time in the Kingdom" for all eternity.

Thank you Randy Moody for that theme song for the Kingdom.
Thank you to all of you who showed up, celebrated, and allowed me into your lives.
I hope to see you on May 2.

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed the Second Week of April

1972 - Stan & Frankie from Ball State
1973 - Lee & Reggie
1974 - Kevin & Rick
1975 - Muster Weekend (More on this tomorrow!)
1976 - Muster Weekend (Ditto)
1977 - Jim Bankowski
1978 - One Lane Road
1979 - Randy Matthews
1980 - Harriet Lewis (Someone just told me Harriet recently died.)
1981 - John Gould (Swapped emails with him today!)
1982 - The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Told you this was a multi-year tradition!)
1983 - Ocean of Love (Great name but I do not remember anything about them)

a few more, thanks to Christopher Adams for these images

a few saturday night images including the old murals

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Last Few Blog Entries

This blog is coming to a close. I will add a few additional entries this week and next, but once the Reunion occurs, the Blog is finished. I realize I've been off my game with this blog during April. I'll have to pull the Easter card. As the Lead Pastor of this church, the weeks building up to Easter were busy and occupied. The time since Easter has been recovery!

So speaking of Easter, I'm reminded of a tradition we followed for a few years, showing The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe around Easter. No, not the most recent Walden Media version and not the BBC version from the late 80's early 90's. No this was the animated version produced by the Episcopal Church and originally broadcast on television. It was not a great version but was much more impressive when projected on the "big screen" at the Jesus House. Fortunately the movie was produced on film, not video tape, so we were able to rent a copy and project it using Tom Rocklin's 16 mm projector.

The first year, our friends from the Logos Bookstore in College Hill (Remember that place? It was the best Christian book store that has ever existed!) brought a display of C.S. Lewis material. We sold lots of books, gave away copies of LWW and even gave away a Chronicles set. We also supplied free popcorn all during the movie. It was a reverse offering. Popcorn was circulated in large bowls. The point was, grab a hand full and pass it on!

We had such a great time we decided to do it again the following year. Yes, the Jesus House had traditions!

This Week In History: Artists Who Performed the First Week of April (Yes, I told you, I'm behind. I'll catch up, I promise)

1972 - The Easter Bunny! (Yes, the Easter Bunny made an appearance) Also the Jesus House Singers & Players with soloist Teri Senters.
1973 - Larry Pennington
1974 - Dick Mott
1975 - Dead Rat Road Band (Some of these guys were at Rick Marksberry's last Sunday night recording additional vocals for a song on the Jesus House Recording Project. See below for more details.)
1976 - Ric Roberts (Ric just sent a note for us to read to everyone at the Reunion. Want to know what's in the note? Come to the Reunion!)
1977 - Rich Mullins
1978 - Odor Clarke & Burns (They have a couple of songs on the JHRP!) Also, Jason Nightingale, an actor, performed the first three chapters of Revelation.
1979 - Marc O'Hara (He has a couple of songs on the JHRP plus sang harmonies on several other cuts!)
1980 - The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (See above)
1981 - Prodigal (Lloyd Boldman and Rick Fields each have cuts on the JHRP)
1982 - John Gould (Yes, John recorded Slow Me Down for the JHRP)
1983 - Jon Owens

Further Adventures in Recording
One of the songs, Magnify, written by Mike Wilshire, recorded by Kent Odor & Marc O'Hara needed a multitude to sing on the last chorus. This was because Mike used to invite an audience to sing with him on the song. So a multitude gathered at the Marksberry's house. Specifically Ric & Barb Hine, Marc O'Hara, Deny Brigance and Terry Fisher (me). Alright, it doesn't sound like a multitude when you read the list of names, but after we recorded our parts on three tracks then put them together, it sounded just like a multitude!

After finishing the recording we had a spontaneous listening party. We heard about a dozen of the 40 songs from the project. I assure you, there is some incredible, beautiful music awaiting your listening ear. Deny Brigance (producer) and Rick Marksberry (engineer), have done incredible work. Also, Marc O'Hara, Andy Danzel, Diane Marksberry as well as Deny & Rick have added vocal harmonies, guitar, mandolin, percussion, violin and other sounds that have enhanced many of the songs. I recorded Immanuel for the project with my voice, guitar and Christopher Adams' bass. I asked Rick to add violin because since I wrote that song, I've always heard a violin on it. Finally, on Sunday night I heard for real the violin I always heard in my mind. Many of the songs will finally be heard the way we always imagined them.

Of course, some of the songs needed nothing additional so they did not tweak everything.

I look forward to seeing all of you starting at 3:00 pm on May 2.
You'll hear the music live, then go home with your own copy of the recording project, now titled "It's About Time." Because it is about time these songs were recorded for posterity.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

For those of you not on Facebook...and why not?

For those of you not on Facebook, below you can see the song & artist list for the Jesus House CD Project. It is an amazing list of 41 songs! Many of them will be performed live at the next, and most likely final, Jesus House Reunion, May 2, 2009.

The Jesus House CD Songlist

41 songs
Adamsfishyodor: Child of the King (Traditional)
Adamsfishyodor: Sohio Station Blues (Odor)
Loyd Boldman: Emotional Shorthand (Boldman)
Deny Brigance: A New Song (Moody-Brigance)
Brigance, Shelby, Helwig: Holy Roller (Brigance)
Andy Danzl: Mercy (Wilson)
Andy Danzl: What Makes A Man Real (Wilshire)
Bob Clarke: Joy (Clarke)
Bob Clarke: Sleep Little One (Clarke)
Bob Clark: How Much Love (Clarke)
Brent Eresman: Higher Up (Eresman)
Terry Fisher: Emmanuel (Fisher)
Terry Fisher, et al: Please Don't Preach (On that scripture tonight) (Fisher)
Terry Fisher, et al: Only the Father Knows (Fisher)
Fishyodor: ‘Cinnati (Fisher)
The Sherri Fitzgerald Band: 1st Peter 5: 9, 10 (S. Fitzgerald)
Sherri Fitzgerald w/Brent Eresman: Consider It All Joy (S. Fitzgerald)
John Gould: Slow Me Down (Gould)
Rick & Hodgie: Can You Imagine the City (Hodgetts)
Rick & Hodgie: O Come Lord Jesus (Mapes)
Diann Marksberry: No One Loves Me Like You Do (D. Marksberry)
Rick Marksberry: Canaan, Can You Hear Me (R. Marksberry)
Rick Marksberry: Hoedown (R. Marksberry)
Randy Moody: The Kingdom (Moody)
Randy Moody: The Sinsong (Moody)
Kent Odor: Begin (Odor)
Odor / O’Hara, et al: Magnify (Wilshire)
Marc O'Hara: Praise the Lord (O'Hara)
Perkolaters: On Top of the World (Fields-Wilson)
Prodigal: Shout It Out (Boldman)
Rising Hope: I Am the Bread of Life (M. Suzanne Toolan)
Rising Hope: The Lord Will Be My Snowtires (Johnson)
Tony Ross: Worries of the World (Ross)
Steve and Barb Steffens: Psalm 143 (B. Steffens)
Steve and Barb Steffens: Psalm 128 (B. Steffens)
The Steffens & Brigance Group: Take My Hand (S. Steffens- B. Steffens)
Sharon Williams: Maranatha (Williams)
Sharon Williams: Isaiah 55 (Williams)
Willoughby-Wilson Band: Standing in the Wake of the Storm (Wilson)
Al Willoughby: The Reward of His Suffering (Willoughby)
Mike Wilshire: Cross-Town Transfer (Wilshire)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

another recording session

Sunday night another group of grizzly JH veterans gathered for a recording session. Rick & Diann Marksberry hosted us. Included in the evening, although not everyone is pictured below: Deny Brigance, Andy Danzel, Brent Eresman, Terry Fisher, Rick & Diann Marksberry, Kent Odor, Marc & Linny O'Hara, Sharon Wilson Williams and her son-in-law Amos (?). We recorded, ate chili, and talked lots. The recording is now over 30 songs! Yes, Kent Odor finally got his wish. At the end of the evening he and I recorded a quick one-take of "Get the Sin Out of Cincinnati."
Special thanks to Marc O'Hara for the photos.