For four decades, Ken Medema has been inspiring people through storytelling and music. Macon will get a double-dose of inspiration this week, as renowned pianist Medemas upcoming trip to Macon has expanded from its original purpose to include two free public performances.
Medema spoke recently about his enthusiasm and excitement for both.
First of all, a little bit about me, he laughed. For people who dont know me, I am a singer, songwriter, keyboard player. Ive been blind from birth and travel all over the country. I do about 100 shows a year, everything from conventions to fundraisers. But the thing that I do which is sort of unique is that I make up songs on the spot based on what people tell me.
Medema said every show has a theme, and the theme for his Sunday performance at First Baptist Church of Christ is My Dream for the Church.
I love the church and I think that it can be the most loving, healthy and giving thing in the world, he said. I want people to tell me about a moment when the church really was a church. I want to hear stories about weddings and people coming together.
Tuesdays performance at Newton Chapel on the campus of Mercer University is something entirely different.
Macon is an unusual city in that it has five Shalom Zones. In case you are not familiar with Shalom Communities International, it is a wonderful initiative that engages teams of congregations and communities to build a future of hope and peace together through multicultural, multi-faith collaboration and asset-based community development, he said. It means peace, but more than that, it means partnerships. Its a place where no one is alone and its a place where we care about each other. Congregations have partnered with other folks in the city, and other nonprofits in the city.
Medema said the Tuesday concert will celebrate those community partnerships.
The songs will all be different and will focus on helping people economically, socially, providing security and protection, and to help kids have a safer place to grow up and to provide older people a place where they dont have to be lonely, he said. Im going to sing songs about that and ask people to tell me stories about partners in the city. I want to hear about people coming together to make Macon a better place.
Both shows will be based on Medemas spontaneous style, and while the subject matter will be different, Medema anticipates some similarities.
In each show, people have a chance to sing with me. People will probably end up singing, and at least on Tuesday, will dance in the aisles. I am a big fan of dancing. I use a lot of electronic keyboard and drums. I want people to feel like a part of the action. I think it really will be fun. Both shows will be kid friendly and multi-generational and I hope to see everyone come out, he said.
Mostly, though, Medema is looking forward to returning to Macon.
I love Macon. I love Macon because I think it is a city that cares, he said. Macon may not be a rich city, but it is a city that cares deeply. Its a city that wants to be a place where people help each other.
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, and 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Sunday at First Baptist Church of Christ, 511 High Place; and Tuesday at Newton Chapel, Mercer University campus