Julian Rock Memorial: Spreading love in the wake of tragedy

Julian Thorvund lived just two days, but the love he brought into this world continues through the commitment his parents have made, in his memory, to help families in similar situations. You can read more about Don and Becky’s story on their blog.

After struggling with the pain of losing Julian, Don and Becky Thorvund wanted to do something positive to help other families. From the Julian Rock Memorial Web site:

“In his memory, it is our desire to help other children and families with catastrophic pediatric diseases. If we can help one child live a longer, happier life or prevent one parent from having to choose a casket and flowers for their child, then our Julian’s memory will live on with others as well.”

Don and Becky started the Julian Rock Memorial in 2011 with a benefit concert and silent auction, raising more than $7,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. It has become an annual event, and continues this year. We’re so privileged that we’ve been invited to perform at the concert here in San Jose.

Julian Rock Memorial Benefit          

Join the event

Sunday May 20, 2012 – 11 am  to 5 pm
Guitar Showcase
3090 South Bascom, San Jose


The Dan Goghs – 11:30-12:15
Hang Jones – 12:30-1:15
Dedicated Maniacs 1:30-2:15
Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon – 2:30 – 3:15
Ghost Town Hangmen– 3:30 – 5:00

The silent auction includes instruments, accessories and rock memorabilia from Godin Guitars, USA Custom Gutiars, Steve Vai, Greg Khin, Riverdogs, John Mayer, Fretted Americana, Duran Duran, Dave Navarro and many others.

If you’re in town, come out and hear some great music, and bid on some terrific silent auction items. Even if you’re not able to attend the benefit, you can donate to St. Jude’s through the Julian Rock web site.


Partial Capo Workshop Sunday April 22

Join Greg for a 90 minute journey through the world of partial capos!

Sunday April 22, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Steve Brandick’s House
Newbury Park, Calif.

$30 payable to Greg the day of the workshop
$5 off for attendees of either our April 20th concert at the Sandbox in Ventura or April 21st House Concert in Oak Park.

RSVP to Steve to reserve a spot and get directions

Workshop Description

Tired of playing the same old chords?

Looking for new ways to interpret your favorite songs or original compositions?

Need something to jump start your creativity that’s not rocket science?

Partial capos open up a world of possibilities. Learn simple ways to find a new path for your guitar in this 90 minute workshop. You’ll learn how to use full, drop D, and partial capos to create new voicings for any style you want to play.

Bring your guitar. Kyser Capos will be available for use during the workshop as well as for sale.

Greg Newlon is a seasoned guitar player, songwriter, vocalist and arranger experienced in styles from rock to country to blues, to barbershop to a capella and beyond. Partial capo and alternate tunings play a major role in the new CD from Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon, Love Can Change The World.

Greg’s musical philosophy can be summed up as “it can’t be all that hard … I can do it.”

Join Greg on Facebook for conversations about guitars and players.



Teachers: their love changes the world every day, and Donors Choose helps you help them

Robert Pronovost is a second grade teacher at Belle Haven Elementary, a San Francisco Bay Area high poverty school that sits in the shadow of Facebook, Google and Apple. He’s a strong proponent of effectively using technology in his classroom – he has a classroom set of iPod touches, Macbooks and iPads.  And they weren’t donated by those high powered Silicon Valley Companies – they were donated by caring individuals, through

So given all that technology, what did Mr. Provonost do over Spring Break last year? Well, it really wasn’t all that technical, but it certainly shows a creativity and love for teaching. As soon as the last student left the classroom, he started sanding. Each desk. He sanded, primed, sanded, primed and sanded again… then painted the desks, work tables and the door with white board paint.

Why? So his students could write on their desks. That’s right. He WANTS them to write on their desks.

Since then, the magical things have happened – all from a decidedly non-technical change to Mr. Pronovosts’ classroom. Read more about it on here on his blog.

It may not have been a technology project, but whiteboard paint isn’t exactly cheap – this was another project that was funded by Donors Choose.

There are thousands of projects, with more being posted daily. Whether you want to support a school in your own backyard or across the country – whether you believe in funding academics or arts – there is something that will pique your interest on the Donors Choose Web site.

So why not start shopping now? Thousands of teachers post projects to donors choose, so there’s no shortage of options for you if you’d like to help a teacher fulfill a dream for his or her classroom.

We’ve just contributed to Mrs. Antilla”s plan to teacher her class music this year at Canterbury Elementary School in Arleta, California. She’s fund raising for recorders and music books for her classroom on Donors Choose and she’s got less than $50 to go.  All donors get thank you notes from the project teacher – the person who completes the project with the last donation required gets a whole slew of thank you knows from the students. C’mon… just think about opening that package with all those wonderful notes of gratitude.

CLICK HERE to complete Mrs. Antilla’s Music Education Project. Put those recorders in those little hands, and let’s just see what happens!


Calico Heart

Sometimes the love that can change the world is as simple as a waltz.

We love our friends from Americana band Houston Jones, and we loved singing this song, written by Chris Kee, with Travis Jones and Glenn Houston during our TrueWind Tuesday Webcast on January 24.

When you know you can’t do it all

“Will you stand by and do nothing, because you cannot do it all…”
– Ellen Stapenhorst

We delivered 25 coats and $110 in cash donations to Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose after our November 13 concert and One Warm Coat Drive here in Santa Clara California.

But when there are so many large and very successful One Warm Coat drives underway all around us, we were tempted to feel like we hadn’t done enough. We hadn’t managed to motivate thousands – or even hundreds – of people to donate, after all.

Then, on the way home, we thought of a song written by our friend Ellen Stapenhorst. Ellen sang the song at the Artichoke Music concert we shared with her in Portland at the beginning of November.

If not you, then who?
If not now, then when?
Will you stand by and do nothing, because you cannot do it all…

We can’t do it all, none of us can. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do SOMETHING.

The folks at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church know that as well. For the past 24 years, they have hosted an Alternative Gift Fair on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, through Alternative Gifts International. Last year,  Sunnyvale Presbyterian represented the largest AGI donor group in the US.

Our friends at Sunnyvale Pres invited us to provide musical inspiration at this year’s Alternative Gift Fair services on November 27, along with several other outstanding musicians. We were so thrilled to sing “There’s a Light,” but as is typical, we were the ones who ended up being inspired.

Alternative Gifts International offers a way for each of us to give a gift of life and hope, in the name of those on our gift list. And large or small, when these gifts are collected they make a real difference in the lives of people all over the world. For example, a hen for a child in Bolivia is just $27. A solar oven for a family in The Gambia is $17. A book for a library in Nicaragua is $6. Groceries for homeless family in the US or Canada for one week is $45. Legal fees for a girl rescued from sexual slavery in India are $77, and 1 day of post court care is $44.

Love Without BoundariesHere’s one that spoke to us.  Love Without Boundaries has been providing high-quality infant formula to orphaned children in China since 2003, with dramatic results. When children are fed high-quality formula, all aspects of their health improve. In addition, specialized formula is provided to orphans with specific needs, such as premature infants and those who fail to thrive, saving the lives of many vulnerable babies each year.

Through Alternative Gifts International, you can donate 1 case of high-quality formula for $110. Or, you can donate one week’s worth of formula for $8. Perhaps you can’t afford to purchase a case, but why not purchase a week’s worth? For the infant who gets that formula for that week, that is enough.

We can’t do it all ourselves, but we can find ways to do what we can. Click here to donate to Health and Hope for Infants in China and to find out about all the projects you can support through Alternative Gifts International.

You Can’t Evict an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Wise words of building community, embracing gifts, and understanding that the revolution is love.

Beautifully done.

Directed by Ian MacKenzie
Co-produced with Velcrow Ripper

Listening to Our Own Words: Love Can Change The World CD Release Nov. 13

Our new CD, Love Can Change The World, has been out for a little over a month. Airplay around the US and in Europe is increasing, and we’re getting wonderful feedback on the songs, arrangements, production, and most importantly, the message.

A few months ago, we were on track to orchestrate a BIG CD release event here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were looking at renting a theater, creating a plan for sponsorship, dreaming about sets and banners and using the BIG lights… you get the picture.

Then, we remembered what this collection of songs is really about. It reflects where we are – where a lot of us are – in our lives. It’s about simplification. It’s about paying attention to what’s important. It’s about being grateful for the love in our lives. It’s about understanding that what we already have is exactly what we need. It’s about recognizing that all around us – from the poorest village in Africa to right here in the Bay Area – there are children who are hungry. People who are cold. Families who need help.

So, we’re celebrating the release of Love Can Change The World on a smaller stage, at Mission City Coffee Roasting in Santa Clara California. And we’re combining it with a One Warm Coat drive to benefit Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose. This alone won’t change the world, but it’s something we can do, to start.

7:00 pm Sunday November 13, 2011
Doors open at 6:30 for dinner, seating and coat donations

Mission City Coffee Roasting Company
2221 The Alameda, Santa Clara California

Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon, with Dan Robbins on bass, John Hasty on drums, Dave Allender on guitar and Deborah Thacker on harmony vocals

We are not selling tickets in advance, but reservations are highly recommended as this is an intimate listening room.


We’re offering two ticket choices, payable by cash or check at the door:

$10 plus the donation of One Warm Coat (or more)
$20, which includes a $10 donation to Sacred Heart Community Services

If you’re in the Bay Area, we hope you can join us. Love CAN change the world, and we all can play a part.

What is Enough, and what is madness?

We were in the middle of mixing Love Can Change The World when the messages from Tom Shadyac’s documentary, “I Am – The Film” worked their way into a rhythmic chant…

What is enough, and what is madness?
Where do we stand along this path of sadness
Follow the line between hunger and greed
How much do we need?

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations spread throughout the country, and the voices are being heard. Every day we balance our bills with our established level of comfort, and even with our nervousness about the future we remind ourselves of how much better off we are than so, so many people in our country and beyond.

Changing the world starts with each one of us. We’re not begrudging those who are financially successful. We just need to ask ourselves, what is enough? How much do we really need, and what can we do to make this a country – and a world – where children don’t go hungry and everyone has access to healthcare?

Our most difficult – and most rewarding – performance

For independent musicians, when that phone rings or the email comes in with the gig you’ve been waiting for it’s like Christmas. We got a call like that last month, when Julie Paris of Russ & Julie’s House Concerts called to ask if we’d be available for April 21, 2012. This very high profile, long-standing Southern California house concert series takes years to get into, and we’re thrilled!

But as exciting as it was to get that call, the call that we cherish every time it comes is the invitation to provide music for the HAND Service of Remembrance held each October in Woodside, California.

Its not a big stage, there are no throngs of screaming fans. HAND stands for Helping After Neonatal Death.

HAND is a volunteer group of parents who have experienced the loss of a baby before, during or after birth. This is love that can change the world by making a real difference in the lives of families effected by an unfathomable tragedy.

The HAND volunteers are parents who have lost children themselves, and their experience has established a desire to offer support to other parents, their relatives and friends during the normal mourning following miscarriage, interruption of a wanted pregnancy, stillbirth or newborn death of their babies.

The service is coming up Sunday October 9. The parents read poems or other remembrances of their babies interspersed with the songs that we chose, and the names of all the babies are read aloud. Wildflower seeds are spread in the meadow.

This year we’ll be offering two of our songs (“Now is What We Are” from Any Doorway Will Do and “There’s a Light” from Love Can Change The World) as well as JD Martin and Paul Williams’ magnificent “Invisible Hands” and Julie Miller‘s “I Still Cry.”

We sang “I Still Cry’ at our first HAND Service of Remembrance. This is a beautiful song that has taken on deep meaning for us as a result of this experience.

I Still Cry, Julie Miller

I’m making flowers out of paper
while darkness takes the afternoon
I know that they won’t last forever
but real ones fade away too soon

I still cry sometimes when I remember you
I still cry sometimes when I hear your name
I said goodbye and I know you’re alright now
But when the leaves start falling down I still cry

It’s just that I recall September
it’s just that I still hear your song
It’s just I can’t seem to remember
forever more those days are gone

I still cry sometimes when I remember you
I still cry sometimes when I hear your name
I said goodbye and I know you’re alright now
But when the leaves start falling down I still cry

When the leaves come falling down now, I still cry

A few weeks after that first Service of Remembrance we were talking about it with a licensed therapist friend of ours who works as a counselor at local hospital. She told us that what we had no way of knowing when we chose this song, is that when a woman loses a baby but needs to stay in the maternity ward, a fall leaf is placed on her door to signify her loss to the nurses and volunteers.

It’s the hardest, and most rewarding performance that we do. It has made us aware of a reality of life that we never would have pondered otherwise. It makes us grateful for our own children. It makes us grateful for the parent volunteers who offer their time and their compassion to help others through the experience that has shaped their own lives.

That’s love.

KGO Fights Hunger Day – we can all play a part

We’re listening to KGO Radio in San Francisco today as we pay bills, get ready to leave for the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance (SWRFA) Conference, and generally stay busy with the work of getting Love Can Change The World ready for distribution on iTunes, and the like, as well as work with our radio promoter to make sure the record gets heard far and wide.

While we work, admittedly we gripe a little about all the details required to get this record out into the world while we much on walnuts and fresh fruit and plan what healthy yummy food we’ll take with us on our trip next week.

Except today is a little different for our local talk radio station that we have on in the background – today is KGO Fights Hunger Day.

So we stop, and realize once again that we have to pay attention to the words we sing:

Love Can Change the World, I can play a part…

So we’ve put the word out to our Facebook fans and friends and  Twitter followers and made this offer: We’ll send a cope of our as yet unreleased new CD Love Can Change The world to the first ten people who email us (or Facebook message or Tweet us) after donating $25 or more to Bay Area Food Banks via KGO Fight’s Hunger today before 7:00 pm. We’ll just have to trust you on this, we’re not connected at all with KGO’s effort, we just want to spread the word and give our friends and fans some incentive to get involved.

Finding healthy food on just a few dollars a day is a tremendous challenge, and its no secret that economic realities are depleting food banks everywhere.

So, if your’e in the Bay Area, please listen to KGO today with an open heart. Wherever you area, you can play a part in the fight to end hunger.