“Christmas time is here…family drawing near…fun for all that children call, their favorite time of year…” (Christmas Time is Here – Charlie Brown Christmas)
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call…it’s the hap-happiest season of all…” (It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year)
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go, take a look at the grand hotel, one in the park as well, the sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow…” (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas)
“Santa Clause is comin to town, Santa Clause is comin to town, Santa Clause is comin to town…” (In case you didn’t guess this one…it’s Santa Clause is Coming to Town)
“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas…” (Silver Bells)
“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me, please have snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree. Christmas eve will find me, where the lovelight gleams. I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” (I’ll be Home for Christmas)
As these well-known Christmas songs declare, part of the magic and the beauty of Christmas is that it comes and then it goes, and then it comes around again? Today I looked at the official Christmas countdown clock so I could work on an Advent calendar with my daughter. It’s 10 days until Christmas folks! For kids those 10 days will go by much more slowly than for us adults. Maybe that’s why Christmas is so great as a child and a little more stressful as an adult. Time moves more slowly for kids. And maybe that’s why it seems harder and harder every year to make Christmas really mean something, because it seems to go by faster and faster as the years go by. And we all want Christmas to mean something right? We want the magic to be real, we want the way the house looks to be the way it looks all year, we want our family to act the rest of the year the way they do on Christmas (well, maybe not all of us do) but you get the idea. We recognize that there is supposed to be something special about these few short weeks out of the year.
I have great news though…there IS something special about these few short weeks, and it makes all the difference during the rest of the year. And that something special is found in a story and a question. The story is about Jesus, and the question is about whether I not I live as if the story is true. What if it really is true that a man named Jesus came to earth as a baby? What if it’s true that he really was worshipped by shepherds and kings, that he really did grow up to heal the sick and raise the dead and bring hope and life to an entire world of people, to everyone who ever existed and everyone who ever will exist. What if He really did die to take on the burdens we carry every single day? And what is he really was raised to life in order to not only take those burdens away, but to give us wings so that we could fly over the haze that so many people call life. What if all of it really is true? And what if, by taking it and putting it inside our minds and our hearts it could give us the very thing that the angels declared to the shepherds on that warm spring night so long ago…peace on earth!
We hope and pray this Christmas that it really will become true for you. We also hope that you find a little of that peace at Passion, that when you or your students walk through our doors they feel something different, that they feel wonder and joy and. But especially that they feel peace all through the year. We pray that it’s a safe and beautiful place for them to have fun and to experience all the best parts of life.
From our Passion family to yours, we want to wish you an extremely merry, a very happy and a purposefully peace-filled Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah and whatever other holiday or tradition you decide to celebrate to make this time of year special. And we want to thank you for the piece that you bring to us…the gift of yourselves, your students, your family, your gifts and your talents.
A Fantastic Year in Review
As we close out 2017 and prepare to jump into a new season, we wanted to take some time to reflect on all that you have helped Passion accomplish and become in 2017. Here are a few highlights from a crazy but amazing year!
The Best of 2017
Maybe the first thing we should mention is that 2017 was the year we started bringing you the Passion Pulse! You’ll notice in January’s issue that the heading will say “Volume 2” as we get ready to share a whole new year of exciting updates!
In March of 2017 Passion Academy brought on the newest member of the leadership team, our worship leadership and piano mentor Randall Goulard. And in April, with Randall’s help, Passion launched it’s Art of Worship program, a much-needed and much-talked about mentoring and development program for worship leaders.
In addition to our new worship leadership mentor, we added 25 new mentors in the areas of voice, piano, guitar, drums, artist development and of course Passion Dance! We added 145 new music students and 82 new dance students to our Passion Academy family and had multiple Artist Development students releasing their very first music! Here’s a quick list of the new tunes coming out of Passion Music Group. All in all Passion released 26 original songs that were written by our students and their mentors and were produced completely in-house!
Glory Miller – Tempest (8 Song EP) Release Date: February 14, 2017
Zoe Macgill – Nothing To Fear (Single) Release Date: April 4, 2017
Whitney Hull – Wildflowers (Single) Release Date: May 15, 2017
Lauren Cash – Late At Night (4 Song EP) Release Date: June 16, 2017
Jui Paithane – About Love (4 Song EP) Release Date: July 28, 2017
Sarah Mackenzie – Sapphire Skies (Single) Release Date: August 11, 2017
Passion Academy – We’re Doin’ Motown (Single) Release Date: August 30, 2017
Flipside – Zero Gravity (Single) Release Date: November 11, 2017
Nick Faulconer – Untested (5 Song EP) Release Date: December 1, 2017
Summertime at Passion this year was a crazy but beautiful time of transition. The main highlight was the remodeling of our West end location, completed in just 8 short weeks, during which we continued to offer all of our normal lessons PLUS our many summer camps. Here’s a quick recap of what the new digs look like…
• In Phase One we added a new studio…Studio 4.
• In Phase Two we added a brand new (and much more comfortable and inviting) lobby space for all of you to relax in.
• Phase Three saw one of the biggest changes, our new Band Development / Recording Studio, Writing Suite and Vocal Booth, a much needed addition for our growing artist development program.
• And finally, Phase Four gave us Dance Studio Two, allowing us to add more dance mentors and classes!
During that time we also ran multiple Dance Camps, a Strings Camp, a very successful Voice Camp, and our first annual Drum Camp. And to top it all off, we hosted over 90 students in our largest camp of the year, an 8-day whirlwind tour of the sounds of Motown, the Sound of Rock Music Arts Camp.
Also during 2017 we were honored to find out that not only do you guys think we’re doing something right, but others do too! This year Passion had the privilege and the honor of winning some great and important awards in our own community.
Richmond Magazine Best of 2017
Best Music Classes for Adults
Best Music Classes for Children
Best Dance Classes for Adults (2nd Place)
Best Dance Classes for Children (3rd Place)
Best Local Summer or Day Camp Program (3rd Place)
Style Weekly Family Favorites 2017
Favorite Music Lessons
Favorite Performing Arts Lessons
Favorite Day Camp
Favorite Place to Celebrate a Birthday
Virginia Living Best of Virginia 2017
Best Performing Arts Company in Central Virginia
We are so proud of these awards because they let us know that we are doing something right, that our vision of providing quality music education, while also providing strong mentoring relationships is headed in the right direction. To that end though we are probably most proud of how we wrapped the summer up. In August of 2017 we launched Passion Arts Foundation, raising over $1,200 with a very successful benefit concert. With that we were able to award a one-year scholarship to a very deserving student, Virginia Ventura. Be sure to check out the story and more about our Passion Arts Foundation here. It is at the core of what we want to do and who we want to be!
Thank you for taking the ride with us in 2017. There is so much more to come….
Invincible is here, and we want you to be here for it. Have you seen our amazing students performing on CBS 6? Have you heard how the story told through Invincible is already making an impact on so many people? Most importantly, have you bought your tickets yet? Well now’s the time…our Winter Showcase featuring Invincible is playing THIS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17 ONLY at 4 pm at Godwin High School! As they say, the stage is set, the cameras are rolling, our students are incredibly excited and we are ready for action. Come help make Invincible incredible! You can buy your tickets here or at the door but don’t miss out!
Live Music Showcase – Rescheduled for Feb. 10
The children were ready to play out their song. The parents were ready to all sing along. The songs had been practiced, all was ready to go. But that weekend in Richmond…it snowed! The parents were wondering, what will we do? Will there be another recital in one month or two? As the questions abounded…who, what and when? Passion proclaimed that our student showcase would be February 10. The date has been set, the details will come. But a make-up recital? Yes, we’re having one!
Christmas is only 11 days away now. Hopefully by now most of you have a good idea of what the Passion Academy holiday schedule is. But in case you have questions here’s the plan. We will be open through the holidays but not ON the holidays. So if your lessons fall on Monday December 25 or Monday January 1st, we will probably all be with our families. Other than that though, please assume that your lessons will take place as normal unless you hear differently. However, if YOU know you will not be here for a lesson that doesn’t fall on one of the holidays, please contact Passion via email@example.com as normal to let us know if and when you will not be here for a regularly scheduled lesson so we can schedule a make-up.
Please note: All dance classes have a holiday break from 12/18/17 – 1/2/17