We had another fantastic InspireSong this past May 18-21! Mother nature threw us a curveball, with a huge snowstorm that hit May 17-18. Downtown Aspen received 6″ of snow, but the high mountain passes on the way from Denver to Aspen received over 2 feet! Fortunately, everyone made it through and arrived safely! Some attendees arrived in Denver a few days early to hold a fundraiser concert and spend more time together!
We had about 100 people attend from all over, with quite a few folks returning from 2016. It was wonderful to see attendees reuniting with one another, and forging new friendships with our newbies! Speaking of newbies, we had new mentors this year who joined with Keith and Sue Mohr, Matthew West, Benji & Jenna Cowart, Jonathan Mason and Paul Herman, including Seth Mosley from Full Circle Music, Daniel Doss, Matt Armstrong, Jonathan Lee, Tony Wood, and Trevor Mathieson of WORD Worship.
We held panel discussions on topics such as the Journey, where mentors shared how God directed their paths. The Inspiration Panel covered how the creative transaction takes place and sources of inspiration. The Perspiration Panel was all about the hard work and nuts and bolts of songwriting. The Business Panel discussed where and how to find opportunities for songs and songwriting.
Sue Mohr delivered the keynote on Friday morning, where she discussed “Preparing Your Song from the Inside-Out.” On Saturday morning, Seth Mosley shared his thoughts on the craft of creativity and songwriting.
Our mentors wrote a song together in front of attendees, and then our attendees were split into groups and they wrote a song together and shared them on stage. We also held an open mic where attendees could share one of their songs.
An open to the public concert was held Friday night, with our mentors sharing their songs. We wrapped up the event Sunday morning with a wonderful worship service with our mentors, and Pastor Derek Brown of Crossroads Church delivering a wonderful recap of the event along with the nuggets shared by mentors.
After the event was over, we received some wonderful testimonies from attendees about their experience. Here are a few of them:
There’s something to be said about finding your tribe, or what I humourously like to think of as getting around people who share your particular kind of crazy. Jeff Goins, in his book “Real Artists Don’t Starve”, shares thoughts on how “The Starving Artist works alone. The Thriving Artist Collaborates with others.”
I can think of no other place where I found that type of connection than at InspireSong. And for this reason alone, I will gladly invest my time, dollars, and energy to meet up with neighbours from around the world who share my love for promoting Jesus through heartfelt song; who dedicate their lives to honing their skills and reaching the audience that the Lord has already prepared in advance for them to reach.
Some of our friends met people who change their lives: songs professionally recorded and produced, publishing and distribution agreements signed, collaborative performing events and even tours… the possibilities are endless. Through the open mic nights and late night song circles I saw incredible growth in my friends’ musical and writing skills over the past year. One friend reached the requirements to register three songs for royalty collection on CCLI.
While InspireSong started as a conversation between Derek Brown at Crossroads Church – Aspen Glenwood and Beyond and Keith Mohr of Indieheaven, the event took on a life of its own. Sure, leading songwriters and worship leaders like Matthew West and Benji and Jenna Cowart attend, as well as industry experts Paul Herman and Jonathan Mason got the ball rolling in 2016. But each year brings new ideas and new challenges. God chooses who He wants to be there.
Pray for InspireSong 2018, already in the planning stages. I’m sure that God chooses you to attend next year.
This year I had the pleasure of introducing my wife to my creative family (at least the ones who could make it), and her life opened to the creative possibilities in front of her, thanks to one Larry Allen French—and she’s not even a songwriter!!
To the team at Crossroads: Rebecca Ragan, Sarah Payne, Whitney Hewitt, Billy Linn, Chris May, Dan Bosko, Billy Garaffa, Steve Woodrow, Curt Larson, Tami Frances Word, and anyone else I missed… thank you so much from the very depths of my soul. My heart is aching that I had to go home—but, I WILL BE BACK!!! – Tony Chung
I wanted to thank you for an incredible weekend at InspireSong. What stood out to me most was the humility and kindness of you, your wife, and the songwriters. I really appreciated the time you guys took to pour into us and teach us. I felt that my music was important after this weekend. I also learned valuable skills such as the nuts and bolts that go into profound lyric writing, co-writing, and music business. I am very thankful for you and the vision the Lord gave you to make this event happen. Sincerely, – Grace VanLoh
I wanted to thank you for the time and energy you invested to put on Inspiresong this past weekend. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend, and learned more than I expected – not just about songwriting, but about the heart of a songwriter and the function of the Christian Music Business industry as a whole. Your wife Sue and all of the wonderful volunteers at Crossroads were so kind to me, and I felt so welcomed the entire conference. It was certainly a weekend I will remember. Thanks for putting the conference on and for allowing God to use you in this capacity! – Emily Anderson
Just wanted to thank you for everything this weekend. We had such a blessed time. So many great connections and beginnings of new relationships. Y’all are so sweet and genuine. We appreciate the beauty in your hearts and we look forward to future ventures 🙂 God willing, we will definitely be back next year! – Amanda Guillory