Showing posts from 2013

Music Together

It is the fellowship of musicians that sustains my musical heart. 

The joy of excellent collaboration on display is a wonder. A spark, a mystery revealed in sight and sound. 

It inspires, educates, and explores rare emotions for all.

#performance -- performer and audience alike

Christmas with Annie Moses Band

I had the privilege of attending one of the tour concerts of the Annie Moses Band last night at Huguenot Road Baptist Church in Richmond Va and one thought remains with me this morning.  Heart coupled with skill is indomitable.  When placed on display it creates hope, inspiring, moving... in a magical tapestry of sound and energy.

Those wonderful musicians were fantastic.  Their arrangements of Christmas favorites from God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, to the Vaughn Williams Theme from Thomas Tallis, to Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring.. to their utterly overwhelming O Holy night...  all filled with energy and drive anew..

Many times I thought, They are a string quartet with personality, and a spirit of praise.  The story telling legacy which they so easily access within their own family history brings the audience in.  The stage craft is fundamental, and not overstated... from the flipping hair, to the step up together..
Their percussionist is stunning in his use of so many sounds and t…

Greatest voice of an age.

This man was instrumental in my development as an artist, and as a person.  I read about him, studied him, learned his assets and faults and yes… I loved him.  For so many years, I wanted to sing like him.

What he said to me.  "you have a beautiful voice, for such a baby…"  I was 19 when I met him and sang for him on the stage of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.  I saw him in concert many times, I have autographed CDs, and books.. and oh, the memories.  What a voice. What a personality.

A Man to remember.  ALWAYS!  for all AGES….


Performers dilemma.  Onstage you are everything. Offstage you are nothing. - stage is fleeting and temporary, off stage is everything.  Perhaps, it is the stage of life which sustains such questions. We are only as fine as our last performance, but every day is an opportunity. 

Singing in Harmony

Harmony is about connection and diversity of thought and action within the context of a singular purpose. Unity is not conforming to a singular collective action. It is an understanding that the plan for our lives is set in front of us individually and passionately, but we are called to sing our parts, in tune, and on the same sheet of music.

"Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." Colossians 3:15-17 MSG

Short Bio for 2013, Jeff Prillaman, Virginia Tenor

Virginia Tenor, Jeff Prillaman is the co-founder of Da Capo Virginia, an experienced business man, and a passionate advocate for music education, experiences, and inclusionary excellence.  He hasenjoyed a variety of solo engagements in both national andinternational venues and holds a Master of Music from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music from Westminster Choir College in addition to a certificate in management from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. His long time love for Bel Canto, oratorio, and traditional tenor concert repertoire fromDonizetti to Verdi and Puccini has recently evolved to an intensive study of the songs of Franz Liszt and an exploration of American songs from hiscolleagues and contemporaries.  In 2010, he debuted “Come Thou Fount” a song cycle written specifically for him and based ontraditional sacred harp tunes by Dr Charles Hulin IV of Southeastern University. A professional recording of this exciting cycle is set for public …

Leadership:Skill Required -- Saturday morning coffee and the Harvard Business Review from 2002

"essence of leadership lies in the capacity to deliver disturbing news and raise difficult questions in a way that moves people to take up the message rather than kill the messenger"

" can lead and stay alive—not just register a pulse, but really be alive. But the classic protective devices of a person in authority tend to insulate them from those qualities that foster an acute experience of living. Cynicism, often dressed up as realism, undermines creativity and daring. Arrogance, often posing as authoritative knowledge, snuffs out curiosity and the eagerness to question. Callousness, sometimes portrayed as the thick skin of experience, shuts out compassion for others."

"Do not underestimate the difficulty of distinguishing self from role and responding coolly to what feels like a personal attack—particularly when the criticism comes, as it will, from people you care about. But disciplining yourself to do so can provide you with an anchor that will kee…

Fluff and change

Social media is about more than fluff… It is about relationships. Specifically relationships which cannot be maintained or sometimes initiated across geography and time any other way. Take it seriously and learn to use it.

If we embrace a call to marginalize such a powerful tool (bridging both collaboration and communications) we say more about ourselves and a lack of ability than we do about the tool.
Learn how to use tools friends.  It takes practice, and real relationship skills for real relationships.

Post, own your words, be accountable and understand and tolerate dissent.  Recognize that a social media "feed" is not a linear event and adjust your speech and communications methods intentionally.  Embrace and explore what you can do with the tools and then… 

Go out to dinner with your real family and close friends face to face and talk politics, religion, relationships… future… Things that matter.  Face to face.  

Find YOUR balance and manage it.  

Most importantly, love …

Respect, Hope and Change.

Lesson to the young, and even to the not so young.

You should respect elderly people.. seriously.. They didn't get that way by being stupid, no matter what you think.

Look at the entirety of their lives.. their families, their legacies, their possessions, and their reputations.. All play a part. Learn from them.. and make progress, but first you have to do at least as well as they did. Be careful when you deconstruct. The void is usually worse than the previous. We can't disregard so easily without providing better options… for educations, experiences, relationships, and yes.. possessions and abilities.

-- That said, we can't stay where we are either. Clearly what we have done in past got us here. For things to change, something has to change.

What a different world it would be if kids were taught directly to embrace what their parents know.

Instead, today's kids see it as a rite of passage to show their disrespect for their elders often by promoting thoughts of HS an…

Give it up.

Think about the things you are most passionate about in your life.
Think about the things that are most important to you.

Life is about balancing those two in a visceral sadistic cycle of trade offs.
Seeking the stage, the recognition, the fame and ultimately the money.. comes at a cost too great to even comprehend for most.
Settling down and seeking the simpler things... costs the heart of too many until it is too late.

Balance is found in giving up what costs the most and gives the least.

Power and balance

Only fools believing that winning a negotiation at the expense of the other side is actually a victory. In most cases, a "win" only guarantees a future retribution and more conflict. There is a big difference between wars, games and governing... not to mention actually living into a joint future. From churches, to families, to governments... We cannot win if we destroy and diminish our "opponent".. Did we learn nothing from WW1... The Ds and Rs are now functionally at war within our country. It may no longer matter who is right, as we are all losing.

President Obama's yes we can rhetoric was appealing, even intoxicating with its foundations built on hope and change, and peace, and prosperity. Unfortunately, his lack of experience has now drawn us all into recurring conflicts both internally and globally. Our only choices seem to be force and further division. This is a function of poor leadership.

Petty, self absorbed, closed minded... backed into their prover…

Song of gratitude.

A profound sense of gratitude abounds.   As the Amazing Raise enters is final 6 hours.. I declare victory for DaCapoVa.. What began as an idea that friends, and colleagues could join together and just "do what we do".. but begin from a different place.. include everyone.. and above all serve others, not ourselves.. This is hard for musicians.. particularly performers. We are indoctrinated into competition from the beginning.. the need to be better... seek perfection.  I simply believe that we can do these things without diminishing or excluding others.  Everyman has his role to play on the stage.. indeed.  

I've saturated your timelines with requests for support in the last week... I'm not sorry, but I recognize how it might seem. Passion has that effect.  It polarizes and is powerful.  Thank you for your time and attention.. for the shares, for the likes.. and hopefully for a few smiles..  I can't say thank you enough for the money.. It provides the gateway to …

Manners demand is up.

Ignore this advice.. or not.. I didn't send it to you in an email, or write it to you directly.  

So, what is a relationship oriented person to do in a world of emails, and letters, and notes, and yes Facebook, Twitter and endless MEMEs valiantly striving for mindshare.  

Here are my suggestions. in no particular order...  

Use Manners.. always..  Friends and colleagues are precious assets in a world more and more devoid of true, caring, relationships.  Treat them as such. 
Be Honest.  Tell those you care about that you can or cannot do things.. Tell them what you think about their decisions. Applaud them and criticize them.. but above all love them.. Be grownups... Just because you said it, doesn't mean they care... or that anything will change. 

Consider that inaction is action.  If you are too busy, you can't just expect others to understand. We are ALL busy.  That is the way of things. Taking the time to call, check in, say thank you.. are all things that grown ups do.  Don…

Looks and Legacy of Leaders

Day to day.. task after task... opportunity, challenge transform into successes and failures. Clearly... our legacy is best remembered by our results... Our results are informed by our strategy, and our strategy is built to deliver on our purpose..

What did I say?  What am I trying to say?

Running a family, a business.. even just working in a job requires a strategy yet most people have no true understanding of what strategy actually is.  They mix up tactics, and actions, and strategy and then complain when there are no results. I am guilty of this too but I am getting better and better. day by day, task by task..

Day to day linear tactics are not strategy. Surviving isn't strategy.

Sequencing tactical components & assets on demand to meet needs within a long term vision is strategy.

To succeed requires experience matched with luck over time.

Success is indeed fleeting because every day takes different actions. If you act strategically though, you can begin to win more days…

Remember the burden.

The tragedy on 9/11 reminds me of the importance of remembering. Only 12 years ago there was so much blood shed for what? I learned of attacks like Pearl Harbor, and wars like Korea and Vietnam from history books as my children and their children will learn of 9/11... from books.  They will learn of a nation that was violently terrorized and attacked... and of a country that struggled to fight back.. winning the "battles" but never quite winning the wars. Our honored and valiant soldiers spending their blood and tears in far away places to keep us safe. As they always have ,and always will.  Let us remember that we are a nation built on freedom, free will, choices... not terror, fascism, death dealing, and moral superiority.  We must model the way for the world, not dictate it. I do remember... all too well... fearing for my friends then and now. Retreating into my art, and my faith, and family... Seeking to love more directly and make a difference. Future generations may o…

Military action in Syria

I do not support military action in Syria.

If we kill indiscriminately to maintain our reputation. We are not peaceful. We are terrorists. We have become what we despise. A missile attack is exactly that.

We should not go it alone.  If US involvement in Syria is punishment for killing Syrians, it makes absolutely no sense to kill more Syrians.

This "Red line" debate assumes one side or the other can actually stop or reduce future bloodshed. In Syria, that false assumption will be deadly for US soldiers with no impact on our actual and imminent threat condition for National Security.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jeffrey Wayne Prillaman

KWOL in the Rolling Ridges

I've been wondering lately where the line between church planting and missional living really is when applied to #KWOL(Kingdom way of living).  In particular, I have this sense that I've been more missionally involved in leadership in the last year than I have in many many years and yet I'm not an active leader within my church.

In Richmond,  I do plenty of teaching.  I get to sing and perform and share my talents on stage.  I do hospital visits and intentional care for friends and family and our family even spent an entire vacation visiting our ministry friends from early in our marriage.  Yet... My children continue to have transformational missions experiences in the hills of the Appalachian mountains. I think I want something simpler and more complex at the same time.

I feel a particular call to return to ministry leadership in those hills, with some colleagues from the past. I want to plant a church, and move my life to a simpler more impactful place with people in t…

Skills endorsements: LinkedIn

I've been participating in and watching the growth of LinkedIn and its "skills" endorsements section for months now.  I take referrals and recommendations seriously. I wonder if the allure of a simple click to endorse a colleague has any real and lasting value.

Is my core skillset and experience represented by a social media referral service like this. Time will tell..  For those of you who know me.. you make the call.

My 2 cents... So far the system is representing my experience pretty well, but do these referrals actually have any value beyond self aggrandizing narcissistic tendencies?  Perhaps... if I get noticed for a job or can help a friend because of my "connections" that is a good thing.  As usual..

Time will tell the true tale over time social media does the same.

Evangelism #KWOL and converging ideas for the common good.

Kingdom way of life discussion on facebook in the aftermath of the #scotus rulings clearing the way for same sex marriage. 

I view evangelism as sharing the gospel.. The gospel being the story of Jesus and his good news. In my view, we are here to declare and write our own story, living into love, with Christ at the head.. as Lord.

Imposing our interpretations, and beliefs on others is about persuading.. rather than declaring. If we recognize that God is at work in our world around us, and our call is to join him in his work rather than pursue our own.. we have no need to impose.. we are instead called to live and love... often in radical opposition to the institutions and laws of the land.. but not by design.

Jesus had no need to rule by force and impose. I don't see why we should. Challenging others is perfectly okay, but we must allow them to walk away if they so choose. Such is the doctrine of free will and liberty.

Question:  but why evangelize... "I prefer to just live q…

Stream of Spirit

Follow the stream.  from coverups to community improvement. From development of civilization and the great basins to highways, interstates and the feeds.  twitter, Facebook, feeds, news, television..  streams of data flow into our processors from screens, sounds, memories, music, and we must choose what to listen to, more importantly what to act on.  
I've been growing as a Baptist for over 40 years.  I've been effective at quiet times and listening on at off..   not as often as I would like.    As I consider the stream of information which I create... I wonder what others see.

Going with the flow.. Riding the waves... To get a handle on what I think you have to step into the stream.  I joke often with my work colleagues... that working with me can be like trying to drink from a high pressure hose.  Don't stick your face in too far.. it hurts.   My part of that is that I've been working to adjust the flow, but not where you might think.

I'm trying to be more res…

Living out loud.

Last few weeks have generated a lot of self examination for me.  I've been exploring my own life and living for a bible study I'll be teaching over the Summer on the Kingdom way of Life.  I'm already a little obsessive about a lot of things. (family and friends are LOLing right now...) Reality is... there are pros and cons to this tendency, blessing, gift...  Think about that, as Ill come back to it in a bit.

Jesus teaches me that I need to live in grace, embracing every moment, not judging, understanding that I am a member of the body of Christ. Most importantly... I'm not the head.  That is a tough one for me... (maybe for you too)

I am "good at" a lot of things.. listening... hearing... technology...  music... performing.. parenting... coaching... competition, and yes collaboration.
I am "bad at" a lot of things... gentleness... crying... exercise... submission... silence... and yes sometimes collaboration.

So what does this mean exactly?  Why…


Life moves on.. I am not the person I was 20 years ago.. but he is still in there and surrounded by more than a few pounds,  memories, experiences, good & bad...

I ask myself... what is important for tomorrow.. and get excited. Yesterday... well that is done. Tomorrow is fresh, ready to be explored, filled with opportunity.

Old friends pass from my thoughts..but not my care. I focus on today's relationships and the new people and moments set to be revealed tomorrow and beyond.

... and I remember, Jesus loved me through it all and still.

Death of a Facebook Page

For couple of years now,  I've been managing a separate FB page titled Jeff Prillaman, Tenor.  When I started that page, I thought it would be a good place to have discussion and artist oriented development, commentary and event promotion.  Turns out, that FB has matured and I know longer need it. FB does much better for me in connecting to my friends than I ever would have imagined. My discussions as an artists (tenor) are not separate from my life as a father, minister, technologist.. etc.. so... as of June 4, 2013... The page ist KAPUT!

Reality of leadership is that consequences occur.

Actions, ideological, correct or otherwise must bring about progress. Positive progress is not about being the story, but in achieving a result. Distraction, diversion and adverse results may often be avoided with no action at all. 
Awareness of the whole chess board is key for any effective leader. The truth is that sometimes the battle may be the story, but it cannot and should not be by accident. The result must be by design or it is chance, even luck, maybe divine intervention, but not leadership.

Christians: Doing it wrong?

If our entire "world" is our church... We are doing it wrong. If the work of "the church" becomes our entire world then we are on track. Every day, moment, and task becomes an opportunity to connect, love and communicate.

Our lives should not become reference books on a shelf. They must be all used up.. for a purpose. And that purpose is not our own.  Every day, moment, and task are a chance to wear ourselves out.

We settle... we all lose... A bit of a rant.

The current public school choral teacher for my children isn't bad enough to fire, but she isn't good enough to keep either.  I watch in disbelief as students enter the stage and execute programs that are "good enough", but have no spark.. little diversity, nothing special and in some cases are barely worthy of attendance at all.

Of course, that is inappropriate to say, because we all need to support the kids.  The problem is that no one draws the line.  This teacher is basically untouchable in my view.

Lousy performances.. too long.. boring...  Talented young musicians are being driven away.  Numbers diminish in the primary ensembles.  Programs tend toward flash and sex appeal... everything except excellence and inspiration.  Everyone knows there is a problem except of course the administration and the powers that be.   They don't choose to listen to experts... 
My public commentary, formal letter to principal,  and discussion face to face with the teacher las…

Special Needs of special needs students' Parents

I am privileged to work with a lot of great special needs kids through my work with Da Capo Virginia and the Da Capo Institute.Today I'm interested in sharing a little from my time with their parents and supporters(grandparents, friends, siblings). These people are awesomely stressed in every sense of the word.  When I say the words full time care.. it is difficult for me to even comprehend the impact. Their students require constant attention and will for 80 years.  Imagine for a moment... College level costs year after year for an entire life with little to no chance of ever earning that money.  It is debilitating to most and overwhelming to many if not all.

These folks are my friends, my colleagues, and they have special needs.  We as a society should help them whenever and wherever we can.  Their kids are wonderful, loving, and giving... This behavior was learned from their parents just like all other kids.  The parents I know don't seek the spotlight, they just want opp…

Share and LIKE in 21st Century

Ever since Kindergarten we have been taught to share.  It makes the world better.  easier, faster..  You know the lines.  It might even contribute to your "like" popularity even back then.

Here is the deal. With Facebook, LinkedIn -- Social media these days the power is all wrapped up in the share.  The systems themselves run on who likes and shares what... the "feeds" are filtered for popularity and likes...

When we share articles and posts, and like and/or comment we are showing activity and that increases the penetration and visibility of the message. 

If we just sit in the back row and don't contribute... we don't learn as much, aren't liked as much, and don't do as well.   I know this is biased toward narcissistic extroverted behavior profiles... but it is what it is...

If you want to be a part of the 21st century... learn to SHARE and LIKE others.

If you are a business or an artist... you must get your followers to hit those share and like bu…

Reality check... hidden wounds.

Here is the thing.. We as singers have learned to expect little from an audience. That is why we must give so much to the moment. To make something that is transient, but perfect in its own right. To explore who we are, where we are and how we are through our music and the spirit of "the place".  When we invite the public, and friends, and family into this special special place... we expose our souls, our inner weaknesses, wrapped in a banner of hope.

We may not show it, but we notice when the world chooses other priorities.. shopping, TV, soccer, baseball,  even yard work... over such an intimate time with us.  We notice and it is painful, creating wounds which for most never heal.  And then you ask from your recliner.. why don't you sing more?  It can be a crushing conversation if our armor is not strong enough.

When you don't come and join us, support us, choose us... we remember.  We do not hold grudges, nor are we angry.. but we are hurt. And the many many wo…

Tenors: slam dunk success!

HEADLINE:  Elite, Hand Picked Singers are a slam dunk success for local arts organization!
Please come out and support us as we perform.. "in community" Program is fabulous and artists are wonderful.. Guaranteed to be worth your time.

River Road Presbyterian Church  Saturday 4/20/13 Silent Auction begins at 6pm Concert at 7pm... Dessert reception to follow!

-- Sing... from Dona Nobis Pacem to Libiamo.. Mozart to Verdi.. Tenor to Bass... never a dull moment!


Buzzword bingo: Transformation, Strategy

When you hear a consultant tell you that they provide transformation strategies what do you think? Is it magic? What will the transformation bring? Do we really need to transform?

TRANSFORM: 1. To change markedly the appearance or form of: "A thick, fibrous fog had transformed the trees into ghosts and the streetlights into soft, haloed moons" (David Michael Kaplan).
2. To change the nature, function, or condition of; convert.
3. Mathematics To subject to a transformation.
4. Electricity To subject to the action of a transformer.
5. Genetics To subject (a cell) to transformation.
STRATEGY: 1. (Military) the art or science of the planning and conduct of a war; generalship
2. a particular long-term plan for success, esp in business or politics Compare tactics [2]
3. a plan or stratagemFREE
The modern workforce, workplace and thus the workspace.. is transforming right in front of us every day via new tools, expectations, capabilities, and capacity.  The connectedness of…

Telecommuting Info - graphic

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."  Spock

Via: BOLT Insurance

Leading the majority and the minority.

When we hear or say: "you are free to go your own way" or " you are free to disagree"... do we actually mean that? The answer to that question goes to the heart of liberty and respect for the rights of others. Disagreement is just that.. and a free people must always maintain that right. That pesky first amendment is a messy thing.. but it is so very critical and it applies all the more now that it has become so easy to use speech and reach so many with one's ideas. Power must NEVER be used to quell or "manage" the right to speak... and those in power would do well to listen to the minority... as it is likely at some point to become the majority in the cycle of things.