Local Weavings of World Music

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When I was in high school, my super power was making mix tapes for friends. I spent hundreds of hours making these tapes, and elevated this mere pastime to a true art form. I had a great deal of pride in being able to cue up the record and drop the needle in just the right spot as I simultaneously clicked off the pause button on the tape deck. I took great care in every selection to ensure that it both fitted in the sequence of songs and worked with the overall mood I was trying to achieve. I used to lay 20 or so records before me with songs carefully timed and mapped to avoid the two equally heinous crimes of leaving too much dead space at the end or cutting off a song before it ended. Then I would record in real time. Four minutes and seven seconds was four minutes and seven seconds and as many attempts as needed to get the transitions between songs perfect. A tape would literally take hours. Unlike the cold, soulless pursuit that is "burning a CD" for someone, with its "drag and drop" simplicity, and scary fast burn rate, my high school passion was a labor of love, a huge investment of time, and the reason I failed algebra.

Several of us in the Krista Foundation have been involved in a project that has allowed us to indulge myself in that old art form again, only this time the labor of love has resulted in a beautiful tapestry of world music that took the collaborative effort of many people over the course of several years.

It started four years ago when Wakefield Gregg (1999 Krista Colleague) went to a Children of the Revolution concert and had an idea. After hearing the lead singer, Vassili, share a personal story of love and loss then hearing the resulting song, he decided they would be the perfect band to capture with passion and depth the story of Krista Hunt Ausland's life and death. Co-authors Vassili and Eric Jaeger spent weeks immersing themselves in Krista's life and legacy through friends, photos, and her own poetry and writing. The song "Ángeles de Bolivia," which begins with slow soulful Latin and turns to rich and celebratory salsa, has become a favorite of the band and their fans, and has been very meaningful for many of us in the Krista Foundation. As a church youth director I have used this song time and again as a springboard to tell Krista's story and encourage an ethic of global citizenship. To this day, anytime I play the song for my youth group it invariably ends with a moment of reverent silence followed by the plaintive request, "Can we listen to it again?"

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Tom Norwood is part of the 1999 Charter Class of Krista Colleagues. He has done volunteer service and ministry in Mexico, South America, and Kenya. Tom earned his Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary and has twenty years of ministry experience working with youth and young adults. His other super power is convincing cyclists to wear wool rather than petroleum based cycling clothes.

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