May 2016 - After stepping down from our sixteen years of regular worship leading together, many people thought that would be the end of The Braeded Chord. Good news – we are still performing, guest worship leading, writing music, and teaching lessons and camps together. Even better news – we are still best of friends! We both have taken some time to enjoy God’s presence in other churches and clear our lives of clutter (physical, emotional and mental). I have spent many hours painting my dad’s house (who recently passed away)- breathing prayers in that quiet space, listening for that still small voice for a hint of the future of The Braeded Chord. Big hint, we’re going to Lebanon in July to lead worship at a teacher’s conference and staff retreat for Heart for Lebanon, an organization offering relief to refugees. We hope you will come along side us with your prayers and support and share in the journey!
In other news, we’ll be at the ALCM (Association of Lutheran Church Musicians) Region I conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana this July, representing Braeded Chord Productions and offering original published music for church and choral use. This year some of our music will be used at the conference reading session. We are busy updating the BCP website (“Under Construction” “Coming Soon”), finalizing arrangements and adding to the library of BCP music in preparation for this conference.
June 2014 - Evening Grace is the first track and title of The Braeded Chord's sixth CD of original music. Starting with a quiet guitar "prelude", the CD showcases selections from a commissioned work by the ALCM (Association of Lutheran Church Musicians) Region IV for a complete evening prayer service. World percussionist Tom Teasley added an array of sounds using rare instruments like the hang drum, doumbek and crotales along with djembe and cajon, creating hauntingly beautiful meditative music reminiscent of relaxing in a spa. It includes the song "Courage" which received a Silver recognition at the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest. All music was written, arranged and performed by the award-winning duo. The CD was expertly recorded at BIAS Studios by engineer Jim Robeson and mastered by Mike Monsieur.
October 14, 2014 - Wow. Just looking at this page we realize it has been a LONG time since we updated our news! We usually post updates on our Facebook page but lost the abililty to link that to this website. This year has been a busy one for us... we knew we had to finish our CD project "Evening Grace." It felt as if we'd been working on it forever. So during the winter and spring, that was a big push.
We also wanted to prepare our published music for the various conferences we visited as music (written) exhibitors-- the ALCM (Association of Lutheran Church Musicians) in Portland, Oregon, the Institute of Liturgical Traditions in Valparaiso, Indiana, and the ALCM in Baltimore, Maryland. That meant hours of editing, corrections to our scores using Finale, etc. etc. At first we hadn't planned on going to the one in Portland-- too far, and too expensive-- but it was a good decision, as it was the last time we were able to see Doris' brother-in-law Carl Crosier, the inspiration behind our beginning to write music for the texts of the Lutheran Church. He passed away early August after a valiant fight with cancer.
In August, we were asked to return to Haiti, this time to train the teachers in a curriculum we created, appropriate to the school and situation. We packed up suitcases full of instruments and teaching supplies, as well as spiral-bound curriculums and helps for the teachers. Everything had to be in Creole or French-- Sharon helped translate alongside the Haitian English teacher. We had so much fun, and the teachers were excellent students!
Perhaps the most meaningful thing we have done recently has been to help launch an organization, Upendo Na Tumaini Village (Hope and Love Village) to raise interest and support for some orphans in Kenya. Seeing the marked difference in the children's photos has been truly overwhelming and touching.
Jan28: Sharon and I are humbled and honored to be nominated by our peers in the greater Washington DC area for the 2013 WAMMY Best Gospel/Inspirational Duo/Group of the year. There are so many other worthy candidates for this award, and we are grateful for those who find inspiration in our work. We are thankful for the opportunities to pass along the joy of music to our students and thru music camps and events. This past year we went to Haiti to run a music camp at an elementary school, and that was a life-changing experience! And there are no words to describe the pleasure of engaging others through music-- like our friends at the Gainesville nursing home, and our special needs families at the annual First Baptist Church Christmas Party in Alexandria and wherever we go.
The Braeded Chord's song, "Courage," was awarded Silver in the Gospel/Inspirational category of the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Song Competition. This song is a part of the current project the duo are recording at BIAS Studios in Springfield, VA. Sharon and Doris performed their winning song at the awards ceremony on January 19, 6:30pm at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA. They were joined by bandmates Sam Dubusc, Richard Trivett and Matt Duane.
"It's an honor to be here with some of the musicians we have mentored since they were "tiny tots," remarked Doris, referring especially to electric guitarist Sam, who first learned guitar at the original Teen Worship Boot Camp, created and directed by Sharon and Doris. Along with Sam, Matt Duane has also honed his skills since first drumming at the same camp where the two are now regular teachers.
"This song was inspired by my dad, and by our children who have to get up every day and do courageous things," added Sharon.
TBC Honored at WAMA Awards
The State Theater, site of The 2012 WAMMY Awards
Feb 18, 2013 - "Long Awaited King," The Braeded Chord's most recent CD of Christmas music, won Best Gospel/Inspirational Recording of 2012 at last night's WAMMYs, making them seven time WAMMY winners. Hosted by the Washington Area Musicians Association, musicians in the greater Washington DC area are nominated and elected by their peers in categories as varied as Electronica, Blues, Modern Rock, and Bluegrass. Read the complete list of the winners.
All Dressed Up for the WAMMIES!
Feb 19, 2012 - We are so honored to receive this year's WAMMY award for "Best Gospel/Inspirational Group." Thank you to all our colleagues in the Washington Area Musicians Association for giving us this honor. It is such a privilege to be recognized, considering the great talent from the area represented in WAMA. We really enjoyed helping to present awards to some of the other winners at the WAMA Gala held at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA. Most of all, we look forward to continuing to make music and learning from our fellow musicians.
TBC at the Wammies
March 1, 2010-- The Braeded Chord were awarded double WAMMIES at this year's 24th Annual WAMMY Awards, held at the historic State Theater in Falls Church, VA, Sunday Feb 28th. Receiving awards for Best Gospel/Inspirational Group and Best Gospel/Inspirational Recording (for Follow the Cross) of 2009, this marks the fourth year the Washington Area Musicians Association has honored the duo. This year's ceremonies were hosted by Kojo Nnamdi, named "Best Radio Interviewer in D.C." by The Washington Post, and featured a sell-out crowd. When their names were announced, Sharon Dennis and Doris Au MacDonald of The Braeded Chord yelled, not believing their ears, then ran from their balcony seats down two flights of stairs. Pushing past the SRO crowd, they made their way to the stage as Sharon yelled, "we're coming!" Other recipients of WAMMIES included teen phenom Margot MacDonald for Album of the Year, Patty Reese for Songwriter of the Year, and Grammy-winning Brian Simms as Musician of the Year. The evening started early with Meet and Greets hosted in local restaurants by the City of Falls Church, including Hoang's Grill where TBC enjoyed dinner with friends from Church of the Word in Gainesville, VA, where the duo lead the music teams.
"Follow the Cross" -- TBC's Latest Release
"Follow the Cross", TBC's 4th CD
Sharon and Doris of TBC
The Braeded Chord's fourth CD of original music, "Follow the Cross," has been nominated for a Washington Area of Musicians award for Best Gospel/Inspirational CD of 2009. Released on November 15th, 2008, this latest recording is a collection of original praise and worship songs. "Follow the Cross" contains nine new songs and three remixes of Braeded Chord songs from previous releases. At the heart of this new CD is music that was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Church of Honolulu-- "Kyrie" "Gloria" "Lord's Prayer" and "This is the Feast" are all a part of the "Alleluia" communion setting written for LCH. Now, other Lutheran congregations, in the U.S. and as far away as Wellington, New Zealand, are singing this music. Sharon Dennis and Doris Au MacDonald recorded these and other originals in their usual fashion, adding lots of instrumentation, voices, and easily going from simple acoustic to bigger rock styles intertwined with some celtic touches.
"Some of the files are very big-- at one point, our engineer let us know that we had used more tracks than anyone else-- almost 64 different voices on one song!" admits MacDonald. Yet, some of the most moving songs are the simple ones like "Follow the Cross," after which the project is named.
Featured on the cover is the original artwork of artist Hyatt Moore whose painting collection can be see online at www.hyattmoore.com.
"Love the CD. Listened to it all afternoon yesterday!" -- Annette, Warrenton, VA
"Your latest CD accompanied me on my commute home--beautiful harmonies, as usual and very reminiscent of the best of Catholic liturgy, meaningful and uplifting. The Braeded Chord never ceases to surprise me with its musical range." -- Denise, Rockville, MD
"My Brother's wife will be emailing you. They so love the CD and they want 15 more for their church." -- Jim, Gaithersburg. MD
Feb 16, 2009 -- For the third time in a row, The Braeded Chord was nominated for and received a WAMMY award from the Washington Area Musicians Association. Cosponsored by BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), the 23rd Annual Wammies were held once again at the famed State Theater in Falls Church. People braved freezing temperatures to line up for entrance to the awards ceremony. Once inside, many were greeted by Sharon and Doris of The Braeded Chord, helping to sell raffle tickets for a Fender bass to benefit WAMA. "We felt like the Walmart greeters-- it was a great way to get to talk to everybody!" according to Sharon. The Braeded Chord were named "Best Gospel/Inspirational Group" of 2008. Other winners included Jon Carroll, (Musician of the Year), Rocknoceros (Children's Artist), the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (Classical Orchestra), Margot MacDonald (Modern Rock), and BIAS Studios (Best Recording Studio), where The Braeded Chord has recorded all their CDs.
2007 WAMMIE Night at The State Theater, Falls Church, VA (Photo: Cindy Kunst)
Another Wammie for The Braeded Chord!
Against stiff competition, “Radio Lane,” The Braeded Chord’s third CD, was awarded a WAMMIE for Best Gospel/Inspirational Recording of 2007.Sunday, Feb 17, found The Braeded Chord sitting in the balcony of the State Theater in Falls Church, VA, enjoying the ceremony, when their award was called.
"Lightning isn't going to strike twice," Sharon Dennis of TBC said before the ceremony began. As surprised as the duo was last year when they were awarded a WAMMIE for Best Gospel/Inspirational Group of 2006, they were even more surprised this time.
"Another group, 'The Orioles,' have been performing R&B for about 50 years," Doris MacDonald recounted after the ceremony. "They won their second WAMMIE on Sunday night-- deservedly so. But for us to get this is unbelievable.”
TBC Wins A WAMMIE!
Feb 19, 2007 - Falls Church, VA. Last night at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA, The Braeded Chord was awarded a WAMMIE (Washington Area Musicians Association Award) for Best Gospel/Inspirational Group of 2006. This marks the second year in a row that the Braeded Chord has been nominated for a WAMMIE honor by its music peers. The WAMMIES are the Washington Area Music Association's local version of the GRAMMYS. This year's ceremonies were hosted by Bob Schieffer, CBS newsman, who calls himself a "fledgling songwriter." The WAMMIES first began 21 years ago, with the first awards going to such notables as Emmylou Harris, Chuck Brown, Marvin Gaye, Patsy Cline and Duke Ellington. Traditionally held to a standing room only crowd in the famed State Theater in Falls Church, the ceremony represents the coming together of many different musical styles and the greater Washington DC community's support of its local musicians. "This is indeed a great honor to be recognized by our fellow musicians," says Doris Au MacDonald, keyboardist of The Braeded Chord. "We were surrounded by all of these great musicians, and we couldn't believe it when they called our names!" "They won, not only for what they do, but how they do it," remarked Ron Goad, long-time Songwriters Association of Washington board member, who is himself a fixture on the local musical scene. "I am so happy to know that judges do make good decisions!"
TBC Songs Earn Recognition
Two songs from The Braeded Chord's latest release, "Radio Lane," have earned recognition in the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Music Contest. Both songs were awarded Honorable Mentions in this competition, which has been held for 23 years in the mid-atlantic region under the oversight of the Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW). "On the Wings of Your Song" was recognized in both the Gospel/Christian/Inspirational and the Contemporary/Urban/R&B categories, while "Arms of Infinity" was recognized in the latter category. An Honorable Mention means that the song was recognized as a strong song in the top 10-15% of all submissions.
Thousands of entries are received for this contest, and the winners this year come from as far away as Germany, Australia, Alabama, Vermont, Florida, Indiana, Texas, New York, California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Washington, Minnesota, as well as many others from around D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Radio Lane Release Concert (l to r: backup vocalists Taylor, Robin, Macaela, Macara, Jessica TBC: Sharon, Doris Bass: Sal Not shown: Drums, Ralph Photo: John MacDonald)
"Radio Lane" Release and Sierra Leone Children's Centre Benefit Concert
The Braeded Chord, an acoustic duo of award-winning songwriters, were featured at a benefit for the Sierra Leone Child Rescue Centre, held at St. Stephen's United Methodist Church in Burke, VA, on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7pm. This was held in conjunction with the release of the duo's third CD of original music, "Radio Lane."
Named after one of the titles on the CD, "Radio Lane" represents an intersection of musical styles. Indeed, listening to the eclectic mix of genres, one gets the sense of riding in a car, listening to the radio and pushing the "search" button. First is an electronica-style dance tune-- then a Celtic-tinged rock anthem-- then a lilting folk tune, followed by an Al Green R&B-styled number, then a country song, etc. etc. But "Radio Lane" represents more than a showcase for the songwriting versatility of Dennis and MacDonald-- it is "the intersection of hope on a difficult journey," according to the introduction on the liner notes. "Like the radio that picks up music on the airwaves, our hearts perceive God's invitation to the adventure."
"The music is fabulous," enthused Grace Stephenson, coordinator for the concert benefit, "but it needs a wider audience. The writing is so good! To keep this much talent hidden away in a can-- it's just not right."
"When my daughter heard the CD, she asked me if I'd bought a new Indigo Girls CD!" enthused Linda, another concert-goer.
The Braeded Chord was invited to perform at the 2006 Buddy Walk, sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia. This was one of several hundred Buddy Walks held throughout the United States in support of people with Down syndrome. The Fairfax event raised over $145,000 and was attended by more than 2000 people.
"(Last year) in between our stage talent, the music of local group, The Braeded Chord, was being played," wrote Carol Kando-Pineda in the May issue of the DSANV newsletter. "We got such incredible feedback from the audience regarding their music and (were) very excited (when they) accepted our invitation to join us."
Perhaps the highlight of The Braeded Chord's performance was when they played "The Hokey Pokey," and participants in many places of the park could be seen dancing.
The Buddy Walk took place October 14, Saturday, from 10-2pm at the Fairfax County Government Center. To date, over one million people have joined their efforts in walking in support of people with Downs Syndrome.
Information for this article taken from the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia newsletter, May Issue. Writer: Carol Kando-Pineda
Participants from Teen Worship Band Camp 2006
Teen Worship Boot Camp
Take seventeen teens, two adults, eight guitars, three keyboards and a drum set. Mix well with lots of hands-on instruction, prayer, and worship for four days and what do you get? Three energetic bands with the desire and basic skills to lead worship and live a lifestyle of worship. That’s what happened August 7-10 during the first ever Teen Worship Boot Camp at Church of the Word in Gainesville, VA.
“These kids are our future—it’s important to invest in them,” explains Doris MacDonald. She and Sharon Dennis (9:00 am worship team leaders) were the Boot Camp instructors. “It’s amazing, the transformation we witnessed over four days—these kids just needed someone to give them permission.”
MacDonald and Dennis, of The Braeded Chord, conceived of the Boot Camp idea as a way to encourage the church's youth to be involved in the worship service. Each day the campers received instruction in guitar, keyboard, drums, vocal performance, band-building, and sound and visual tech skills. The group even wrote a song. The last two days of camp, the bands had a chance to work together and perform, culminating in a "Battle of the Bands" of sorts.
"The look in their eyes, as they took to the stage and performed was like magic!" exclaims Sharon.
Next summer, there are plans to hold the Boot Camp on two levels—Basic and Advanced Training. Perhaps eventually youth worship leaders will become a regular feature of COTW’s services! It's an idea that could take hold, not only in Gainesville, VA, but also in churches everywhere. Check the Photo Gallery for pics of Boot Camp!
The Braeded Chord - It's About the Lyrics
By Steve Dennie
... I know writing. And I was astounded by the quality of the lyrics; by the careful, meticulous attention given to each word and phrase. Truly superb stuff. Sharon and Doris wrote all of the songs--Sharon wrote a few by herself, and they collaborated on the rest. I can imagine them fussing endlessly over individual words, searching for just the right expression. I'm also impressed and oddly amused that they worked three four-syllable words into the songs--palpitating, incandescent, and reminiscent. And they work. Click to read the rest of Steve Dennie's Review/Blog.
Steve Dennie is Communications Director for the United Brethren denomination. He served as editor of its now-defunct magazine. Under his leadership the magazine won four awards from the Evangelical Press Association. He is also a freelance writer and has written six books.