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Home: Places of the Heart

What places have been home to you? Why do our hearts get attached to a place? How can art capture the essence of “being home?” 

 

These and other important questions will be explored in Jed Dorsey’s upcoming art show Home: Places of the Heart at Sunnyshore Studio on Saturday, October 20th and 27th. Jed’s painting touch hearts because they evoke that longing for “home” that Jed says was all have. Sunnyshore Studio sat down with Jed to explore the connection of home and his artwork.

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Sunnyshore Studio: What places have been home to you? Tell us about them your homes?

Jed Dorsey: When I think of home, there are several places that come to mind. They are Camano Island, Vancouver, BC, Indianapolis, and Edmonton.

Within each of those places, there are more specific locations that stand out. My parents’ house, for instance, is where I grew up, and it has always been our home away from home wherever I have lived with Renae through the years. But Camano Island has other places that I regard as home. The beach across from Mom and Dad’s house is one of them. I spent so many summers there. The flatlands as you cross onto Camano Island is another. There’s no place like it for me. When I get there and see that, I feel like I am finally home.

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Gateway

And the other cities have similar special places, whether it is a house or a neighborhood or a park. Significant places where I have spent time with people I love – that’s the common theme.

Rainy Night

Why do you think “home” evokes such powerful emotions in our hearts?

I believe we all long for a home. Whether that is a real home of our past where we remember good times or people we’ve loved, or whether it’s something we’ve never really had, I think we all have a deep longing for a place of belonging and safety and love.

And places matter to us because we have memories connected to places. We grow fond of a place often not just because of what it actually looks like but because of the memory connected to it. And most of our memories involve other people. There’s an old poem that says, “,,,it takes a heap o’living in a house to make it home.” That’s because it’s not the exact physical place that makes the home, it is something more than that: the relationships and memories of life together with people we love and who have loved us. And no matter whether we’ve had a lot of that in the past or not that much, we all long for it.

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How can a painting capture the essence of home in a way that maybe a photograph or memory can’t?

Perhaps because a painting can bring our imaginations to life more than a photograph. If I took a photo of a particular house, you would know it wasn’t the house of your childhood because of the exactness of a photo. But if I painted the same house, you might see something that makes you think of the house of your childhood and because it is more suggestive in its nature, your heart might override your mind into believing it is your childhood home even if it knows I didn’t paint your exact house.

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Which of your paintings best evoke that sense of home? Describe why they do this for you.

That really just depends on who is looking at the painting. For me, they all evoke a sense of home for different reasons. Some of the paintings will speak to different people more strongly than others. But that is for the viewers to decide for themselves.

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What are the hopes you have for your “home” art show coming up in October at Sunnyshore Studio?

I am looking forward to sharing good times with people I love in a place I love.

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Home: Places of the Heart

  • Saturdays, October 20th and 27th
  • 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sunnsyhore Studio
  • 2803 SE Camano Drive, Camano Island, WA

Viewing and Purchase Options

  • If you can’t make these two Saturdays we are “open by appointment.” Call Jason Dorsey, 317.209.6768.
  • Jed’s “Home: Places of the Heart” art show will go live on Saturday, October 20th at 12:00 (Noon). Jed’s friends, fans and collectors can purchase his artwork through Sunnyshore Studio’s web site: www.sunnyshorestudio.com.

Show Sponsor

Sunnyshore Studio thanks Russ Bumgarner and his company Rubumco for sponsoring the show.  If you are in need of getting your home or business painted, Russ’s premier painting company that’s been operating since 1999 in the Stanwood-Camano region is the place to go!

Russel Baumgarner

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Meet the Project Coordinator for Discover Beautiful Camano: Jacqueline Dorsey

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to announce that Jacqueline Dorsey will be serving as the Coordinator of the Discover Beautiful Camano Project.  Jacqueline is highly organized and she is going to do an amazing job!

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Sunnyshore Studio:  What’s it been like to grow up in a family of artists?

Jacqueline: I’ve been submerged in the world of art since I can remember. And it’s been eye-opening seeing how much time, technique and networking goes into art and art shows. It’s been really fun to help at art shows hosting people, during the register, and other meeting people from all walks of life.

And I’ve been fortunate to paint and sell, and be commissioned to paint, art of my own.

Sunnyshore Studio: What kind of art do you do?

Jacqueline: Watercolor landscapes for the most part. I like to draw and dabble in different art forms. I’ll be taking Watercolor 101 at Bellevue Community College this fall as part of the Running Start program.

Sunnyshore Studio: You’re helping your Dad as the Coordinator of the Discover Beautiful Camano Project. Tell us more about that project and what makes you good as a Coordinator?

Discover Beautiful Camano 2018

Jacqueline:

It is all about discovering the beauty of Camano Island through art and telling people’s stories and histories. The culmination of this two-year project will be in July 2020 showcasing the art of Camano artists in an art show at Sunnyshore Studio. The stories of people and their places will be told in the Discover Beautiful Camano coffee table book as well as a documentary video.

I’m a detail-oriented person and an avid organizer and planner. I wanted to challenge myself by taking on an ambitious, two-year project.

Sunnyshore Studio: What are you most excited about in coordinating the Discover Beautiful Camano Project?

Jacqueline: I really enjoy getting the little details of a list checked off that move us forward in the project. Seeing everything slowly come together, piece by piece, and how every little thing that we do makes the project better. I’m looking forward to learning more about my family’s roots on Camano and the history of the people there.

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The “We are Family” Sound Track Team

The music in a movie matters.

On August 1st I sent out a facebook post sharing that I needed musicians/composers to provide songs for the sound track for the documentary movie We are Family that tells the story of how a basketball team from an urban school in the heart of Hoosier basketball country came together around a common dream of winning the state basketball tournament, how they fought through personal and team challenges, how they forged a bond as family, and how they rallied a whole community around them. It is an inspiring story, and the movie needed a killer sound track.

It will have one.

Meet the team of talented musicians/composer who will bring the movie to life.

Mezzy

Osoking Mezzy

The first contract for the documentary “We are Family” rolled in August 27th. It was Osoking Mezzy, cousin of my good friend Donteau Gladney Sr.

Four years ago, when I was working on pulling this documentary together for the first time, I asked Donteau if he had any connections with musicians who would be interested in contributing to the sound track. He shared the project with Mezzy who sent in three tracks. We liked his work, but the project stalled out.

So after I put out the word for musicians in August I contacted Donteau to see if I could track Mezzy down. I shared with him that the project was back in the works, and that I really appreciated his early support. I asked him to send in a few more of his newer songs, which both I and David Lichty love.

Here’s his blurb:

Osoking Mezzy is an aspiring artist and producer in Indianapolis, IN. Mezzy brings a burst of energy and a new sound to the hip hop scene. This artist has used music as a way to express himself in way others can relate. Armed with dedication and consistency this artist is most definitely one to be on the look out for.

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Eron Harris

Another early contributor was Eron Harris. In fact, he was the first to contribute music over four years ago.

Here’s that story.

After Tech won the Indiana State basketball championship and Julian Dorsey, David Lichty and I  were well on our way in organizing he footage, I shared with some people at Tech our dream of making a documentary of that magical season.

Eron’s mom, Marveda, who was a police officer at Tech heard about the project and shared it with her son, who was playing basketball at West Virginia (he transferred to Michigan State).Eron submitted a song for the documentary, which David and I love and which has become something of a theme song for the movie.

I’m super grateful for his early support. Here’s his short bio:

My name is Eron Harris. I was born and raised in Indianapolis. My mother and father and both of their parents all went to Arsenal Tech High School so I have a big connection to that school. My mother has always been a singer so I’ve always been around music and I also played the trumpet and percussion growing up. Now I really love to record vocal music and make my own beats. But right now I am pursuing my professional basketball career. I am heading to Finland for my first year of professional basketball. I plan to get into the NBA. 

Nabil

Nabil Ince

I heard about Nabil in May when I was in Indy doing interviews for the movie. I was at Mike and Julie Berend’s home hanging out one night and asked them if they knew any local musicians who might fit. They had a house guest staying at their home named Big Mike, I think that was his name. Anyway, Big Mike shared with me about this intern at the Harrison Center for the Arts named Nabil Ince.

It turns out that I knew Nabil’s dad, Irwin, who the moderator of the presbyterian denomination I serve in and respected as a terrific leader. My wife Jenny worked closely with Irwin at the Church Planter’s Assessment. So that was a cool connection. When David and I heard the wide range of Nabil’s music, we were really excited to have him on the team. 

Anyway, here’s his bio:

Nabil Ince, stage name Seaux Chill, is an artist originally from Columbia, MD who has been in the Chattanooga area for the past few years. Piano is his first love, playing since he was 6 years old. However, Seaux Chill also loves writing, composing, and producing music largely influenced by pillars of black music. In 2018, he graduated from Covenant College with a bachelors of arts in jazz piano. He currently functions as the Program Director for a children’s music ed non-profit called East Lake Expression Engine and continues to build towards his own music career. His music can be found on all streaming platforms and more about Seaux Chill’s work can be found at www.seauxchill.com

 

Caleb Buse

Caleb Buse

I was connected to Caleb through Derek Fekkes. I knew Derek’s parents from years ago when I did an internship at Camano Chapel. Derek is now all grown up and is planting a church in Stanwood. We’ve had coffee together and hob nobbed about ministry and church planting. When I put out the Facebook post, he reached out to his friend Caleb Buse, who is a really talented, up-and-coming composer.

Here’s a bio on Caleb.

Caleb Buse grew up with a passion for music and pursued it in high school as a drummer in rock bands. After choosing to major in music in college, he expanded his skillset by learning to lead bands, as well as sing in the University’s Concert Choir. He played in rock venues all around Seattle, and did small tours of the west coast. After a show one night in the Seattle rock venue Chop Suey, Caleb met a film maker who eventually collaborated with Caleb on his first film score, which won an award at a film festival in Wroclaw, Poland.

Since then Caleb has won the following awards for his film music: Wroclaw Film Festival, Poland (Award winner for Chevy), Best Original Score (100 Hour Film Race), Canne Lions Film Festival in Canne, France (Award Winner for Chevy), an Addy for Microsoft Surface, and a Vimeo Staff Pick. He has gone on to compose music for narrative, animation, and documentary short films as well as commercials for Microsoft, Gatorade, Amazon, Pepsi, Chevy, American Express, Purina, Puma, Carenet, The Greater Foundation and many more. In 2018, he is continuing to work in short films and commercials and is beginning work on feature film scores later this year.

 

Malcolm Jordon

Malcolm Jordon

I am very excited to have Malcolm Jordon working with us on the “We are Family” sound track. David and I love his high energy, driven music. Best of all, he’s an IPS kid and friend of my son Julian Dorsey. Julian attended Crispus Attucks in middle school and played basketball with Malcolm there. I remember watching Malcolm play. Their 8th grade team was really good. They had a young man named Jalen Coleman on their team who went on to play Division 1 basketball. They came in second place to Harshman Middle School that year.

I knew Malcolm was a good basketball player, but I didn’t know that he was such a talented musician.

I’ll let Malcolm introduce himself:

My name is Malcolm Jordan, I’m 22 years old and I’ve been recording music since I was 17. I started writing raps at 8 years old and progressed with my skills later on with time. I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m proud to be from here and wouldn’t be from anywhere else. I live my life off of determination and working smart. I’ve been working since I’ve left college to do music and every time I look up I’m in a new spot with new opportunities. I’m thankful to be apart of this project and hope to help you guys get something out of it.

 

Daniel Dorsett

Daniel Dorsett

Daniel is another IPS kid. He is an alumni of Arsenal Tech High School which makes his participating in creating the sound track extra great. He’s a great example of the many really terrific kids who go to IPS Schools and go on to do great things. I remember being impressed with Daniel when I first met him, and I still am.

Daniel is going to be working on creating a full band edition of the Tech fight song.

Here’s his bio:

Daniel first encountered his passion for teaching music as a student at Tech when helping teach at Harshman Middle School. While studying music education at the University of Indianapolis, he was awarded the Outstanding Future Music Educator Award from the Indiana Music Education Association. Now in his fourth year of teaching, Daniel is the middle school band director for the MSD of Martinsville, 30 minutes south of Indianapolis.

 

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Boyhood Bravery

Not only do we have individual musicians, but an entire band, Boyhood Bravery, contributing to the sound track.

One of the bands members, Luke Livingston, attended Redeemer, the church I pastored in Indy. Another, Tyler Kniess, is like a spiritual son to me. I have lots of stories about Tyler. One of my favorites is when Tyler joined our family on one of our epic month-long road trips out west.

Like Daniel, Tyler is an Arsenal Tech alumni, so he gets how much it meant to Tech to win the Indiana HS basketball championship and what it means to say “we are family.”

Here’s an intro to the band:

Active in the Indianapolis and Bloomington independent music scenes, Boyhood Bravery is a folk-rock band known for their powerful performances, creative songwriting, and poetic approach to lyrics.

 

Steve Wick

I’ve mentioned how encouraging to me to see the way the team for the “We are Family” sound track has come together. Some of the musicians/composers have been people I know, like Tyler, Daniel and Malcolm.

Other’s have been referred to me by my son Julian and other friends: like Eron, Mezzy and Caleb. Steve Wick falls into that later category. When I put out that call for musicians/composers on facebook my friend and colleague on the board of Mission Eurasia, Wayne Shepherd, contacted me and told me about Steve.

We’re thrilled to have Steve with his gifts of mixing and mastering music, as well as composing, working with us on the sound track for the “We are Family” documentary.

Here’s his bio:

Steve Wick is an audio producer/guitarist/musician who has lived his entire life in the Chicago, IL area. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, he worked for Moody Radio throughout the 90’s as a live local and national engineer/program producer, then transitioned to a private recording studio as music composer in 2000. In 2002, he ventured out on his own starting Resonance Audio Media, Inc., and since then has produced numerous audio dramas, music releases, podcasts, radio programs/features, audio books and soundtrack foley/SFX. Steve also has recorded and released 5 albums of original guitar-based music and arrangements. In his spare time, he enjoys loitering in record stores, collecting vinyl, iPhone photography and creatively collaborating with others. Steve has been married to Kelli for 23 years and together they have 3 kids, Chloe-18, Mallory-16 and Carter-14.

Conclusion

Music matters in movies!

We have a great team of musicians who will bring the story to life. Their music covers  the movie’s wide-range of emotions and actions, and brings a wise range of styles, tones, and emotions.

I will be launching a Kickstarter “social funding” campaign November 1st to raise money to pay these artists for their contribution. Please consider helping bring this story to life by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign. Their work will be worth every penny they are paid!

 

 

1st Annual Plein Air Event a Success

The first annual Plein Air, that is “painting out of doors”, Art Competition took place August 17th and 18th. It was led by Jed Dorsey under the auspices of the Stanwood-Camano Art Advocacy Commission and in partnership with Art by the Bay: so, in short, a great collaboration.

Some Background to the Plein Air event

The Camano Arts Association (CAA) launched the Stanwood-Camano Arts Commission to bring together the many art and cultural organizations in the Stanwood-Camano region who share a vision to make Stanwood-Camano one of the top centers and destinations for the Fine Arts in the Northwest.

These organizations believe that Stanwood-Camano is at a “tipping point” where art might become a key identity and economic engine of our region. We believe that a strong, strategic and intentional promotion of the arts with organizational and institution muscle behind it can make the Stanwood-Camano area a recognized destination for art and play an vital role in the flourishing of our region.

As leaders from these organizations discussed the many art events already taking place in our region, we felt that the creation of an annual Plein Air art competition would supplement what is already happening and have potential to become a popular event, much like the Studio tour is.

As we were having these discussions, we learned that Jed Dorsey was moving to the area. Jed has long had a heart for starting a Plein Air event. He’s participated in many in the past and sees their value for a community. We began to talk with Jed about taking the lead. He agreed.

Jed had conversations with the Stanwood-Camano Art Guild about the possibility of doing the Plein Air Competition in conjunction with their popular “Art By the Bay” show in August. They agreed that it would work well with their event. Val Paul Taylor assisted Jed in creating the event’s promotional look.

Art By Bay Plein Air Sign

That is the background to the event.

The Event Itself

Nine people signed up for the Plein Air Competition. As I drove onto Camano on Friday morning I saw my dad painting the Danielson farm from the side of the road.

I stopped to photograph him. I caught him being a little grouchy about all the cars driving by :). I have to admit it was non-stop cars!

Then I drove to the Camano Marketplace to get my watercolor paper stamped by Jed. The purpose of the stamp is to ensure that artists don’t cheat by painting in advance of the competition.

I set up my easel at the Camano Lutheran Church just south of where dad was.

Painting Lutheran Church

I had never painted, let alone entered, that church though I knew that one of my classmate’s dad, Pam Stordahl, had pastored there for many years.

It is a really picturesque church and I enjoyed painting it. I was happy with the progress of the painting as I went along.

As I painted, the church’s secretary (I forget her name) came out to chat and take pictures of me for the church’s newsletter. I told her that I was a local boy, that I was working on a 2 year project called “Discover Beautiful Camano” and would like to tell the story of Camano Lutheran in that book, and that I had never been inside the church.

She graciously took me on a tour.

Right inside the front door to the historic church there is a wonderful display of old photographs and I was delighted to see many of my Stanwood High School Classmates: Cheryl and Teri Cooper, Michael Hansen, Shannon Tonheim, Cindy Olsen, Heidi Berg, Jim Lindell, Sabena and Victor Mueller, Joy Holstom, Deana Major, Pam Stordahl, Michelle Lien and Kim Lien among others.

The sanctuary was historic and beautiful.

I finished up around lunch time. Then I grabbed lunch and went to the Kristopherson farm. They were gracious to let me paint their beautiful barn. I was able to hammer out a decent painting.

There were, of course, other artists painting around Camano and Stanwood.

One artist

Some of us met up for dinner at a new restaurant at the Marketplace.

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I wasn’t able to participate in the event on Saturday. Lots of fine paintings were done and community among the artists built.

My favorite painting of the lot was dad’s painting of Danielson farm.

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Dad didn’t end up winning, but my painting of the Lutheran Church came in second place and I won $100 for my efforts…and my friend and colleague on the Stanwood-Camano Arts Advocacy Board, Robin Hanks, who is the Co-Director of the Stanwood Historical Society purchased it. So a good day for me for sure.

Best of all was spending a day with my dad and my brother painting.

Dad Jed and I

 

Jackie’s Tiny House Update: a smashed thumb a thunder storm and still great progress

We’ve made great progress on Jackie’s tiny house. Over the last couple of weeks the walls have gone up and roof put on. This is mainly due to the building skills of Jenny Dorsey, the strong help of big brother Jacob.

Jackie – when she can get away from Ben Franklin for a day – is a great helper too. She brings her special sizzle to the team.

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I (Jason) help out as I can but they are doing the bulk of the work.

There are a couple of fun stories in this building project. Like when I smashed my thumb hammering.

I was at my desk at the studio working on my Psalm sermon series. I was preparing my sermon on Psalm 22, which Christ’s quotes on the cross, and thinking about how in his time of extreme pain and suffering He was quoting Scripture, showing how the Scriptures were so deeply embedded in His heart and integrated in His life.

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When it came time to put the plywood on the roof, Jenny and Jacob needed my help. We hoisted the plywood onto the rafters, and nailed it down. I was showing them my prowess at hammering when all of a sudden my hammer missed the nail and came down SMACK with all my considerable might on my left thumbnail, causing a great deal of pain. I climbed down the ladder, cuss words and grunts and groans flowing from my mouth. Later as I considered the contrast between Christ quoting Scripture and me cussing in our moments of pain, it was a great moment of clarity in His perfect righteousness and my need of a Savior, and a very useful sermon illustration.

The other fun story is that when we had about 1/5 of the plywood up we could hear thunder in the distance and so got a few tarps ready. Then the rainstorm hit, and it was like and Indiana rainstorm with sheets of water falling. And we’re trying to throw the tarps over the roof. And Jacob can’t see because his glasses and his eyes are covered with water. And I keep shouting orders though no one can hear my words. And Jenny is running around trying to get tools and boards under cover. And we’re all laughing because the whole thing is absolutely comical. Thankfully we were able to cover the roof pretty well and protect the inside of the tiny house from damage.

The next week we returned and finished the roof and put up tar paper. Here’s Jackie herself hammering in nails.

Putting up the doors was fun. Jed and Renae and Willow came over, and we were thankful for Jed’s help. He’s really good as a craftsman.

We’re on track to have the tiny house finished for our December “Christmas in Miniature” show. Jackie is planning to have the “ribbon cutting” and “grand opening” of her tiny house then, and even to display some of her own miniature paintings in it!

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Home: Exploring the places of the heart, new artwork by Jed Dorsey

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to announce the date is set for Jed Dorsey’s October show. Home: Exploring the places of the heart will open on Saturday, October 20th.

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The show will feature new artworks by Jed. In his paintings Jed will explore how places become symbolic of home and how the sense of “being home” is deeply rooted in place.

For Islanders, Jed’s painting of the “gateway” to Camano, used for the promotion for the show, evokes that sense of home. How many of us felt that we had “come home” as we drive on 522 over the Stillaguamish River and look north across the marshy waters lit by the sunset to the Skagit Bay and blue and purple hills beyond.

When The Sun Paints The Sky

Partly because Jed’s painting’s wonderfully evoke this sense of home, they are purchased by collectors all over the United States. His last show at Sunnyshore Studio all but sold out. To meet the growing nationwide demand for his art, Sunnyshore Studio will make Jed’s Home: Exploring the places of the heart show available online. So if you are not able to attend the show at our Gallery on Camano you will be able to purchase your Jed Dorsey original through Sunnyshore Studio’s web site.

We are very thankful that Jed’s good friend and teammate from his Stanwood High School Days, Russell Bumgarner, and his company, Rubumco Painting Inc. is sponsoring the show.  Rubumco does great work built on years of experience, and based on character and integrity all over the Stanwood-Camano area. Check them out here: http://rubumco.com

Russel Baumgarner

Russell has been a great friend and support to Jed, and to the entire Dorsey family. His friendship, patronage and sponsorship will help us with the promotion of the show and in hosting a big party worthy of the occasion.

 

 

 

The Story Behind the Making of We are Family, Part 4

I knew that Arsenal Tech’s basketball team’s coming together as family and winning the Indiana High School Basketball Championship as the inner-city school that no one thought could win it all would make a great story.

So I starting taking some baby steps towards making a documentary film about that season.

First Steps

The first step after the season was my son Julian filing all the footage. Julian was a real trooper, putting hours and hours into putting the footage into files where it could be found. It had been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Julian to be a part of that team, and he was motivated to see the project through.

I recruited my friend David Lichty, a film-lover and film-maker, to help me with the project.

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When David heard that the cumulative grade point average of the Championship team was over 3.0 he was intrigued. It blew away the stereotypes of an “ghetto school.” He directed me to go through all the footage and note what parts were good, what parts we should highlight, etc. It took me hours and hours to do this. Finally it was catalogued. I passed my notes on to David who started to compile it into a rough story-line of the season.

First musicians/composers recruited and first showing

I started to ask around for musicians/composers who could help with the sound track. Mrs. Marveda Saunders was a Police Officer who served at Tech. Her son, Eron Harris, was playing Division one basketball, first, I think at West Virginia. Then he transferred to Michigan State. Marveda told Eron about our project and he sent a great song that we are going to use on the sound track.

My friend Donteau Gladney Sr, whose son Donteau Jr. had played on the Championship team, recruited one of his nephews to lay down a few beats which were passed on to us too. We had the beginning of a sound track. But just the beginning.

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In October of 2014 we had a rough, and long, 2 hour movie of the season. We showed it to the Tech basketball team. Both David and I knew that we were far from done with the finished product, but we had a good start.

Then the project sat untouched. For almost four years.

My move to Washington State

In January of 2015 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. That rocked my world. We had buried our roots deep in Indy, but now I felt a real desire to be closer to home to help my dad and mom out in mom’s battle with breast cancer.

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A pastor job opened up at a Presbyterian Church in Redmond, WA. I applied and got the job. In August of 2015 I drove a big Uhaul truck across the country with my friend Donteau. We had all kinds of adventures in our cross country trip. But that’s another story.

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An hour before we got to Redmond I started crying because I knew I was going to have to say goodbye to my friend Donteau, and because we had left our home and a big part of our heart in Indy, with the church and friends there, and with IPS.

I didn’t know that I would ever have a chance to complete the “We are Family Project.” It just wasn’t on my mind. And I couldn’t figure out a natural way to go back to Indy and work on project.

On the Shelf

I put the “We are Family” project on the shelf. I didn’t have the time and energy to work on it. Besides my regular work as a pastor in Redmond, WA I was also starting up my long dreamed of Sunnyshore Studio on Camano Island. David, however, did put some work into the project. Donna Griffin, who taught media at Tech at that time, was very encouraging to us to continue the project. She connected us to a bunch of old footage of players being interviewed, of Tech in the past, and other great material. We owe her a real debt for all of her help!

But besides David spending time with Donna, the project sat on the shelf, until May 2018.

Judah in Indy and Jacob graduating from Purdue

In January of 2018 my third son, Judah, had gone back to be Indy as part of a “gap year” after he graduated from High School. He wanted to have some time to be with his friends, and to have some closure. He lived with my brother Jed and sister-in-law Renae, in their home just a block from Tech high school. Judah had had a great time in Indy. By May he was ready to come home to Redmond.

In May, my oldest son, Jacob, graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Purdue. This was a huge accomplishment and my wife, Jenny, and I determined we would fly back to Indy to celebrate it with him.

Finally I had a reason to be in Indy. I took a week vacation and started scheduling interviews.

Our friends, Nathan and Sarah Partain, were on a sabbatical trip. They live one block east of Arsenal Tech, just a few houses away from my brother Jed. This gave us a “base camp” to operate from.

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Jacob’s graduation was on Sunday, May 13th. How awesome was that for Jenny! It was great for me too, but especially gratifying for Jenny.

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We attended Brian Parks graduation party too. Brian played football at Tech. He received a scholarship to play football at Wabash where he graduated with top honors. At the party I was able to interview Brian, and Ms. Garing, who had been a very popular English teacher at Tech about that Championship season.

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The next three days were busy!

Monday, May 14th

On Monday, May 14th, David and I went to work.

For me that morning started out at Peppy’s Grill in Fountain Square where I met two of my friends, Matt Aalsma And Paul Baumgarten.

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David had arranged for us to use the studio of his friend, artist Casey Roberts, which is in an old warehouse on Mass Ave, near Tech, to film in.

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Casey’s studio was big and artsy and quiet, with space for interviewees to hang out and relax. It was perfect! I am so thankful for his gracious hospitality to let us use it.

David met me at the door. And we got to work right away.

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We had some technical difficulties, no pun intended, and my friend Paul Baumgarten graciously stopped by and helped us get one of our cameras in order.

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Our first interview was with Dr. Eugene White, President of Martin University. He had been a past Superintendent of IPS and gave us great perspective on IPS and what the Tech victory had met.

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On Monday I also interviewed Bob King, who was a parent of a Tech student during the championship season, and who also was a reporter for the INDY Star, covering IPS. I also friend, fellow IPS dad and huge IPS sport fan, Josh interviewed Josh Bowling.

For lunch my friend, local icon, historian and artist, Kipp Normand, joined David and I at La Prada on New York Street. I was able to twist Kipp’s arm hard enough to get him to promise to come back on Tuesday for an interview.

On Monday evening I interviewed Donald Mosley who was a Tech Student in 2013-2014 and part of the student sport reporting team that covered the basketball team. He has a great voice and had a striking perspective on it all.

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Tuesday, 15th

Early on Tuesday morning my son Judah and I walked to Tech and took some great footage of the school in the morning and as students began to arrive on campus. What a beautiful campus Tech is!

On Tuesday morning I interviewed Kipp, who provided lots of insight about Indianapolis and IPS history. At 11:00 I interviewed Kyle Neddenriep who is an Indy Star Sports reporter and who had followed Tech closely their championship season. It was very interesting to hear his perspective.

At 1:00 David and I went to the impressive history center at the Tech to meet with Linda Hill, who was a sophomore at Tech when they went to the went to the final at Muncie Central and lost; she was at the Championship game in 2014, watching the clock, as the game got close and closer. When Tech won she cried. We had also scheduled and interview there with Ken Kenipe.

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Ken had met his wife Joan in the 3rd grade. He graduated from Tech in 1949 (after just three years); Joan went four years to Tech and graduated in 1950. They started going to games when they were freshmen in 1946. They haven’t missed any games apart from a few years when they lived away from Indy. Ken and his wife had been recently written up in an article in the Indy Star as Tech basketball fans. Finally, we had scheduled to interview Sarah Bogard, who was the principal at Tech for a number of years before they won the championship. She created the Arsenal Tech museum and is a wealth of information about Tech and IPS.

Unfortunately, we had our wires crossed. They had planned to meet with us on Wednesday. So David and I spent a couple of hours researching, and getting footage of the impressive array of historical artifacts in the Tech history rooms.

We also stopped and took video of the Championship Logo on the Tech gym floor.

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That evening I interviewed Coach Keith Dabney and Coach Jason Delaney. It was great to get their perspective on that historic season. Late that evening my son Julian Dorsey arrived from George Mason University in the Washington DC area on the beginning of summer break. He had just come off finals week, and hosting a major UNICEF event, and hadn’t slept much the last couple of days. But he was a good sport and would help us out on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, 16th

We interviewed Julian first thing in the morning. Then we went back to Tech and interviewed Linda, Ken and Sarah. Those were great interviews.

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In the afternoon I interviewed Coach K. Then my dear friend Donteau Sr. stopped by, bringing his son, Onnie Harlin, whose big brother, Donteau Jr. was a part of the team and who had basically been a “gym rat” who hung out with the championship team that whole season. Onnie was just a kid in 2013, and now he was a grown up man, heading off to college in the fall.

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I also interview Justin Parker, “JP”, who had been one of the star players on the team that season. It was great to here his perspective now four years after.

 

Over those three days, Monday through Wednesday, we were able to capture an wealth of incredible, diverse, thoughtful interviews. One theme was heard through each interview: Tech’s victory had mattered in significant ways.

We got most, not all however, of the interviews we wanted. A few days later, David interviewed Kevin and David Van Horn, twin brothers and Tech alumni, and their dad. They were huge fans that championships season. David said that the interview was absolutely delightful. At the end of their interview, the twins asked David if they could help us out financially and gave him some money. That was super encouraging.

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We are continuing to get interviews of coaches and players, family members and fans as we are able. As it stands we have an incredible amount of footage, and, what’s more important, an inspiring story.

Conclusion

There is an important story in Tech’s championship season. A story about players and coaches in an inner city school coming together as family. It is a story for all those urban kids who are told “you can’t do this.” It is a story about people coming together – black and white, rich and poor – around a team and as a team.

We have the video footage. Before us now is the hard work of recruiting a team of musicians and composers to write songs to make the film come to life. Before us is the hard technical work of video editing, hours and hours and hours of that. And before us is the great challenge of raising funds to pay our musicians and video editors. We are committed to see this story through, and to tell it to the best of our ability. We have come this far. We have confidence that we will carry on to tell this story.  We do this because:

WE ARE FAMILY

 

Jackie’s Tiny House Update

Last week Jenny, Jacob and Jackie worked on Jackie’s tiny house at Sunnyshore Studio. Being a conscientious “rule-follower” Jenny did a great job following directions; being an engineer Jacob did a great job consulting, hammering nails, and doing the heavy lifting; and being very motivated and inspired to get her long-dreamed of tiny house done, Jackie worked very hard too.

They made a great team and got a lot of work done.

Here they are building a wall.

And a second wall.

Stay tuned for the big “barn raising” when the walls and roof will all go up.

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How exciting to be one step closer to Jackie’s dream of building a tiny house where she can do creative work comes through.

Bravo Jenny, Jacob and Jackie!

The Story of the Making of the “We are Family” Documentary, Part 3

Hoosiers, arguably the greatest sports movie ever made, tells the story of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship against a stacked urban school and against all odds. It is based in history. In 1954 the Milan basketball team from a tiny Indiana town won the Indiana  basketball championship.

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Like Hoosiers, Arsenal Tech High School’s Indiana basketball championship in 2014 was a victory-against-all-odds, though in reverse. It featured a basketball team from a gritty, downtrodden urban school beating the big township, suburban and rural schools and inspiring urban kids and eventually a whole city in doing so.

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But when my son Julian and started filming Tech’s 2013-2014 season none of this was a reality. It was just a dream. We had no idea how our filming project would sweep us up in Hoosier hysteria.

Don’t get me wrong. Tech’s team, led by Coach Jason Delaney and star player Trey Lyles surrounded by a cast of very gifted seniors, was good and they were motivated. The last two seasons they had suffered heartbreaking losses: two years before they lost to Lawrence Central at regionals by a last second buzzer beater shot by Jeremy Holloway. The previous year they had lost a hard-fought sectional game to Cathedral with Trey Lyles, who had hurt his knee in the game before, watching from the bench. Going into the 2013 season, Coach Delaney had said that this was an all-or-nothing season; anything short of a state championship was a failure.

Even with their strong team, Tech was an underdog to win it all. After all, Tech had never won an Indiana Basketball Championship since it had been established as a high school in 1912, though its teams had played in the championship game four times, losing in 1929, 1934, 1956 and 1966. And no Indianapolis Public School (IPS) team had won the state basketball championship since Broad Ripple did in 1980. The reputation of IPS basketball teams was that they had great athletes but they had low basketball IQ’s, little discipline, and didn’t play well as a team. IPS teams were routinely dismissed from the playoffs by the powerful township, suburban and parochial schools. Certainly, Tech’s program had been limping along for the last couple of decades. Up to a few years before this, no player at Tech really expected to have a chance to win the Indiana Basketball Championship. It was a distant, hazy dream held forth by Coach Delaney and bought into by his team.  The odds were stacked against them.

Nevertheless, after an impressive, in fact, a dominant season with only two losses, anticipation was building about Tech’s chance to go all the way. The school was abuzz. Something special was happening. It was.

The sectional games were held at Lawrence North. In the first sectional game Tech beat Lawrence North soundly. Then they clobbered Lawrence Central, wiping out some of the pain from two years before.

The sectional championship was against Roncalli, a team built on a program and disciplined to play as a team. Roncalli kept the game close by playing a zone, a box in one defense on Trey and hitting their shots from outside. But at the end of the day they were no match. The Tech team held high the sectional trophy, but their sight was set on higher goals.

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By this time, not only was there a buzz about the team on Tech’s campus, Tech alumni were coming out to the games in droves, filling the seats and cheering on their alma mater.

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The Regional finals were held at Southport: two games in one day. The first game was against Richmond. The stands were packed with Tech fans. It was a fun game, with Tech clearly superior. Between the games my wife, Jenny, and I hosted Tech players and coaches at our home for some “down time.” It was great to be able to support the team in that way.

IMG_0842The second game was against Pike. This is now known as the “pink jersey” game. It was quite a fiasco. Here is what happened. In support of the battle against breast cancer, and a couple of players on the team who had family members fighting that battle, Tech had gotten pink jerseys and worn them as their uniform at previous games throughout the season. Having the platform of the regional finals game, they chose to wear the pink jerseys. But one of the Pike coaches complained, the officials conferred, and Tech was ordered to wear their regular green jerseys. However, those were back at the school. And so the game was delayed while one of Tech’s coaches sped home to retrieve the green jerseys. I think Tech was charged a double technical. A Pike player made the free throws, and so Tech started the game down four to zero, or something like that. It didn’t matter. Despite the strong play of Tech player John Robert’s brother, a sophomore at Pike, Tech beat Pike soundly. After winning the game, Tech put back on the pink jerseys for the photos and for cutting down the net. Afterwards Coach Delaney had to write a letter to the Indiana High School Basketball Association apologizing, but I don’t think he minded doing that very much. They had made their statement in support of the battle against breast cancer quite well after all.

Semi-state was held in Richmond against Bloomington. Before the Bloomington North game I interviewed a bunch of Tech alumni and other fans who had gathered at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Richmond. They were confident in their team winning. But that victory was not as easy or straightforward as it should have been.

I’ll never forget walking into the Richmond gym. It was absolutely packed. Hearing the roaring crowd I felt goose bumps up and down my arms and back. It was “Hoosier Hysteria” at its best.

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Tech played a tough Bloomington North team and just dominated in the first three quarters. Tech was up by well over twenty points going into the last minutes of the game, so Coach Delaney sat his starters and brought in the bench. That was almost disastrous. Bloomington North kept fighting. They got shots and stops and breaks and calls. And before you knew it the game was well within their reach. Delaney put his starting five back in, and they barely held off the charging Bloomington team. The Regional Championship trophy was Techs, and their fans were ecstatic, if not a little shaken, after the dramatic ending. Tech was going to the State championship for the fifth time. Would they finally win it all?

Now not only was Tech’s students and alumni rallying around the Tech team, but hosts of Indianapolis Public Schools players, coaches, fans, alumni and supporters were cheering them on. Tech’s team represented them. “We are Family” had come to symbolize not only the team as family, but a whole school district as family.

The Indiana High School State Championship game was at Bankers fieldhouse vs. Lake Central, a team Tech had already beaten in the regular season. I was personally not feeling well at the time. In fact, about that time I had to have surgery to check my lymph nodes to check and make sure that I did not have cancer. Thankfully I didn’t; I just was under a great deal of stress due to a hard situation at work. So I wasn’t able to join in all of the festivities before the game, although I was in attendance. However, my son Julian was brought up with the team and so he was on the inside and able to shoot video. He got great video of the team’s first practice at Banker’s fieldhouse before the game, their walking out onto that court for the first time. It feels a lot like the scene from Hoosiers when the Milan team walks out onto the Butler Fieldhouse before their championship game.

In the locker room before the game quotes from Lake Central players were posted, just in case the Tech team needed added motivation.

What an awesome moment that was to walk into the Fieldhouse packed by fans, to have the players introduced under the lights, and to watch them finally play on that big stage.

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Julian, and other players, shot video from the bench before, during and after the game, capturing the magic of it all.

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Bankers Fieldhouse was packed with Tech fans who cheered their team on. Tech was in control of the game from the beginning, but Lake Central never gave up and kept it close all the way to the end. When the last seconds of the game came to a close and Trey threw the basketball into the air I think I was not alone among the fans in shedding a tear.

I know that Trey also cried in the joy of the victory. There is a great picture of him hugging his dad crying with I’m sure the joy of accomplishing the dream.

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What a thrilling culmination of hard work and family faithfulness for that team.

I doubt if Trey and that Tech team could know what their victory against-the-odds would come to mean for other kids in urban Indianapolis playing for IPS schools: a door had opened to the impossible dream that a team from IPS could win it all too.

Two snapshots gave premonitions of how much that victory meant to Tech and IPS. The first was a student assembly to celebrate the Tech team that finally brought the trophy home. That was a fun, relaxed, joyful, playful time for the teammates and their friends.

The second was a celebration in Tech’s gym on April 8th. The gym was filled with students and alumni and fans and news reporters. It was a party atmosphere. current and past cheerleaders danced and led cheers. One highlight for me was a cheering line for past Tech players. I caught every player coming through the line with big smiles and lots of back slapping and high-fives and handshakes.

At the end of the day, how much did Tech’s victory matter? How much of an impact would it make? It would only be years later that the full impact of their victory could be assessed.

And then could their story be captured and told?

A story about family.

A story about a team of young men and coaches who had a dream

A story of friends and family who came around them to support them in their dream

A story of an urban basketball program that wasn’t supposed to have a chance

A story “for all the inner city kids who are told” you can’t do this

A story about a team inspiring first an inner-city school, then its alumni, then a school district, then a city around their quest to win it all.

In the last article in this series I’ll share the steps that have gone into the making of the documentary We are Family that is due to come out in March of 2019, five years after that inspiring game at Bankers Fieldhouse.

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