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The Next Step…

rent spacespace for rent

 

INSPIRE: music.service.hope is looking for spaces/places for us to hold our Youth Performing Groups after auditions in January. We are really excited about this next step in our progression. This puts us one step closer to one day having our place to call home!

INSPIRE Spotlight: Kathy Varga

Kathy Varga
Kathy Varga, Pianist/Alto
1. How long have you been playing the piano and what brought you to INSPIRE?
I started playing the piano when I was five years old and have taken lessons on and off since then.  My mom had this idea that it would be cool for all her children to be able to play the church hymns (sounds familiar, right?).  All of my older siblings had taken piano lessons, so it was the cool “big kid” thing to do.  I remember begging to start and being really excited about going. I ended up entering Arizona State University as a piano performance major and graduated with a degree in music in 2005. 
 
I found out about INSPIRE on Facebook.  A friend of mine was in the choir and posted about auditions. I had been looking for an opportunity to be musically involved for a long time, but nothing had been a good fit yet. The timing was also interesting as I had just finished living through two very difficult years and was looking for some healing in my life. I saw on the auditions info that they were looking for singers, but emailed them and asked if they needed a pianist anyway (long shot, but heh–why not?). My little miracle happened and they took me in (what choir wants TWO pianists!?).  I love having the chance to share the love of God with everyone that comes to performances. That alone makes life awesome. 
 
2. You have been the one to organize our food on many occasions and I’m curious about what draws you to that task?
I love food.  What can I say?  🙂  Actually, even more than eating food, I really like looking for and trying new recipes.  Every one is a new adventure.  Preparing the food for INSPIRE just gives me an excuse.
 
3. Tell us a little bit about your day job?
I earn my pennies by working as a speech language pathologist for Gilbert Public Schools. My work week includes preschoolers to teenagers and I especially enjoy working with high functioning autism and cognitive disorders. The kids make me laugh every day.  I admire their compassion, their hard work, their enthusiasm for life and their resilience. Sometimes they are challenging, and I don’t love the paperwork, but I really enjoy being able to work at making their lives a little easier. 
 
4. What is one experience in your life that you think made a huge impact?
One that comes to mind was when I was practicing in an ASU piano room very late one night. I was working on a difficult Rachmaninoff etude and was frustrated with it and frustrated with some things in my life.  With every bang I just got more frustrated. Within a second of literally throwing my hands back over my head from the piano in a whoosh of caving drive, some unfamiliar eyes poked through the window and two hippie, tree-loving strangers came in to talk with me. They had been practicing in a nearby room and just felt like coming over. They didn’t stay too long, but left me with some unsolicited encouraging words. The power to give strength to others is held by all of us should we choose to use it.  Experiences like this have taught me that every opportunity to give strength to others, no matter how seemingly insignificant, you should take without hesitation. You just never know the good that you do.
 
5.  What are some of your hobbies or ways you spend your time?
I think I enjoy what most people do, family, friends, movies, travel and youtube. 🙂 Time is scarce these days, but I recently have discovered a love of photography.  I enjoy nature and architecture, so I love to take my camera and go exploring when I get the chance.  I love that I can take a billion shots, get a few decent ones and still call it good.  I’m a bit of a nerd, so I always find a good thinker book or conversation enjoyable, too.   
 
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hard question. I just know that whatever I am doing, I will be growing. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

INSPIRE is rehearsing as our new group for our upcoming firesides. We have such a wonderful and talented group right now. Here are most of the men in our group practicing the song, “Go With Me” by Kenneth Cope that is in our “Truth Restored” Program.

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Kathy (yes I took this w/ Christ in the background on purpose) is one of our two wicked awesome piano players. We are so grateful for her service to INSPIRE. Not only does she play for the choir but she spends many hours helping choir members rehearse. She also puts up with the demands of Michael & I (this is no small feat).

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I am being completely honest when I tell you that practice was over and everyone was just sitting around and talking. It was as if everyone likes each other or something?? But seriously, a choir that practices together, stays together!!

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Start Something That Matters

When talking about INSPIRE people often ask me HOW Michael & I got started or WHY we got started.  I could ramble on about us and the hows and the whys but awhile back I found this inspiring video while doing research on Blake Mycoskie’s non-profit, “TOMS”. It pretty much sums up the WHY.
“…What they’re missing is me. What they’re missing is you.  What the world is missing is what you have always longed to do.”  

Inspiring, right?  I went and bought Blake’s book, “Start Something That Matters,” and I read it in one sitting. It is full of inspiration and fabulous ideas. A must read!

Sometimes it is hard when we put in so much of our hearts into INSPIRE and other people drop out or don’t show up or can’t seem to really dig in. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is stand up in front of people and lead them in music. Sometimes I feel very insecure about myself and what I have to offer. But, then I feel the power of music and service change my heart.

I get a glimpse of someone who came to our fireside and felt love for the first time in a long time.I look out into the audience and  can see what it looks like on someone’s face to feel hope again. I listen as a woman, w/ tears in her eyes, thanks INSPIRE  because we spent the day clearing trails—and asked for nothing—in a state where we don’t even live. I come to choir practice with my head down and my heart burdened and I can’t leave rehearsal w/o being filled with the spirit and renewed strength. These experiences just scratch the surface of the power of starting something that matters!

Our beginnings were small and riddled with difficulty but we were driven, passionate, hard workers, who longed for a day when our work and passion would spill out of the hearts of a mighty choir. I thank God every day for INSPIRE and the affect it has on my life and most importantly on my heart.

INSPIRE San Diego Choir Tour (Day 2)

 

Sunday June 30, 2012

8:30-9:30 AM—Performed at the Marine Corps Recruitment Depot (MCRD).

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This has never happened before. We did a 40 minute program of just our music and both, “Blessings” & “I Have Seen Him” solos. This was a life changing experience.

One of INSPIRE’s members, who participated, shared her thoughts,

Being at the marine training camp in San Diego was an experience that will be forever impressed upon my mind.  I felt the influence of the Spirit of the Lord pour out upon us and trainees.  The program that we performed was all music.  I later considered whether it would have been good to have had speakers but then I felt there was something special about simply presenting the message of the restoration through music.  It was a powerful spirit that came as we sang hymns about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the blessings we receive from God.  There were a few particular young men watching that I couldn’t help but notice.  One young man was overcome by the Spirit to the point where he could hardly contain his tears as they streamed down his face.  His buddies reached over and patted him on the back.  One young man watched his brother cry and I sensed a great spirit about him, a calmness, someone converted to the gospel, and simply rejoicing in the gospel message.  I felt like many young men rejoiced with us that day.  The memory forever impressed upon me is the moment when we sang The Spirit of God.  I watched as these converted young souls mouthed the words with us of this great hymn.  It was as if they could not resist verbally rejoicing in the glorious news of the gospel.  It was a remarkable thing to see as these young men witnessed their testimony in song.  I love this work.  I love the opportunity to witness through music the reality of the Savior Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel.  (Amy Honka)

Although the Marines were allowed to clap their Branch President asked them to all stand and give INSPIRE a Marine Salute and they gave us a big Hoo-Ra! Not an eye in the choir (or the entire place for that matter) was dry!

11:30 AM-12:30 PM —Perform in the San Diego Singles Ward.

Kylee , Michael, & Ashley all got the opportunity to speak during Sacrament meeting. INSPIRE sang, “My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee” by Rob Gardner for one of the musical numbers and LaDawn and her sister, currently a sister missionary in San Diego, sang another song.

 Sister Ralyne Riggs wrote this in a letter home about the impact of INSPIRE,

…We headed to our ward where we were so blessed to have a performing group, INSPIRE from AZ, to sing, testify, and bring an amazing spirit to all of our hearts. Each testimony of the church and the Restoration made me so excited to be here sharing this incredible message with the world! As the 25 singers gathered and sang, “My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee”…they literally sang the first line and the spirit burned.It was so beautiful and made me reflect on my Young Ambassador days! Through the song Sister Miller and I just held each other’s hand and cried…literally…tears streaming…

Downtime Before Fireside:  Mormon Battalion, Nap Time,  Heritage Park,  & Old Town San Diego

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7:00-8:00 PM – Truth Restored fireside.

INSPIRE was excited (worn out by this time) to do a fireside for the people of San Diego. There were a lot of missionaries who brought investigators, friends, family, and hearts that had come to feel peace.

Sister Riggs continued in her letter.

INSPIRE performed their musical fireside for the YSA’s here in San Diego and it caused so many miracles! A referral was received from a girl that one of the singers invited. One of our investigators we just taught the Restoration to received answers, and had the spirit confirm through a feeling of happiness that the Restoration is all real! A guy we street contacted and invited came and he wants to learn more. The father of the family of one of our recent converts came and now wants to have missionaries over once a week and committed to our recent convert that he was going to start bringing his family to church every week!!!….It goes on and on. I am sure that’s not all that happened within the hearts of the people that night…so many miracles came from that! We are so grateful!”  http://sisterralynneriggs.blogspot.com/

INSPIRE is very grateful for Ladawn and Sister Riggs for helping to put things together in San Diego!

Josh and DallinOh, and there was a lot of driving…err sleeping.

How INSPIRE Began

On October 17, 2011 Michael Sackett & I sent out an email letting people know they had made it into a Musical Fireside Group—later, that group would be named, “INSPIRE.”

I have ALWAYS loved music. Michael has also.  While I was directing Musical Firesides in Boston and later becoming the Musical Director of Latter Day Sounds Michael was busy performing with groups like Latter Day Celebrations, Vocal Point, Young Ambassadors, and performing with Rob Gardner’s many productions.

One day Michael and I were talking about how we wanted to get back into music. He got married, moved to AZ,  and had beautiful little boy. I moved to AZ, graduated from Grad School, and got a job as a wilderness therapist. We were both ready to bring music back into our lives.

Kylee & Michael

Also, we both realized that there wasn’t really much, as far as LDS music groups go, in the Valley. There were a few other groups but they required a lot of time. Michael & I wanted to put together a group that would rehearse and perform on Sunday nights. We wanted it to be open to anyone between the ages of 18-35ish.

Putting this group together has been no small feat. It takes a lot of time and work. It has been incredible working with Michael. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, listening to their voices. This is a journey I love and I look forward to many more wicked awesome experiences!!