Monday, May 11, 2015

Hymns - A Piano Study of Meditation & Inspiration

Recently, I have been giving a reading on the background leading up to the composition of various traditional hymns each week in church, followed by playing a "piano meditation" of that piece.



I am doing this, in part, to build my catalog of potential hymns that can be featured in my performance of my History of Hymns program at YMCA of The Rockies as part of their Christian Artist Series. My performance for this series will take place at Ponder Chapel on the YMCA of the Rockies grounds in Estes Park, CO Tuesday, July 28.



This YouTube playlist is presently growing each week. Please keep checking it as it grows and listen often! Look for a recorded cd to eventually be made of these and other hymns.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dynamite - KSE Singing Hawks Choir at Elitch Gardens

Kathryn Senor Elementary (KSE) 4th Grade Singing Hawks Choir at Elitch Gardens Contest Spring 2012 singing Dynamite under the direction of Jeff Van Devender.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rare Picture: David Bowie and Elton John + Princess Diana and George Michael at Live Aid 1985

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tis The Season: Scenes For a Christmas and Winter Holiday Musical

Tis The Season: Scenes For a Christmas and Winter Holiday Musical These cute scenes are written to be part of a Christmas or Holiday elementary school program. Use what fits your song choices. You can add, edit, delete and/or mix up dialogue to fit those choices. Due to the current climate of many public schools, the theme is primarily secular in nature. A more religious-themed Christmas script will soon be available. No real costuming is necessary, other than to perhaps wear dress-up holiday-themed clothes or even pajamas to reflect the Christmas nature of the subject matter. This Christmas/Holiday elementary musical is available at our TeachersPayTeachers site. Here is the address/link: Christmas/Winter Holiday Musical. It is published by Alpine Road Publishing, a subsidiary of JavaMusiK. Written by Jeff Van Devender.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Elton John live & other little nuggets

BloG #52: The Shoutout From Sir Elton John Captured

You may remember me getting fairly bent out of shape a couple weeks back, alleging that Sir Elton John paid me a dedication with his final song of the evening in Denver at his Pepsi Center show September 20, 2014. I am happy to report that audio has finally been located, so you can listen and judge for yourself. The short version of the story is that Elton does indeed pay attention to what is written about him. (Scroll down a bit on my page. The complete story is still there.)

I have created a video using the audio with his dedication & snapshots from the article and comment which led to this dedication to (allegedly) ME. Is it possible, that there was another Jeff his comment was intended for? Sure. It is just hard to not believe that given the circumstances and context that this particular dedication was in fact directed at me, with perhaps a slight degree of malice intended considering it possibly was a response to a comment on a review he didn't wholly appreciate. Nevertheless, as I have said multiple times, it is his show & definitely his right & prerogative to perform how ever he sees fit. He completely made his point & proved us naysayers dead wrong!

Oh and hey Elton, if you're reading this... THANK-YOU and great show!!

Here is the audio/video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIYDl5Wr9ss
The dedication comes shortly after he starts playing.
Cheers!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BloG #51: A Shoutout To and From Elton John!!!

My goodness... It has been awhile, hasn't it??
Seems I've had virtually nothing to write about for some time and anything I really had to say was offered up elsewhere. All that kind of changed this last week. I'll take the opportunity to re-post it here, as this is my own unadulterated forum. So, here goes with the re-posting.

***The following is essentially a recap of how things went down over the last week regarding a virtual conversation I believe I had with Elton John resulting in a dedication to ME from the stage in Denver, CO - September 20, 2014:

I hesitate to post this, due to some strong opinions/emotions it may stir for some. But, the story actually happened. While not trying to sound narcissistic, but after giving lots of thought to it all and as crazy as it sounds, I truly believe it all happened as I state here and was ultimately directed at me.. What follows is a narrative of what turned out to be one of the most surreal memories that was just experienced by myself..

Last night, I attended, along with my family, what I estimate to be my 20th Elton John concert in nearly 35 years of seeing him and over 40 years of being a fan - in Denver. Aside from the unimpressive seats I once again had, to say the concert was once again stellar would be an understatement. Elton simply never disappoints!

Prior to the show, I read reviews and watched videos, so I was quite prepared for what was in store. What I was not prepared for was a dedication from the man himself on the stage! The story goes like this..

One of the reviews I read actually received a response from Elton on stage the following night. It was a glowing review of Elton's Vancouver show with an opinion shared that perhaps the concert shouldn't close with songs from the Lion King. I decided to go ahead and add my two cents in general agreement with the premise but say "Elton, go ahead and include the songs. Just don't close with them. You have a catalogue of potential closers that other artists dream of! Oh, And by the way, I'm looking forward to your show in Denver." I meant no disrespect. Just sharing an opinion.

Well, after nearly 2.5 hours of amazing music from my all time favorite musician, Elton begins to talk about his next song and why he chose to include this song in his show. He was speaking of Circle Of Life. He spoke of his kids and how they reminded him of those songs he brought to the screen 20 years ago. He also spoke of how some have suggested he shouldn't include them (just to clarify, I do NOT feel this way.. just don't close with it.) but he feels otherwise. Fine.

Then, the shoe drops...

Right before he goes into the first chords of Circle, Elton says "This one is for you, Jeff."

My ears picked it up, but kind of blew it off. Amy nudged me and we both kind of chuckled in a curious sort of way. 30 seconds passed.. I began to wonder.. Who could this Jeff be that would be receiving such an acknowledgement from the stage? I then began to replay what he had just spoken of.

Then I began to remember what I had written. And I also started to recall that Elton had actually responded to the original review from the stage the following night after the original posting. Could he have actually read my comment? And if so, would he really care what I have to say?? Is there anyone else in this arena named Jeff that would be garnering a dedication of that particular song from Elton John???

The article and my comment, with a follow-up comment from me after the show appears here: http://www.straight.com/blogra/732496/elton-john-not-thrilled-newts-review-his-vancouver-show Feel free to judge for yourself.
 


*** I also followed up an online review of the Denver show with the following comment:

Thank-you, Elton, for once again proving why you are worthy of sustaining a 45-plus year career that is virtually unmatched in the industry. Having seen you live at least 20 times, your shows never disappoint and this most recent Denver visit was no exception.

Without trying to sound narcissistic, I am the Jeff who called you out through a comment on a review of an earlier show regarding your usage of Lion King for the encore. You seemed to respond with a beautiful explanation and hit, what I could only interpret as, ME back with a dedication to Circle of Life.. "This one is for Jeff." If I was your intended target with that dedication (and I am guessing I was), you more than made your case, thereby obliterating my case for otherwise, while making this fan the happiest guy in town that night! (Sadly, there was no corresponding Grammy-winning Can You Feel The Love Tonight to follow.)

I fear that this current run is a kind of swan song for you with your recent threat of retirement and boys who are closing in on school-age. While I selfishly hope such is not the case, I fully understand if you do wind up cutting back. You have given us fans an excellent run and I for one am truly thankful. I dream of the day that I could meet you and share what your music has meant to me, but alas am resigned to the realization that (to quote another Disney lyric) "a dream is a wish your heart makes."

One more thing before I go, while I have your attention.. I secretly hope the day will come when you record an album of piano instrumentals in the vein of your present Rocket Man and recent Take Me To The Pilot preludes. Give us something that truly showcases once and for all your amazing talent to set those keys on fire!
Thank you for all you do, Sir Elton.

Sincerely, with much love and respect,
Jeff Van Devender


The review and my comment is officially posted here: http://www.heyreverb.com/blog/2014/09/21/photos-elton-john-pepsi-center-show-denver-review/94774/#disqus_thread