Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us for our first-ever musical gathering! SwedenJam Live 2019, held at the World Café Live in Philadelphia, hosted more than a hundred attendees for an afternoon of offTheLeftEye-inspired music.
The afternoon kicked off with Reade McCardell—who composed a lot of the music for the videos on our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel—and friends Mike Kennedy and Chad Odhner (who also sits on the board of the Swedenborg Foundation). The incomparable Jonathan Rose, who had his own set later on in the show, joined them on keyboards for the final song. Their mellow set that included four of Reade’s originals, “The Sun a Liar,” “White Noir,” “Flutely Played Angelics,” and “Tendon”; they also did one cover, “Willow” by Joan Armatrading.
Once their set ended, the Reade and Chad remained on stage to play with Edwin Herder, who brought a few more of his friends: Ellen Herder, Christine MacDonald, Steve McDonald, Dan Monaghan, Kevin Odhner, Greg Synnestvedt, and Randy Wagner. The group took turns singing and playing in a set that included covers of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers,” “Beautiful Dawn” by the Wailin’ Jennys, “Love Throw a Line” by Patty Griffin, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks, “The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel, and Neil Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry.”
The Foundation’s own Jonathan Rose, series editor of the New Century Edition and co-host of our webcast Swedenborg and Life, took up the keyboard and invited some high-powered vocalists to the stage in the form of Alanna Rose (relation), a classically trained vocalist, and our administrative assistant Regina Lee. Alanna wowed the crowd with Tom Waits’ “Come on Up to the House” and “Feeling Good,” written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse and made famous by Nina Simone. Regina gave her own gorgeous take on the traditional hymn “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” as made famous by the gospel singer Thomas A. Dorsey.
The final act was the highlight, with Swedenborg and Life producer and host Curtis Childs taking the stage with Reade McCardell to show us yet another one of his many talents: singing and playing guitar for a cover of “Song for the Angels,” originally performed by the Great Lake Swimmers. The final number was union of performers from previous acts plus special guests from offTheLeftEye: Curtis and Reade were joined by Curtis’s brother Matthew Childs, who is the video art director for offTheLeftEye, and Chelsea Odhner, who does production management, writing, and comment moderation, and the return of Jonathan Rose; also on stage was Chad Odhner, Christine MacDonald, and special guest Gregg Swierczynski on drums. They did a cover of the song “Divisionary (Do the Right Thing)” by the band Ages and Ages, providing a perfect cap to the message of the show.
Despite the deluge of rain that greeted attendees on the way in, by the end of the two-hour show the sun had come out and everybody was lifted up. Thanks so much to all of the talented performers who took the time to come out and share their music with us, and also to our sponsors: Bryn Athyn College provided shuttle transportation from the Bryn Athyn area, enabling many people to come who might not have otherwise, and an anonymous donor provided the financial support that made it possible for us to put this on as a free event.
If you’d like to help make more gatherings like this possible, please support the Foundation with a donation and sign up for our e-mail list so that you can get all the latest news about what’s happening. You can also find all kinds of merchandise in our Redbubble store, including SwedenJam Live T-shirts, and the proceeds from every sale goes to support the Foundation.
If you’re curious about the musicians who performed at SwedenJam Live 2019:
- Reade McCardell has a plethora of projects you can find out about on his website.
- Jonathan Rose’s gospel CD Clear Shining After Rain is available through CDBaby.
- Chelsea Odhner is getting ready to release a brand-new album, “Confident Hope.” Check out her website for updates and more thoughts from Chelsea.
- Alanna Rose is not only a talented singer but a painter, whose work you can see on her website.