New Zealand/Aotearoa Yearly Meeting Report

On the Blood-Patterson's Trip

 

Here's a report about a family

who left the airport with a van full of music

who squeezed themselves into a modest  car

and sent boxes and instruments around the country.

Everything arrived on time - faith was rewarded.

Here's a report about a family that travelled with children

where no family has ever ventured before nor asked what this family asked -

a family  that understands about the community that must share

the responsibility

Everyone learned along the way - faith was rewarded.

Here's a report about a family who took song

wherever they went - reaching out to Friends and those beyond

with music that springs from deep roots

Many  heard, many were moved - faith was rewarded.

Here's a report about how music took root  where

music has only rested tentatively before

in a worshipful space where Friends can shine

Music  with Friends roots - Faith was rewarded

Here's a report about the tour of Annie Patterson and Peter Blood, Nate and Ian.


Details:

Names: Annie and Peter Blood-Patterson  plus Nate (13) and Ian (6)

Members of Middletown Monthly Meeting (Philadelphia YM)

Purpose: Share a musical ministry with Friends in NZ.

Dates: 21 Dec 1999 - 31 January 2000

Funded by: New Zealand Yearly Meeting (domestic travel)

            Their own fundraising/support (international travel)

The invitation:

Minute 34 1998 New Zealand Yearly Meeting:

 ' Singing Quakers visit? - Peter Blood/Annie Patterson'

Sue Stover has introduced us to the music and witness of Peter Blood and Annie Patterson of Middletown MM Philadelphia YM who have expressed their desire to be here and make music with Friends in NZ next December - January. The organisers of the next Summer Gathering have expressed strong support for this visit and would like to have them at Teapot Valley.

We invite Annie Patterson and Peter Blood  to visit us at the suggested time. We encourage MMs to welcome these Friends and experience their many gifts. Sue Stover has agreed to co-ordinate Annie and Peter's arrangements in NZ. We ask the clerk to find two other people to work with Sue on this.

We agree to contribute up to $1200 towards their travel costs in NZ, and to underwrite their other costs up to another $1800 in the expectation that meetings will use Annie and Peter's performances to raise this extra money.

WHAT HAPPENED:

Auckland     21-26 December;   28-31 January

Auckland served as home port for the Blood - Pattersons - they arrived here, spent most of a week recovering from an exhausting trip (and an exhausting year) at Friends House Waiheke, and joined us on Christmas Eve. They  marvelled at the flowers that are bundled for the prisoners. That evening we sang and they sang informally in the children's room while we made decorations and later as part of the candlelight gathering they sang (and we tried, but it was much harder because they knew the songs and we didn't!). On Boxing Day  they reappeared from the Island and worshipped with us - Peter offering ministry on the year of jubilee as we looked forward towards the new millennium. The family disappeared off down the lefthand side of the southern motorway - headed for points south. So far so good.

Five weeks later they reappeared again in need of rest. Peter shared food at a potluck meal and afterwards lead us on a guided tour of the new Quaker hymnal. There were about 15 people who stayed for the singing, including Duncan (aged 2) whose attempt at building the tower of Pisa out of cushions was particularly memorable. For the next two days Annie and Peter were wrapped up in the enthusiastic energy of the Auckland Folk Festival where they were warmly received and deeply appreciated. Although the folkies there may not have known that Annie and Peter were Quakers, they must have sensed the Quaker messages that permeated their songs: there were messages in words and music that spelt out  peace, concern,  struggle, commitment, and a deep abiding faith.

- Sue Stover

 Wanganui     27 December - 2 January

Peter and Annie, Nate and Ian stayed for the whole Meeting for construction at the Quaker Settlement.  Everyday Peter and Annie enthusiastically led singing sessions, planned and spontaneous.  These included singing daily under a tree with the kids (little and big ones), and adult singing, especially from their book Rise Up Singing and the new Quaker Hymnal. They were generous in their sharing of their awesome repertoire, andmade it very easy for anyone to participate.

They took part in other activities, added music to some Meetings for Worship, wrote some thoughts for the Building Bugle and created some great designs to add to their screen printed T shirts.  We hope, that even though it was a busy week, they found time to settle into their trip and recover from the travel from the States and to Wanganui.  Their presence at the Meeting for Construction was most appreciated.

- Mandy and Nigel Brooke

Summer Gathering, Teapot Valley     5-14 January

I found Peter Blood a spiritual and deeply thoughtful man who contributed to the SG both with his music and with his ministry contributions to Meeting for Worship and the spiritual life of the gathering.

He is a very good musician, with skills shown as guitarist, arranger and fiddle player. He had an ability to organise a disparate group in terms of age and musicality. He fronted various sessions to do with singing or with music in the life of a Meeting. He blessed us all with his skills in the field of group singing.

Similarly for Annie. Her special skills were on guitar and banjo, and as a gifted and versatile singer/performer. In the tradition of American folk, country, bluegrass and also in jazz and blues, she showed a deep grounding. Her  version on frailing banjo of a gospel song "Now Is the Cool of the Day" by Jean Ritchie was a spine-chilling, knee-weakening experience and the highlight of the visit for me. She, too, showed great skills as a music leader.

I hope that their challenge to New Zealand Friends to celebrate and worship with music will be taken up with full voice. Their visit was Spirit-blessed.

In love and the Spirit,

- Brian McNamara

Dunedin   16-18 January

Peter and Annie arrived in Dunedin on Saturday the 15th of Jan. and stayed with the duFresnes. On Sunday the 14th  Peter and Annie after Meeting for Worship led  some of us in group singing. After which we shared a  potluck lunch. That evening  Annie and Peter went to the New Edinburgh Folk Club at Tull's coffee house where they sang with around 60 folk  club supporters. Everyone enjoyed themselves and there was enthusiastic participation from the audience.

At  9 a.m. Monday morning we met at Hills a.m. radio station where I interviewed them about folk singing,  Rise Up Singing, and about  performers

such as Pete Seeger. At 11.45 a.m. we went to the octagon or town square where Peter and Annie performed to a varied  lunch time audience  of between twenty  and sixty people. Quite a number of people spent a good

part of their lunch hour listening to  songs that they would not ordinarily hear.  At both singing functions people showed an interest in the song books and CDs.

I  feel that the Blood - Patterson visit to Dunedin has been very worthwhile!

- Marvin Hubbard in Solidarity

Christchurch    19-21 January

On the 19th January Peter and Annie led a workshop at Christchurch Meeting entitled 'Hearing God's Voice'. This was a discussion and sharing of the issues and complexities of discernment and what Friends call Leadings. About 15 Friends attended, and found this a challenging exploration of key Quaker insights.

The following afternoon/evening was a singalong, also at the Meeting House,beginning with a delightful session for children. After a shared meal we then had a moving demonstration of the participatory music making which Annie and Peter have made their speciality. This included many numbers requested by participating Friends.  By the end of the evening Friends had hoarse throats and warm hearts.

Through the singalong (which attracted a number of outsiders) plus TV and newspaper interviews, Annie and Peter helped with Quaker outreach. 

- Peter Low and Derry Gordon

Wellington    22-24 January

The Blood-Pattersons stayed at the Friends Centre in Wellington on the nights  of January 22nd and 23rd.  Although the Blood-Pattersons would have preferred staying with a Quaker family in their home, this was not possible.  Instead,  Wellington meeting supported Peter, Annie and their family by waiving all fees for the Friend's centre.

The activities of the Blood-Pattersons in Wellington was organised by the  Family's Committee.  On January 22nd a shared meal was arranged to welcome Annie, Peter, Nate and Ian.  The Family's committee brought extra food so that the Blood-Pattersons did not have to worry about making a contribution to the meal.  The meal was followed by a sing-a-long attended by about 20 to 30 Friends.  Ian was cared for by a member of the Family's committee during this concert.  The singalong, which attracted a number of people who are not Friends, lasted about two hours, and was a wonderful informal affair very much enjoyed by those who attended.   Rise-Up-Singing and the new Friends Hymnal were used throughout.  Wellington meeting does not often have opportunities to sing Quaker songs or songs with Quaker values so the event was a real treat for us.

The following day the Blood-Pattersons were unable to attend meeting for worship because of the need to prepare for the day's concerts.  Annie and Peter performed two half-hour concerts at the very well attended, annual Wellington City Council's "Teddy Bear's Picnic" (called the "Cookie Bear Picnic" this year).  The performances were in the dell of the botanic gardens. During the day Ian was cared for by a member of the Family's committee. The Blood-Patterson performance was much less hyped up than those of other performers and were perhaps a breath of fresh air for children and parents attending the concert. Payment for these performances ($1000.00) will go to New Zealand Yearly meeting in support of the Blood-Patterson tour.

We definitely enjoyed the Blood-Patterson's visit.  Their music is of a high quality and is very uplifting.  It is amazing how many songs and how much song folklore Annie and Peter know.  Those of us who were able to also enjoy  performances of the Blood-Pattersons at Summer Gathering were doubly enriched by their visit.

- Judy Brown

Hamilton    26-27 January 2000

On their first day in Hamilton Annie and Peter were interviewed by Community Radio in a twenty-minute live to air broadcast that included the stories of the history of their singing and their journeying throughout New Zealand as part of their Quaker outreach. It was followed by their concert that evening in the Lady Goodfellow Chapel, University of Waikato, which was attended by 70 people of all ages.

"The concert on 26 January when Peter Blood and Annie Patterson performed was a valuable form of outreach. It was enjoyed by a large section of Friends and others. The emphasis on family groups was particularly appreciated, as were the participation songs for small children."

- Waikato/Hauraki Monthly Meeting, 6 February 2000, Minute 10:

The weather was perfect and the venue was a good choice. Annie and Peter were relaxed. They shared their love of music with us and we were all included and responded to the joy of singing together. Both the concert and the radio interview reached out to the wider community.

Annie and Peter had family and recreational time the next day that included a visit to the Waitomo caves.

The evening of 27 January was a relaxing time with people from the Meeting gathering for a shared meal with Annie and Peter and their sons at the home of Patricia and David Waugh, where they were staying. The meal was  followed by more singing, a wonderful way to bring the visit to an end.

- Beryl Jones.

OVERALL

That the tour by Peter and Annie and their family was successful owes much to Peter and Annie themselves. They were adaptable and enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoyed being amongst New Zealand Friends. The success of the tour also owes much to New Zealand Friends themselves who found many ways to be part of the tour - there were last minute offers to shift instruments and boxes, offers to child mind and accommodation. There was also long-term organising that produced concerts, publicity and substance to what started off as merely ideas. Together we made it work for all of us. Thank you Friends.

- Sue Stover, Tour Co-ordinator

P.S. Just before they left, Peter said, 'I have a question. When shall we come back?' It was not a question of IF, it was a question of WHEN. We have much to look forward to, Friends!

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