Quote of the Day: from Psalm 81

81 Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song, sound the timbrel,
    the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
    at the full moon, on our feast day.

We needed a fresh idea for fundraising for our Youth Programs and Missions trips at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Baxter, MN. For some strange reason, I heard myself calling out, “I think we should have a talent show.” 

“Sure,” answered Pastor Erika. “Do you want to be in charge of organizing it?”

I said, “Yes,” but only because the fabulous Guy Kelm also said yes, and we make a great team. 

Mary Aalgaard and Guy Kelm, co-chairs and MCs for Hotdish and Hoopla!

Mary Aalgaard and Guy Kelm, co-chairs and MCs for Hotdish and Hoopla!

I’m a camp kid. We’re a summer camp family. Our favorite night of the whole bible camp experience at Mount Carmel, a camp near Alexandria, MN, is the Talent Show. Not only is it a highly entertaining evening with everything from juggling to jazz, it’s fun and funny, and the next day people are talking to each other. The same folks you barely smiled at earlier in the week, come up to you and say, “That was a beautiful solo last night,” or “I didn’t know you could play violin,” or “I laughed so hard at your skit.” I’ve seen everything from silly comedy to professional performers. I always chuckle at the one where one person sits on a chair. We can see her face and upper body. Behind her is a friend, or cousin, draped in a cloth. That person is the arms and hands, and they proceed to try to put on make up, or eat. We’ve enjoyed tremendous talent by professional musicians, and piano solos by beginners. 

Sisters singing an original song by Macy.

Sisters singing an original song by Macy.

So, when I shouted out “Talent Show” before my practical mind could stop me, I knew it was just the thing to highlight the talent of the youth, adults, and community of Lord of Life, as well as raise funds for their next trip. Guy and I named it Hotdish and Hoopla! We started the evening with a potluck hotdish dinner, complete with jell-o salads, bread, the ever-present cup of Lutheran coffee, and of course, bars.

Blessed are the Creative Spirits for they shall Build Community

Whoever brought the hotdish that had the stuffing on the bottom, a layer of chicken, and some sort of scrumptious creamy gravy with veggies mixed in, I want the recipe!

Blessed are the Creative Spirits for they shall Build Community

Blessed are the Creative Spirits for they shall Build Community

The Youth helped set up, serve, and clean up. We had Vonnie running the kitchen, and several adults keeping track of the food and service. Sally came up with clever table decorations, and we had way more food than we needed.

Blessed are the Creative Spirits for they shall Build Community

The Hoopla (i.e. the Talent Show) started at 6:00. We ended up with over 20 acts! The Lord of Life band kicked it off with a couple of their favorites. Young people came up to play instruments, sing, dance, and support each other. A couple people shared songs that they wrote. We had a poetry reading from Pastor Lilja that was very touching. She does poetry ministry at the local jail. The last poem she read about “Mother Earth” from a Native American poet was lovely, and very appropriate as we celebrated Earth Day.

The Four Reeds, a saxophone quartet, including my boy Charlie.

The Four Reeds, a saxophone quartet, including my boy Charlie.

The evening was everything I’d hoped it would be. I take credit only for shouting out the idea. Everyone else who stepped up to take charge of the various parts of the evening did the hard work. Guy and I were MCs. The guys in the sound booth helped with mics and queuing up songs. Dos Guys were the final act. They encouraged audience participation, and a dance party broke out in the sanctuary. 

A drummer and guitar player singing at Lord of Life Church in Baxter, MN

Dos Guys

Thank you to everyone who bravely said yes to sharing your talents!

Thank you to the kitchen crew and everyone who brought food!

Thank you to Sally and anyone who helped with the table decorations!

Thank you to all the folks at LOL who work so hard behind the scenes to make the church look good, sound good, and become a comfortable place for everyone!

Blessed are the Creative Spirits for they shall Build Community

The Hoopla at Lord of Life Lutheran church in Baxter, MN

Thank you Guy, Pastor Erika, and Tim for working with me to make this happen. We had the best planning meeting that I’ve ever been to. I’m looking forward to our debriefing meeting where we start planning for the second annual Hotdish and Hoopla next year. I’ve already had kids asking me when it will be!

A good time was had by all!

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What’s your talent?