The Spring 2010 UChapter Tour has come and gone… And the road was long. Very long. 44 days, 28 events, 18 states, 1 province, 2 countries, and 10,000 miles to be exact. For those who don’t know, UChapters is a college and university program that TWLOHA launched last Fall. Each chapter is lead by students and exists to bring the mission and vision of To Write Love on Her Arms to campuses across the US and Canada (for now).
Our goal with this tour was to use the music of Damion Suomi, Andy Zipf and Lauris Vidal to inspire conversations on the themes of Pain, Hope and Community. Joining the artists was a TWLOHA representative – either Chad Moses, Jason Blades or myself (Denny Kolsch) – who served as a discussion moderator between the audience and artists. Each song revealed the reality of pain and pointed to the hope found in community.
On the road we had the opportunity to enter into people’s lives and homes. We shared stories and meals, slept on floors, visited quaint little towns and big bustling cities. Life was given and it was received. I’m not going to lie, planning this tour for the chapters and our team was hard and at times very stressful. But every time I heard the songs of these freakishly talented musicians and the responses of the audience, I couldn’t help but to believe it was all worth it.
Every night we talked about people as if they mattered. Like really mattered. We talked about how music and other art forms have the power to help us process the pain in our lives. And likewise, how choosing to “know and be known” is often the setting where this process occurs. That every person has deep value is something we agreed we must believe. But will we choose to believe this for ourselves?
I can’t fully express how much I was moved by all the life we encountered on the road. There were so many special people and stories. Below is the first of three videos produced by our talented filming friend Dustin Miller. All three videos are from different chapter events on the UChapters Tour. The first one is from the Virginia Commonwealth University / University of Virginia combined event, which was held in Richmond, VA on April 23.
If you are interested in how to become involved with UChapters please visit twlohauchapters.com for more information.
Thank you to all the chapters and friends that made this tour happen!