US Holiday/WG11 Conference – train, jam, steak

It’s been a real joy to stay with the Giglio family. They’re also hosting two other conference attendees all the way from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales – Fran and Matt Richley (father and son). Matt Richley is a fellow worship leader, and recently completed a 9 month internship at Sovereign Grace Ministries under the mentorship of Bob Kauflin and Ken Boer. He’s also (in)famous for the training videos he made for a couple of songs from Sovereign Grace’s new “Risen” CD.


Fran is a police officer and a professional motorsport fine artist (his website) – and really talented on piano and keyboard.

On Tuesday, the day before the conference, the Richleys kindly invited us along for a day trip to Washington DC, about a 1/2 hour ride on the Metro (subway) away. We had lunch together at a Mexican fast food joint called Qdoba’s – what tasty burritos! Afterwards, we visited two Smithsonian museums, the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum. Both were very interesting – the Natural History Museum had a butterfly enclosure that we both particularly enjoyed.




For dinner we were invited to the home of Mauricio and Sonia Velarde – what a friendy and hospitable couple!


Mauricio is an ace on the guitar, and plays in a very authentic Spanish style. He is originally from Bolivia, while Sonia is Puerto Rican. Mauricio cooked us some of his own cuts of steak and grilled them on the BBQ – they were probably the best steaks we’ve ever tried!


After dinner we got our various instruments from Mauricio’s collection – guitars, keyboards, a violin(!), a cahonga and a quatro(traditional 12-string Spanish guitar) and jammed throughout the evening, playing all sorts of songs together. Mauricio was so kind to give us one of his old Covenant Life Sunday morning music folders, which had guitar charts for many of the songs they would use during regular Sunday meetings.

What a joy to be able to share our lives together, with our common unity in Christ as well as our shared love for music. Thank you Lord!!


Update (26/08/2011): here’s the full series of our time in the USA.

Part 1: Fly, land, drive
Part 2: train, jam, steak
Part 3: sing, meet, glory
Part 4: rehearse, seminars, NZ connection, Thabiti
Part 5: edify, songwrite, organise, gather live
Part 6: mission-focused meetings, instrument shopping
Part 7: Covenant Life, tears, crepes and goodbyes, Giant groceries
Part 8: DC take 2, travelling back, final reflections    

– William Chong