Welcome, Ken Medema!
February 6, 2020
Welcome, Ken Medema, Back to Deermeadows!
One of Deermeadows’ musical friends will join us in worship on Sunday, February 9 – Ken Medema! Ken has joined us before for a choral festival, and for some creative worship leadership through music. For four decades, this personable, musical genius has inspired people through storytelling and song as a pioneer in Christian music. And though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with heart and mind.
Ken custom designs every musical moment of his performance with brilliant improvisation that defies description. Ken's vocal and piano artistry and imagination have reached audiences of 50 to 50,000 people in 49 United States and in more than 15 countries on four continents. From the time he was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1943, Ken has been unable to see with his physical eyes. “As a kid I was not widely accepted,” he says, “and I spent a lot of time by myself. Because I have lived with some degree of being different all my life, I have some sympathy for people who have been disenfranchised, whether they have been disabled or politically oppressed or whatever.”
Music early became a major component of Medema’s life. “I started banging on the piano when I was five years old,” he says, “making up crazy little fantasies on my mom’s piano. When I was eight years old my parents got me a wonderful teacher who taught me the classics with Braille music and taught me to play by ear.” His teacher also taught him to improvise. “Every time I learned a piece my teacher would tell me, ‘Now, you improvise in that style.’ So music became a second language.”
In 1973, Medema left his work as a trained, music therapist and began a career as a performing and recording artist, and eventually founded Brier Patch Music as an independent recording, publishing, and performance-booking company.
Today, Medema performs in a wide variety of venues, from local congregations to charity fund-raisers, to high school and university campuses, to denominational student gatherings, to universally televised religious programs, to corporate conventions, to annual assemblies of national organizations. He is co-founder of Interlude Retreat Corporation, which gifts retreat experiences for music directors, runs conferences and workshops and visits churches to explore the musical possibilities for that congregation. He has recorded over 40 albums.
Ken Medema and his wife, Jane, have been married since 1965 and live in the San Francisco Bay area of California. They have two, grown, married children and four grandchildren. We are glad to welcome back to Deermeadows, Ken Medema!