Last week, we had the pleasure of joining our new sponsor, TIAA Bank in Vail Colorado for the GoPro Mountain Games.
It was an incredible weekend all around. We did some trail running, mud running, yoga and climbing. We got to watch whitewater kayaking, slackline and even doggie long jumping!
By far, though, the highlight for me was getting to hang with one of our favorite bands, Playing for Change.
Playing for Change is an incredible organization that aims to bring people together through music.
They produce truly incredible videos, weaving together people, all over the world, performing some of our favorite songs. Below are videos from some of my favorite.
I first found Playing for Change about five years ago when I stumbled upon their performance of Gimme Shelter on YouTube. From there, I was quickly down the rabbit hole into all their other videos as well.
Then a few months later, I met their founder Whitney Kroenke at a conference. Turns out she and I went to college together and had some mutual friends. So we connected the dots and have become friendly ourselves over the years.
So, when I saw that they were performing in Vail last week, I was really excited. I went to the show on Friday night and saw Whitney’s co-founder, Mark Johnson, who invited me backstage to meet the band. (I’ve never been that cool before!) He also invited me to meet them on Saturday as they played a few performances around Vail Village to promote their show that evening.
So, this podcast is basically my Saturday hanging with Playing for Change. Here’s the setlist:
- Intro: Three Little Birds (at the top of the Vail Gondola, a bit out of order)
- Jam Session at the Base of the Mountain
- Interview with PFC Co-Founder, Mark Johnson
- Gondola Ride with Jason Tamba (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Pablo Correa (Colombia) (video below)
- Stories of Me with Chance Powell
- Featuring Emelise (a 12 year-old girl playing in Vail Village)
- Saturday Night Live (two songs from their Saturday Night Show)
- Shakedown Jam Session
This was one of the most fun days I’ve ever had. Here are some half-baked thoughts I’ve had since meditating on the experience:
- What unites us is stronger than what divides us.
- The diversity in the band– which you’ll hear in their individual performances– is what makes them so awesome together.
- The power of Chance. It was purely chance that I discovered PFC so many years ago. And purely chance that I met Whitney at that conference. And purely chance that TIAA Bank discovered us and invited us to share such an incredible weekend with them. And purely chance that PFC would be there in Vail that same weekend. I’m grateful for how all those chances came together into one of the most memorable experiences in my life. And it’s not lost on me that one of the band members’ name is “Chance”. You’ll get to meet Chance in the podcast, hear his incredible talent, and also two takes on his story– about how chance played a role in his own life too.
- It’s also not lost on me that I had this experience at Vail– one of the most visually beautiful places in the world– during the GoPro Mountain Games– some of the most visually spectacular events in the world. Yet, with all the beauty there was to see, the most beautiful part of my weekend is what I heard.
- I’m dedicating this podcast to my 21 month-old son, Max. Max LOVES music– and loves PFC. I let him watch their YouTube videos all the time. He becomes entranced, dances and even shouts “Yay” at the end of the songs. Max also loves to play the drums and guitar. And whether or not he ever develops any talent (not a strong gene pool there), I do hope he keeps his love of music. And I hope that, thanks to the work of PFC and other organizations like them, he grows up in a more tolerant, just and peaceful world.
Huge thanks to Mark and the band for making me feel so welcome last weekend. #EveryMileMatters
Here are some videos I took during the weekend, the videos referenced in the podcast, and a few others that I really like: