Welcome to the National Bluegrass Gospel Jam Network! I’m Rick Torzynski, the site designer and admin, and now blogger. I built this website to bring Ron Camerrer’s vision of a National Bluegrass Gospel Jam Network into being. And how this came to be is kind of a “wow God” story.
A few months ago CrossRoad Church began a Jumpstarter program – a bulletin board was set up in the foyer of the church and members were told to put any ideas for new programs on a sticky note. I’ve been playing Bluegrass music for over 15 years and about 7 years ago ran a weekly Bluegrass jam at the church I was attending. I play mandolin (I also build them) and guitar, but the last year or so just played and sang gospel songs for my wife, Sue. So I thought starting a Bluegrass Gospel Jam at CrossRoad church would be a fun idea. After about a month, one of the lead pastors, Lance, called me and wanted to have coffee or lunch to talk about my idea.
The weekend before our Wednesday meeting, I was putting together information and getting a list of songs. I Googled “Bluegrass Gospel Jams,” and one of the first hits was of Ron Camerrer’s book, “Bluegrass Gospel Jam.” Imagine my surprise when I found a whole book on starting up a Bluegrass Gospel Jams! I bought the Kindle edition to immediately read it, and then ordered a print copy through Amazon Prime. One of the chapters suggested writing out the reasons for wanting to start a Bluegrass Gospel Jam – so I used that exercise to write my statement of purpose, which I then gave to Lance at our meeting. Lance could tell from my preparation that I was really serious about this. He loved the idea, and told me when he returned from a two-week deployment (he is a chaplain in the Florida Army National Guard) he would discuss the idea with the church staff.
While I was waiting for the church’s response, I read Ron’s book completely – and at the end he had contact information including an email address. I looked at his website, a simple WordPress blog hosted on WordPress, and the content was a little bit dated. His book stated he was 72 years old. So I sent a carefully worded email – to be honest, I wasn’t sure if Ron was still on this earth… Here is the email:
I am starting up a bluegrass gospel jam at might(sic) church. I ran a bluegrass jam every Friday night for 1 1/2 years at another church. I called it a beginner’s jam – emphasizing participation over performance. I saw your book just a couple of days before a meeting with one of the pastors at my church – really clearified things for me and very helpful in putting together a solid proposal for starting a jam. Your book really spoke to my heart – thank you for writing it.
I don’t know if you are still active, but would like to talk (or email) with you further if you are.
May God be with you,
Later that evening, I received a reply from Ron (which confirmed he was still here…) telling me he had written two books, and that his SUV was in the shop the next day, so he would be available for a phone conversation. I gave him a call and found a kindred spirit, a brother in Christ – we talked for about an hour, having so much in common. And then he told me he wanted to start a National Bluegrass Gospel Jam network – but he was not that knowledgable about the internet. I smiled at this as I am a Drupal and WordPress programmer and am well versed in creating, maintaining and hosting (I have a dedicated server on which I have several long term clients) websites.
I offered to create a website for his vision, and this is the result. And following Ron’s credo for Bluegrass Gospel Jams, this is not Rick or Ron’s website – its God’s website. I want to help carryout Ron’s vision – and I feel called by God to do this. I pray that the Holy Ghost will guide me in doing this.
If you run a Bluegrass Gospel Jam or want to start one up, please contact us and we will post your event on our Bluegrass Gospel Jam Network map or aid you in anyway we can.
May God’s Peace be with you all.