My First Online Concert (inc. Without Love, There is No Life)

Two weeks ago, I took part in the fourth Visible Music Weekend at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Prague, in which the topic was live performances and livestreaming music performances, which culminated with a livestreamed music concert featuring songs by all of the participants in the weekend, together with some prerecorded videos, a short sermon and adverts for the two schools involved to give the live participants time to reorganize the stage between performers. The vast majority of the video is in Czech, so might not be of interest to the majority of my readers. (Some technical issues resulted in just under the first 40 seconds of the youtube video being blank). One of the prerecorded videos is a slightly tweaked version of my “Silent Night” video from several years back (21 minutes 23 seconds in), I feature in the backing choir in one song (39 minutes 37 seconds in), and my live section (starting at 56 minutes 26 seconds) is comprised of a bilingual reading of my Bohemian Advent poetry series, followed by the debut performance of a song I first wrote over a decade ago, but whose musical accompaniment was only finalised an hour before the livestream started, then finishing off with A Hope That Burns.

Through a combination of extreme nerves and no chance to rerecord things, I made a number of errors during my live performance, Over the coming weeks I will attempt to record a better quality version of Without Love, There is No Life for you all to enjoy. Here are the lyrics:

Without Love There Is No Life

(spoken)
Love is full of purity,
It shows patience and humility.
Love is not a selfish lust;
Instead, love gives a grounds for trust.
Love gives a child security,
Love gives a thing its beauty;
Because, without love there is no life.
(music begins on life, the rest is sung)

Love is a many-splendoured thing.
Love gives a broken man new wings.
It perseveres, no matter what the cost;
If you have love, you’re never truly lost;
Love, seeing all my flaws,
Love, guided by higher laws;
You know, without love there is no life.

Love simply wants to hear the truth.
Love, it is not eternal youth.
Love is more than soothing noises,
‘Cause love steps up and makes hard choices.
Love lasts through the ages,
It’s written on all life’s pages.
You see, without love there is no life.

It makes the ordinary great,
Won’t mind if you are late,
Won’t leave you to your fate,
This is love.

Love puts you in harm’s way,
Though you try, you can’t always save the day;
Love is there to share your pain,
To weep and help you on your feet again,
Love is a healing flow,
Love gives you room to grow.
You know, without love there is no life.

Love looks you in the face;
Love helps you find your place.
With love, you can forgive the past,
Move on and build a peace to really last.
Love is where you find your worth;
If you’re loved, you’re more precious than the Earth.
You see, without love there is no life.

It shows you you belong,
It admits when it is wrong,
It’s majestic and it’s strong,
This is love.

But love is not every time returned,
Love is not something you have earned,
Sometimes our care isn’t even prized;
Instead our thoughts are utterly despised.
True love goes on caring anyway,
Even when we walk the other way;
It knows that without love there is no life.

Love is how your soul can truly shine,
Through love I am yours and you are mine,
Love expressed is such an open book,
A life of love is worth a closer look,
Can it be, that here is love for me?
Come explore this greatest mystery,
And see that without love there is no life.

Two Decades Since My Quest Began

It has been twenty years since I first contacted the girl who became my wife. Here is the song I wrote and sung for her today to commemorate the occasion.

When I see the ways we’ve changed,
The things that we’ve gone through,
The treasure that you are to me,
The joy I bring to you;

I still fail and let you down,
I’m not all that I should be;
Sometimes I find it hard to grasp
That you can still love me.

The Father watches over us,
The Son still leads us on,
The Spirit gives us strength to love
And know that we belong.

Two decades since my quest began
To reach out and connect
To a funny, kind and loving
Female intellect.

But you are so much more than that,
My friend, love, confidant;
He has blessed our lives with so much
More than we could want.

The Father watches over us,
The Son still leads us on,
The Spirit gives us strength to love
And know that we belong.

A Hope That Burns (Finally Recorded)

A Hope That Burns

As I indicated back when I first posted this, I hoped to participate in a local training weekend for musicians and sound engineers in collaboration with Visible Music College in Memphis, Tennessee, that included the professional recording and mixing of songs that we the participants wrote (one each), as well as basic instructions on techniques, tricks and resources for mixing and producing music professionally.

That recording went well (though it very nearly didn’t happen at all*) and in due time I received a mixed and raw multitrack version of the song, so I could practise the mixing techniques I’d been taught. I then had some vocal instruction from the amazing Moira Greyland Peat, who’s strength, grace and generosity of spirit despite a truly harrowing childhood is an inspiration to many, and resung an improved version of the vocals at home, then mixed it together to produce this final version that I hope will be enjoyable and uplifting.

For the rest of this month it will be available via the CD Baby store for the princely sum of 99 cents, (all other outlets are the same price, but the CD Baby store link above gives the best royalty per sale). Clicking on the image below shows all the outlets where you can stream or download the song.

A Hope That Burns

Melody and Lyrics by Ben Zwycky, accompaniment by Tomas Pavlicek

Vocals Ben Zwycky, keyboard Tomas Pavlicek, guitar Michal Petras

(*I completely lost my voice a week and a half before the weekend, only heard its musical accompaniment for the first time about an hour before we were supposed to demonstrate our songs to show that they were worth recording, while my voice was still shaky, and a scheduling conflict meant that we ended up doing our full recording half an hour after the window for recordings was supposed to close.)

How did I deserve to know?

Today is my wedding anniversary. Here is this year’s poem:


How did I deserve to know?

How did I deserve to know
A girl that’s so good for my soul,
With wisdom, passion, kindness, love
That I am so unworthy of?

It’s such a joy to wipe your tears,
Discuss your thoughts, your hopes, your fears,
For these eventful, treasured years
That we have been as one.

So with His strength and with His heart
Until it’s our time to depart
We reinforce these bonds of love
That fit us better than a glove,

To face the world and all its whims,
To cleanse our hearts of all their sins
And teach our children to become
Strong enough to overcome

The storms that surely will one day
Sweep across their narrow way
To purify them to their core
As they prepare for evermore.

You Really Are Too Good to Us

This year’s bithday poem for my wife:

You Really Are Too Good to Us

 

You really are too good to us,
So we have to thank you thus
(Plus of course in other ways,
From time to time and day by day).

There’s no one in the world that we would rather know
To hold us as we cry and watch us as we grow,
To celebrate our victories, commiserate our falls,
Encourage us that next time we will surely scale that wall,

Warn us when we wander from the straight and narrow path,
Hand us holy soap when our spirit needs a bath,
Hold us to higher standards than the world around us does,
Show unexpected kindnesses, simply just because

You love to give, to understand and help us lift our heads,
Gently kiss our foreheads when we’re tucked up in our beds,
Loving mother, daughter, friend and sister to a throng
Of souls who’d surely join us in singing you a song

To celebrate all that you are, the difference that you make,
The many blessings you provide, delicious treats you bake,
The comfort and encouragement your simple presence gives
Are heaps of shining evidence that in your heart He lives.

More Than Just My Best Friend


Today is the anniversary of the first time I contacted my wife. Here is this years’ poem:

More Than Just My Best Friend

You’re more than just my best friend, the bond that we both share
Is precious as the sunrise and glorious fresh air.
You’ve joined to me for life with your most solemn guarantee
And yet I often fall far short of what my role should be:

I forget the things you treasure, and miss the warning signs
That you’re struggling to cope and I need to invest time
In listening and sharing in the burdens that you bear
And showing in my stumbling ways that I still truly care

Whatever chaos this world sends, together we’ll push through,
I’ll look for little ways to demonstrate I still love you
The many things we can’t control that tempt our hearts to quail
With His strength we’ll overcome, His purpose never fails.

Though sometimes we won’t understand, we know that we can trust
That He will work things for our good, He’s merciful and just.
So as we talk and pray and live together each new day
We ask for wisdom that we need to walk the narrow way.

Who else would dare?

Today is my wedding anniversary, here is this year’s poem:

Who else would dare?

Who else would dare to join with me,
With all my flaws and fears?
Who else has set my heart so free
To love you more each year?

There’s no-one I would rather share
My secret pains and joys;
There’s none more worthy of my prayers
For refuge from life’s noise,

For beauty’s glimmer, pure and deep
To wash right through your soul,
For heaven’s peace to fill your sleep
When hard days take their toll,

For my love to give new strength
When all of yours is spent;
That we may share the same wavelength
And know what each one meant;

That our bond may forever be
A taste of His sweet rule
That helps us touch what we can’t see,
The pledged celestial jewel

Of His kingdom on the earth
And life forevermore,
Bought by His death and humble birth
To open up the door.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day, Planetary Style

Today is Valentine’s Day, and the official launch date for the second of Superversive Press’ Planetary Anthologies, this time it’s Venus—twenty captivating stories of love, romance, the planet and the goddess (in various guises). It’s well worth a look, and not just at the video above 🙂

There’s no Force Upon the Earth

It’s my wedding anniversary today, here is this year’s poem/song. This one was a bit of a rush job to produce after coming back from DragonCon, so is a little less polished than I would like.

There’s no Force upon the Earth

There’s no force upon the earth
That will make me doubt your worth;
There’s no place on earth that I would rather be
Than beside you every day, united on our way
To claim the prize that shines eternally.

‘Cause your love is true, and it’s seen me through
So many times of darkness and despair;
You give me strength to stand with your loving hand
And all the signs that you so deeply care.

More than silver, more than gold,
I hope that I grow old
Surrounded by the fruits of our great love;
When bound to you I’m free, you are the one for me,
The girl in the whole world I’m most proud of.

We Celebrate Another Year

It is my wife’s never-you-mindth birthday today, here is this year’s poem/song:

We Celebrate Another Year

We celebrate another year
Of your treasured presence here
On this day, we’d like to say
How much you truly mean

To this energetic family
That’s blessed with musicality
And lots of fun; you are the one,
Our most beloved queen.

Can there be a greater life
Than to have a mum or wife
As awesome as our quorum has
Declared your soul to be?

It’s your birthday, and we’ll find a way
To let you know you’re loved like no-one else
So sit back, enjoy, your sweet girl and boys
As they do things that cause your heart to melt.