January 16, 2014

2013 in Review - DonB! Ministries

Large Photo: Dale and his cousin in California
Inset Photo: The Bursells, making "grass angels" for our friends back in Minnesota

2014 is well under way, and I realized it has been a while since my last writing here.  I've been keeping up with the activities of DonB! Ministries by writing on Facebook, as well as sending out an email newsletter, but I also realize that not everyone is on Facebook, so I wanted to drop by and let you know what's happening.

January 2013 was a busy month.  Deb & I began attending a new church, New Hope Community Church, in Cambridge, Minnesota.  I performed my 10th show for the "Delta Pilots for Kids Program" at St. Joseph's Shelter in St. Paul. I took a winter trip to Texas to perform and teach at the Joey to the World Clown Conference for 4 days. I did my 50th & 52nd show for Camp Lebanon in Bertram, Minnesota, including a test run of mid-air fishing (magically catching live fish on a pole) and gave a couple of other new routines a test run.  Deb, Deanna and I continued working with the junior high youth group at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

February was a slower month, but I did a couple of human mannequin gigs for Mannequin in Motion, including Bobby & Steve's BIG party at the Hilton in Minneapolis.

March started the Upward Sports season, and I travelled around Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois performing for players and their families.  I also has opportunity to play 2 fun nights of music (I play bass guitar) with musicians from around Minnesota, and our main gig was at Emma's Pizza right here in Mora, and almost 80 people showed up for pizza and music. We repeated the event once again at New Beginnings Church in Cambridge, Minnesota, on April 21st.

April was the month that I started sending out an email newsletter, the DonB! Irregular Newsletter.  If you do not receive it, please let me know and I'll add your email to my growing list of friends around the world. April 21st is when I started playing bass guitar on the worship team at our new church. I performed for an 80-year-old's birthday party, and performed at St. Canice Catholic Church in Kilkenny, Minnesota, and there were more people at my program than there were on the town's population sign!

On May 1st I took my first flight of the year to Nashville, Tennessee (I took 2 more throughout the year) to perform for Katie Harris's surprise birthday party.  Katie is the wife of Harris III, the illusionist I travel with every so often. The Dontar Machine had its first gig of the year at Hamline University. The last week was spent performing and teaching at Fun Camp, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where performers of different specialties get together and learn from each other.

June brought some warmth, as well as shows for Morristown Dam Days (yes, it's really called that), an overnight Grad party in North St. Paul, and an all day event for employees of Delta Airlines at the MSP airport. I flew to Pocola, Oklahoma, and performed with Harris III, at a casino, owned by Christians that want to use the venue as an outreach tool.  How's THAT for "outside the box" thinking?

On June 23rd, our family left to drive to Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, Maryland, for 6 weeks. Each week there I did 2 shows, M.C'd the morning Brown Bag Devotions (of which I'm still working on the book about) and performed strolling entertainment throughout the weeks.  Deb & I were invited to take an all-day trip on Goldwing motorcycles through the mountains of Pennsylvania, and it was incredibly scenic. I also started shaving my head during the 2nd week of camp, and I've chosen to leave it that way.  "Bald is beautiful", or at least that's what my wife says.

My new hairstyle

Even though we were in Maryland for the summer, on July 18th I flew back to Minnesota to perform at Sonshine Music Fest in Wallmar, MN, on the invite of Randy Christensen.  I closed off my time there by watching the night time concert from Skillet, complete with fireworks! While in Maryland, Deb & I took an all-day trip to the ocean with our friends, the Weavers. It had been at least 2 years since I had done any swimming in an ocean, and it was fun.

In August, I performed at the Little Falls County Fair, and also performed at libraries around Minnesota for their summer reading program. On July 21st I went on the road with Randy Christensen and his son, Ben, and presented the L.O.L. Show in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada. On the 31st, I competed in my 2nd disc golf tournament in Brainerd, MN, and returned for the 30-somethinkth time to Trout Lake Camp, to perform for their family weekend.

In September I did 3 shows in South Dakota, and then flew down to Marshall, Missouri, to perform with Harris III and Bubba Dowling, presenting the "Bamboozled" Show. September 18th I performed for (at least the 20th year in a row) Faith Community Church in Hudson, Wisconsin, opening up their year of AWANA programs for families. The next day I drove into the upper peninsula of Michigan for 2 shows in Nagaunee and Ishpiming. Things then quieted down a bit for the last 12 days of September.

Dontar at Mayo Clinic
However, October came in like a lion, albeit a small lion, with a Dontar Event at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, another Dontar gig for a private corporate party, and then the usual stilt-walking gig I've been doing now for 8 years for Halloween in Coon Rapids, MN. I finished out the month at New Life Church in Princeton, MN., on Halloween night, presenting 2 shows there.

DonB, on New Year's Eve. Franklin, TN

November started with only 3 scheduled shows, but somehow became a busy month of teaching, and meetings, and travels.  Probably the rest I really needed?

December showed only 5 gigs at the beginning of the month, but by the end of the month, I had performed in Minnesota, California and Tennessee, entailing some really last minute additional shows. One of the highlights of December was being able to travel to California to see friends and relatives that we've not seen in years.  It was warm there. 
On our way to California

Throughout the year I've been playing disc golf more and more, especially when I visit the warmer areas of the United States. I have also been spending the last year helping to sell an entire collection of magic books on eBay, owned by a friend of mine. Some are modern, and some are from the late 1800s.

New Magic Books
Very Old Magic Books

Well, what can I say?  I've been blessed with a life that I don't deserve.  I type this as I sit by our new fireplace, with a roof over my head, with friends and family all around me.  I'll close by sharing some fun photos from the year.

One of my favorite Christmas photos
Our disc gold group in CA

We first loved Rita's in Maryland, but
now they have them in California too!


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