Family, Faith C

Family, Faith
Features editor
Marco Martinez
(509) 664-7149
[email protected]
Friday, March 25, 2011
Shawn McDonald gets ‘Closer’ to Wenatchee
◆ Christian singer
brings message to
Valley Praise Center
World features editor
Shawn McDonald describes
himself as a work in progress.
The popular Christian singer/
songwriter has lived a colorful
life. A former drug dealer and
now a recently divorced father,
McDonald brings his message of
hope and redemption to Wenatchee
on Wednesday for a concert at
Wenatchee Valley Praise Center.
Prior to McDonald taking the
stage, local singer Alex DiMare will
perform a few songs and Quincy
singer Holly Starr will perform a
half-hour set.
The 32-year-old McDonald
chatted by phone from Nashville,
Tenn., last week on the eve of the
release of his latest CD, “Closer.” It’s
his fourth studio CD, in addition to
the two live CDs he has released.
Q: From the sounds of it, you
got into some trouble and then you
discovered God. What happened?
A: I had a heavy encounter with
God about a month before I turned
20. It was the end of my freshman
year in college. It was kinda when it
all clicked.
Q: What was the catalyst?
A: I wasn’t a Christian. I wanted
nothing to do with that. I thought
Christians were loopy and kinda in
Provided photo
their own world.
Christian singer/songwriter Shawn McDonald will play a 7 p.m. show Wednesday at the Wenatchee Valley Praise Center.
I was a hippie kid. I was into the
drug culture. I was caught dealing
marijuana and faced nine felonies
Obviously, you’re professing
life. Hopefully it helps them with
because of it.
Christ. The whole message of
their journey and discovery of God.
If you go
I was really questioning life and
Christ is that he takes broken
Q: Tell me about your new album.
What: Shawn McDonald concert,
what my role was in it. There had to
A: “Closer” is a hope and
people in and fixes them. There’s
with opening acts Alex DiMare and
be more to it than what I was doing.
redemption record. It’s about
this expectation of perfection,
Holly Starr
Over about six months, the whole
brokenness — the stuff we go
which can turn into something
thing kinda changed for me. One
slightly judgmental if you’re
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
night, I felt I needed to read the
hope and redemption on the
not perfect. No one achieves
Where: Wenatchee Valley Praise
Bible. For whatever reason, I felt
other side. There are rejoiceful
perfection. But I’ve received a
Center, 435 S. Mission St.,
that God was saying that drugs and
songs and there are broken
lot of care and love through the
this lifestyle I was leading was my
songs. Life doesn’t always look
demon. I got scared and cleaned
the same; sometimes we’re up
Q: What do you hope people
Cost: $13 for single tickets, groups
everything out. The next day, cops
and sometimes we’re down. It’s a
walk away with when they go to
of 10 or more are $10 each
showed up with a search warrant.
diverse record.
one of your shows?
Info: 664-3250
They looked, but didn’t find
A: I really try hard. I make songs
Q: The bio on your website tells McDonald released his latest
anything. That was enough for me
They come from me and
a somewhat dark story: dysfuncalbum, “Closer,” last week.
to pursue Christianity.
what I’m going through. I try to make
tional family growing up, former
worked itself out. I found out real
Q: So, you’re onstage in front
it applicable to others. I want people
drug addict and dealer and next
things that were important to me. I
fast that I have a lot of growing up
of an audience — what’s more
to personalize my music. I feel like
started doing it live and people were month it will be a year since your
to do. We divorced about a year ago, my shows are an extension of that. I
important, the music or the
divorce. How do those things
showing up for my shows. It sorta
but we’ve been separated for about
just hope that God can heal and use
impact your music?
fell into my lap. I didn’t play prior
three years. It’s been a real long
A: That’s a hard question to
the songs I’ve created. It’s a journey.
A: I always try to write my
to Christ. I feel like it got handed to
answer. I feel like I’m a fellow
experiences. I went through a hard road. We tried to save it. In the end, Nothing gets created overnight. I
me. I think a message is important,
she didn’t want to be married.
journeyer, someone trying to figure but my whole goal is transparency.
hope my music becomes live and
season. Divorce — there’s a lot of
Q: As a singer of Christian
it out myself. I write from a place of I think message is great, but I don’t
active in their everyday life and
reasons for it. I signed something
experience — my experience with
that said I wouldn’t speak publicly songs, do you feel like you are
consider myself a pastor. I tell
held to a higher standard for your
God, life and love. I never got into it people about my life and what I’ve
about the reasons for it.
personal life than a secular singer? Marco Martinez: 664-7149
Coming into it, I thought everythinking I had a message. I started
learned. My main goal is to write
A: Definitely, and rightly so.
[email protected]
writing songs as therapy, getting out songs that people can apply to their thing in my past had magically
Preschool sued for ruining 4-year-old’s Ivy League hopes
he goes by the name
Divine, but her life is
anything but. When she
can afford it, she speedballs
cocaine after a long night giving
lap dances at the Diamond Bar.
Early mornings
hard — the sun
Oh, Baby
coming up, the old
baby toys glaring and
gathering dust —
and the memories of
her baby, born drugaddicted and taken by
the state, haunt her.
The Xanax helps her
sleep until her next
Teresa Strasser shift.
When money is
low, she carefully
plucks half-smoked butts from
the coffee can on her stoop and
saves them in an Altoids tin.
She tells her johns she’s
working her way through med
school. No one ever believes it.
She smells like cheap
detergent from the vending
machine at the laundromat
mixed with vanilla and regret
— all of this could have been
prevented 19 years before.
The same is true for Sam,
who waits for dinner to be left
in the dumpster behind a Pizza
Hut. He eats the cold slices left
behind by families who will
go home to warm apartments
and finds comfort in a tattered
green sleeping bag perched on
the stairs of a church where he
sleeps most nights.
Both of these young people
could have been spared a life of
failure, struggle and despair.
Sadly, because their parents
didn’t push hard enough to get
them into the right preschool,
didn’t do their research, didn’t
attend the requisite schoolsponsored Mommy and Me
classes and fundraisers, because
their parents missed this
all-important bus to happiness
and achievement, Sam’s and
Divine’s fates were sealed as
Without admission to the
right preschool — which could
have provided access to elite
elementary schools, which of
course would have meant a highcaliber high school followed
by college — their lives hit the
skids. With one boneheaded
move, Sam and Divine were
robbed of the fulfilling lives they
could have had.
Sam and Divine aren’t real
They are only real inasmuch
as this is how serious parents
are made to feel our choices
about preschool really are,
as evidenced by the lawsuit
filed in State Supreme Court
in Manhattan alleging that a
$19,000-a-year preschool failed
to properly prepare a 4-year-old
for the ERB, an exam required
for entrance into the city’s top
elementary schools.
The toddler’s mother, Nicole
Imprescia, is suing York Avenue
Preschool for sticking her child
with younger students who were
still learning shapes and colors
and essentially charging her for
running “one big playroom.”
According to court documents
filed by the family, “(G)etting a
child into the Ivy League starts
in nursery school.”
When Imprescia realized
her daughter wasn’t getting
appropriate test prep (the ERB
happens to be notoriously
unreliable as a measure of intelligence from what I can tell,
but no matter, it’s important to
schools in New York, so it was
important to this mom), she
yanked her kid out of the school
in a matter of weeks and wanted
her 19 grand back. The school
told the mom no dice, we’ll have
our lawyer, who is well versed
in shapes and colors, see you in
Sure, there’s much to mock
here. Overpriced preschools,
parents who bite and claw for
the privilege of paying a fortune
for “creative play.”
I have visited one preschool
so far. My only question: Where
are the books? You know, books?
Those things that help you learn
how to read?
“Learn by play,” they
As we drove off, I muttered
to my husband, “Whatever
happened to learn by ... learn?”
and he muttered “$17,000” over
and over to himself, like the
name of a lover lost at sea.
On the upside, the tour was
very diverse: There were not
only white parents; there were
also SUPER-white parents.
It would also be easy to make
fun of the mother for suing.
But hey, I don’t fault a lady for
wanting her dough back after a
few weeks of shapes and colors.
I’m just saying, let’s focus on
what’s important in the life of a
child: It’s the preschool, folks.
That’s obvious from this lawsuit.
Forget family of origin,
community, genetics and peergroup influence, and focus on
where your kid will finger paint
for a couple of years. Make the
wrong choice, and mark my
words, Sam and Divine won’t
just be imaginary. They will be
as real and stupid as this entire
Teresa Strasser is an Emmywinning television writer, a
two-time Los Angeles Press Club
Columnist of the Year and a
multimedia personality. She is the
author of a new book, “Exploiting
My Baby,” the rights to which
have been optioned by Sony