The second service on March 17th will feature music provided by musician Fran McKendree and the Good Shepherd Chancel Choir. Fran last visited Good Shepherd nearly 10 years ago when he presented an evening of music and fun followed by leading worship music for Sunday services. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Fran McKendree began his professional career playing at coffee houses around Auburn, NY, and Syracuse University. Moving to the Glens Falls, NY he formed "McKendree Spring," a rock ensemble that the legendary manager Bill Graham dubbed "one of the best unknown bands in the world.” McKendree Spring developed a loyal following, spending the next six years touring the US, the UK and Canada, doing concerts with Billy Joel, Elton John, Tina Turner and even Frank Zappa. The band played many memorable venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, and with the late Billy Preston, the first ever rock concert at Radio City Music Hall. With their [tiny, but nice to be included!] exhibit in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum is an attribution that says: “Experimental and innovative, McKendree Spring mixed blues, folk and country with a progressive musical vision.”
Following McKendree Spring, Fran signed with Arista Records. He wasn't touring much during this time but did play a few memorable events, foremost among them a gig in NY's Central Park with Jimmy Cliff headlining. Fran was, however, finding this an increasingly challenging time in his life.
Walking around his New York City neighborhood one day, looking for inspiration, Fran discovered a small Episcopal church. The next Sunday he and his wife, Diana, went to see what it was all about....finding an engaging, faithful, mission - focused and artistic gathering of seekers. It was a breakthrough for Fran, opening a new spiritual path which led him to heed the call to take some time for reflection. He and Diana moved to Cape Cod, where, setting aside his music, he began to work with youth, build houses, and make furniture, eventually feeling a deep longing to make music again. Emerging from this soul searching period he began to work under the aegis of the Episcopal church.
He has continued to explore and broaden his calling; with concerts, as music and worship leader, designer and coordinator of conferences, keynote presenter, mentor, and workshop leader. He has released six CDs of his own work, as well as producing recordings for other artists at his studio in Hendersonville, NC, where he and Diana now live.
In 2012, with friend and colleague Ann Holtz, he formed AwakeningSoul, a partnership hosting an annual conference embodying ‘Sustenance, Sanctuary and Inspiration.’ Fran says "Awakening Soul is a coming together of all the things I care most about - relationships, trust, soul-searching, inspiring conversation, beautiful music and art, laughter, and a palpable awareness of the presence and nearness of God." He continues to be awed by the journey that has unfolded.
Much to Fran's surprise he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 2016, for which he is most grateful!