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A Tale of Two Artists

Early in my teens, I had an opportunity to go to a Christian music festival that was sponsored by the only “contemporary” Christian radio station in that area. I was so excited: some of my favorite artists and radio personalities were going to be there. And it wasn’t one of those huge mega-concerts… so there was the distinct possibility that I might even get to MEET them, maybe even shake their hands! What more could a star-struck teen possibly want?

It was amazing. I DID get to meet many of the voices I had heard and admired from a distance on the radio. But two encounters in particular had a lasting impression on me.

The first was a negative encounter. This particular artist was out at her product table… berating the volunteers who were staffing it. She wasn’t happy with their work… and she told them exactly how she felt, right in front of anyone else who might have been around. The volunteers were visibly hurt. Any respect that I may have had for her before melted into pure disgust. She might have just been having a bad day. Or she might have had a legitimate beef with the volunteers. But regardless, I never bought another one of her albums.

The second was a positive encounter. At the time, this artist was my absolute favorite! (Does anyone else out there remember Steve Camp’s 80’s & early 90’s stuff??) I knew many of his songs by heart. If I remember correctly, he had been one of the “headline” acts. All I wanted was to shake his hand, just to be able to say that I had met him. I don’t even remember exactly what I said to him — but I do remember that during our short conversation, one of the event staff members came up and interrupted us. I’m sure that whatever the staffer had to say was definitely more important than the star-struck ramblings of a little girl — but Steve Camp (politely) stopped the staffer and asked him to wait while he finished talking to me.

The truth is, even if the staffer had just interrupted and cut my conversation short, I would have still been excited about that day… but I probably would have forgotten about it long before I turned 20. The reason I remember it and still think about it 20+ years later is because it was so unusual for anyone to treat a stammering, awkward, nervous teenage girl (who had nothing practical to offer) as if she mattered.

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