I'm Beth Hamon, a bicycle mechanic-turned-synagogue musician living in Portland, Oregon.
For most of the last 20 years my primary day job was working in a bike shop, and I worked in Jewish music and education very part-time on the side. Last fall, I took a huge leap of faith and walked away from the bike industry to pursue my dream of a career in Jewish music and education. Today I serve two Portland synagogues as a teacher and musician; and I travel around the country to other synagogues and community centers to teach workshops and clinics and to lead worship services.
I've composed and compiled songs for an album of original, Jewish-themed music. I'm calling it "Ten Miles".
Ten miles is the round-trip distance from my home to the bicycle shop I worked at for almost 20 years. It's also the round-trip distance from my home to the two synagogues I serve in Portland. I have lived without a car of my own since 1990, and so most of those trips were made by bicycle.
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
"Ten Miles" is the story of my journeys back and forth between these places; and from a childhood spent being Jewish outside of Jewish community to a present life spent more connected to that same community. Ten Miles is the result of my realization that I am in the world to be of use with my gifts.
I've been writing these songs -- of separation, renewal, community, hope and love -- over the last several years and now I'm ready to bring them to the world. This is your invitation to participate in my dream of making Jewish music from an uncommon perspective.
Why this album matters.Your participation in "Ten Miles" will help me bring an unusual perspective on Jewish communal life to the larger community -- what it's like to grow up on the outside looking in, and to find a way in to building meaningful community with others. That's a perspective that is often missing from the dialogue about what Jewish communal life is. "Ten Miles" is another doorway in.
What does it cost to make an album, anyway?
I am raising $5,000 to make a simple, studio-quality recording. The lion's share of that amount will be used to pay for studio time, with the balance covering the costs of mastering, duplication and artwork.
Portland, Oregon -- my hometown -- is filled with creative people and resources. In addition to shining a light on the unusual quality of Jewish life here, I also want my recording to show off the special creative energy of this great city.
I will produce the entire project -- everything from recording and mastering to duplication and packaging -- right here in Portland.
I will record my album at the Map Room Studio in SE Portland.
Mastering will be done by Indigo Groove Studio in SE Portland.
Duplication will be handled by CDPDX in NW Portland.
And, because sustainability is part of the point here:
** CDs will arrive sealed in a simple paper sleeve (like a miniature album), with no plastic case. Lyrics and other liner notes will be made available online.
** I'll be making nearly all of the errands and trips related to recording and producing the project -- you guessed it -- by bicycle. (See the photo album of this campaign for an example of how this works.)
No frills. Just good music.
Because my project is as much about affordability and sustainability as it is about the music, I'm not offering things like stickers, buttons or commemorative flash-drives.
I believe my supporters want good music, period; so that is what I am promising to deliver. Throughout this process I am offering as many opportunties for live music as I can, because I believe in the transformative power of face-to-face experiences that only live music can provide.
You can participate -- essentially, pre-purchase -- at different levels that will bring you everything from the first signed copies of my CD (ahead of the official release date) to a live house concert or an appearance at your synagogue or community event!
Other Ways You Can ParticipateIf you can't pre-purchase a copy of my album right now, what you CAN do is share this info with others and tell them about my music and this campaign. (If you're reading this, you like -- or are at least interested in -- my music. Why? Tell your friends! It's that easy.) Word-of-mouth about my music and this project is really important!
Thanks for your participation in supporting new Jewish music!