Christopher Clause
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Christopher Clause

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“’Blue Suburban Skies’, his debut release, is a handsome and finely crafted collection of twenty of his favourite Beatles and solo compositions. What's truly impressive is that every instrument, every lead and every backing vocal (bar one track) is handled by Christopher.” - Steve Clifford, Beatlology Magazine
(http://www.steveclifford.com/beatles/reviews_cds_bss.html)

- Steve Clifford


“Yet another cool Beatles-inspired disc is Blue Suburban Skies by Christopher Clause. The disc features twenty songs from the Fab Four repertoire. Not surprisingly, the standout jangly tracks are Clause’s cover versions of “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “Every Little Thing.” Sir George would be pleased to hear his Rickenbacker 360V64 model being emulated on these songs”
- Eric Sorensen (http://www.fufkin.com/columns/sorensen/sorensen_08_02.htm)
- Eric Sorensen



HAMILTON MUSIC NEWS – Thursday February 24, 2005
Ric Taylor

Shortly after he was hired on as Worship Pastor at James Street Baptist Church, Christopher Clause began a coffee house night to invite area songwriters and artists into the church’s activities. It’s proven successful enough that the singer/songwriter clergyman is putting on the third edition of his For George tribute, celebrating two of his life’s passions simultaneously: music and helping his community.

“I have always felt that the sanctuary of this church would be a wonderful place for live music as the hall was designed to be an acoustic concert hall,” ruminates Clause on his start as promoter. “My hope is to get musicians to reclaim the church, and to begin to provide new art for the church. I want people to recognize that James Street is not a closed social club, but a part of our community, and that we really do desire to help the people of this city.

“People are scared to walk into churches and I don’t blame them,” he laughs. “The scariest people in the world are Christians, and I mean that as a loving wake–up call to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in the city. One of Jesus’ main teachings was to encourage people to love God and one another, and the church has missed this point. I love the people of James Street because they are not like that—they show Jesus’ love in action, and they are a warm and welcoming community. I hope that people who have never darkened the door of a church won’t be intimidated to come and enjoy some beautiful music in a grand, 123 year old heritage building.”

Harrison passed away in November of 2001, and the following year Clause successfully put on the first official contemporary concert at the church. Assembling a mix of old and new friends, For George will include a mix of soloists and a core band fronted by Clause. An all–star group jam closes the evening.

“As long as the gigs are as varied as this—one week Kinks’ tunes, the next week Harrison tunes, the next night my own—it shouldn’t get too stale,” reasons Bryden on his increased presence on local stages (including last week’s Kinks vs Kancer tribute). “And I really like the Christopher ‘Cause.’ Doing something like this to help one of Hamilton’s oldest churches get by is totally cool with me. The Baptists are generally really good people with a true heart to help the hurting.”

This Saturday night, Bryden performs a solo set at the Corktown (with Edgar Breau, Driveway and Kelly Hoppe) that should feature many tracks from his forthcoming return to recording, but even with a decade or two breaktime it should be classic Bryden. For the Beatles showcase, however, he’s playing with Clause as well as some newer influences and the influenced. An adventurous version of the Sgt Pepper era “Within You Without You” featuring Gaven Dianda (ex–Flashing Lights, More Plastic, The Saffron Sect) on sitar and Katie Iarocci (Flamingo–go’s) on flute and an as–yet– unnamed tabla player should help make the night truly special.

“Music begins for me with the scores from Ben–Hur and The Alamo—that was my first LP. But pop music begins and ends with The Beatles. Let’s face it, we’ve all been trying to ‘be them’ since 1964! And if you say, ‘No, I’ve been trying to be The Stones or The Kinks or The Sex Pistols or Bob Bryden!’ I say, ‘Well ‘they’ were trying to be The Beatles, or at least emulate their success—consciously or not.”

“The Beatles were the main reason for me getting involved in music in the first place,” smiles Clause. “I have become a big fan of Bob Bryden, We have a lot in common: we both love this city and the people in it, we love God and the church, and we both love music.”

Out Of The Cold helps the homeless to have a hot meal and a warm place to sleep. Originally organized by Sister Carol Anne Guay, the program runs from November 1 until the end of March but has operation–costs sometimes beyond the grasp of the churches that participate. Challenge 2005 is an initiative organized by James Street Baptist Church to help defray the huge heating costs incurred during our winter months to
ensure they can continue helping.

“James Street is a small community, and it is difficult to meet the financial needs of heating such a huge and historic building above and beyond the requirements for worship,” explains Clause. “The ticket purchase will directly go towards heating and hydro costs associated with these outreach events, and if anyone wishes to donate more to the event, we would be honoured and gladly accept your donations. All donations over $10 will get a tax receipt, and if you buy four tickets, you get the fifth one free.”

Clause hopes to put on a celebration of the both Paul and John’s individual music on their respective birthdays in June and October. Wearing many hats, Clause finds it invigorating to add promoter to his resume.

“I have loved the job as a producer: teacher, creator, traffic cop, director, educ - The View


HAMILTON MUSIC NOTES
Vol. 11 No. 24 – June 16-22, 2005
By Ric Taylor

With rising utility costs and increasing need in the downtown core, Christopher Clause developed a fanciful George Harrison tribute to help the James Street Baptist Church continue helping the homeless survive the cold winter months. It was so successful, the idea to celebrate all the individual Beatle birthdays only seemed a natural extension. With a John Lennon tribute that might span two venues being planned for October, this weekend sees Spin It On, celebrating Paul McCartney’s music and 63rd birthday as well as aiding the Challenge 2005 Charity.

“We did a ‘For George’ concert in February and we raised over $1,000 for Challenge 2005,” beams Clause on the Harrison tribute earlier this year. “[But] it is much harder to sell a show about keeping people warm when it is 40 degrees Celsius!”

Taking a song title from one of McCartney’s more obscure numbers (from 1979’s Back To The Egg), Spin It On presents a musical celebration of some of Clause’s former students, friends and fans. Melding his musical muses into the now near–quarterly event only underscores Clause’s devotion to the music and to the people who need the church’s help year ’round.

“James Street is a very unique church community in the sense that we have approached the issue of music in a very different way,” he explains. “We are called to help those who are in need, and we are called to love even when it means being uncomfortable, challenged, or stretched in our own ways of thinking or in our abilities.”

“It is all about going back to the basics,” he adds. “I think James Street’s outreach events are making a difference, and for me it is important to keep its doors open—simply for keeping it as a host church to Out of the Cold alone! Sometimes, though, I think we at James Street—especially Don Berry Graham, our pastor—feel like George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life, trying to keep the famous but financially challenged ‘Building and Loan’ open.

“For now, even though we have experienced numerous thefts and huge costly bills for utilities and repair to this grand old building, God still provides just enough to stay open. So, this is where God has called us, and events like the Spin It On show provide for me a chance to play the music I love in a place I call my home, and we get a chance to raise a little coin for those in need in our great city.”

Spin It On: A Tribute to Paul McCartney and Challenge 2005 fundraiser happens this Friday, June 17 at James Street Baptist Church (James and Jackson) featuring Christopher Clause, Matthew de Zoete, Tim Mann, Kenny and the 14th Floor, Fred Smith, Jason Mann, Tim Mann, Alysha Mann, Zach Kopchyk, Rebecca MacKenzie and Barb Bloemhof. A $10 donation at the door goes to Challenge 2005, and for more details check out www.footrecords.ca.
- The View


HAMILTON MUSIC NOTES By Ric Taylor

Vol. 11. No. 49 • December 8 – 14, 2005


When he first put on For George, a concert in tribute to the life and music of George Harrison, Christopher Clause wasn’t looking to win awards or take on the 25th anniversary of the passing of a music icon. This week, however, that’s where the budding musician and promoter stands, even if he began simply playing the music he loved for the people he felt compelled to share his heart with. “I do have a long history with The Beatles’ music because it still resonates deep within my heart,” explains Clause. “But if you had told me in 2002 that we would have won an award for the Beatles tribute shows, I would have laughed at you!” With a series of tributes over the last year marking the individual Beatles’ birthdays—including the Hamilton Music Award–winning For George—Clause has raised money for Challenge 2005, a charitable program based out of his James Street Baptist Church that helps defer the church’s costs in caring for some of the local homeless. This Thursday will mark the third tribute to John Lennon this year alone. “The main reason to put on these shows in the first place was to raise money for the homeless of our city and to mark the passing of one of my heroes,” offers Clause. “I wanted to get together with friends and play the music that we love, and share it with others. God has been so very good to me, and I have been blessed these past three years with an amazing life. I was thrilled to take home an award for the For George concert. It was such a special event—and a musically rich one—and to be recognized by family, friends and the public has been incredible.’ “I was in shock,” recalls the singer on his experience on the day Lennon died. “I am only now, after 25 years, able to hear the song ‘Imagine’ differently. Then, it was a song of mourning for John. “Lennon was one of the four reasons I got involved in music to begin with. Without the Beatles, I would probably have been a lawyer or quite possibly a science teacher. To be honest, I probably would have been a bum! He was the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place. He was the reason I started writing songs. He was the one that taught me that men can be important caregivers to their children. For me, I am still thinking of this year as John Lennon’s 65th birthday, not the 25th anniversary of his death. When I stop and think that the world has been devoid of the work and thoughts of John Lennon, it is very hard pill to swallow. “Clause has since become Worship pastor at James Street Baptist, alongside his role as indie musician. Clause has a limited edition re–release of his 1992 U album, as well as two brand new efforts for the New Year. Surrendering… Everything is in the final recording stages set for a January release, while a second Clause CD, Round (possibly featuring former Paul Weller drummer Steve White, who recently joined The Who on stage for Live 8) is set for a tentative summer release. While 2006 holds a wealth of music for Clause, including the third For George concert, more musical events at the church and more of the music he’s associated with moving into the clubs, Clause is focusing on the important facts behind this anniversary. “Lennon was a man of peace who died violently at the hands of a deranged man. I think, if anything, if the celebration of his music can promote inner peace, understanding (or a willingness thereof), tolerance and love for your fellow man, then it is an important anniversary… In some ways, this anniversary is not as important as his 65th birthday, but it reminds me of the brevity of life and the fact that there is still much work to do in our short lives. I am happy that we are doing this show to raise more money for Challenge 2005, and I think John would have loved the fact that his music was being used to help people in need. “I am very green and to be honest, never thought that I would be seen as a promoter. I am just a guy who likes to make music and hang out with friends. We are going to celebrate the life of someone who was very human, and who wrote some of the most important pop music of the 20th Century. It will not be a time of sadness and mourning—it will be a party in the highest sense of the word!” Imagine 3, celebrating the life and music of John Lennon, happens this Thursday (tonight) at The Casbah, with invited guests including Tim Gibbons, Mark Foley, Lounge, Bob Bryden, The Squids, The Jamiesons, The Beat Elles, Matthew de Zoete and more.

With the 25th anniversary of the untimely passing of John Lennon on December 8, 1980 upon us, I asked some local musicians a few questions about the man and his legacy: Do you remember the day? How were you affected by his music? Why is this an important event to remember?

“John’s death was tragic. The last time I saw John was in New York, in the late ’60s. I wandered into Electric Ladyland Studio’s to see an old friend, Jimi Hendrix. We go back t - The View


HAMILTON MUSIC NOTES By Ric Taylor

Vol. 11 No. 40 • October 6-12, 2005


…Thursday, December 8 marks the 25th anniversary of a sad day in popular music. The passing of John Lennon is already set to have many tributes internationally, but a man who has dedicated a near quarterly salute to the individual members of The Beatles was an obvious choice to head up an upcoming memorial to be held at the Casbah. And so, this weekend James Street Baptist Church member and rock musician Christopher Clause continues in celebrating The Beatles’ individual birthdays while helping out those less fortunate._“I am a worship pastor who loves the music of the Beatles, and many of the people playing have a great passion for Beatles music, as well as for the homeless in our city,” explains Clause on the success of the previous tributes for both George Harrison and Paul McCartney to raise money for the church’s outreach programs for the area homeless. We have raised a few thousand dollars for Challenge 2005—which equals about a month’s worth of the heating costs during the winter—so I am very happy. “All I want to do is to ensure that the homeless have a place to sleep and eat over the winter months,” he adds. “The financial realities of any church are that they cannot pay the bills, because church attendance is dropping in most downtown churches. However, we at James Street are growing very slowly. I feel a lot of that has to do with hosting Out Of The Cold, running a food cupboard, having a Thursday drop in lunch.” With Lennon’s birthday upon us, the celebrations have doubled. Imagine Peace includes a concert at Clause’s church as well as at a local club, offering fans two chances to check out some of Hamilton’s own and their renditions of the Fab Four’s music, and hopefully leading to an increase in the funds raised as well. “I found the Paul show in June was a real rock and roll show,” reflects Clause on his McCartney birthday party. “We had people dancing in the audience for the closing numbers—and this is in a Baptist church! Amen to that! The Lennon shows are turning out to be much more acoustic and organic in nature, and will truly allow the songs to breathe in hopefully a new light. John has always been my favourite Beatle. I loved his wit, his look, and that amazing voice. Although he was a man of many contradictions, I loved his humaness, his passion for peace and his songwriting. There are grand colours in Lennon’s music, and great emotions. There are times that I truly wish he was still here with us making new music. “But the driving reason for doing two shows is simple: the shows were meant to raise money so that the homeless of our city can come and sleep over, be fed, and be in a safe and warm environment. But the nice thing about doing the same show twice is that different people can come to see the show in two totally different environments and have a choice. “Some people are intimidated by being in a church, and would rather go to a club to see a band, whereas other people would never set foot in a club and would rather hear music in an old grand building—which James Street certainly is.” Clause is currently wrapping up two albums that could be released before the end of the year, as well as offering up his space at James Street Baptist Church as a performing venue for the 2005 Hamilton Music Scene concerts. Even with all of the activity, Clause has his sights set on next year, when he’ll continue to help those in need and add new life to our community. “I want people to know that James Street does care about this city, and that we will do what we can, with the resources we are blessed with, to help the needy of our city,” offers Clause. “That is what God has called us to do. We are on the right road, but still have a long way to go. As long as people come to see the shows and support Challenge 2005, I will continue to organize them. “I do see great potential in our James Street facility as a live venue and recording studio, so I am going to trust that God will lead us in some very exciting ways and help to encourage live music to thrive in Hamilton.”

Imagine Peace—Celebrating the Music of John Lennon happens tonight Thursday, October 6, at Pepper Jack Café ($5 with a canned good or $10 without) and on Friday, October 14, at James Street Baptist Church. ($7 in advance or $10 at the door). Featuring Bob Bryden, Dave King, Matthew De Zoete, Kenny MacInnis, Tim Mann, Fred Smith, Chris Jamieson, _The Beat Elles, and The Dr. Winston O’Boogie Orchestra. All proceeds go to Challenge 2005 to help fund charitable programs combating homelessness. For more details check out www.footrecords.ca.
- The View


HAMI LTON MUSIC NOTES – Ric Taylor
Volume 12 No. 8 – February 23 – March 1, 2006

While it’s only been a couple of months since his last Beatles’ tribute show (celebrating the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s untimely passing last December), promoter and musician Christopher Clause has never been more excited about continuing his series of concerts to benefit helping the homeless—because for Clause, music and altruism come naturally. This past year, he received a small card from a rather famous person for his effort. “I was so delighted to receive the card from Yoko,” beams Clause on the personalized note from Lennon’s widow. “It was a definite acknowledgment of my work. I will continue to keep her notified of other tributes and who knows, maybe one day she will make it to the Hammer and join us for a show.” Accolades aside, Clause has been busy finishing his latest recording, Surrendering Everything, as well as producing Kenny MacInnis’ debut and expanding the third annual tribute to Harrison. This year’s show includes more performers, video tributes and an open karaoke session to close the evening. “We’ve been finding more and more talent who are interested in getting involved in the tribute shows,” says Clause. “It seems the response has grown not only in the local scene, but with more and more people who are finding out that the shows are high quality. I love the eclectic feel of the shows, that the individual style and quality of the artist comes through loud and clear in their interpretations.” While the music is important, the musicians come out for the people who go without food, or sleep in the street. “We see normally 125 people per night on Monday and Tuesday—on really cold nights like the last ones have been—to _have dinner, sleep overnight, and then have breakfast,” explains Clause. “ I know that without these concerts and other fundraisers we put on at James Street, we would not be able to pay the utility bills to keep this place open for outreach events such as Out of The Cold and our own Thursday drop–in lunches. “The money goes directly to pay for heat and hydro,” he adds. “Last year, Challenge 2005 raised almost three quarters of the utilities bills for our ministries, and we were so very thankful. God has called us to love all peoples. He has also called us to take care of those in need, and the worldwide Christian church has messed that up royally over the years. Only now, do I really feel that people can trust James Street, which we really do desire to help and to use all of the resources we have been given to help. But the reality is, if we cannot raise the money for the utilities we can no longer stay open, and that would affect almost 300 people weekly from November to April. “There are many reasons to come. The charity helps local people in need directly, and gives them a place to stay and eat two nights a week for six months. The venue is one of the coolest looking acoustic halls in the city. George Harrison was one of the coolest Beatles and his music is beautiful. These musicians are some of the finest in the city, and they are energetic and a delight to hear and watch.”_Bob Bryden, Russ Wilson, Annette Haas, Nick Cino, Kelly Manweiler, Kenny MacInnis, Fred D. Smith, The Jamiesons, Tim Mann and Christopher Clause play the benefit concert For George—Harrison that is, at James Street Baptist Church this Saturday Feb 25 at 8pm. Proceeds from the $10 admission goes to Challenge 2006 and Out Of The Cold.
- The View


Discography

surrendering…everything (CD) (March 2006)
Hamilton Music Scene 2004 Volume 7 (November 2004)
A Sign Unto You - A Christmas Album (CD) (December 2004)
Harrisongs 2 – Beatles Spanish Fan Club compilation (features RUN OF THE MILL from Blue Suburban Skies) (Fall 2002)
For George (CD- EP) – (June 2002)
Blue Suburban Skies (CD) – (December 2001)
Can't Help But Smile (with the Mercyswitch) – (May 1999)
Chimes of Grace (cassette) – (December 1995)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

C h r i s t o p h e r C l a u s e
-a biography

websites: www.footrecords.ca, www.myspace.com/christopherclause

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Christopher Clause has always had a profound love for music. “My Dad always had music on at our house. One of my earliest and fondest memories is playing with my Dad in the basement of our Grimsby home. I was about six years old, and he had a cassette of Bizet’s “Carmen” playing on the portable. He’s an avid opera fan and, although I wasn’t inspired by it at the time, I learned to appreciate and love it through him. Then of course in 1973, when I was eight, I saw the movie HELP! on television as well as hearing my sister’s new album ‘1962-1966’. Once I heard this joyous, life affirming music and saw these zany young men, I knew my life would NEVER be the same! THIS was music that caught my attention, and would eventually change the direction of my life”

Christopher began his music education on his own at home listening to the records of his heroes. His first instrument was the drums, which his sister Mary bought for him at the age of 8. He however abandoned the skins in favour of the guitar. He had only one guitar lesson from a school friend of Debbie’s (his other sister) and the friend showed Christopher “…about four or five chords. I mean he was a great player but I said to myself, ‘I think I can do this on my own’. I was so naïve!” After that initial lesson of four or five chords, Christopher was a self-taught guitarist. He “passed the audition” into McMaster University’s music program and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Music degree (summa cum laude) studying classical guitar with Lynne Gangbar and Peter McAllister. In 1988, he won the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Silver medal award for achieving the highest mark in Ontario on his Grade 8 Classical Guitar exam. To date, Christopher has achieved his Grade 10 RCM in Classical guitar. After graduating from McMaster, he went on to study music education at the University of Toronto where he won the Don Wright’s Scholarship for Music Education for his instrumental arranging talents.

After his degree was completed, Christopher spent ten years working as an instrumental music teacher and spent six of those years as department head. “Teaching music sharpened my skills as a performer. I learned how to think on my feet VERY quickly”. Near the end of his teaching career, he released the critically acclaimed BLUE SUBURBAN SKIES (CDST 2001), a collection of Beatles songs that allowed Christopher to return to his musical roots. “I just felt the time was right to do an album of this music, the music of my childhood. I had wanted to do this project for a long time, and in the summer of 2001 I decided the time was right. Ironically the day I sent the finished master and artwork to the plant was the day that George Harrison died. So in a way, the recording was also a chance to deal with the sadness brought on by the suffering of one of my heroes. My hope is that this recording inspires people to search out the original versions of these great songs…the songs of my childhood…and love them, so that this music will never be forgotten.” The collection features Christopher playing ALL of the instruments on the album (except for one track), and has been the natural occurrence for Christopher’s last three albums.

In 2002, Christopher left teaching and became the worship pastor at James Street Baptist Church and desires to use his talents to praise God. “For me all music is worship music, because every time I play, I worship. I give thanks to Jesus for what He has done for me. It is as simple as that. Every time I pick up that guitar, I call on Him”. In addition to his role as worship pastor, he has been recording and producing various local artists such as Rebecca Dickson, Makeshift Policy, The Yes Church, Kenny and the 14th Floor, Fred D. Smith, and April Hayward. In 2004, he realized another dream: recording an album of all original music for Christmas entitled, A SIGN UNTO YOU (CDST 2003). The acoustic based album was nominated for BEST RELIGIOUS RECORDING at the 2004 Hamilton Music Scene Awards, and the track SWEET SWEET LOVE was featured on the 2004 Hamilton Music Scene compilation CD.

Combining his love for the Beatles and his desire to see the needs of the homeless of his city met, Christopher organized various Beatles tribute concerts at James Street. The proceeds from all of the concerts have gone towards the Challenge program. The Challenge program was organized to raise money to pay the costly utility bills generated through the use of the building by OUT OF THE COLD, as well as other James Street ministry programs. Last year, the tribute concerts raised $2500 for Challenge 2005 and won the church and Christopher the BEST MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR award at the 2005 Hamilton Music Scene Awards. Christopher even received a Christmas card from Yoko Ono for his