On following your dreams…..

This past Sunday, I got to see something truly amazing.

I watched someone’s dream come true. Quite literally. Well, it had come true a few months ago, but this was the first time I actually got to see it.

Ten years ago, I met my best friend at a small college in northern Minnesota. During what would be one of the hardest years of my life, Amy became a source of constant companionship, someone that I could whine with and bitch at and cry on and, most importantly, laugh with and share life with. It was during this year that I was introduced to another phenomenal woman, Jennifer Knapp. Amy expanded my musical horizons exponentially that year. She introduced me to the likes of Jennifer Knapp, Sixpence None the Richer, and Plumb (among several others, including Limp Bizkit, but that served a very specific purpose).

I have long said that Jennifer Knapp’s first album, Kansas, is the only album I own during which I do not skip a single track. That’s a hard feat because I am particularly choosy with my music…there are very specific things I look for, but I probably couldn’t put a name on those items. Regardless, Kansas remains in the top 5 of my favorite albums of all time.

Anyway, Amy and I spent the greater part of our year in Minnesota singing along with Jennifer at the top of our lungs, trying to pick out new harmonies (which, frankly, Amy and I kind of rule at…she’s an alto, I’m a soprano…it worked out well almost every time). That was the year that Amy also decided to really start honing her musical skills…she taught herself to play the guitar and the piano and tried (with wild success) writing her own music and lyrics.

Three years later, Nashville had a new resident in the form of my best friend. There were tears and struggles and anger and general angst as Amy tried to gain a foothold in the music industry all the while trying to figure out who she was in a new and very different city. I was there for the first show and had the pleasure of hearing some of the first recordings (to this day, the “ruff stuff” – as they are labeled in my iTunes – remain my favorite cuts). I got the out-of-control phone calls when she met “famous people” for the first time and when she would switch producers or fight with labels or re-design web sites.

The first tour Amy embarked on was a big effing deal. She toured around the country with another lovely lady called Katy Kinard (they stayed at my house when they passed through Denver and I managed to lock us out…whoops!). Amy’s EP sales were above and beyond what she’s expected and she also enjoyed the priviledge of using her “stage” to bring information to anyone who would listen about the plight of the Ugandan women, something she has grown increasingly passionate about. She now partners with an organization, Mocha Club, which collects donations (monetary and otherwise) to aid the Ugandan people. Several months ago, Amy had the opportunity to join other musicians in a mission trip to Uganda which, among many other things, inspired a whole heap of new emotions and lyrics.

My best friend is, without question, the most passionate, daring, competitive, and driven person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. When she wants something, she goes for it, no questions, no hesitations. She dreams much bigger than most people allow themselves.

Not so many months ago, I got the following text message from Amy: JENNIFER KNAPP IS AT MY SHOW!!!!!!!

A few days later, there was a follow up: I’M DOING BGVs FOR JENNIFER KNAPP!!!!!!!!!

Then, the most unbelievable text message I could have imagined: I’M GOING ON TOUR WITH JENNIFER KNAPP!!!!!!!!!

Amy dreams big. She had, at one point, told her husband, “Wouldn’t it be rad if Jennifer Knapp came back? Wouldn’t it be even more rad if she went on tour and I got to open for her? What if Derek Webb did another album and we all toured together?”

Last Sunday at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, Amy Courts opened for a returned, renewed, revived Jennifer Knapp and a snarky yet poignant Derek Webb.

One of my only tweets that night was: Watching my bestbud do BGVs for @jennifer_knapp is both surreal & totally regular all at the same time. We pretended to do this in college.

So many times, we stop ourselves short of dreaming big, telling ourselves that it’s unrealistic and that, for whatever reason, we don’t deserve to achieve our dreams. I officially dare you to dream big. Not just big; dream AMY-big. I can assure you that you will get hurt (she has). I can almost certainly guarantee that things will fall through (they have for her). But what I can be absolutely certain of is that, sometimes, big dreams force the great planet alignments and you end up on tour with one of your biggest musical inspirations (she did).

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