Darren Garvey

photography
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Changing the World One Bicycle at a Time

photography, Social Causes

The headquarters of World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is small and humble. The staff is united like a family. We toured the facility to see where the production happens. Our organization, Chooda, has been donating to WBR for several years. It is clear that our generous donations have made an impact.

WBR uses donations and sales to donate bicycles to kids in rural Africa. They train the mechanics to build, maintain, and ride the bike safely. Each mechanic has a school they serve. They are at the school every week taking care of the bicycles and checking in on the participants. The workers can stay the life of the program.

“With a Buffalo Bicycle student attendance increases up to 28%”

 

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Our guide through the WBR headquarters. Photo by Argento Studios

 

The General Manager, Brian, tells us a story about a girl he ran into at the grocery store. She recognized him from the bike donation. The recipient had been gifted a bike from the program. The bike came at a time when she wasn’t sure she had the strength to continue going to school. Because of the bicycle, she was able to complete school and start a full-time job. She was so proud and was still using the bike. Every story we heard had a similar outcome.

 

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In rural Africa, the modes of transport are ox and cart or bicycle. Photo by Argento Studios

 

A bike is the way to school, work, and so much more for someone in rural Africa.  The rural roads are scattered with children running free and happy. The modes of transport are ox and cart and a bicycle. Bikes will be loaded with charcoal to sell, or the goods picked up from the local market and driven excessive miles to their prospective location. Bikes increase survival and allow for someone to travel long distances in shorter times. Children who live far from school face the danger of fatigue if walking so far. The donor program gives these children a future and opportunity to succeed.

The Chooda team had the opportunity to tour the headquarters and build bikes with the crew. In addition to building the bikes, it was a reminder we took as we rode 350 miles across Zambia. Each time we spotted a child or an adult on a bike we knew their life had been changed because of it.

 

 

 

 

Rae McAlister’s Illness Will Not Stop Her From Performing

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

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Rae McAlister is a singer-songwriter in Fort Collins, CO.  She is currently in the studio with Paul Andrews at Bridge Studios laying down tracks for her debut album. She is no longer wasting time waiting for things to be perfect or when she has enough money or even when she is healthy enough. Rae realizes that tomorrow is not promised and life is short. She has set out to make the days matter and what that means to her is taking her creative career by the horns.

Just get out there and just do it ~Rae McAlister

Her music has an edge and raw emotion that entices you to hear more. She plays a hollow body guitar, and her soprano tones resonate the room in a very dynamic way. She hits high notes with power, intensity, and longevity. Her songs build to a strong climax. Her sound has an illusive sense of nocturne, a bit dreamy with an airy feel.

Rae has women musician mentors in the Fort Collins community, like Mer Sal of the Symbols, and Nancy Just who help her hone her craft and motivate her. She is really focused on being a heartfelt musician. Rae values music as a business and thinks you don’t have to be a superstar to be a successful musician.  She took The Online Musician teaching course, to expand her musical business service offerings.

Listen to the full interview here:

Every day that Rae plays music is a miracle. Music has always been a part of Rae McAlister. She was born and raised in a musical family. Her musical makeup consists of jazz, folk, and classical training. The thing about Rae is, she has the diagnosis of Myotonia Congenita, Thompson’s disease, and Ehler’s-Danlos. Several years ago her body was immobile leaving her in a wheelchair. Music was an impossible dream.

Rae’s muscles started detaching, seizing and pulling joints out of place, and she could not walk or perform her daily, routine task. She had to quit working or care-taking her family. She was bedridden, and her life took an unexpected turn. The diagnosis was a blessing because it finally meant doctors could start treating her illness. It was at that time she decided to embrace her creativity and devote her life to her passions.

Also, McAlister has an art business Rae’s-Transfiguration-Furnishings for her furniture, visual arts, and photography.She recently applied to be a visual artist for pianos about town. When she was struggling with her mobility Rae would make it a point to get dressed and go into Old Town Fort Collins to sit and play the piano. She contributes the very thing to healing. She noticed others doing the same thing in the community. Older people would flock to town just to play their favorite songs on the piano. It may be their one outing or the one social interaction of the day. As an homage to this, she would like to contribute her inspired design to the program.

Rae has never let her diagnosis get in the way of her creativity. If anything, she uses it to fuel her passion and achieve what some may say is UN-achievable. She cannot push her physical boundaries every day, but she always dreams and creates. Her positive nature shines through her pain. For that, the world can indulge in her art and her music.

 

The Ugly Architect Live from the Merchant Room

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

The Ugly Architect is debuting a new sound in Fort Collins. If you read this blog on a regular basis, this is part two of the Ugly Architect interview.  As they get to know each other better, they are developing a sound unparalleled to any other. They are connecting and collaborating as they establish strong music relationships.

The concept of the Ugly Architect is not a new one:

“I started this project in 2015. It has kind of had a rotating cast of people.” ~William Knudsen

Yet the arrangement of the members is what is newsworthy.

To get a glimpse of the music they are creating, they performed in the Merchant Room for a live recording of this podcast.

Fort Collins is home to a thriving music ecosystem. Music is quickly becoming an anchor in the community. There is no one Fort Collins sound, however. The city has a diverse artist base that is fluid. It seems to have an evolutionary spirit.

The Architects are perfecting their new sound. They are building the frameworks within the Fort Collins Creative Community.

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