You can expect times of worship, teaching, reflection, cowriting with others, observing writing sessions, sharing, and communal time together. We will cover the subjects of music business, publishing, royalties, touring, management, and more. We can’t wait to see you there.
Songwriters come together to seek the Giver, explore the gifts, and share the wealth!
Nov 9 - 12, 2021 // Colorado Springs, CO
About the Retreat
CO:Write Retreat is a place for us as songwriters to examine the beginnings and purpose of our creative gift; how it’s been wounded or managed, and how it can be replenished and alive.
A Note from Jared
Co:Write Community started as I began to travel and meet so many church teams and musicians making recordings that had no real handle or history on the collaborative process for songwriting. What if my friends in different places could strengthen each other since they have so much in common? On the other hand, my experience in the heavily structured and productive industry songwriting process left me hungry for something other than the familiar scripts and tricks. Could people that want to write from their story grow exponentially through collaboration?
We had incredible years of Co:Write retreats in 2012 and 2013 that were such a win. We wrote from our gut. We found people that were strong in areas we lacked. We sang together and were surprised to discover and uncover the glory and tragedy of the writing room. We endured through the question marks and doubts that what we wrote could have been better if we were willing to dig deeper. We were in awe that we could spend such a short time with people we’ve never met before and write something we really loved that would never have come on our own. We left with fresh vigor for the craft and a vocabulary to begin the practice.
Then, I needed to pause as our family adopted two children from Haiti. As we grew to the Anderson Party of 8 my world was, let’s just say, re-structured. Grinding into my own story also produced a fresh ear to the task of this restorative work. After a four year break and many conversations with close comrades, the signals were clear that it was time to pursue this again, and so we began yearly retreats again in 2018.
The vision of Cowrite Community is restorative. This means a good dose of “I’m not crazy.” This retreat is meant to help us re-view and re-member our own personal narratives and bring our imaginations back to working order. Some of us look at our creative voice like it’s a typewriter. Cool and clever as a decoration but not vital and efficient because let’s face it, everyone uses iPads now. No. Your creative voice is like a species of nature that when in a decline or extinction reduces the vitality of the whole landscape but when awake and thriving adds depth and richness to the tone of the forever climate.
Opposition is everywhere:
Even if I wrote something good no one would ever find it because blah, blah, blah, blah.
I’m not a good singer.
I can’t produce my own stuff.
I get stuck on lyrics.
My melodies aren’t hooky.
I live in Alaska.
I have kids.
I don’t play an instrument.
It’s been so long.
I used to write a ton and then I don’t know…it kinda went away.
Guess what…you’re not crazy. We are all operating at a deficit. I get so jealous of Stevie Wonder who sings like an angel, uses words as well Hemingway, plays drums, produces his own stuff, and all this while completely blind. I want to give up. My pity party of “I’m a cotton-headed ninny-muggins” lasts only so long until I realize Stevie Wonder needed someone to help him walk to the piano. I can walk to the piano without help. I want to trade problems with Stevie Wonder, but I don’t get to. Comparison is the killer of joy. All of us need something. Great or small. There lies the invitation to collaborate and spend our courage if we dare.
At each Co:Write event I am joined by some wickedly talented friends who I like to call collaborators. They share their own experiences and passion with us and pour out their own talents and gifts generously while sharing their knowledge and expertise.
I hope I’ve described the work for you, and brought dignity to the struggle and joy enough to keep trying. I want to close with a song story. Not a song I wrote, but the infamous How He Loves. I remember I first heard that song at a worship event. I was in the green room while this new artist from Canada was doing 10 minutes for the gathering in the other room. The crowd roared the chorus and I felt it from quite a distance. I asked a publisher friend about the song. He had just signed the song by a guy from North Carolina, John Mark McMillan, a part of a church that had reputation for being pretty out there on the edge of things. He wrote it about his friend that died. The author never intended to write a hit (I feel dirty calling it that) and broke most of the conventional “make-it-singable” rules. There’s no bridge. Chorus is repetitive. Has a third verse that no one ever sings. But golly…relentless beauty and crushed humanity and everything I want to sing right there. John Mark was young and broke and writing his life. I’m so glad he did and still does.
I could go on and will go on.
Groves is able to explore universal issues and beyond-the-basic spiritual truths in a way few others can. Her sound ranges from stripped down singer-songwriter fare to thoughtful pop tunes and piano-driven ballads, but her music always has its heart in helping us figure out who we are meant to be and the intersection of faith and life.
“I grew up playing the piano in church and singing in youth meetings. But by the time I was in college, I saw my music going in a different direction,” says Anderson.
In fact, Jared considered distancing himself from worship music entirely, but always felt a pull to write something for the church. “God revealed to me, and it was a slow process, that worship isn’t just a genre of music,” he explains. “Worship songs are prayers. We’re reciting the word of God back to him, and pretty soon we’re not just reciting it or singing it, we’re living it.”
Jared now embraces his calling as a worship leader and songwriter. But he’s very honest about what that means for anyone in that role. “We’re in the foot washing business,” he says. “If you want to lead, you have to serve. And if you want to serve, you have to surrender. And if you surrender you’re going to have to die.” These aren’t empty words. Dying to some of his dreams paved the way for God to do something bigger. It’s a narrow road, but it’s the path Jared has chosen to travel.
And that path has led him into an effective ministry. From his former work with the Desperation Band, to his role as a songwriter/leader for New Life Worship’s live CD/DVDs and his own recordings including Where To Begin,Where Faith Comes From and Live From My Church.
Whatever the setting – whether it’s a coffee shop, a church sanctuary or an amphitheater, Jared takes a simple song and turns it into a journey.
Shannon has written and recorded six projects of her own and has also collaborated with other artists and writers over the years, such as The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Paul Baloche, Integrity Music, Our Daily Bread, The Desperation Band, and others. She leads worship at her local church and also loves to travel and minister at retreats, women’s events, churches, and conferences. She knows the satisfaction of a song seemingly being dropped from heaven into her heart and onto the page as well as the frustration of wanting to bang her head against the piano when nothing seems to come and inspiration seems far away. Learning to let go of her own expectations, and the expectations of others, as well as silencing (or at least subduing) her inner critic is key to bringing a song to life for her.
She is married to the love of her life, Joseph Adducci, and together they are raising three teenage boys and one awesome dog named Chloe. When she’s not spending time doing music, she could be found hiking, reading, blogging, chalk-painting, chasing aspens with her Nikon and her hubby, traveling, or just enjoying coffee with a friend. She is excited to be a part of the CoWrite retreat this year!
I was so blessed to be able to attend Jared’s cowrite retreat back in 2012. It was one of the most enjoyable times I have ever had with songwriters from so many different levels of writing experience. It was time well spent both as writer and a worshipper.Billy FooteSongwriter, “Amazing Love” and “Sing to the King”
What to Expect
During Co:Write retreats you can expect times of worship, teaching, reflection, cowriting with others, observing a writing session by the collaborators, sharing what we’ve written with the group (if you’re comfortable, not required), and communal time together. We will have time to interact for Q&A and will cover the subjects of music business, publishing, royalties, touring, management, and the like. Lodging and meals are provided at retreats. If you’re interested in connecting with other writers before and after the retreat you can do so on the Co:Write Community Facebook Page.
For Co:Write Retreats, lodging and meals are included with your registration costs.
What to Bring
If you play guitar and can bring it with you, bring it. We will have keyboards in a majority of the writing rooms. If you can bring a keyboard, that also would be amazing. We do not provide amps. We ask that you come with a handful (3-5) of song ideas for cowriting sessions.