It’s not every musician who catches Rich Melheim’s attention so fast that he drops his work, drives to Madison, and produces a music video on the spot the first time he hears him.
In fact, there’s only one musician in the world.
Bryan had written a song about a teenager getting pressured for sex.
Rich Melheim had just taped his “Sex, Drugs & Fast Cars” stand-up routine in front of 800 screaming adolescents in a Holiday Inn. He was looking for just the right piece of music to finish the video. A friend handed him a bootleg copy of Bryan’s “The Best Stuff” from his “Artist’s Hand” CD.
Rich dropped everything, grabbed the Canon XL1, called Bryan cold and drove to Wisconsin. Before either guy knew what hit them, the video was in the can and they had found a friend.
Bryan has been in full-time music ministry since 1987 when he founded Crosswind Music Ministries. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Bryan tells stories like Harry Chapin, sings like a young Cat Stevens (pre-Imam stage), and performs in a full-heart, full-throttle, full-fun style all his own.
Bryan, who still makes his home in Madison, WI, travels extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad offering concerts of his original material. He is often a “drop in” guest for Faith Inkubators conferences, and has been known to appear in our Badlands Studios/He Qi Galleries for private staff concerts.
Performing in mostly mainline protestant church circles, the musician spends his time in concerts, at youth gatherings, and youth retreats. Bryan’s music is diverse in style, and he readily changes gear depending on the age group he is working with.
“Every song he does is a story,” says his biggest fan, Rich Melheim. “Hate to say it, but with Bryan’s music, you don’t need a curriculum. All you need is Bryan song, a lyrics sheet, a CD player, and a group of kids. One song will take you all night to unpack.”
The singer/songwriter does credit Harry Chapin as an early influence. Many of Bryan’s best known songs are story songs. He also has written numerous pieces specifically to help people learn biblical stories or to memorize biblical content. His "ABC’s of the OT” and “New Testament Rap” and “Faith History” have been used with backrub motions in FINK circles for decades. Bryan has released 10 recordings for Faith Inkubators, two of which are specifically for junior and senior-high youth, two of which are for toddlers through elementary school, and 6 of which are for general adult audiences.
In addition to writing songs that communicate the basic Gospel story and which nurture one’s individual relationship with God, there is a strong focus in Bryan’s work on social justice. Not afraid of controversy, Bryan’s prophetic voice lambasts conspicuous consumption, racism, Christian hypocrisy and even a stray Disney executive when the lion roars in his soul.
Bryan also works part-time as co-director of an organization called Harvest Time. Harvest Time focuses on economic justice from a Christian perspective, and in the context of his Harvest Time work Bryan travels to Haiti several times a year and works extensively with grassroots organizations among the poorest of the poor in Haiti. Most of Bryan’s albums feature songs which were born out of experiences Bryan has had in Haiti. Bryan’s most recent CD is a compilation of 14 of his most powerful previously recorded justice songs along with 4 brand new songs. It is called “Songs for Justice Walkers,” and more information about this recording and all of Bryan’s other CDs, songbooks, and study guides is available on Bryan’s web site.
For sharing your voice, your gift, and your passions all these years with the FINKs, the Faith Inkubators Music Guild is proud to name you, Bryan, our Musician of the Month for May.
Bryan will do his best to reply to everyone as quickly as possible. Please understand that sometimes he is out of the office for extended periods of time due to concerts, retreats, pilgrimages, or other things going on in everyday life and ministry. Rest assured either Bryan or his office assistant will respond to you as soon as they are able to. Thanks for your patience!
Phone: (608) 294-8716
Fax: (608) 294-7837
Via the Internet
By U.S. Mail
Bryan C. Sirchio
P.O. Box 45236
Madison, WI 53744-5236
Paintings by He Qi