The Latest

January 1, 2024

Happy New Year! 

GREAT NEWS!  Our Beads on One String Around the World video is included in the Playing for Change “Inspired by” playlist!  Ours is one of only 15 videos on this playlist.  Check it out and leave us a comment.  Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/PlayingForChange/playlists.   Scroll down to PFC INSPIRED VIDEOs, and look for BEADS ON ONE STRING Around the World. 

If the link doesn’t take you to PLAYLISTS, click on PLAYLISTS from the MENU bar, then scroll down to PFC INSPIRED VIDEOs, and look for BEADS ON ONE STRING Around the World. 

With over 3+million YouTube subscribers, Playing for Change is now in its 20th year of unifying the world through music.  Most know them for their stunning video productions. Their mission is to inspire and connect people around the world. Thank you Playing For Change. 

Learn more about their amazing foundation:  www.PlayingForChange.org

August 18, 2023
Chicago, IL

The Parliament of the World’s Religions has these “every three-year convenings” somewhere around the world. I was fortunate to be invited to their gathering in Toronto (2018) and again here in Chicago this week.  Joining us on stage was a group of kids from Ukraine, singing their hearts out and feeling the love from the attendees as we all sang “Beads on One String”.

This is an incredible event. 7,000 plus people from 95 different countries representing 200+ different faiths and spiritual practices, all gathered under one roof. And It’s a really big roof here at McCormick Place.

“Defending Freedom & Human Rights” was the theme for the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

I must say, playing here will certainly be a highlight when I look back on my career. Thank you to Edwina Cowell for creating this opportunity for me.

The theme for this gathering: Defending Freedom and Human Rights. I am honored to be included under this banner. Last night at our performance, we debuted our new video, “Beads on One String Around the World”. Together with Videos for Change.org and their CEO Mike Camoin, Tammy and I spent five months pouring over videos from all around the world that celebrated Beads on One String. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the YouTube link. What a memorable way to kick off the 20th Anniversary of the song and book!

March 17, 2023
Capetown, South Africa

Souvenir posters sold after the tour!

We are flying home today.  This was an incredible experience in an amazing country.  The locals watched over us everywhere we went and treated us so well.  We are grateful for our wonderful teams on the ground here, the STEPi Foundation and Dreamcatchers for their expertise and friendship.  And also grateful for Tammy heading up our U.S. team with Main Trail Productions.  months of zoom meetings and logistics to be coordinated between the three teams!

Our last hurrah, verlooking the beautiful South African countryside near Capetown. L-R Pam Krueger, Pat Curto, Dennis Warner, Tammy Anhalt-Warner and Dan Neale.

March 14, 2023
Nuy, South Africa

It’s Tuesday today, I think? The days are blending together as we’ve been on the road for a while now. Only a few of us are awake in the van as we are heading to Cape Town for the night. It’s me, our driver Ineka and one of the board members from DreamCatcher, Elmordine. The others are all snoozing away! We are approaching the Huguenot Tunnel on Highway N1. Try google maps to see where we are!

This past weekend we performed for a group of at-risk teenage girls in a smaller community. They were a wonderful, joyful bunch. Then we had a day and a half of R&R in the picturesque town of Montegu. Our hosts provided a tour of the countryside in a 1956 Cadillac. We learned a lot of the history of the region.

Melkhoutfontein, South Africa.
We loved singing here!
With the Principal in
Melkhoutfontein, South Africa.

 Yesterday we had fun in Robertson where we set up for our concert on their soccer field! The weather is warming up with temps into the 80’s F. Once again, it was all smiles with these great kids. They love to sing!

Today we visited the Nuystasie Primary School. These kids didn’t speak a lot of English, but they are learning, and it didn’t stop them from singing along. According to the leaders, this is a very poor school without much opportunity for the kids beyond the basics. The teachers are dedicated, as teachers are! There are about 85 kids here and the cool thing is that even the youngest ones have amazing rhythm in clapping along. We’ve found this to be true at every show in South Africa.

We are now about 99 kilometers (62 miles) from our destination.

March 11, 2023
Montegu, South Africa

Dennis Warner makes a new friend “Kelly” in Stilbai, South Africa. March 2023. Kelly learned to play the piano at a different school and Dennis made arrangements with her new school Principal to use their piano.

We performed a couple of shows in Stilbaii, staying at a B&B for two nights along the coast. We feel the division of wealth as these kids we are singing to come from poverty. We are receiving wonderful, expansive daily meals that would feed their families for the week. This is something that weighs heavily on our minds. We performed on the Indian Ocean dunes for a special group of kids selected by their school administrator, just a few miles from their homes. Dreamcatchers arranged to bus the kids to the dunes. Some of these kids had never been to the beach. Generally, they have no bicycles or cars in their families. If they do have a car, then expensive gas isn’t wasted. It’s a different mindset. Needless to say, after the concert it was fun to watch some of them splashing in the ocean!

I made a new friend today. “Kelly” (not her real name) told me her story of strength and resilience and it tugged at my heart. Her parents were always fighting and decided to divorce. Kelly is now living with her Grandma and starting in a new school in a different town. Kelly is an English speaker. Her school in a larger town used English as its primary language. Now she’s in a more rural community where the kids at school speak Afrikaans, one of the eleven national languages of South Africa. While the other kids are trying to learn English, Kelly is having a hard time making friends and connecting because she doesn’t speak Afrikaans. Our conversation changed when she told me she used to play the piano a little bit at her old school and missed the joy that playing would bring her. Her new school doesn’t have a piano. Ahhh, music. The UNIVERSAL language!

Dan Neale, the lead guitar player in my group and one of the most generous people I’ve encountered, tells me he would like to buy Kelly a keyboard. Wow! So Dennis, being the meddler, talks to the principal about this. It turns out, there is a piano at the school in a building that Kelly would not have visited in the few months she’s been there. He brought me over to check out the old upright and I was pleasantly shocked to find it pretty much in tune. I asked him when he last tuned it and as far as he knows, it’s never been tuned. Wow! There is no climate control (a/c) in any of these school buildings. 

So, starting next semester, the principal will introduce Kelly to this piano and help her get into a music class. Yay!

We musicians have to hang together! 🙂

March 3, 2023
Johannesburg, South Africa

 

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Dennis Warner and his team are greeted at Freedom Park Primary School in Soweto, South Africa-March 3, 2023.
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Dennis Warner & the D’s in concert at Constitution Hill-Johannesburg, South Africa-March 3, 2023

We are stunned at the incredible reception we received today. This morning we arrived at Freedom Park Primary School in Johannesburg. I’m not clear if this school is considered part of Soweto Township.

As our van pulled in, it was obvious this wouldn’t be a normal concert. We were met by an honor guard of students, all dressed up and standing at attention. After we greeted the kids and adults, they proceeded to put on a program for us right there in the parking lot. Drum Corp? I guess that’s what it would be called. Wonderfully talented kids with a whole routine rehearsed for us. It was an emotional moment for many of us, and a greeting we will never forget. Watch the 3 minute video.

That lasted maybe 15 minutes? Then they invited us to walk a red carpet strewn with rose petals through a covered walkway between buildings. When we arrived at the other side, 1,800 kids were standing, applauding and cheering for us. The energy was indescribable. I’ve never experienced anything like this. Goosebumps and gratitude.

After a period of acknowledgment, for the next couple of hours we sat in the guest of honor chairs while the kids presented to us, by grade level, their interpretations of Beads on One String. One group even sang a rap version of Beads on One String, complete with one kid doing the beatbox vocal. I loved this! We did get a video of this and will make sure to post that as we get organized.

Another group (see photo) had a kid playing a guitar with ONE STRING, singing the song while the teacher held the microphone, all the while wearing a mask with my photo on it!

All of the programs were truly wonderful.

When all the grades were finished presenting to us, I took the stage and talked about Beads on One String and how grateful I was to be with them in Johannesburg. This is also where entertainer Trevor Noah grew up and is also one of the poorest areas in all of South Africa.

When it finally came time for me to sing, we realized they didn’t have mic stands to hold the microphones, so we improvised with kids holding the microphones! Their arms grew tired but their spirit remained strong. We concluded with an extended version of “Beads on One String”. They insisted on an encore, so we shared “Have a Little Faith in the World”. A fitting song to conclude this beautiful experience.

I am forever grateful to the students and staff at Freedom Park, along with Pumeza Macingwane and Adele Kincaid-Smith from the STEPi Foundation for making this happe n.

The day wasn’t over, though. That evening, after a tour of Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, we performed an inspired concert for adults and families on the site of the former prison that held Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and so many other freedom fighting political prisoners during apartheid. I can’t wait to share video footage from this concert, as well. I appreciated my friend and Grammy Award winner Wouter Kellerman and his wife Thoelsi being in the crowd. We shared a few meals and a lot of laughs with them while we were in South Africa and appreciate their love and support.

At the end of the day, I’m exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

 

10/11/22

Look what showed up in my inbox!  From northern Uganda, besides assisting schools dealing with bullying issues, Beads on One String is helping to teach English. 

7/11/22

An exciting day here as we have taken delivery of the EIGHTH PRINTING of Beads on One String.  This printing is a major step for us as we went away from the “CD Included” in favor of putting a free Mp3 download link in the book. Obviously, CDs are not as popular as they were even a few years ago. The trend has been going towards download links, and by doing this, we can also bring the cost of the book to the consumers down significantly. 

We leave tomorrow for a headlining event at the National Williams Syndrome Association in Chicago. We will perform two concerts for children and adults who live with Williams Syndrome.  This should be an amazing event!

4/19/22 

These photos arrived today from Hermanus, South Africa and they make me smile.  School kids receive their copies of Beads on One String.

I can’t wait to go visit and sing for them!

 

 

2/1/22

I received news that the SEVENTH PRINTING (and Second Edition) of BEADS ON ONE STRING has been released in Africa.  This is exciting news!  The STEPi/Utopia Foundation printed 10,000 copies which they will distribute at their cost to schools in several different countries on the African continent.  The new edition will help to teach English to the kids and adults as well as address the school bullying issues which also affect Africa.

6/5/21

We are back in the saddle again, following the long COVID layoff.  Dennis is pleased to announce that he has signed a contract with the STEPi/Utopia Foundation for an initial publication of 10,000 copies of Beads on One String to be distributed throughout Africa.  This will be followed up with a concert tour at a later date, probably in 2023 depending on the status of the COVID pandemic.  Yay!  Beads on One String continues to travel the world!

 

2/12/2020

Here are a few photos from the Global Mandala Project, created by world-renowned artist Sonia Osio.  Dennis was the featured performer at the opening ceremony and participated in the assembly of the full Mandala at Unity North outside Atlanta, Georgia.

People of all ages from all seven continents were asked, “What is your hope for humanity?” The response was overwhelming as 15,000 messages of hope for humanity poured in from over 60 countries and all 50 U.S. states.  Their hope was expressed artistically in the form of various circles that Sonia and her team assembled to create one global mandala. These individual circles came together as one to represent humanity’s hope for the future. It is our hope that the Global Mandala inspires the world to create the future we desire. 

We are truly beads on one string.

PHOTOS (Click on image to advance the photos)

-Dennis Warner pictured with the messages he created for the mandala.
-Dennis with mandala creator, Venezuelan/American artist Sonia Osio.
-Poster for the week long event
-Mandala piece sent from Cuba for inclusion in the project
-Two photos preparing for the opening night
-Dennis along with others on the assembly team


9/9/2019

Dennis just received a phone call inviting him to be the headline performer at the opening ceremony for the Global Mandala Project !  Dennis has also been asked to represent Minnesota and create two art pieces for the project.  No Pressure!
He will spend almost a week with the team assembled by the artist, Sonia Osio, helping with the layout of the mandala after sorting through thousands of art contributions from around the world.  Here’s a video about the project:

Here’s a video link:  https://vimeo.com/256517883#at=0

 

11/12/18

We’ve just returned from the Parliament of the World’s Religions conference in Toronto, where Dennis was a featured performer at this amazing global event!

Over 7,500 attendees, representing 220+ faiths from around the planet gathered finding ways to coexist in our diverse world!  Here are a few photos.  You can see more at  Warnersongs.com

While Dennis was there to perform, Chicago based Spiritual Playdate provided a table where everyone could make a bead to be placed on the string.

Yes, we are truly “Beads on One String” all around the world!

January 26, 2018

Dennis was honored to be invited to New York City and the RoundGlass Music Awards!