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Musician Sells Farm Fresh Songs
An Ontario musician writes songs to encourage faith, but he barters and distributes his "product" to the community like an organic farmer.

Bryan Moyer Suderman, an Ontario musician from a Mennonite background, writes songs to encourage faith, but he distributes his "product" like an organic farmer who operates on a "community supported agriculture" model.

Bryan Moyer Suderman's latest songs discuss Christian stewardship.

Suderman sells annual memberships to his company SmallTall Music and members "receive regular deliveries of fresh, homegrown, organic music
—     new songs of faith for small and tall
—     straight from the producer," he explains.

His latest album, My Money Talks: Songs for Worship, was produced in partnership with the Mennonite Foundation of Canada. The 12 original songs on economic stewardship themes, intended for congregational worship, challenge listeners to live with less. Some Ontario churches are already using the songs in worship.

"We need to learn to pray, to learn a sense of contentment and 'enough,' to learn to see the activity in our bank accounts as a key facet of our relationship with God," says Suderman, a member of Stouffville's Community Mennonite Church.

Although he has lived in six countries and three provinces (he was born in Winnipeg), Suderman prefers a simple life. He lives in a rented 150-year-old farmhouse in Willowgrove, Ontario. Every morning he feeds sheep, cows, chickens, goats, pigs and a donkey before eating breakfast with his wife and son. Then he settles down to make music.

Suderman aims to create a musical community in which members not only offer feedback on his songs but also share their own via the annual Members Jamboree — a special "bonus delivery" of songs written and submitted by the members of SmallTall Music.

Fans are already referring to Suderman's idea as CSM, Community Supported Music (since community supported agriculture is known as CSA). Recently he added the option of bartering or exchanging goods or services as another form of payment.

"There are currently different households exchanging pork, pies, photography services, website assistance and some painting around the house as payment for their membership in SmallTall Music," says the former youth pastor, teacher and overseas mission worker. Today the farmer-musician calls himself a "farmician."

"I am deeply grateful that I can live out this vocation and I look forward to seeing where it will all lead," says Suderman. More details at www.smalltallmusic.com.   

Emily Wierenga is a writer and artist based in Blyth, Ontario. 

Originally published in Faith Today, March/April 2008.

 

 
 
 
 

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