“International Christmas Child” a Gift of Love That Keeps Giving

Christmas Decor 2014

It is unusual, but I think this is what it feels like to love the world; to place the hope for our future on our children, believing that they can succeed where we have failed.                                                            Matthew Todd


Matthew & Nathan Todd

 Each year when I ponder what the Christmas Article should contain, I always consider what will make the greatest impact or best benefit the young artists represented and promoted through this site.

With Christmas being a time of giving, I could not think of a greater example of young artists using their talents to help make a difference in the world than the INTERNATIONAL CHRISTMAS CHILD project.

This CD project spearheaded by a band of brothers from Scotland is a great example of adults helping “Children helping Children”. I asked Matthew and Nathan Todd to share a little about this project with Rivenmaster’s Place and provide insight about each participating young artists.

 Matthew shared;

“I’m coming round to the belief that, just as adults all have an unwritten responsibility to support and nurture children, children have an unwritten responsibility of reminding adults what is important in life. They do this, often, simply by being themselves.”

Guitarist 3D GuyBackstory:

Matthew and Nathan Todd have been running projects for a few years now, all with the goal ‘to inspire and transform’. What could be more inspirational and transformational, they thought, than an album of children singing to help children? What they could not know was, if any would join them in their quest……….

Matthew went on to explain;

“One word could sum up the whole month of October for us: “Apprehension”. The messages were sent out to artists and their managers on October 12 and we awaited the responses. We were asking for a track from about 16 artists which could be included on a compilation album raising funds for Operation Christmas Child. Then the drama began! After several weeks of language barriers, messages going to fake accounts, communications being lost in cyber-space and time rapidly running out, we arrived with 14 young artists buzzing with enthusiasm and ready to submit.”

2015 SantaThe process that followed getting the tracks mastered, artwork made, albums duplicated, website up and promotion started would take pages to describe but, suffice to say, Nathan and I spent many sleepless nights (and days!) at our computers in every spare moment. Nathan being a full time student and a partner in GN Todd (web development), was literally working around the clock, meanwhile I was trying to communicate with 14 different artists, often in languages I spoke very badly or not at all! Then our brother Phil came on board to make our promo video and our cousin Tom got involved with promotion. A generous friend of my fiancé agreed to translate our press release into French, and a professional media consultant got us an article in the Herald. This was becoming bigger every day!

I remember walking into our little Glasgow flat (aka ‘The Ladz Fortress’) about 11pm on a cold November night after a hard day of teaching and choir directing, and seeing Nathan working on the website, Phil (visiting) editing the promo video and Tom working on an animation for our logo. I sat down to answer a message from France and had to stop to think out loud: ‘this is awesome!’ “Nobody told me that making a difference would be this much work, but nobody told me it would be this exciting and fulfilling either!”


The Album:

Our biggest challenge is that people are so bombarded with advertising, especially at this time of year, getting someone to buy something is a real challenge. We in the Western world have also become quite emotionally numb, finding it hard to trust big charities or organizations and no longer believing that buying one CD or even one track on iTunes really can make a difference. To be honest, we are still a long way off our goal which was to raise £2500 (over $4000) for Operation Christmas Child though we are over half way there, but there are other goals which have exceeded our expectations. Every young artist on the album went out of their way to promote the album and some even made personal videos to recommend it to their fans.

There is no currency for inspiration and yet, without it, the whole world could one day just decide to give up. As I promote these young artists, watch them sing and see them sharing their gifts with such passion and enthusiasm I feel a strange tug on my heart-strings. How is it that I can feel a sense of pride and joy in children that are not related to me and, most, not even from my country? It is unusual, but I think this is what it feels like to love the world; to place the hope for our future on our children, believing that they can succeed where we have failed. And, like my God who loved the world so much he wanted to give the best Christmas present anyone could give, it inspires me to give my all to make the world a better place.”


Featured Artists on the Album in order of track placement
Introductions by Matthew Todd

Continue reading ““International Christmas Child” a Gift of Love That Keeps Giving”

‘The Fable of Forsaken’: A Dream Made Reality

“Do you know what it means to be alone?”



Knight won his spurs Gaitway BrosWatch Gaitway Brothers in their new Music Video

Steven GaitWhen I first introduced “Gaitway Brothers” I knew that these two youngsters had something very special to offer the world. With their award winning smiles, captivating charm, mischievous and adventurous spirit, coupled with their (brothers forever) care for each other, I instantly knew that this was the beginning of a great musical duo.

Of course in the beginning they were just starting to work on their singing voices. They sang all their songs in unison which was lovely, but required some harmonies to really make it come alive. It was not long after meeting their vocal coach that I learned that this was going to be the next step for the boys through their lessons. To my delight, the very next song they produced included harmonies which were surprisingly and remarkably done.

Peter Gait

The boys sing and record songs which not only lighten your spirit but bring a touch of their homeland with every offering. Perhaps for some, their music may be a little foreign, but for most who enjoy young treble music it is very much in step to the kind of music made famous by the likes of Libera.

So what has happened since all this? Plenty! The boys are now on their way to a great and exciting future not only in the recording industry but also as young actors.

Last month after finding out about a new project which included both Steven and Peter, I contacted Matthew Todd their vocal coach, and also the author of the screenplay for a new film entitled “The Fable of Forsaken”. I asked Mr. Todd to tell us the full story behind the concept, creation, and making of this new film which is sure to bring winning reviews from all who love Independent Films.

The following was shared directly by the extremely talented Musician, Vocalist, Composer, and Author Matthew Todd.

 The Beginning

Matthew Dodd“It all started in April 2014 when my brothers, Nathan and Philip, and I were having one of those rare late-night chats where inspiration flows like a waterfall! As an emerging actor and film-maker, nothing excites Phil more than making films. As a lover of stories and a working musician, I am never happier than when I can get my teeth into a creative project. And Nathan, with a host of technical skills, just loves to make things happen! We were raring to go. We had collaborated on many smaller projects in the past, but we all felt the time had come to embark on a true ‘passion project’: to make a film that we wanted to make. The risk was huge. Many have tried, many have failed miserably… Were we just being naive and foolish?

We are all avid Tolkien fans and are excited by epic adventures and heroic characters so the “Lord of the Rings” movies have always been a big inspiration. Also, recently we had the honor of meeting director, Roger Christian, at a screening of his short film ‘Black Angel’ which was set and shot in Scotland. We were hugely encouraged by his words to us and convinced that Scottish film could be so much more than it is now. We are all so sick of seeing visually brilliant films which are let down by weak story-lines and unconvincing characters. We hungered for something deeper, and something that showed that Scotland could produce films that were not dominated by drugs and thugs. So Phil set me a challenge that I could not turn down: ‘write me a story, and we will make it into a film’! The Fellowship had begun their quest!

Continue reading “‘The Fable of Forsaken’: A Dream Made Reality”