Our Flagship “Broadway style” production ‘DREAMS ~ A Classic Rock Fantasy’ reaches a milestone. We’ve been doing this show in several iterations for 2 whole years now. It’s been a really great run… and I’m not done with it just yet. We’ve had changes in musicians and performers in that time but each version has been a Rock Solid hit with everyone that’s had a chance to see it.
We’ve now been in Branson MO doing a residency at a Theatre of our Own there for just over a year… and while our stay has been marked with a few tragedies, some heartaches, and some difficulties, we’ve done okay from a public perceptions point of view. We call it The Branson Dream Theatre.
One of the most difficult things about Branson is the “old boys club” of ticket brokers and marketing agencies…. who’s business plan include intercepting every visitor to Branson and steering them to the venues and shows THEY choose to promote… largely based on how much money they can make off them. This is HEARTBREAKING at times…because it’s not just about money. The Timeshare sales companies are in bed with all these agencies and commandeer the sales to theatres that they’ve bribed and cajoled into doing deals with them for virtually free tickets in return for having their patrons sit through Timeshare Sales Pitches. It’s been a slow uphill battle. I’m proud to say, however, that we feel like we are winning this battle. We’ve been doing some “intercept” marketing of our own with Billboards, TV, and Radio and sell more than half our tickets at our very own ticket counter by now… AND we haven’t had to stoop to bribery or dealmaking with the Timeshare folks. These companies are parasites….and create a rash of political firestorms wherever they go. It’s so crazy an upsetting some days I feel like writing a BOOK about it… but I actually have a better idea of what to do with this information yet. I’ll keep you posted.
When we got started last year we register with ‘Trip Advisor’ …and naturally started at the bottom of the some 170 shows and attractions including everything from water parks to Country Dinner theatres… and ended last year with a climb to about #65. Of that 170 attractions, there’s about 100 live shows in Branson…and since spring we’ve been on a steady climb to #19 this weekend… and THAT, my friends, feels like an accomplishment. We’ve done it with almost every entry giving us a 5 Star rating and a great review. We’ve now been nominated for two local Entertainment Awards of “Best Live Classic Rock Show” and “Best Big Show in a Small Theatre”…and that’s up agains shows such as “Million Dollar Quartet”, “SIX”, “The Haygoods”, and “Legends in Concert”. We feel pretty pumped about that right now. October 8th we get to see just how we fare on that front.
If I decide to take it back on the road or do some other thing with it, I do know for certain that it’s a hit show that deserves to be seen by still more people. I’d love to hook up with an actual Broadway Promotions and Productions company. We WERE in the early stages of planning a Winter Break tour… since our theatre is likely closed from December 10th to about the end of February in any case. The tour would have included Florida and the Southern States…but with the Hurricanes messing up Florida, we’re not sure they’ll have the appetite for Entertainment there…or what the condition the venues will be in by then. It’s all up in the air as it often is for an entertainer… but such is life. I do hope my friends, fans, and followers will all get to see this version of our show SOMETIME before I move on to something else. Be well out there!! ~ Julie C Myers
I’ve been more people’s Valentine than I care to remember! LOL… I’ve spent too much of my adult life being single… and while Valentine’s Day dates where a lot of fun in my teens and early twenties… I wasn’t always pleased with the status of my relationships in the years that followed. For the most part, however, I tried NOT to reevaluate my entire life on that day and just have some fun.
Pop, Rock, and Country ~ Blurred lines…. Pop music all sounds so similar to me today… and I suppose it’s for the same reason my parents used to tell me Rock Music all sounded the same to THEM! It’s the root of the genre that does have a similar beat and timber to it. While there ARE several songs in the Pop music genre I really like bypeople like Katie Perry and Taylor Swift, most of it is a little too clos
Pop music all sounds so similar to me today… and I suppose it’s for the same reason my parents used to tell me Rock Music all sounded the same to THEM! It’s the root of the genre that does have a similar beat and timber to it. While there ARE several songs in the Pop music genre I really like bypeople like Katie Perry and Taylor Swift, most of it is a little too close to EDM (Electronic Dance Music) for my taste. I’ll probably be barred from performing at any of the Casinos of Las Vegas for saying this… but EDM has taken over the world in the clubsacross America because it’s DIRT CHEAP to put on.. a DJ is a one man show… but really, it’s the ‘Walmart’ of music… and I don’t know who really LIKEs the stuff… but even I can dance to it if I’m in the right mood. As a collective, us musicians NEED to be out there informing the world and our fans that THAT is what EDM is all about for the club owners. It has it’s legitimate fans and there IS a craft to it… but it’s lacking in real soul. It’s the CHEAP-OUT version of real music…. and nobody wants to be cheap. I am told that I’m a Country artist by today’s definition. I NEVER ever would have been told that 20 years ago. I’m all Rock N Roll !!… surely!… but Country has lost a lot of it’s Twang and appeals to a much wider demographic these days. It’s grown up some. Parts of that genre is what those of us who were Classic Rock fans now listen to… because Classic Rock is just that… I’m told it’s part of ‘History’… and we can’t RECORD newClassic Rock songs. I beg to differ. A rose by any other name still smells the same. Keith Urban of today is as Classic Rock as the Jackson Browne of yesteryear. The genre’s have changed so much because the Country fans don’t want to admit they like Classic Rock and old Rock fans don’t wanna give the New Contemporary Country a chance. There’s so much more that crosses over these days. I agree that there’s still a huge bunch of people subscribing to what I know as “Bro-Country” …and my new Album is aimed pretty much DIRECTLY at that. I’m no fan of the schlock being thrown at us on Country stations from that angle. I’m as ‘girly’ a girl you’ll ever meet but the endless prattle of songs about getting the girl to go for a ride in your pickup truck and drinking some beer and having your way with her is nauseating. It’s gonna come to an end though… mark my word. Women DO want to be girls and everything that goes with it…. but few want to be painted as ‘easy’ and portrayed as brain dead. I, for one, want to be STRONG. I want to embrace my physical side AND the artistic me. I want to be an inspiration to women everywhere that ‘You CAN live your dream’… and ‘You CAN be someone people love to be around’. Be all you can be… be strong… be fearless! Rock On, my music lover friends… and give some of the ‘New Country or Country/Rock a chance. You might find a few nuggets in there you can identify with. Hope you all like me new Album… Rock On ~ Fearless Journey . You tell ME what Genre it belongs to.. …Available Feb 24th 2015… Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby.
I have recently been reading posts about cures for cancer. I’m not certain there is any validity to the claims but people are saying there are cures out there that never see the light of day because “there is no money in it”. Nay-sayers tell us we are “paranoid schizophrenics” and that “all is well” and “that could never happen”. I say, “follow the money”. It is not because of their great desire to help the cause that Large Pharma is one of the larger donors to “The American (and Canadian) Cancer Society”… and that, because of this status, they get to have people on the Board of Directors. Are there no Ombudsmen of Charitable Organizations that can look into the OPERATIONS of these Organizations and tell the public EXACTLY what’s going on? I was also recently told about how Hemp Oil virtually INSTANTLY cures Skin Cancer. I haven’t SEEN it work.. but we don’t even hear the FDA or any other reputable health organization TEST these claims in proper “Double Blind Tests” or put out a “Statement” to put such issues to rest. I am just skeptical enough to believe these cures exist and that big business does NOT want us to know about them… and would put up HUGE protests if the FDA even CONSIDERED testing these claims… much like their fight to overturn GMO labeling laws in every state that is considering putting that into effect is GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
I’d love for everyone to watch “Who Killed the Electric Car”. It’s movie about the early 80’s Oldsmobile Electric Car that GM built and then suddenly recalled the ENTIRE fleet, shredding every last one of them (There is one hollow carcass left in the GM museum). THAT, after California saw their efficiency and almost maintenance free operation and passed a law REQUIRING a certain percentage of all cars sold in California to be electrically powered from that time forward. GM had already put up Fast-Charge stations throughout the state and destroyed them all. SOMEONE somehow convinced California to reverse their Electric Car Law as well. It’s an extremely provocative movie… and it’s all true. They leave you to make your own conclusions. Apparently British Petroleum tried to buy a substantial interest in Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors recently… and THIS TIME it only resulted in him releasing ALL HIS PATENTS relating to his electric Car Development… his way to ensure the electric car will survive and actually take over and dominate world Auto production in years to come. I am so happy this man is walking the face of this earth. I would NOT be one to bet against Mr Musk or one to invest in Oil Stocks because this time we have someone who does what he does because “it’s the right thing to do” and not really that concerned about the money in it. He has made and lost several fortunes in his short lifetime… and I am one of his biggest cheerleaders. I hope he is rewarded handsomely for his clear headed view of what mankind needs to sustain our lives on this planet… and beyond. THAT is the way the system should work… reward those who improve man’s sustainability WHILE improving our standard of living at the same time. He should be one of the heros of our day. I only hope he stays healthy and well and eventually turns his attention to our health care as well. I have also heard that his association with Mr Bill Gates is resulting in some VERY interesting discussions far beyond the programming and manufacturing of his electric cars. It’s going to be interesting to watch the world change over the next ten years with people like him in our midst. Rock on Elon Musk…. Rock On!!
A new show almost ready to hit the road! EXCITING!!
Roy H Williams writes, “A person capable of creating is happiest when they are creating. Artists create visual and auditory artifacts that affect our thoughts, moods and attitudes. Riddle-solvers perform feats of engineering and invention. Teachers create new understanding in the minds of their students. Entrepreneurs create businesses that offer us new and different experiences. Communicators create stories and speeches and ads. Made in the image of God, humans are creators by nature. All humans. Yes, that includes you. What do you create? What do you change? What effect do you have on the world around you?”
Beaumarchais was working on the second scene in the first act of The Barber of Seville, when it hit him, “Aujourd’hui ce qui ne vaut pas la peine d’être dit, on le chante.”
“Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.” Aaarghhh!
Life is made UP of songs… they make up “The Sound Track of Our Lives” however stupid, or perhaps poignant, or even SMART! In song writing we never really have to say it all. We don’t have to tell the whole story. The best songs leave some of the writing up to the listener… the interpretation and the extrapolation.
Isn’t it funny how the mind makes assumptions based on fragments of information? Your mind fills in the empty spaces. But what if there were no empty spaces? What if the mental bandwidth of your attention was filled with other information? Fill some of that vacancy with music and you’ve got a song.
Crowd the remaining emptiness with images and actions and you’ve got a movie. Make it participatory and you’ve got a video game, but now we’re on an entirely different lesson…
Getting back on track: song lyrics don’t have to make sense because words that are wrapped in music aren’t held to the same level of scrutiny as words that must stand on their own.
“Every language is made of obstruent and sonorant phonemes with the vowels of the language supplying the musical tones. The letters of the alphabet are not phonemes. The sounds represented by those letters – and certain combinations of letters such as sh, th, ch, ng, – the sounds are the phonemes.” (I’m not making this stuff up. It is a studied and known science. I can dig up explanations if you like…)
“Humans are uniquely gifted to attach complex meanings to sound. Some of these sound-messages are the combinations of phonemes we call words, but a complex sound-message without phonemes is called music. Mix phonemes with music and you’ve got a song.”
Words wrapped in music are no longer strictly words, but components of a complexly woven auditory tapestry with additional messages embedded in the pitch, key, tempo, rhythm, interval and contour of the tune. Song lyrics cannot be easily evaluated until they’ve been separated from the music that has swallowed them.
When the music feels happy, we usually think of the song as being happy, even when the lyrics are tragic. When the music is sad, we feel the song is sad even when the lyrics are joyful. When the music is triumphant, we feel the song is triumphant even though its lyrics may describe rejection and defeat.
On September 12, 2001, the day after 9-11, the most-played song in America was Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. This is a fact. Radio stations across America wanted to lift the mood, remind us of our heritage and defy Osama Bin Laden, so they filled the sky with our favorite anthem to American exceptionalism:
“Born down in a dead man’s town,
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up.
Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A….”
Those lyrics get increasingly sad, describing rejection and defeat without redemption, as a returning Viet Nam vet can’t find a job even though he turns to the Veteran’s Administration for assistance. In the end, he winds up working without hope in the shadow of a penitentiary and he blames it all on the fact that he was born in the U.S.A. The End.
Yet we shout the chorus to Born in the USA at the top of our lungs because the triumphant arc of the music and the defiant tone of Springsteen’s voice feel profoundly patriotic and proud, lyrics be damned.
“Music is a language of emotion so powerful that it is capable of contradicting the very words it carries. Control the music and you control the mood of the room. But choose the music for its feel, never for its lyrics.” Stevie Nicks’ music is no different. She manages to evoke a rainbow of feelings we are certain have to do with the clarity of her words. The message to us is clear… but more than likely, it’s the musical arrangement as much as anything.
“Sound is a stunning phenomenon.
Learn how to use it, then choose whom you would like to stun.” …R H Williams
So here’s where I’d like little help. I’m tempted to give you a lot of back ground and what it is I’m trying to say… the entire context of the song…. but I won’t! Nope! You’ll need to come up with your OWN ideas on what this song is all about. It’s better that way. Here are the lines of my song… Only rule is that you have to match the meter…
He’s all Thrift Stores and Junk Food
with reckless abandon,
m’ Heart aches for his touch,
You can’t imagine.
Love’s just a substitute
for mystery and passion…
…and the rest is up to you. Write me back with your ideas. You can do it. I hope by now I have you thinking that it’s not rocket science as much as coming up with the arrangement is. We’ll worry about that with the band. You can tell me what YOUR thoughts on the context of the song is if you like…that’s cool too! Have fun out there. JCM
Recording as a Tribute Artist is always a topic of hot debate. Even to myself, it seems folly unless we can do something meaningful with these songs. Simply reproducing precisely what is done by the original artist seems dumb. Just doing a sloppy job of it, also pointless… as in both cases, why wouldn’t a person just try to find an album by the original artist? I’d love to be able to elevate an old song to some new relevance without disrespecting the original arrangement. Having someone tell me I achieved THAT would be the ultimate motivator to do more. These are the instructions to the Mixing and Mastering Engineer. A tall order when the 1977 Rumours album, the 8th best selling album of all time (Over 40 million copies sold) took a year to produce and probably a million dollars in studio time.
Most of the vocals are “in the can” and we only have a few more bits of saxophone, mandolin, violins and other strings, and pedal steel guitar to add to the tracks. I didn’t write a single one of these songs… but I still feel like it’s a work of art that I’ve been able to have a hand in. I’ve tasted working in a big well equipped studio with absolute A-List musicians…. and it’s a really really wonderful flavor.
As Christmas 2012 approaches and I think about the wisdom of my choices, I try to think philosophically about these things. From an article I read recently, “A wise person sees both sides of a matter. The fool sees only one. The origin of the word “wizard” is wise-ard. It means wise man. Nothing more.
The wise-ards of the Christmas Story followed a star, had an adventure, made a discovery and leaped onto the pages of history. What did they talk about along the way? Who did the cooking? What pressing issues did they leave unattended back home? Did they do anything really big with the rest of their lives? Where, when, and how did each of them pass?
We know only that they followed a star everyone else was content to ignore… that they were nonconformists with strange beliefs who had the courage of their convictions. They took action. They left home and found the thing they sought.”
This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. How about you? Will you run with the big dogs or sit on the porch and bark at the postman? Talk is cheap, the buzzing of flies. What are we trying to accomplish? How will we measure progress-to-goal? Do I know what needs to happen next? Which star do you follow?
An encounter with the wise man in the woods is part of every hero’s journey. Athena was the wise man in the woods for Odysseus. When Obi-Wan was gone, Luke went to Dagobah and Yoda became his wise man. Mr. Miyagi was wise-ard for the Karate Kid. Morpheus for Neo. Galadriel for Frodo.
When you’re in the darkness of the forest – the belly of the whale – look around for the wise-ard who will help you complete your journey. The wise man in the woods exists only to assist the hero on his or her adventure. I’d love to be that hero….
“As I bow at the waist and back slowly off the page, I pass along these carefully crafted words from heroes who carved their names deeply in the tree of life.”
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”
– Hunter S. Thompson
“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.”
– Wes Jackson
Julie C Myers
In my high school years, I always took all things musical very seriously. Many times it was at the expense of my school work. I tried to be a good student but I would stay at the dance studio until late at night and put off doing my home work. High school was boring because it was an all girl private Catholic School and I had a hard time concentrating on my work… especially when boys started entering the picture. I was a little boy-crazy and I really knew how to pick ’em. Not gonna mention any names here cause one of them ended up being seriously dangerous in the end! This guy was my first real “boy-friend” and I dated him through high school and into my first year of College. I had a few crushes earlier on but nothing major. This guy went crazy on me at some point and I haven’t seen him since … other than a little “stalking” incident a few years later in Hollywood. My dating relationship, dance, and music pretty much consumed all of my time. By now I was majoring in theater and I was impatiently waiting for the future to unfold. I eventually got through all that and was off to spread my wings, be on my own, and hopefully support myself. I landed a dance position with a show in Hot Springs Arkansas. I met a young guitar player there by the name of Jimmy Craig, and started a new friendship with him. We had our dreams in common and we hung out more and more… eventually becoming romantically involved. He was a good boy friend and even though it didn’t last, he’s a good friend to this day. Somewhat later he became friends with my brother Phillip because of their shared musical aspirations. He’s a very talented musician and someday, if things work out, I’d like to do something musical with him again as well.
I’ve heard that “the person who achieves spectacular failure has at least attempted something bold. Failure is a temporary condition. Success is likewise temporary. Life, itself, is temporary.” I think I’ve lived my life taking chances… but not probably really BIG chances. I have people telling me to go out on a limb. I know that “mediocrity comes from having perfectly implemented tried and true, traditional wisdom”. I am venturing into uncharted territory right now.
The frightening thing is that outcome is the only thing that separates confidence from hubris. If your bold idea succeeds, you were a confident visionary. If your bold idea fails, the walking dead will accuse you of being full of yourself. “It was hubris,” they will say.
I am trying to convince myself to ignore the zombies. Life is risk and risk is life. The only death is mediocrity. It’s still hard to fling myself into something uncertain…. and I can tell you that the view from the edge is spectacular! Zombies invented the lie that curiosity killed the cat. But it wasn’t curiosity that did her in. I think it was boredom. Boredom killed the cat.
Security, boredom and a bloodless life are all the zombies have to offer. I’m putting my faith into the advice of friends and advisors… and following that advice into the “Forest of Uncertainty”, I’m going to ask directions of angels, anticipating they’ll answer by opening doors I never knew were there. I hope to “kiss the hand of Serendipity as I gaze upwards into her face”. I hope she smiles….
My experience is that Zombies tell many lies under the guise of sound advice. The most famous of which I’ve found is that “If you give your money to financial experts they will grow it into a fortune”. Strangely, this lie is partly true. But often, the only fortune those experts will grow your money into is their own. Invest in the things you know. Invest in yourself, is my advice. I’ve been a performer all my life and that is what I know. I’ve been convinced to do some recording… and today, I just completed day one of working on a video. We’ll likely be shooting the rest of the week. Seems risky to me right now… but wow, what a blast! The view from the edge is spectacular…
March 27, 2012. Today my energy and emotional fortitude is all but drained from my body. My initiative for things creative is in the gutter. My brother’s condition is sapping me of anything I might give to those around me. He’s fallen gravely ill and I’m doing my best to make a quick trip out to Florida to see him while he is yet conscious. The health care system seems to be failing him so very badly. It is explained to me that the tumor on his pancreas is preventing him from making digestive enzymes needed to turn food into energy and he is wasting away. He barely has the energy to walk anymore and I’m afraid he will starve if there is no intervention. They never keep him in the hospital when he’s there for tests and yet he is on death’s door. I’m not medically trained but anyone I talk to says he should be fed intravenously if he cannot absorb nutrition the usual way. He’s been told to get stronger and gain weight to be in shape to survive an operation… but shouldn’t they be helping that to happen?? I feel so hopeless in all of this… …and being in Canada now, for all the talk in the US about how “the Canadian Free Public Healthcare System is so inferior”, I know for a FACT Phillip would be checked into a hospital and everything that could be done for him WOULD be. NOBODY, not even a homeless person gets left to die on the street…
New addition to my original post. April 26, 2012. I’m grieving the loss of my dear brother Phillip. As my sister Dina wrote, “Our hearts are broken into pieces. Our dear brother, son, father, soul mate, uncle and friend, Phillip Myers, passed away this morning at 3:30 a.m. There was no kinder, compassionate, beautiful and talented man. He would help anyone in need, no matter how difficult the task. I had the privilege of holding his hand during his last few hours. Phil, we will miss you more than you will ever know but you will live in our hearts forever. It pains me to have to let his friends know the sad news and I know it is probably a shock to many of you. Phillip was a very private person and didn’t want to burden people with his illness but I know you would all want to know.” He will be greatly missed indeed.
I feel like the healthcare system failed him somehow. I’m not a medical professional so my opinions may not be count. I just know that in the town I call home, there’s a man going about his business who hasn’t had a working pancreas for years by now. He has to wear a “back-pack” with special “food” in it that is somehow automatically fed into his digestive system through a special port on his side. He functions well and appears totally “normal” in every other way. Apparently this is the only method by which you can survive without the digestive enezimes normally made by your pancreas. Phillip basically died of starvation. A pretty horrible way to go. He was unable to eat anything due to the digestive problems created by his pancreas not working. I’d like to learn more about this problem and would love to see other people going through this better helped. My heart is so very broken right now….
I was born Julie Clare to Joseph Frank and Peggy Anne Myers in Memphis TN. I was their fifth and last child, a bit of an afterthought or possible mistake… as there was five years between myself and my older sister Dina. I’m told I was a precocious child, slightly hyper active, and physically adventurous. Apparently I was always tumbling or dancing to music, that was virtually always playing in our home, from the day I could stand holding onto the sides of my crib and playpen. As a five or six year old I mastered the technique of climbing up the walls of a hallway or door frame by using both my hands and feet to put pressure on the opposing sides. My mother took pleasure in my physical adventures and enrolled me in ballet, tap, and jazz dance classes when I was very young. Even before all that, I wanted to be on a stage badly enough that at five, I lied about my age at an audition to land the roll of the “Fairy” in Peter Pan. I can’t believe I made it in there because I couldn’t even say the name of the Catholic Private school, “Immaculate Conception”, I was supposedly attending as I had no front teeth! I was in Grade one when I brought my much older brother David to school to accompany me on guitar as I sang “I’m Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” at the school talent show. I won for the Grades 1 through 5 category and I’m not certain if I wasn’t allowed to enter again or why it is that I don’t remember another talent show in all my Grade School years. Perhaps they wanted to make sure more people had the opportunity to win these things and had rules to help make that happen. It wasn’t long before my mother added acrobatic and gymnastic classes on top of it all. I realized when I was older that my mother lived vicariously through my exploits of the things she got me involved in. My entire family was very supportive and I loved all that stuff. It was also years later that I found out that the reason my brother’s friends would ask me to do back hand-springs across the back yard all the time was because they would be on drugs and they loved the trippy effect of seeing that under the influence. I lived it all day long and dreamt about it every night. One of the things that stands out as a great memory is the Mid-South Fair. Here, some of my best friends and myself were doing all kinds of dance, dance mixed with acrobatics, and/or solo singing. It was all a big competition and I had to work hard to win a spot on these stages. Music and dance has always been huge in Memphis. One really great memory that stands out is a dance group I belonged to winning first place one year. Christmas shows, recitals, and performances were great and most of it came easy. I always looked forward to anything on a stage…except for gymnastic meets. They made me so very nervous. Maybe it was that there were bigger expectations on me than those I had of myself…I’m not sure. Music and dance proved to have the bigger pull on me and there was a lot of time when that was all I wanted to do.
Okay, debriefing from the Dallas Symphony show has taken me a little longer than I’d hoped. It was an experience of a life time, to be sure! Wow… I just loved the power of the Horn Section during the cries in Rhiannon. A totally different dynamic to a performance like that than even a band that’s really cranked up. Interestingly, the volume is actually somewhat lower on stage but the intensity of the huge number of instruments all SEEM to add up to something bigger than life! I just loved it!!
I’ve been sitting in my Hot Tub here at home a couple of times reflecting on things and I have to say I did find the the demographics at the shows to be a little puzzling. There were some younger people there… as young as 10 years old, but not that many. You WOULD expect there to be a larger proportion of elderly people as they are the major demographic holding season’s tickets…AND, I DO know symphonies book a Rock show like this to help diversify their audience base, and yet, I don’t think they advertised the show to anyone but their seasons ticket holders. Even though the shows were very well attended, it sort of seemed to defeat their desired out come, I should think. Not my problem I suppose… but none the less, puzzling.
There would be a few things I’d do differently, if I ever had an opportunity to do this again. I’d like to address the symphony as a group to jump start a bit of a relationship with them, right up front. Just to get everyone on the same footing. In a group that size, sometimes the feature artist is looked on with a bit of disdain as you are seen to be there to usurp their moment in the spot light. This is very counter-productive to getting a good show together in short order. I’m no diva and I need to be sure it doesn’t take me all weekend to let these people know I am soooo unbelievably honored to be performing with THEM…. with an emphasis on “with” and “them”. In the end, it was all good. The audience was never the question. They loved the show and were very appreciative… For me, it will be a memory to last a life time.
This week has been an emotional roller coaster ride! I was brought crashing down from the high of the biggest gig of my career by a call telling me my brother Philip had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer earlier this week. Wow. I think that might be terminal. I’m told that he’s “lucky” in that he has a tumor in his pancreas and not his entire pancreas is cancerous… but where’s the luck in that? We ARE all hanging on to the hope that an operation will remove it and that the cancer has not metastasized to the rest of his body. Do the really great times in life make the down times seem that much worse?
I’ve had my share of heartache in my life. My middle brother died when I was 18 when a drunk driver hopped the curb and ran him down walking down the street. His wife, my sister in law, was gunned down when caught in the cross fire of a convenience store hold up she walked into less than a year later. My first husband died of a drug overdose in 1993. He was bipolar and was fine with his medications on board but, as is so often the case, when he was fine he would decide he didn’t NEED his medications and this could have catastrophic consequences. My father passed away due to the complications of Alzheimer’s in 2007. I’m not sure I could handle loosing another brother… and I just KNOW my mother would loose the will to live if my brother wouldn’t pull through this.
Philip, myself, and brother Joe at my wedding January 7, 2012…
I’m not sure if a blog or FaceBook or twitter are appropriate places to ask people to pray for situations like this… but I guess that’s what I’d really like to do. Please pray for guidance for his doctors and for healing in his body. Pray for my families emotional well-being in all of this as well.
The roller coaster had another twist in the ride in that my husband’s daughter Kristen gave birth to a baby boy in Africa right about the same time we heard about Philip! This is her third child and his name is Isaiah David John… a brother to Zechariah, almost 3, and sister Maisha, 4 and a half. Kristen and her husband Kevin are group tour hosts in North Africa for groups from North America. They speak several languages and two of their children have been born in North African hospitals. I am not Kristen’s mother and to her children, I am “Aunty Julie”… or “Aunty Joe-Lulia”. We had hoped to head out to Africa for a short visit after the baby was born but travel plans are on hold while Philip’s treatment plan is still uncertain. Kristen’s mom, Jocelyn, is out there right now helping out the newly expanded family. We hope this gets settled with Philip so we can head out there for a bit as well. I’m in Boston for a show on April 7th so it would be wonderful if we could do that shortly after….
Such is life…
Little Zechariah sharing his toy car with newborn Isaiah…
Okay, debriefing from the Dallas Symphony show has taken me a little longer than I’d hoped. It was an experience of a life time, to be sure! Wow… I just loved the power of the Horn Section during the cries in Rhiannon. A totally different dynamic to a performance like that then even a band that’s really cranked up. Interestingly, the volume is actually somewhat lower on stage but the intensity of the huge number of instruments all SEEM to add up to something bigger than life! I just loved it!!
I’ve been sitting in my Hot Tub here at home a couple of times reflecting on things and I have to say I did find the demographics at the shows to be a little puzzling. There were some younger people there… as young as 10 years old, but not that many. You WOULD expect there to be a larger proportion of elderly people as they are the major demographic holding season’s tickets. I know symphonies book a Rock show like this to help diversify their audience base but I don’t think they advertised the show to anyone but their seasons ticket holders. Even though the shows were very well attended, it sort of seemed to defeat their desired out come I should think. Not my problem I suppose… but none the less, puzzling.
There would be a few things I’d do differently, if I ever had an opportunity to do this again. I’d like to address the symphony as a group to jump start a bit of a relationship with them right up front. Just to get everyone on the same footing. In a group that size, sometimes the feature artist is looked on with a bit of disdain as you are seen to be there to usurp their moment in the spot light. This is very counter-productive to getting a good show together in short order. I’m no diva and I need to be sure it doesn’t take me all weekend to let these people know I am soooo unbelievably honored to be performing with THEM…. with an emphasis on “with” and “them”. In the end, it was all good. The audience was never the question. They loved the show and were very appreciative… For me, it will be a memory to last a life time.
I’ve had a really great weekend with friends in Las Vegas. This isn’t my usual experience in this city. Having lived here, I’m not at all into life on “The Strip” and that sort of thing. I’m over it really quickly. My friends, Bob and Stephanie, are wonderful people and we had the greatest time doing things like hanging out in their kitchen enjoying various wines, cheeses, and bread. We grilled Salmon one day and made some unbelievable Margaritas on another. They took us to a few of Las Vegas’s finest restaurants for other meals. We sat in their Hot Tub and gazed at the stars and talked until we just couldn’t take the heat any more! A wonderful Holiday with great friends! Thank you Steph and Bob!
Tonight I had a scheduled rehearsal with the band that will be backing me with the Dallas Symphony on Friday. It went really well with only a few restarts and minor adjustments. It’s always a little unnerving getting ready for these shows when you haven’t sung with the band before. My confidence in these guys and our ability to get it all together for the show is much improved after the rehearsal. It’s so much fun working with a good band! Fun! Fun! Fun! So it’s off to Dallas now…. see you there!!
I should be really excited today but I’ve got to start packing and I seem to be putting it off. I’ve had a little trouble getting used to my “in-ear monitors” at rehearsal lately as I don’t use them regularly and this adds a bit of frustration to learning slightly new “symphony accompanied” versions of the songs I already know so well. I shouldn’t let it get to me but I don’t use them regularly enough and that’s the problem. If you are too lazy to use them during rehearsal then you likely won’t use them during performance it seems. The upcoming show is at the Morton H Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas and I really AM looking forward to it. It may be the biggest audience to date… at least for my Stevie Nicks Tribute. I’m leaving for rehearsal in Vegas Saturday morning… two days from now… and I still have a few Costume modifications to attend to as well! I should be so very motivated! Seems like I go through some kind of swings in my levels of motivation… and many times, the better things are for me the less motivated I am. Any of you have trouble with that? The human condition seems to be such that whenever we are giving something without having to work for it, we don’t value it much. There are groups in our society where governments give out assistance to people and it never seems to give these people a leg up. They remain in their squalor and we think, “man, if I could get that type of assistance I’d do this and that with it… WOW!”. I am recently married and my new husband has found that at his business if he buys new equipment for his employees his success in keeping this new equipment in good condition doing the job it was intended for is a lot less successful than if he buys a well used piece of equipment and then gets his maintenance crew to dig in and refurbish it from top to bottom and repaint it and everything, often spending almost as much money as just buying it new in the first place. The reason is that now he has 4-6 maintenance men, who are proud of what they’ve built, helping to teach the operators how to use it correctly and chastising operators who scratch the new paint etc. It’s a little disheartening to think how natural it is to be ungrateful. I am always thinking about this part of me and I know I am not exempt… so with that bit of self examination, I’m off to go pack and work on my costume changes….
Running a blog has not been one of the things high on my Bucket List but who knows, this may be fun. My managers and agents seem to think it necessary to give people access… and I’m like “FaceBook, ReverbNation, Twitter, and eMails aren’t enough??”. I DO like a good conversation… and I know FaceBook and Twitter aren’t really great in that sense. FaceBook always seems to entice you to just flit from one thing to another with all the zillion posts that come in every day. I’d love to be able to endorse everyone’s posts and let them know I care… but honestly, I can’t even take the time to press the “like” button on a lot of them as it just takes so much time. Time Vampire, is what I’ve heard. Hmmm.. I’m hoping this will be different.
Somewhere on this thing, I think I might tell a little of my life story. Everyone has a story, and I, for one, won’t ever be very likely to write a book… so this may be the place. I’ve done some interesting and crazy things…. not all of which I’m proud of. I like who I am today… and I often wonder, “am supposed to be thankful for some of the dumber or rotten things I’ve encountered?”…. because it is doubtless they helped shape my person in some way or another.