“Cards and Letters” of the new year

The first note comes from Matthew Levine who wrote:

“On Valentine’s Day, a musical theater song I wrote the music to will be performed, along with about a half dozen other pieces by other writers, at the Colony Theater in Burbank, CA. If anyone is interested, in a week-ish there will be more information at the ANMT.org website.”

Andy Sperandeo, Mary-Lela Gilbert, “You can hear the songs I wrote in their core curriculum on my website at  http://levinemusicaltheater.com/

For those, like me, who didn’t know, ANMT is the Academy for New Musical Theater at  http://www.anmt.org/

We’ve had several of you Musical Theater composers join us through the years and I encourage you to have a look at the organization’s website. And if you’re in the Burbank area, you might enjoy the show that includes Matthew’s music.

Next, a letter poured in from Carla Sperandeo. She and husband Andy Sperandeo attended MIW a fews years back and enjoy the periodic news updates even though for some reason only Carla was on the mailing list. Carla writes “Andy is a professionally trained jazz musician who put out a CD about 4 years ago called “Inspire”. Andy engages in many genres of music including rock, funk, and world music, to name a few. He is presently back in school at the University of North Texas working on his Master’s Degree in Music Composition. He arranged some of the songs from Katharine Key’s CD, “Intone” and is presently working on the arranging of songs from her latest CD to come.”

That’s great info and I added Andy to our artist links page. You can check out “Inspire by “Primal Point” at http://www.myspace.com/primalpoint  and at  http://www.cdfreedom.com/primalpoint/

Our third message received came from Mary-Lela Gilbert in Taos, New Mexico where she both paints (fine artwork) and plays harp. Mary-lela writes:

“Hi Darrell, My news is that as a Certified Music Practitioner (Graduate of the Music for Healing and Transition Program) I have been hired to play therapeutic music at the bedside in my local hospital. I have a facebook page at, http://band.to/mary-lelacm/  Uniting the world one melody at a time. Happy music making!” (Note that her site is on Facebook.)

Good luck to you Mary-Lela. I’ve added you to our “Artist links” page too. By the way, for me, just about all music is therapeutic!

I also received a nice new-year greeting from Siraj Parmer in Houston – great to hear from you Siraj!

I have one very sad note I must share. I received this message from Carl Fravel: “In case you didn’t know, my beautiful granddaughter, Melissa Martinez, died tragically in a fire in New Orleans last week. …”   What brings this sad news home to MIW alumni is that Carl is father to our dear Kelly Snook and young Melissa was Kelly’s niece.  Kelly’s sister Rebecca Snook is mother to the 17-year old taken so abruptly in the fire. Kelly, our prayers and best wishes are with your sister, you, and your family during this time of loss.  I read somewhere “you can keep any sort of unhappiness at bay by simply remembering what you have going for you at this time.” (I think You wrote that.)

Keep those “cards and letters” (emails) coming friends. It feels good hearing from you.


Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

Happy New Year news

Happy New Year gang!  I hope 2011 is off to a promising start.  I’ve heard from a few of you in the past few weeks and can share some news.

Richard Cook has released his new CD!!  Rich writes:

I would like to let everyone from the conference know that my latest  album, “State of Prayer”, is now available for purchase on cdbaby. The URL is     http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/richwillcook    Also you can get there by searching on Google for “rich will cook”, my artist name.  The album is entirely Baha’i quotes set to song, including the Tablet of Ahmad, and the Tablet of Visitation of Abdu’l-Baha.  Several of my fans keep a copy in their car so they can listen to the prayers during their morning commute.  I would appreciate it if anyone who has something kindly to say would post reviews of the album on the cdbaby website.  Thanks a million!

Regards, Richard Cook

Neshia Farhangi has updated her website to include her MANY talents. Check it out at  http://www.NeshiaBrathwaiteFarhangi.com

Katherine (Kat) Key is back in the studio working on a new CD! 

Russ Salton did a great job recording some of our participants at the 2010 Music Industry Weekend and I just received a copy of the CD.  What a delight to hear recordings of Kyra Platte Cash, John Armour, Angela Owens, Chris Ruhe, Nate Charles, Rasheeda Parmer, Richard Cook, Phil Malberg, Siraj Parmer, and Alan James and all of the supporting musicians who backed them up.  On a personal note, Russ and his dear wife Robbie suffered a serious set-back recently when someone broke into their business in Gig Harbor, stole computers, and set the building on fire. They basically lost everything except their positive attitude. They are rebuilding now, but your prayers for their recovery and success would be welcomed.

Robert Gillies graduated from Berklee College of Music. Congratulations Robert!  Now, quit lazing about your home in Scotland and get back to the USA and get your promising career into orbit!  Robert just released two singles: ‘Saturday in June’  and “Dating with a Checklist” (wait – isn’t that “a double”?)

Tyler Thompson is working his butt off to raise $20,000 to enable him to join the “Up With People” 2011 world tour.  If you’d like to drop a little “sumthin-sumthin” in his tip jar, go to http://sites.google.com/site/tktstudios/ where you can contribute and/or buy his CD.  Good Luck Tyler!

Walter Heath and his wife Barbara and son Adam visited Deb and me here in Casa Grande, Az on their road trip to Texas and back over their winter break.  It was great to see them.  Walter, who performed this year at the Orlando SED Conference (along with Jack Lenz, Red Grammer, Van Gilmer, Marvin “Doc” Holladay, Nabil & Karim, and Roya Bauman), recently released “Prayers and Passages (Vols. I and II)” and as a fundraiser for restoration of the Shrine of the Bab.  Have a listen and purchace here>>http://www.heathsongs.com/ShrineofBabFundraiser.html

I bought mine at the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference where I went Saturday evening to to “troll for old friends”, and wow, did I see a number of them!  It was wonderful to again see Van Gilmer and  Red Grammer and to meet Red’s son Andy Grammer – what a great guy!  Andy introduced me to singer Kelsey Bulkin – yes, another talented leaf of the Sid Bulkin family tree.  And I was thrilled to re-connect with Devon Gundry and meet his delightful bride Golriz  as they prepared to entertain and sign some “SoulPancke” books.

That’s it for now. Have a great year everybody! Send me your news to share and remember to reserve the time next October to join in the fun at music industry Weekend 2011. 

Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist