News for Spring

Well, there’s been a lot of activity among our alumni since the beginning of April. Not too many reports have come in however, but that’s because everyone is quite busy. 

UPDATE: Matthew Levine writes that an early “READING” of the DRAFT of his forthcoming full length musical (he is co-author with 2 others) will be presented at ANMT on Vineland in North Hollywood, CA  June 5, Sunday 3 pm – Free admission.       A stripped down version will be read at ANMT on: July 16 at 1:30 PM and July 17 at 4:30 PM
 Ticket price will soon be set by ANMT.  Seating is quite limited.  The phone number there is 818-506-8500

Katherine Key has been enjoying a Pilgrimage to Haifa! 

Jarome Matthew over in China has just completed the process of constructing a new state-of-the-art recording studio and educating his contractors along the way (they were amazed by his electronic stud finder). He says that he will appear on China’s National TV network. Last December, Jarome completed arranging, programming, production and engineering for the song ‘Only One Earth’ by Chinese artist Cheng Lin, about preservation of the environment. It was reworked from an old version in partnership with Green China, an organization recognizing philanthropy relating to preservation of the environment in China as they want to use it as a theme song for their TV shows. Cheng Lin has received an award for the song and some of the press footage was shot in Jarome’s studio. You can hear the song (and find a link to the ceremony video) on Jarome’s blog

Also in China, Elika Mahony (whose producer is Jarome Matthew) just released a song from the Hidden Words entitled ‘My Love is My Stronghold’ which is a free gift accessible on her website gift page (for those who have registered).   And in April she (and Jarome) released an EP of 4 of original songs (New Age/Pop style) on a CD entitled: ‘Edge of Forever’ which includes the song ‘Eternal Beloved’.  By the way, Elika Mahony assisted with vocals on the Cheng Lin song that Jarome produced.

Jimmy Crockett in Sacramento reported that he is hard at work with a friend on a Christian album. I got to hear one of the tunes – quite catchy!

Walter Heath, in Simi Valley, CA says: THANK YOU ALL!! for supporting the Shrine of the Bab renovations by your purchase of his 2CDs, Prayers and Passages (I and II). Any future sales of those titles, will be earmarked for similar projects.

Tyler Thompson, over in Las Cruces New Mexico, is so close to fully funding his “Up With People” WORLD tour, he can almost taste it (consider chipping in on his website). This guy has become the embodiment of “hustle”! Go Tyler!                        UPDATE: Tyler’s song 2000 Miles”  has been nominated as “Best Blues” in the New Mexico Music Awards. Congratulations Tyler!

Robert Gillies succeeded using the Kickstarter website to raise the money he needed for his first album. He’s in the studio now and busier than a one-arm paper-hanger. He’s also giving guitar lessons via Skype.  I’ve seen a couple of his tutorial videos and I like the way he explains things.

Chris Ruhe is on the activist trail (with Pete Seeger) to protest hydrofracturing.  You can see them in action last summer HERE  and HERE.
You can also see Chris’  “No Frackin Way” performance on Youtube with quite a group of back-up singers.

On a related note, Chris provided some airplay for our colleague Angela Owens.  Chris wrote: “for the last 14 years I have done an environmental radio show called Planet Blue on WVKR 91.3 FM every Monday from 5 to 6 pm. It has a loyal following.. and when the Japanese crisis hit, I played Angela’s prayer for those suffering folks around the globe…please tell her.  We stream at – check it out.” 

Kieran Murray, at Tribal Global Music down in JAMAICA (mahn!), sent a big thanks for keeping folks updated about his wife Brina’s music. Kieran admits “yes she is most definitely the better half!” Kieran said “we just had the full album mastered, with Jon Rezin (one of our MIW gurus) mixing the remaining songs, and it is sounding great. We are finishing up the artwork, so look out for a release sometime soon… in the next 2-3 months we hope. God willing we will be out in the US within a year touring…”  So keep on the lookout for a chance to hear some “Real Reggae Music” from Brina and say hello to the chap she’s traveling with.

Producer Jon Rezin and wife Auntieclaire have been fully engaged in Job 1 – raising Lua! Looks like that little jewel is growing fast!

I’m proud to announce that this winter, I too will be seeing a little one around the house – my first GRANDCHILD is due 5 January. My daughter Rachel Langness (whose birthday is May 19th!) is a school teacher (theater arts) in Laveen, AZ.  She provided me with some video footage of my trio (me, Rick Heyman, and Michael Parker) performing at the 26th annual Tucson Folk Festival – which was a BLAST by the way. We rocked the park, and had folks dancing.

Incidentally, the weekend following that performance, our drummer Michael Parker and his “best girl” Marguerite Sears (grand-daughter of the original) ran away from home and got married! (at Desert Rose Baha’i School, in the Pavilion named for Marguerite’s grandfather, Bill Sears).  Best wishes to both of you for an eternal honeymoon!

I have matched those Folk Festival performance videos with the recorded music tracks made at the Festival and have posted several of the performances on my You-Tube Channel .  You can also find them all embedded on my website.

You will also find there some “VLOGs” (video web logs).  After being entertained by Robert Gillies’ delightful Vlogs, I decided to give it a try myself. I’ve learned a bit more about my Mac “iMovie” software and plan to share some tips at this years’ Music Industry Weekend.  I really believe, and Jarome backs me up on this, that video promotion is a MUST for developing a market of your own. Social Media is your toolbox for relationship-building. 

Andy Grammer understands this and recently published a thank-you video to all his Facebook supporters. His Facebook page is approaching 5000 friends and his “band page” has over 14 thousand “likes”.  That’s a ready fan-base for any new product he has.  Think about that!

Well friends, we’re putting together the program for this fall. I’ve had a couple offers and I’m awaiting some replies.  As always, we’ll provide good information and learning you can use, and most importantly, the opportunity to build friendships with fellow musicians with whom you can collaborate.
Keep it on your calendar October 27 – 30, 2011!

Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist