Music in the Desert – a success!

What a jam-packed weekend it was! Our 13th gathering since our beginning and our FIRST gathering at Desert Rose Baha’i Institute.  Perhaps our writers (Maya and Deb) would call it “Volume 2, Issue 1” or perhaps, in the vernacular of our musician chef Jim, “the start of a second dozen”.

However we number it, it was fun. From  dinner and our beloved song-circle on Friday evening, to our closing reflection and wonderful closing lunch on Sunday, I firmly believe it was a good experience for all.

That’s not to say we can’t make improvements, we can! (That’s what we reflected on Sunday morning) But, for an abbreviated schedule, in a new venue for the first time, I think we all did pretty well. Of course, much thanks is owed to the volunteers who operate the Desert Rose Baha’i Institute for opening their doors to us at an affordable price and offering support for anything we needed (with special attention to Ginny Healy, Jerry Healy, Brenda Hadden, Peggy Hadden, Linda Fuller, and Betty Johnston).

IMG_4925-cropI want to thank everyone who attended and encourage you to look up their websites (those that have one) and hear their music.  In particular I want to thank Jim Rust, our chef, who volunteered last year to make this event work by feeding us handsomely! I suppose a fed musician is a happy musician because we were all grinning after every meal. (That Saturday morning breakfast was worth the trip all by itself!)

BrianAnd a sincere thank you to Brian Taraz, a man of extraordinary talent AND myriad skills, who sacrificed his time to assist Jim in the kitchen and handle a variety of emerging needs.  And thanks also to John Armour, man of a thousand flutes, who arrived 2 days early just to help us shop for food and stack the kitchen. John’s assistance throughout the weekend was essential.

I also want to give a special thanks to Rick Heyman (bass) and Michael Parker (drums) who drove from Tucson with their equipment to serve as the “House Band” backing up all who desired their support. The did an excellent job with very little rehearsal time (as always).

IMG_4929-cropThanks again to Alan James, Russ Salton, Jeff Bohnhoff and Maya Bohnhoff for their workshop sessions sharing their immense knowledge of the various aspects of our craft.

And thanks to  Jackie Odess-Gillett,  to Anna Resendiz, to Ladjamaya Green, and to the marvelous Jean T. Quinn for their performances in our Saturday night Showcase. Thanks also to Warren Odess-Gillett and Gary Sloan for their participation and contributions to the weekend’s success.

Now, perhaps we’ll start planning for next year!


Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist


In just 2 weeks, we will be gathering at the Desert Rose Baha’i Institute in Eloy, Arizona for our annual weekend event!  If you haven’t yet registered, Please do so now!  (see below)

You might be thinking “what could I learn from Music Makers Weekend that could help my music career?”  Well, I can tell you that I have self-produced 4 DIY albums using the skills I have learned from our weekend participants and with each one, I have gotten successively better at it.  No, my products aren’t super polished, but I’ve made money on every one of them!  Our presenters are top-notch at their craft and they will share practical knowledge you can use in recording, songwriting and performing. See our “UPDATES” tab to read more.

More important perhaps are the relationships you will build with other “musicians of spirit”.  The friends I have made at our music weekend have grown to be my most trusted.

I hope you registered participants are working up your 30-day Songwriting Challenge song to the theme “YOUR HEART”. It has been delightful to hear the varied songs that come from our annual 30-day challenge. Mine is ready and I know of at least one other participant whose song is already written.

YOU CAN STILL REGISTER for the 2015 Music Makers Weekend at Desert Rose Baha’i Institute in Eloy, Arizona 18-20 December 2015.

Here’s the Direct  link to Register

Or, you can visit the Desert Rose Baha’i Institute website

You can also register by mail, phone or fax with this form:
MMW Registration Form

Please register soon, because space is limited and the day is fast approaching!  This is going to fun!

P.S. – CONGRATULATIONS to JON REZIN for his 2015 Latin Grammy Nomination!


Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist


The 12th Annual Music Industry Weekend
at Bosch Bahá’í School “Putting Ideas Into Action”

JOIN THE FUN!: 13-16 November 2014

to keep the Venue Open

We have a great line up of SONG-WRITING talent to help you songwriters hone your craft!

Award-winning Singer-Songwriter Robert Gillies will share a Songwriting Fundamentals session AND an Advanced Workshop! Professional science-fiction novelist AND songwriter Maya Bohnhoff will instruct us in “Mining Stories for Songs”.

AND we’ll have another SONGWRITING CHALLENGE like last year!

The song title will be announced 13 October (30 days to work your craft).

On the PERFORMANCE & PRODUCTION side of the house we will have veteran performer Alan James tuning up your Stage Presence and Jeff Bohnhoff, producer and recording engineer at Mystic Fig Studio, teaching us about Recording and Production.  Darrell Rodgers (me) will offer a session too, on Tools and Tips for the DIY musician

Our great friend Chuck Thrapp is coming to host SONG-CIRCLES in the Lodge giving everyone a chance to share new material in an intimate and friendly environment.

SING-ALONG Leaders! A Special Workshop is coming for YOU! This year’s Music Industry Weekend will include a special session designed to help you become a sing-along leader in your community AND teach you to TEACH OTHERS how to do so as well. This “Train the Trainers” course will be conducted by several MIW alumni with real skills in the process of awakening the “inner songbird” in all our friends. Rana Chang, and Jean T. Quinn,  both highly accomplished group-sing leaders themselves, will share their techniques for energizing the singers in your community.

And for those singers with a spirit of adventure, you will be more than welcome to lend your voices in collaborations with other musicians during the weekend.
This will certainly expand the HARMONY of this wonderful weekend! Come Join The Fun!

On-line Registration accessible be through this web site (see upper right corner!)

Here’s a pdf of the 2014 Music Industry Weekend schedule


Darrell Elmer Rodgers – Coordinator   
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

The Albums are coming! The Albums are coming!

russsalton3And the first is already here! Russ Salton has just released a new album called “The Bear Creek Sessions”, recorded at the wonderful Bear Creek Studio near Seattle (choice of such artisits as Lumineers, Foo Fighters, Fleet Foxes and more).
Russ’ new album offers 13 songs, all exquisitly produced and he’s backed up by some really fine musicians. My favs are “Don’t Go (Talkin That Way)” and “Remember Me”. Get it here:

RobertGillies-Distance artOn the horizon, Robert Gillies new studio album “The Distance” is recorded and ready for launch. Of course, that takes money. So Robert has established an IndieGoGo project to fund the CD manufacture and distribution. His goal includes funds for some contributor rewards, so check out the fund-raising site and see what you can kick in for the launch of his new CD!–2

WGcover6-cropOK, the next one working is my own (Darrell Elmer Rodgers). It’s a total DIY project done right here at my home. I’m calling it “Woodstock Generation” for its first song, which I wrote LONG ago, in 1979. Another old 1979 tune of mine I have revived here is “What’s Goin’ On”, a war protest song. It features a Tenor Sax solo by yours truly. (Yes, I’ve been a sax player since grade school). This album contains 10 social-political songs including recent works like “Die Workin”, “Arizona Time”, and “Enough of These Stones”. Watch for an announcement (and a mini-tour up the West Coast in August) on my website:

JBLest I forget, JB Eckl is releasing a new album, but he’s SPOON-FEEDING it to us 1 song at a time! And so far, each spoonful has been a meal! Check out JB’s new music at

CaeliLohrDo you like electronica and “unusual” music? Caeli Lohr has launched Dog Unit Productions over in England and is turning out some very interesting material. He uses tags like: electronic ambient electronic chillout downtempo and chill. Please check it out at
(you’ll see familar names in the credits: Kelly Snook and Kelsey Bulkin)

elika-interview-processed-cI recently received an email from Elika Mahony over in China saying she too was working on another album (she has about 6 out there already). This one is themed on Detachment. She’s looking for photos of the Ocean she might use as Artwork.  You can read about one of the songs she plans to include, on her website at


LaniNashSummerTourNow, let me introduce you to Lani Nash, a wonderful Country/Folk singer-songwriter from Nashville who is the real deal.  She enrolled in the Baha’i Faith just a couple years ago and has already so beautifully expressed Baha’i-like concepts in her new album called “One”. Please check it out at

That’s some news I’ve been menaing to share. Please consider contributing some funds to Robert Gillies’ IndieGoGo project. I’ve heard the new album, and IT’S SAWEEEEET!!

There’s some new info on the Updates page. Please have a look! (we’re having some Sing-Along Training!)


Darrell Elmer Rodgers – Coordinator
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

Springtime Greetings

Hi folks, Yes it’s been a long while since I’ve  posted anything, but here at Ridvan, it’s time to start seriously planning our next weekend gathering ( 23-26 October).

I have asked Bosch for guidance regarding a theme for this year that we will remain congruent with the directions of our NSA.

Meanwhile, we have an opportunity to consider what workshops we’d like. Several people have expressed their desire for more “whole group” sessions and last year we did more of that.  Was that good for you?  What topics would you like to see addressed this coming October?

It has been a BUSY year for quite a number of our alumni!

Robert Gillies – now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Robert has been playing up a storm and is about to release his second album called “The Distance”. Many of the songs on it he composed during that wicked “Song a Day May” whirlwind of songwriting.  He has also released a “side project” with his friend producer David Pramik. They call their project “Black Buffalo” and their first release is “Bad Moon”. You should hear this, it’s completely different than anything he has done before:  He and Rezal just moved into a new apartment in Oakland. Congratulations on the new abode Robert!

Alan James – Alan has been”Road Trippin'” all over the western US of late. We got a chance to perform together in Tucson when he invited me to help celebrate his Uncle Cazzie’s 100th birthday. Among the many poems that Uncle Cazzie delivered, was this gem for songwriters to consider:  “Levity and Brevity are very much akin. The fewer words to get it said, the sooner sinks it in!”  Brilliant.  Alan is up in the Seattle area at the moment playing a series of house concerts. Travel safely home to Del Dios Alan!

Kelly Snook – Kelly has been working with Imogen Heap in England to create a unique new instrument – MiMu Gloves – that turn your hands and arms into controllers for computer-based music. It’s probably the COOLEST technology to hit music since the Moog. You can see a video (with Kelly in it) at the Tech Crunch magazine page here:   Kelly, you are my favorite rocket scientist!

Caeli Lohr – Caeli has been working his electronic magic on a number of unique tracks and sharing them on his “Dog Unit Productions” bandcamp page. Check out this jewel featuring Kelsey Bulkin:

Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff – Jeff and Maya have a new blog site at where we can keep up on their latest exploits. For those unaware, Maya is now a “Bionic Woman” have recently received a new knee. This means that she will soon regain her championship title in Butt Kickin!  It may be just my perception but it appears that “Mystic Fig Studio” is getting rather busy producing albums for other artists. Jeff and Maya, I hope you still have time for more of your own.

Katherine Key – aka “KZING!” – Kat has been gallivanting around the African continent attending conferences, giving presentations, and making a difference.  She’s gotten involved with something called “Flashband” – it’s kind of like speed-dating for musicians.  You sign up for a gig of a particular genre and if selected you and other performers you don’t yet know form an instant band the night of the show.  Kat says “Flashband is the best invention since the internet.” 

Sasha Bayan – Sasha released his debut album “Do I Know You” at the end of March. (We heard him play the title song at Bosch last fall) On this album, Sasha’s unique Brazilian-Jazz-Pop-BigBand sound is decorated by over 40 instruments (I’m talking horns, woodwinds, harps, steel drums, strings, you name it) with help from 35 of Sasha’s musician friends.  Check it out at

Russ Salton – Russ has been working on a new album called “Bear Creek Sessions” recorded and produced at Bear Creek Studios which has recorded and produced such acts as The Lumineers, Fleet Foxes, and Train.  Russ is about to visit England (he’s on a Beatles Pilgrimage) and has promised a full report when he returns.

Well, I’m sure there’s a lot more news from many more of you, so send me an email or post a comment and let me know what I can share with the group on my next update.


Darrell Elmer Rodgers – Coordinator, Music Industry Weekend
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

wow woW WOW!

WOW!  What a weekend we just had! – SEE “UPDATES” Page for Darrell’s Report

2013 Music Industry Weekend at Bosch Baha'i School

2013 Music Industry Weekend at Bosch Baha’i School

In eleven years of Music Industry Weekend, our Saturday night show was perhaps the most professional presentation yet!

That’s not to say that past years weren’t fantastic, they were, but THIS year had a special quality that is hard to compare. The participants performed with such skill that it took my breath away several times.  This was a stellar example of collaboration making a product greater than the sum of its parts.

I want to thank our presenters for their efforts:
Thank You Chuck Thrapp for hosting our song circles and making even our most novice performers feel appreciated.
Thank You Russ Salton for laboring into the night to record and mix tracks for our participants.
Thank You Alan James for your skillful dissection and reassembly of our stage presence.
Thank You Robert Gillies for sharing songwriting techniques and pushing us to do what songwriters do, right now.

And Thank You to our participants for contributing your talent and spiritual energy to our 11th annual gathering.

I have about 800 photos to transfer from our camera and much much much more to share, as soon as I can unpack and get things put away. I will be back soon!

Darrell Elmer Rodgers – Coordinator
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

SONGWRITING CHALLENGE Song Title Announcement!

OK all you songwriters, here’s the challenge! You have 30 days to write a song to this title

“Fire and Flame”

We’ve got 30 days! Let’s get busy!!
Scroll down for information about Music Industry Weekend 2013 and register soon!


Darrell Elmer Rodgers – Coordinator, Music Industry Weekend
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist