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The Red Head
FLCCA Season’s End with Jim Curry
Another memorable season of the Folsom Lake Community Concert Association came to an end June 24th with two sold out concerts featuring the music of John Denver performed by Jim Curry. Mr. Curry not only sounds like John Denver he also has a striking resemblance to him and delivered his music in the same mellow style we first fell in love with.
He started his musical career in high school, and in 1975, the song he wrote was chosen to be the class song. Today, he still writes music and includes original songs on his CD’s. He won a Rotary Scholarship to study music and art. After college he pursued his art and worked in that field for five years. It wasn’t until Denver’s death in 1997 that Curry decided to do tribute shows singing Denver’s music. Jim told me he never had any strong desire to sing other styles of song and he never tires of the music. He has been doing this for 16 years and the audience response and feedback keeps it all fresh and new for him at each performance.
Mr. Curry attended 4 live concerts of John Denver and was even given a back stage pass to meet him one day. Being a gentleman, he told his then girlfriend to use the pass first and then come out and give it to him. Well Jim never did meet John Denver since his girlfriend never returned.
Curry and Denver both had similar childhoods since they were both brought up in military families and lived in many large cities and different countries. However as adults they were not influenced by their early years and both chose music that best represents nature, peace and the magnificent landscape of our beautiful country. In real life Jim Curry is not a country boy. He lives in southern California with his wife Anne.
This show sizzled on its own, along with the blistering heat outside. Thank you Mr. Curry for a delightful afternoon and evening of heartfelt music and visual images of the America we love.
On Sunday, November 19th, the FLCCA presented a program that can only be described as a class act. Alina Kiryayeva is a world class master of the keyboard who captivated our audience with her incredible ability playing the piano. This was enhanced when she told us what each composer tried to say with his music.
Ms. Kiryayeva was born in the Ukraine and first started playing the piano at the age of four. She was raised by her grandparents, who played, and gave lessons. Both her parents also play. Her brother, who lives in the USA, plays the flute and she has a younger sister who lives in Ukraine who also plays the piano. As a child, Alina loved to read, but poor eyesight limited the number of hours she could do that each day.
At the age of 19, after winning a full scholarship to Juilliard, Alina left her family and home to come to America. She felt that there was a better opportunity to hone her craft here. Alina bravely started a new life in NYC, despite being alone, with very little money, and not speaking English. For the next 7 years she lived in 14 places from Manhattan to the Bronx and eventually to Queens where she now lives.
Nowadays, Alina gives piano lessons and continues to better her English from the students.
Her parents still live in Ukraine and she and her siblings spent a week visiting this past summer.
Alina is very grateful to America for giving her the opportunity to perfect her skill, and have a career. She told me that this is a great country and is applying for citizenship. Her future plans are to remain here, but probably a little further south of New York, where there is less snow.
Once you have had the privilege of hearing her play, I am sure you will agree with me that we are lucky she chose to make America her home.
Melinda Doolittle blows the roof off of Harris Center
An American Idol in Folsom
FLCCA Board Members Bobbie ( The Red Head) & Sally with Melinda at Harris Center
Melinda Doolittle proves that anything is possible if you want it bad enough and work hard for it. The American dream came true for her, a young girl growing up in St. Louis who felt music in her soul and wanted to express it in song.
Unfortunately she happened to be tone deaf. As a member of her church choir she was told to just lip-sync and not sing. This did not diminish her desire to really perform, so in the seventh grade she entered a talent show. Her determination and love for music coupled with prayer and practice paid off. She finally found the right notes, was on key, and never looked back.
Her experience on “American Idol” ran the full emotional gamut, from wonderful to terrifying. She wasn’t expecting the amount of feedback she received from the public but it was wonderful to be mentored by stars like Diana Ross and Tony Bennett. These happenings shaped her life and prepared her for the next step in her career.
Melinda became a back up singer for many artists, but her favorite to work with was a gospel singer named Ce Ce Winans. She also admitted that the artist who inspired her the most to want to sing was Gladys Knight.
During the George W. Bush administration, she was invited to lunch at the White House which she attended with her mother. She told me this was one of the most memorable experiences in her life, as President Bush was one of the kindest and funniest people she ever met. To this day, whenever their paths cross, he always asks how she is and how her mother is doing.
At the January 22nd Sunday afternoon concert at the Harris Center, Melinda gave a performance that can only be described as electrifying. Her beautiful, strong voice brought a ray of sunshine to us all on a cold, damp rainy day. She is the living proof that dreams can come true.
Ireland Comes to Folsom
The “Red Head” interviewing Michaella the Your Irelanders manager .
Folsom Lake Community Concert Association had their last concert of 2015-16 on Sunday, May 22nd. What a wonderful way to end the season. Eight extremely talented performers danced, sang, and played modern and traditional Irish music, along with little stories of back home. All eight are Irish with two of them being born in the UK, and one now living in Washington DC. The fiddle player and the accordion player are noted as being fastest on their respective instruments according to Guinness World Records.
The Harris Center was the last stop of a 100-city tour of the United States for The Young Irelanders. After a brief rest, they will tour in Ireland. They told me that the program would be more traditional while performing back home.
In 2017, they will embark on their first trip to China, where they will be on stage with a full orchestra. The music of these two countries could not be more different, but I am sure they will win them over with their warmth and charm.
We all wish them luck and thank them for giving us a wonderful taste of Ireland.
A modern combination of four exceptional pop and classical singers performed at Harris Center Sunday April 3 2016
VIVACE – A Class Act
VIVACE is a musical term meaning vivid, lively, and full of vivaciousness; which perfectly describes the concert they gave on Sunday April 3rd. The group consists of a Canadian based quartet that has been performing together for approximately 4 years. Two of them met on My Space, and the rest of the group was put together by a management company. The results are pure magic. They tour around the United States and give about 40 concerts annually. The show we were privileged to see and hear was a combination of classical, pop and some original pieces composed by members of the group. All the selections were familiar pieces that had the audience smiling from start to finish.
What a wonderful afternoon it was at the Harris Center and I am sure we all wish the group success in the future.
Broadway Show Stoppers Performance
Valentine’s Day February 14 2016
On Sunday, February 14th, we had our third concert of the season, Broadway Showstoppers. The performers were four veteran actors of the musical theater and the group has been together for approximately 10 years. They currently tour around the country giving at least 50 performances a year in a variety of venues.
I had an opportunity to speak with Raymond Saar on Sunday and asked him how he decides what material should be performed. With such a vast variety of songs and music to choose from he told me he tries to use music that will encompass every era of Broadway. This concert started with a great Al Jolson standard, then continued with songs from great musical shows such as The Sound of Music, Les Miz and Fiddler on the Roof. The last offering was from the still running hit Wicked.
The Red Head interviewing Raymond Saar
One of the highlights of the afternoon was a piano solo by Diane Ketchie of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, which brought the audience to its feet. Another outstanding segment was Tami Damiano’s rendition of Barbra Streisand songs from Funny Girl.
This was a lovely way to start Valentine’s Day, reminding us all of the wonderful music that is part of the American heritage.
Ethan Bortnick in Concert
On Sunday, October 11th we had our second concert, and if you did not attend, you missed something wonderful. The star was Ethan Bortnick, a 14 year old musical prodigy. At three years of age, he saw a piano at school and went home to ask his parents for lessons. The Hollywood, Florida native begged his parents for piano lessons and discovered an uncanny ability to hear a song once and play it back note for note – the musical equivalent of a photographic memory.
This Florida native started piano lessons at the age of 4 and by 12 he was touring the world. Ethan got his big break at age 5 while performing at a local mall where he was videotaped. This wound up on YouTube and the rest is history.
He is a personable young man as well as a very talented one. His program consisted of all types of music that appealed to everyone.
Backing Ethan for 3 songs was the Northern California Children’s Chorus, NCCC, under the direction of Judy Britts. This group of young girls, from the second through the eighth grade, is well trained and very talented. Check out their website: www.norcalchildrenschorus.org If you would like to attend their NCCC Winter Concert, “Carols of Joy and Peace” on Sunday, December 6th call (916) 220-0970 for more information.
“Broadway Showstoppers” is our next concert. Four Broadway veterans will be singing songs from past to the present Broadway hits. FLCCA looks forward to seeing all of you at this concert on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14th at 2 pm. If you have family or friends who would like a ticket ask them to call Harris Center (916) 608-6888 for ticket information.
September 22 2015
Folsom Lake Community Concert Association
Shows of what its Outreach Accomplishes
On September 22nd a few members of the FLCCA board of directors, along with members of other non- profit organizations, attended an event in Placerville to meet with representative of the El Dorado Hills Endowment Fund. We were all there to make a presentation on how we utilize funds we receive for our concert series and outreach programs.
Our display showcased the 2015 – 2016 concerts and past scholarship recipients, along with photos of the music we brought to senior and dementia centers.
We have applied for a new grant and hopefully we can continue our outreach programs with a new infusion of funds.
FLCCA’s Star Search
I am a new member to the Board and had no idea how the acts came to the Harris Center or who provided them to us. Live On Stage (LOS) is an organization that brokers the talent to approximately 200 community concert associations nationwide that provide entertainment in their communities. A conference is held every year in Nashville, TN and for 2 days you can see and hear many acts perform live that are available for booking. You also have the opportunity to speak to them personally. The following is my experience taking the trip for the first time. It should be mentioned that this is all at our own expense.
Our search for talent began on Wednesday July 29th when eleven of us headed for Nashville to attend the Live On Stage conference; seven board members and four friends and/or spouses attended. We arrived at a very warm and humid Nashville in time for a late dinner at the beautiful Hermitage Hotel restaurant. On Thursday we loaded into the rental van and headed out to see the sights. Our first stop was Fontanel, Barbara Mandrell’s 27,000 sq. ft. log mansion. Our guide sang to us at the end of the tour (this really is music city). Next, on to the Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson and ending the day on the General Jackson showboat for a cruise with dinner and a show. I can honestly say the day was a success.
The conference began on Friday morning starting with a very good discussion on marketing where we got advice on how to change the hosting of our website to reach a more diverse age group. We are now in the process of updating our website so you will be able to read it on portable devices, IPad, IPhone, etc. Facebook should be part of our plan to reach more people, and we’re working on that. From 1:30 to 6:30 PM we attended the LOS Showcase where we saw about 18 live performances and the high level of talent shocked us. The Gala dinner was at 7:00 PM with music, dancing and entertainment.
Saturday started with a morning talk on how to improve the outreach programs which proved very helpful. The LOS Showcase that afternoon was amazing. The performers were better than the day before. How wonderful it is to have the problem of just picking 10 acts from the total of 37 we saw. Most of us had 20 on our list. We ended our day at the Prime 108 restaurant located in the old Union railroad station.
Our last day in Nashville was spent touring Belle Meade plantation and the Parthenon. We ended with a true Nashville experience of eating ribs on Broadway and enjoying an ice cream. On our return to the hotel we ran into Cyndi Lauper who was a guest there and exchanged a few words. It is now time to head home after some blood, sweat and tears. We had some minor scrapes, hot weather and performers that brought tears to our eyes.
Bobbi Schmidt, Board Member – FLCCA
Star Search Concluded
On August 25th, the board members of FLCCA held a meeting with representatives from Live On Stage. The purpose of this meeting was to finalize the selection for the 2016 – 2017 concerts from the acts we saw in Nashville. Since many of the board members did not make the trip to Nashville, videos of the most popular acts were shown and we were given the dates they would be available in our area. We had to vote on our top 5 favorites, with 4 standbys as alternatives. When the tally was taken it was apparent that we were in majority agreement. The last step in the process is for Harris Center to approve the dates needed for each act.
As a lifelong resident of New York City, I had spent over 40 years enjoying live entertainment in both theaters and colleges, never giving a thought to how they got to the stage. I am living in California less than a year and I am so happy to be part of bringing wonderful entertainment to our community.
2014 News Letters
- Nov2011 newsletter.pdf