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Club Passim

Last Sunday I sang at Club Passim with Syncopation. It was an a cappella show, and the whole concert seemed magical, warm and intimate. Was it the spirits of the great folk musicians who played at this venue over the years? Was it the hospitable and talented staff? Was it the good vibes of the audience that day? Who knows. Suffice it to say that we will definitely be back singing at this venerable Harvard Square institution again SOON.

Bill Elliott and the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra

Last night I got to sing with some amazing musicians and singers under the auspices of Bill Elliott and the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra. Thanks to all you dancers for making my night! Everyone had a big smile on their faces dancing to good solid swing music played by some of the best of the best.

Syncopation Promotional Campaign

After Syncopation shows, I love talking to our fans. They always have interesting comments, questions and suggestions. The number one question we get -- at least one person asks this every show -- is "Why aren't you guys famous?" The glib answer is, "Hey, we're working on it!". But, more seriously, a...part from the vagaries of showbiz, our number one barrier to success is TIME (and we don't mean the kind the drummer plays). You should be at a rehearsal when we try to schedule a meeting or performance. Finding a blank spot in the schedules of these four working musicians/teachers is like trying to find a missing purl in a quilt. Now, don't get the wrong idea: this is a good problem to have. It means we are busy doing the thing we love. But it also means that our ability to promote the band is limited. Our goal for 2010 is to work with individuals who have the expertise and enthusiasm to take Syncopation from a top regional act to a top international act. We are consulting with an entertainment attorney who believes that we have what it takes to attract booking agents and managers to our cause. But there are a few things we need to take care of. Did you see Christine get a makeover on TLC's "What Not To Wear?" You can see from that show what a creative, diligent stylist can accomplish. Syncopation needs a makeover, too, and we're visiting a top NYC stylist to establish an overall look for the group that will send a strong visual message that is fully in tune with our music. We have engaged an extraordinary Boston photographer to create images that capture the essence of Syncopation. Another comment we frequently hear is, "I love your recordings, but they can't capture the energy of your live show". A high-quality DVD video of our performance will be the group's ambassador to busy entertainment professionals. We will work with an award-winning video production company to make this happen. We will make an audio demo with cutting-edge production values by teaming up with an producer with platinum and gold records to his name. Finally, a newly-designed web site tying all these threads together will be Syncopation's front door, telling our story at a glance. In case you haven't guessed where this is going, here it is: we need money to accomplish these goals. It is because of you, the attenders of our concerts and buyers of our CDs, that we have been able to accomplish so much in the years since our inception. We need your help again to break through the ceiling that faces us. Click this link to donate NOW via PayPal: Here is the budget for our 2010 promotional campaign: Syncopation 2010 Promotional Campaign Budget Stylist and wardrobe $1,500.00 Photography $2,000.00 Video demo $15,000.00 Web site $2,000.00 Graphic design $1,000.00 Service mark registration $1,200.00 Investment agreement for Angel Investors $2,000.00 CD demo $10,000.00 TOTAL $34,700.00 Can you help us? If each of our fans gave us $20, it would get us a long ways toward our goal. If a few contributed more, we could make this dream a reality. We have already raised $5,000. We're not a non-profit. We're just artists trying to spread our music, music that you love as much as we do. This is the social networking version of passing the hat at a gig. It's the 21st century version of the great classical composers finding patrons to underwrite their music, much of which is still beloved today. We can't promise that orchestras will be playing our songs in 200 years, but we can promise that we will keep you apprised of every step along our way so you can share first-hand in the success we achieve thanks to your profound support. We are also looking for a few "angel investors" to provide gifts and loans in larger amounts for this project. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss our loan agreement and terms. Click this link to donate NOW via PayPal: If you would rather send a check, write it to "Syncopation" and put "SPC 2010" in the memo field. Mail to Syncopation at P.O. Box 230973, Boston MA 02123-0973 Thanks to those who have already given, and thanks for your consideration.

Handel With Care

Just got back from singing the tenor solos in Handel's Messiah with the Axtell Oratorio Society. Conductor J. Rodney Wendell brought out the yearning in the piece, most notably in the finale, "Amen". It was a very moving experience and one I was proud to be part of. The tenor solos are so much fun, because he sets the stage with optimism ("Comfort Ye"), then admonishes "Thy Rebuke"), then finally metes out justice ("Thou shalt break them"). Whew! Heavy stuff. What a role.

Blue Heron goes to Spain

Got to perform with Scott Metcalfe. He is such a joy to work with. He conducts with intelligence, technique, diligence, and -- most important -- love. A few lines from a recent review: "Scott Metcalfe and his virtuoso a cappella ensemble Blue Heron Renaissance Choir cast a comprehensive glance over what awakening 16th-century Spain had to say on the subject of passion. Mr. Metcalfe’s nicely judged juxtaposition of small forces and large, of a cappella textures and rich-hued accompanied tapestries, entertained and engaged the sizable audience in First Church, Cambridge." The rest of the review is available here:’s-16th-c-spain-with-song-of-songs-songs-of-love/

Holy February!

Syncopation was BUSY this month! Who knew the dead of winter could be so lively? A cappella shows at Belmont High School, Merrimack College, and First Church Cohasset. Shows with rhythm section at jazz clubs: the Hi-Hat in Providence and Ryles in Cambridge. And next month we're at the beautiful Performing Arts Center in Chelmsford.

Hartford Concert Series

I just got back from performing at First Baptist Church in Hartford. They are starting a music series and invited a jazz ensemble to kick it off. I was singing, Mark Shilansky played piano, Neil Shilansky played drums, Keala Kaumeheiwa played bass, and Kris Allen played alto sax. What a fun night. The church has enormously high ceilings. It's the very picture of a classic New England church. The audience was incredibly engaged and gave us plenty of energy and permission to walk the high wire. Acoustics good. Band slammin'. What's not to like? The topper: baked goods afterwards. Lots of cookies, brownies and cakes. I'm still high on sugar, two hours later.

Experimental Improvised Electronica

In 2009 I started making ambient music with just my voice, an effects pedal, a looper, and some random instruments/noisemakers. I have posted a couple of tracks on my MySpace page. Tell me what you think!

Grown-Up Music

Grown-up music is the kind where you can enjoy it sitting in the back row, chatting quietly with a drink and a friend, or sitting in the front row with your eyes closed, marinating in the sounds, reflecting on the poetry, and meditating on your life. The grown-up music I perform borrows a lot from jazz, but also has influences from western classical music, pop/rock, and country music.

Syncopation tour

Hey, what a couple of weeks it's been. Swampscott, Worcester's Mechanics Hall (what a beautiful room that is -- Mark Twain spoke there!), all our old friends at Ryles, radio appearance on WICN, the Center for the Arts at Natick... whew. Then after this Syncopation tour, I got to perform at Vernissage and Acton Jazz Cafe with the inimitable Mark Shilansky. Top that off with singing oratorio for the Boston Singers Resource select auditions, and I'm beat. Stick a fork in me for a little bit. I'll put my head up again soon, but for a bit I'll reconnect with my family and let myself get caught up in the holiday spirit. Hope you all do, too!

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