Being a trained journalist, most of the articles I've written (for variouss publications over the years) are of the more news-feature type, wherein I check facts, cite sources and get quotes from a few of those sources. This time, I'm going to be true to the title of this column and do just that: ramble. Think out loud. Write off the cuff. Shoot from the hip. Just spew forth from the top of my fuzzy cranial mass, through my fingertips onto the keyboard…
In roughly three weeks, an event will take place which was birthed in a desire many years ago to simply be of service to musicians in general. In a very basic developmental description, that desire gradually morphed into a desire to champion the opportunities for female musicians. More specifically, however, it became a project aimed towards blues and jazz artists, singers, and guitarists.
In the July column (if you read it) you might recall that I featured about a dozen of our local female blues singers. While I won't list them all right here, they include the likes of Robbie Bartlett, Laurie Jessup, Sue O'Neil and Sheryl Rouse, just to name some of them. That article had been inspired by a late-May event held at Lettersong Calligraphy Studio/Gallery in which the only two women participating in the Bob Dylan music tribute show (Judy Tyler and Carla Reisert) received the most enthusiastic crowd response of all the 33 acts. The spark of "something must be done with this" was instantaneous. An event idea was hatched and planning started. Once the July 1 LMN article posted, I intuited the phrase "from page to stage" to describe the further development of the idea.
Let's be clear. No matter how strong the desire or inspiration, planning and producing an event takes a lot of work. That was discovered rather quickly. However, with a good partner (Jen Grove, who owns Lettersong), plenty of excitement from her (and the participants) and enough time to get the job done, well, it became evident this event would actually happen. Fundraising was even going pretty well (as well as those kinds of things go these days).
Grove offered a few comments about the event and her involvement in it. After being presented with the idea, she did "not hesitate in agreeing to help…put it together…a golden egg of an idea. I was thrilled to meet all these ladies and to work on a concert with them. They are what it is all about."
Back to the phones, however. (I love saying that). The ins and outs of showcase production are numerous, and quite detailed. A list would create a column all its own, so that won't be presented here. Just the personnel needed was a clue to how much goes into something like this. Not that we have a crew of dozens and dozens, but there is a list. (Grove puts it at around 17) Stage management, talent recruitment, equipment, door persons, fundraising, merchandise, set-up and tear-down, etc. Anyone who has ever done this knows what I'm talking about. Of course, "to-do" lists always seem to take on lives of their own – stuff comes to mind at the most inconvenient times, and must be written down ASAP. And this doesn't even take into consideration all the necessary communication through Facebook, email and texting (and a few phone calls).
Lest I give the impression this is a struggle, and that there are only long hours of groaning and weeping and gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness - well, that's not the case. I would like to interject that anything worth doing will take some effort, but things that are meant to be tend to involve synchronicity, things lining, up, and falling into place. Sometimes, some of this stuff is effortless. It just flows.
There's still much to do, although some things tend to place themselves in the order almost by osmosis and common sense.
So, just what is this event I've been talking about all this time? Where is it? When is it? Who's involved?
Event name: Ladies Sing the Blues. Date: November 22, 2015. Location: Lettersong gallery, 1501 Story Ave (corner of Adams). Doors: 4:30, music begins 5 p.m. Advance ticket sales ($30) strongly encouraged $25 seniors). Cash or credit card. ($50 donation = name in program and event t-shirt in addition to event admission). Contact information to get information or purchase tickets: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; lettersong.studio.com
Phone 502-819-1439 or send check directly to the studio (Louisville, 40206). Donations accepted also at gofundme.com, type Ladies Sing the Blues into the search bar. Proceeds will benefit STRIVE, an arts and wellness education and services provider serving the Louisville area, run in part by board certified music therapist and local musician Cheyenne Mize.
The singers, not in any particular order, are Marilyn Kington, Sue O'Neil, Laurie Jane Jessup, Carla Reisert, Kim Weber, Tanita Gaines, Robbie Bartlett, Sheryl Rouse, Amy Johnson, Artie Wells, Judy Tyler and Patty Cain.
There is also going to be a photo exhibit at the gallery, consisting of pictures of each of the singers. These shots are the work of a local artist named Lou Tingle, who has quite the eye for a good photograph.
Grove summed it all up: "I can't rave enough about the integrity …and of each and every one of these ladies' stories. I can't wait to watch your faces in the glow of their music."
Nuf sed. See you there.