What News? Sep 7 2005
(terry gonda newsletter)

terry's Eighth Notes 

Well, sorry it's been so long since a proper newsletter. You only received a few quick blasters since February! But there's lots to tell and two important shows coming up in the next week or two. You can skip "Recent Shows" if you're in a hurry. *smile*

If your inbox is anything like mine, this message is sitting amidst at least 20 emails related to disaster relief in the wake of Katrina. Not surprisingly, you'll see it in my upcoming performance schedule. The last time I wrote was post Tsunami and here we are again. There is no other response other than to give what we can--as we hope others would do if we had lost everything.

Before I move onto the musical history portion, first a moment for Rachel Bissex. In the last newsletter I told you this delightful singer-songwriter was struggling with cancer. I'm sorry to say that she died soon after that newsletter. But not before she received many love notes from the folk community via angel Annie Wenz and not before visiting folk Mom and Dad, Vic and Reba Heyman in Florida. The last thing she got to sing was Happy Birthday to Vic.

What you may not know is that the community has gotten together to make a tribute CD to her in order to fulfill a wish of hers and a promise made by Vic and Reba. She wanted to guarantee her kids could get to college, so the entire amount from sales of the tribute CD are for that purpose. An unprecedented outpouring of generosity from all corners has allowed this to happen. I contributed some backing tracks that ended up on the cutting floor, but believe me, it's all for the better. I recorded them for my absolutely all time favorite song by Rachel, which is also one of my favorite songs period. It's called "One Another" and it's beautifully done by Lucie Blue Tremblay on the tribute CD and it's worth buying Rachel's CD "Between the Broken Lines" for that song alone. Rachel's performance of this song on that CD is sheer perfection. So nuanced and vulnerable is her voice and such impeccable phrasing. Just a dream.

http://cdbaby.com/cd/rachelbissex5 will get you the tribute CD. Tom Prasada-Rao was producer-ring leader and the activity in the community that created this was amazing to watch. I didn't think musicians could get this organized! This has been put together by some of the top names in the folk/singer-songwriter circuit including Dar Williams and Patty Larkin, Dreamsicles, Groovelilly, Tracey Grammer, Lucie Blue Trembley Tret Fure and so so many more. I've inlcluded Vic's comments from the website at the bottom of the email. I will be recording one of Rachel's songs to put on the CD's website in the near future, but for now, just go get this very special double CD. Rachel's site for the CD is http://www.rachelbissex.org/products.html

Recent Shows
Well, just after the last newsletter, we were heading up to our friend and fellow singer-sonwriter Jen Cass' baby shower. We mention Jen a lot mostly because we seem to be in the same place a lot. Well this time was not meant to be. Kirsti and I decided to re-enact "Snow Storm Blues" by driving up in a snow storm and spinning out into a ditch 99 miles from home and 1 mile from Jen's. My stunt driving skills remain intact. After getting towed home 100 miles by Flu-bug Fred, getting the flu, getting the van fixed, Kirsti getting some quick EMDR therapy and chanting "I'm SAFE in the car with Terry...I'm SAFE in the car with Terry", we were back in the car as we headed out east for some gigs.

On a much more positive side, The February Steeple Coffeehouse show was as wonderful as we knew it would be. Gary Kavanaugh, has to be one of the nicest and hardest working guys to set up a venue. The area out there in that corner of Massachusetts actually has whole a handful of very lovely people who do shows. They are blessed! Gary is soo lovely and generous and the audience bonded with us just like last year when we were an opener. Doug Cotanche, the emcee put the final icing on the cake with his glowing introduction. Also like last year, bass player Matt Ricketts and Kirsti and I stayed with some of the other area angels, Neale and Laurie of Fox Run House Concerts, and had a great time visiting, playing with Keri and Chex (dogs) and hanging in the recording studio and this time, demo-ing the Bose PA. Yes THAT Bose PA, the one with the column. We love that trip, so we drive out there just for it!.

After coming home, we turned back around to head out east to join up with Trina Hamlin and Colleen Sexton for a couple of shows in the Baltimore area and then a third with Trina in New York City. Most notable was the three of us at the (Steve and Sherry) Panzer House Concert. Rave reviews told us that the three acts make for a great show and we plan to do more of that in the future (like maybe in a week or so with Trina - see Upcoming Shows below). That same morning, Kirsti and I were honored to sing at the Funeral Mass for the second friend that passed away the previous month...Harry Remmers. We all learned much about Harry at that service. He had many facets. It turns out he gave much of his money to education for children and was very active in his Catholic church. Amongst the robed choir in this lovely church, stood Kirsti and I with guitar and flute and we sang a haunting song befitting the occasion and tagged on an instrumental "the water is wide" as the intro. So Harry got a little folk touch in his send off.

As always, it was hard to leave sis and bro Panzer, but off we went to do an hour long interview with the delightful Bill Hahn, Host of Traditions/Tabletalk WFDU 89.1 FM in Teaneck, NJ and then to New York city for the show with Trina. We had one day of "summer" to play in the city, then 3 inches of snow the next day of the show! That's okay, it really was a great trip and we made the most of our visit to THE City-including catching Monty Python's Spamalot!

On to May and...the Susquehana Music and Arts festival (SMAF). I always rave to you that you have to go, but do you listen? hee hee. This year I was actually on main stage and man, what an night! Like many of my recent shows, I was joined by bass player Matt Ricketts and flautist Kirsti Reeve. We grabbed on-site percussionist Cheryl Prashker, started the Saturday evening segment after the dinner break and really knocked it out. Each act killed right through Kristina Olsen. Then the night was closed by Dar Williams who just shone -it was a stunning finish to a magical evening. Even seasoned professionals like emcee Rich Warren and stage manager Lee Bowers said in all their years of festivals, they've never seen a more perfect program. Sound, quality of performances, and everyone on time. Too bad the sound truck got lost. It was set to be recorded for Rich's Midnight Special Radio Show. Now it just lives legendary in our minds! This festival just gets better. Get ready for next year!

Next comes June and the Who's at First annual folk festival back at home in Royal Oak, MI. This year it was "Mosherpalooza" as David Mosher was joined by four artists who've had their CDs produced by him: Beth Stalker, myself (with band), Matt Watroba, and Kitty Donohoe. That set was one of my best so far. We played right before the break and sold 23 CDs in those 15 minutes! It paid off even further, because John and Aileen Sanders were there and booked us for an anniversary house concert that we played at just last week. It was so incredible. The atmosphere was already warm and charged, since everyone was connected already through their love of John and Aileen. We didn't want to leave. The food, the comraderie, it was a wonderfully special night. I also got to learn another standard for them. Misty. Don't be surprised if it shows up in a set. I also did a house concert for best friend Linda Coleman's birthday and she had me dig out (and re-learn!) songs that I performed a decade ago, but don't any more. I actually found some worth putting back in and we snuck them into the Sanders House concert where they were received well enough that they might just stay dusted off and in the set.

But in between that, Kirsti and I were honored to once again sing in tag team format with the Broe Rehabilition Choir at a Habitat for Humanity home build event hosted by Jimmy Carter. The former president and his wife, the Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kirkpatrick were in attendance as we played for 1200 or more workers during their lunch break. Director and psychologist Len McCullough continues to bless us by including us in his events to spread hope and inspiration.

Upcoming Schedule

Saturday September 10 2005 Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert, Starlight Theater, Waterford, MI.
Full Circle Concert Series has put together a full day's line-up of local artists with all procees going to the Red Cross for hurricane relief efforts. Stop in for as long or as short as you want to. A full listing of all artists and times will be on the Starlight Theater website shortly, but those confirmed so far include our friend the wonderful Jen Cass.
Location: The Starlight Theater is located in the north concourse of the Summit Place Mall between Kohl’s and Claire’s. The Summit Place Mall is at 315 N Telegraph Rd, on the corner of Telegraph and Elizabeth Lake roads
Time: 1:30-10:00pm. Terry will be playing the 9:00-9:30pm slot.
Admission: On a donation basis. 100% of donations will go to the Red Cross.
Contact: Full Circle Concert Series at (248) 335-1788

Thursday September 22 2005 Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert with Trina Hamlin, Rochester Hills MI
Terry joins with New York City's Trina Hamlin for a concert to benefit the Hurricane Relief Fund, organized by Fusion. Trina Hamlin is a gritty, passionate and soulful performer who plays guitar and blues harp. Originally from Minnesota, she attended the Berklee College of Music and now resides in Manhattan. She tours nationally full time and is currently working on her fifth CD. Trina and Terry met at a music showcase in Indianapolis in 2004 and instantly made a connection. Earlier this year, they performed several shows together in New York and the Baltimore area which were extremely well received. You don't want to miss this one!
Location: St John Fisher Chapel, 3665 Walton Blvd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Time: Doors open at 7:30, concert starts at 8pm
Admission: $10 suggested donation.
Contact: What Key? Music at (248) 549 9428 or Fusion at (248) 370 2189
Download a flyer or postcards to promote this concert

September 23-25th Fall Hiking Retreat, Lexington MI.
Terry and Kirsti provide the music for the annual Fall Retreat for Campus and Young Adults (South Eastern Michigan)

Check this website regularly to see if Terry is playing in your area anytime soon.

Want to see Terry play where you live? Host a house concert! They're a great opportunity to see an artist perform "up close" and we just love playing them. You don't need any equipment - simply invite a bunch of your friends, have a pot luck dinner, pass the hat and let us entertain you. Contact Terry if you're at all interested in learning more.

Parting notes
Last time I wrote this, it was post Tsunami and I wrote of Mercy Corps as a charitable group with a low overhead rate. They and the Red Cross are still excellent organizations to send money to for Katrina's victims.

A promised, here are the web site notes from Vic on Rachel's tribute CD.

From Vic Heyman:

Magic has come to folkdom. A magnificent 2-disk set of Rachel Bissex's songs sung by some of the best performers performing today has been produced and distributed in less than 5 months since Rachel's passing.

As Executive Producer I thank Producer Tom Prasada Rao and the many performers who have recorded songs at their personal expense----Dar Williams and Patty Larkin, Ruthie Foster, Tracy Grammer, Jennifer Kimball with Catie Curtis, Greg Greenway, Groovelily, The Kennedys, Tret Fure, Ellen Bukstel, Kate McDonnell, Siobhan Quinn, Sloan Wainwright, Rachel Garlin, Stephanie Corby, Kim & Reggie Harris, Lucie Blue Tremblay, Diane Zeigler, Ronny Cox, Eric Schwartz, Amy Carol Webb, Jim Henry, David LaMotte, Emma Goldberg, Daniel Bissex, Holly Figueroa, Annie Wenz, Freebo & Photoglo, Annie Gallup, The Dreamsicles, The New Hicks, Kristin deWitt, among others.

Even more remarkable, Oasis is donating the manufacturing, Airshow the mastering, CD Baby isn't taking any cut on distribution, Hostbaby no cut on hosting, and Ellen Bukstel's Design Workshop the designing. Moreover SONiA (from disappear fear) created an original painting that Ellen has married to Rachel's lyrics to become a commemorative poster available for sale. And thousands of dollars worth of publicity from Dirty Linen, Sing!Out, Performing Songwriter, Kerrville Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, among others.

By buying the CD and poster or making a donation, you are helping to make a dream come true.

Rachel Bissex left us on February 20, 2005, a victim of breast cancer. Her friends from all over the US were devastated that this loving and so lovable artist could be taken so quickly after giving herself the maximum chance to survive. Shortly before she died I asked her what I could do for her. The one thing she was concerned about was getting her children, Emma and Matt, through college. I said that I would do everything in my power to enable them to graduate.

When the initial run of 2,000 CD sets and 1,000 posters are sold, our pledge to Rachel will be honored. You get a class CD set and assure Rachel's kids the college education Rachel wanted for them. That is Win-Win bigtime.



Thanks for reading!

Peace be in your heart and home...


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