Where History Comes Alive SoloTogether

NOTES FROM THE FALL  MEETING - 17 September, 2017

It was a very small group this evening.  Attending were:

Stephen Collins - Walt Whitman (the younger)

Mike Francis - Galileo, The Stargazer’s Apprentice

Libby Franck - Julia Ward Howe

Jackson Gillman - Rudyard Kipling, storyteller

Deborah Anne Goss - Charlotte Cushman, 'Victorian Musicales',  'Anti-slavery songs', Proper Ladies

Phyllis Gordon - Phyllis Diller (work in progress)

Jessa Piaia - Susan B Anthony, Rachel Walker Revere, Amelia Earhart, et al

Ted Zalewski   - Teddy Roosevelt, Postman Roulin, et al

And for her first meeting:

Nanette Perrotte - Multi Media Jazz Presentations : Ella Fitzgerald- The Queen of Swing, Duke Ellington and the Harlem Renaissance, Paris Noir- Bricktop, Baker and Porter, Jazz- In the beginning there was Satchmo


Today’s notes will be a little sparse since we changed the format of the meeting a little.  

Nanette Perrotte intoduced herself to the group. A New Hampshirite and devout jazz fan and a singer, she’s developed programs  on the history of jazz.  Her audience has mainly been retirement communities and some schools, but she’s hoping participating in SoloTogether will help her broaden her market.

Ted threw out the first question of the evening.  Should artists portray only characters of their own race.  There were lots of opinions concerning the ethics, as well as the wisdom of trying this.  Several of us offered examples of  performers we knew of who have tried.  Jackson Gillman has performed as Uncle Remus, but decided some of the criticism he got made him too uncomfortable to continue.  I think the consensus was that, while it might be possible to do non traditional casting in a play with multiple characters, it can be a very emotional experience for a solo performer.

Stephen Collins was up next with his proposal to develop a more robust marketing program for SoloTogether artists.  He’s suggested doing a mailing to schools.  Much like our outreach to the New England library community by hosting a table a their annual conference, this would put our message out to another audience.  Stephen feels we could actually compete with one of the major marketing resources and do a much better job in the process.  If you’re interested in a project like this, why don’t you email Stephen with your suggestions, questions or to volunteer to be involved: Walt978@aol.com

We’ve also added a flyer to go along with Stephen’s idea, so everyone can help promote solo performance.  You can get your copy here to pass out to your sponsors at your next engagement.

Phyllis Gordon is still working on her Phyllis Diller program and wanted to find out what the group thought about getting rights to music.  She’s wants to do parodies of songs in the program, but was worried she needed to arrange rights to continue.  The consensus seemed to be that in this case rights would not be needed and she should just go ahead as planned. Her goal is to finish putting this together before our next meeting.

On the what’s happening scene, Stephen will be debuting his new Whistler program “Butterfly” at the Leominster Public Library on October 15th at 2:00 PM.  

American painter James Whistler (1834-1903) battled the stifling repression of Victorian England for personal artistic expression and freedom. This amazing play, featuring acclaimed actor and library favorite Stephen Collins, shows the volatile and talented Whistler in two phases of his life: in Venice as a bankrupt artist at age 40, and in London in his 60s as the legend.

Jackson Gillman will be teaching a mini course at Colby College in January, “The Wide World of Storytelling”. Congratulations Jackson.

Since the discussions were fast and sometimes furious, these are all the notes I could manage.  Come to the next meeting and not miss getting all of the wisdom of your fellow artists.

Mike Francis

Webmaster SoloTogether

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