Where History Comes Alive SoloTogether


Though our Winter meetings are usually small, the carriage house was hopping this year.

Attending were:

Bruce Chester - Sgt William Carney

Sally Chetwynd - Sam (a Civil War soldier)

Stephen Collins - Walt Whitman (the younger)

Mike Francis - Galileo, The Stargazer’s Apprentice

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

Gail Hamel - Abigail Whitney

John Horrigan - Historical lectures (Revolution, Weather)

Judith Kalaora - Deborah Sampson, Annie Adams Field, Lucy Stone

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

Randy Ross - Tales of  a Reluctant World Traveler

Debra Weiss - playwright

Ted Zalewski   - Teddy Roosevelt, Postman Roulin, et al

And first time attendees:

Kevin Driscoll - Santa, Hamilton, Revere, Franklin, Thoreau and Ventriloquist

Sandy Spector - Martha Washington


Ted announced the date for our next meeting, May 29.  This will be our annual pot-luck-supper and business meeting, so put it on your calendars now so you don’t miss it.

We began with with a showing of a demo reel , produced by JoJo LaRiccia for Gail Hamel as Abigail Whitney, Jessa Piaia as Isabella Stewart Gardner and Sally Mummey as Dolly Madison.

The two topics for our meeting were what our  performances mean to others and to us and share a marketing tip that has worked.

Judith Kalaora started things off with some of her current marketing tactics.  Judith finds conferences to attend and network at, she’s completely redoing her marketing materials to better manage her brand.

Deb Goss has brought back her Mother Goose program for children, but is looking to bring a version out for adults as well. Because of the anniversary of the women’s vote, Abby Hutchinson is keeping Deb busy relating the women’s suffrage movement to the anti-slavery movement.  Deb sometimes has her audience participate by doing readings from various historical figures and she was moved by one of her readers who had only recently learned to read as an adult.  

Kevin Driscoll, who plays Santa, Hamilton, Revere, Franklin and Thoreau, introduced his sidekick Jerry to give us a little sample of his other persona children’s entertainer and ventriloquist.  Kevin who came to solo performance via a career in business marketing offered some of his advice.  Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and your web page, but making cold calls is still the best way to get your word out.  And remember it usually takes 7 contacts to make a sale.

Sandy Spector introduced herself.  She’s been doing her Martha Washington along with John Koopman as he brings George Washington to various events.  Now she’s going off on her own to bring the Mother of our nation as a solo performance.


Jessa Piaia related how much fun it was having Mrs Gardner filmed by JoJo.  She’s also reviving Susan B Anthony since Sally Matson has retired and the women’s vote is so much in the news right now.

John Horrigan finds most of his bookings come from Senior Living organizations.  In addition to his 700 (?) Other lectures, John is adding a new program on species extinction.  Unfortunately John has lost his Folklorist TV position, but he’s developing another history program that floats, a drifting historian.  John told us a story about shooting a segmenty about the island that the Pilgrims really landed on and his adventure in making the video.

Randy Ross is thinking of retiring The Chronic Single's Handbook program and putting his efforts into his other program, Tales of a Reluctant World Traveler.  Several had ideas about how Randy can get the word out.

Stephen Collins had a rough Fall, medically speaking.  He’s on the mend but missed a bunch of performances .  He’s back performing though with Melville this week at Newbury Town Library.

Ted asked all to be on the lookout for new, young performers to take up new roles as some of our performers retire.  Ted took an American Sign Language course and an acting class this year and he’s found them to have changed the way he performs.  Because he’s been emphasizing the Postman Roulin, he’s also been finding French organizations as a new market.

Debbie Weiss, who writes plays in both English and French is working on a new play about Ben Franklin, which she’ll be keeping us apprised on.

Sally Chetwynd is writing another book, this time about police families surviving the deaths of officers.  She also said she’s trying to get her civil war engineer program together.

Gail Hamel’s Abigail brings the Pilgrims and Plymouth to You is getting popular with the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims coming to New England.

Bruce Chester, who was making his second meeting has a number of  hats to put on.  Stand up comic, improv team, public speaker, radio talk show host, author (The Eleusian Factor), teacher and he perfroms as Sgt William Carney the first black medal of honor recipient.  

As usual there were more things to say than time to say them, so the meeting adjourned to the parking lot so our host Anna Christie could go home. See you at the Spring meeitng.

Mike Francis

Webmaster SoloTogether

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