Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26

Today is Thursday, and the Marco Polo cast is just about ready to leave for the ship. They ran their last show for us this afternoon, and we were all blown away with the amount of material they had learned this week. WOW! Way to go you guys! So many songs, so many dances, so little time. Here's a picture of Garris and Rochelle (above) and Brandon and Sarah (below) in a number from the show. Garris and Brandon were there to observe, but were "recruited" as stand ins for this audience participation number.

Awww, isn't that sweet?!

Here is Sarah singing "Hey Big Spender".

Claire Williams has done an amazing job of teaching this show. It is non-stop choreography for nearly an hour!

The Marco Polo features the dancers throughout every show. We are fortunate to have a GREAT group of dancers in this cast! They are workin' hard, too!

After the run, the choreographer, music director and I sat with the cast and gave notes.

While the Marco Polo cast was doing their final run, the cast of Celebrity Cruises' MILLENNIUM was rehearsing next door. Today they were working on "FANTASEA". All of the cast members are now in Nashville and they are looking like a really strong group!

Tomorrow, I am going to Birmingham to attend a retirement celebration for Leon Precise, my high school youth director. Leon was a huge influence in my life, as well as hundreds of of other young people who have grown up in his youth programs. I am supposed to sing at the dinner, but I've been sick all week and things are not looking good for having much of a voice by tomorrow. I'm kind of bummed. Maybe I will have a dramatic recovery between now and then!
This is a busy weekend with several major shows happening between now and Monday. I will post more pics as time permits. TGIF!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last night we helped event planner Angela Price produce the YMCA of Middle Tennessee's Annual Celebration event at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center. This is the Y's largest event of the year, and celebrates the many achievements of the YMCA and its Volunteers of the Year. The Symphony Center was the perfect setting for this themed event entitled "In Harmony". The entire center was transformed into themed musical areas with live music and costumed characters. Guests moved through each room to sample the themed cuisine, decor and music. But the real show took place in the Concert Hall where we heard from Journey Johnson, the Y's CEO, and Cal Turner, the Chairman of the Y's Board of Directors and the CEO of Dollar General Stores. Country superstar Vince Gill delighted guests with a special performance of several of his hit songs. One of the highlights was his performance of "Go Rest High", a song written upon the death of his brother. Vince is an incredible artist and a great communicator. Thanks to GMC team members Jim Sheridan, Chris Lyle, Scott Douglas, Jacob Driver, Jonathan Yeaworth, Sean Yeaworth, Jerry Durkin, and Bert Hensley for making this event so successful. The staff of the Schermerhorn was also extremely helpful, especially event manager Julie Campbell. Great job everyone! This was our first time to produce a show at the Schermerhorn...I hope we will have many more opportunities to perform there in the future!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tomorrow is the YMCA of MIDDLE TENNESSEE ANNUAL CELEBRATION. It is a large reception and program at the Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center. We are providing the themed decor and props and coordinating the AV and production support. Vince Gill is the featured guest artist, so that should be fun! This is a shot of the concert hall where the program will be held.

Last night, my wife and I went to see my daughter, Mary Catherine, dance in her spring concert at MTSU. She was in three pieces - two modern and one ballet. It was really awesome to see her dance again. Here's a shot of Mary Catherine and Ellen (my wife) at the dance department awards program following the concert. MC received her dance scholarship award at the program. She has some great friends who are also in the dance program. It was nice to meet all of them! Ben Brown, her boyfriend, was also in town - he had just returned from a month-long road trip with his band "BANG, BANG, BANG". They had been opening for ZZ Top on their tour. It was great to reconnect with Ben, too!

We have a lot going on this week, so I will do my best to do postings when I can. Hope everyone has a great week!

P.S. There will be some pretty exciting news to share later this week...I will keep you posted!

Saturday, April 21

It has been a few days since I updated this blog. Sorry about that! It has been incredibly busy this week, so I'm just now finding time to post some new images. Here are shots from a rehearsal with the cast of the MILLENNIUM. The entire cast is finally here and they are doing a great job together. We will post some more pictures from rehearsals later this week.

Dave Patton left yesterday to go to Europe to meet with cast of the CONSTELLATION in Ireland. He emailed me today to let me know they performed last night to standing ovations! Way to go you guys!

Another MILLENNIUM rehearsal shot...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today we welcomed the new cast of Celebrity Cruises' MILLENNIUM. This ship is very special to us since it was the first cruise ship we produced. Most of the cast members have worked for us several times before and are returning for another 6-month contract. In fact, Sandor, one of the dancers, will be joining us for his 13th contract. Amazing! We still have a few more performers joining us later this week - one tomorrow and several more this weekend. Here are some shots of the the cast during orientation this morning. I'll post a full cast shot this weekend when the entire group is here. They will be with us for about four weeks before heading out to join the ship. The Millennium will spend the summer in the Mediterranean cruising to some of the best ports in the world. These performers will have an awesome summer!
I spent most of this evening watching the news coverage of the shootings at VPI. It is so shocking and alarming to hear about the experiences of the students who were victimized, or who witnessed their friends and classmates being brutally and unjustly attacked. Almost every student interviewed made the same comment...they love VPI and feel very much a part of the Hokie family. It must be a particularly difficult thing for them to believe this has happened in light of their intense love of the school and all it represents. My father attended VPI when I was very young. He would take me with him to class and labs in many of the buildings being shown on TV this week. Many of my childhood pictures are of me riding my bike on the quadrangle of the VPI campus. Though i was only 4 or 5 years old, I vividly remember the beauty and serenity of the noble stone buildings that shape the character of this university. It is an extraordinarily beautiful campus. Sadly, that image of safety and serenity will forever be shattered. We all extend our deepest sympathies for the families of the dead and injured, and pray for healing of spirits and bodies. I just can't watch any more tonight. It is all too sad.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday, April 16

Mary Catherine Musick

Hey gang! We had some "proud parent" news today...our oldest daughter, Mary Catherine, was awarded a dance scholarship to MTSU, the university she's been attending for the past 2 years. She was originally on scholarship at Cincinatti Conservatory, but had to withdraw due to a fluke injury to her toe (not a good thing for a ballet dancer!). After surgery and a couple of years of recovery, she is back dancing with a passion. She is an amazing dancer (and singer) and has thoroughly enjoyed her time in the program at MTSU. Way to go MC! Here is a shot from her spring concert last year.

I had a chance to see another run of "Hit Me With a Hot Note" today. This cast is learning quickly and doing a great job of making corrections from the vocal and dance notes they've been given. David Patton, our GM and the show's musical director, observed today and seemed quite pleased with the performance. They have a lot of new material to still learn, but they are in good shape for an on-time completion.

Monday's are always busy at GMC. We started the day with staff meeting and production meetings to make sure we are on track with everything coming up in the next few months. We have a great number of projects happening in the next 3 weeks, and they just keep coming! Thanks to a staff with a lot of depth and commitment, we are able to handle almost anything that comes our way. We are currently working on projects that range from new shows being created for state of the art cruise ships to a new show for Dollywood's children's entertainment program. Numerous corporate, association, and charitable events are also underway. And, the cast of Celebrity's MILLENNIUM arrived today with rehearsals starting tomorrow, so our rehearsal facility is in full swing!

Speaking of the MILLENNIUM, I had a nice conversation today with Jim D'Amico, a former director of entertainment for Celebrity Cruises. He is now a freelance producer with clients in the cruise, casino, and corporate entertainment businesses. Jim was instrumental in helping us get started in the cruise ship entertainment production world. It was great to catch up with him!

On personal taxes are done! Whoo hoo! We've actually filed on time for the second year in a row. Believe me, that is an accomplishment for us! Thanks to our accountant, Kay Quinn, for helping us make this happen. Hope you are all in the home stretch on your own taxes. Good luck hitting that deadline!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I've intended to post these shots from my trip to the Summit for the last week, but just kept forgetting. These are of the sunset as we sailed from Acapulco. It was pretty amazing! There was a great singer/guitarist on the back deck playing James Taylor songs as I took these shots while sailing south toward Costa Rica. The whole scene couldn't have been better!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Here is a shot of the Marco Polo cast after their run through today. They have adopted the Thomas kids (Ella, Sam and Maddie from left to right). Also in the shot are Claire Williams (row 3 on left), Brandon Thomas (row 3 on far right), and Sheryl Thomas and me on the back row.

Today, the cast of the Orient Line's Marco Polo did a run through of "Hit Me With A Hot Note", their second show to learn since arriving at rehearsal two weeks ago. It was fun to watch them bring performance energy to the rehearsal. Everyone seemed to think the cast had improved dramatically - even since yesterday. NCL's Rob Hertenstein rejoined us after working on ships in Hawaii for the past week. Rob had just taken a red-eye in from Honolulu and came straight to the studio to watch the rehearsal. Now THAT is dedication! Again, the cast did well...they are so far along toward reaching the performance level of the show. The production team gave them a few notes, words of encouragement, and a well-deserved pat on the back. Good job you guys! Here are some pics from today's rehearsals.

(Today's audience consisted of (from L to R) Rob Hertenstein, Claire Williams, Garris Wimmer, Ella Thomas, Maddie Thomas, Brandon Thomas, Sam and Sheryl Thomas)

Last night, my wife and I joined friends Malcolm and Martha Greenwood, and David and Karen Holloway for David's 50th birthday celebration. It was great to be together and spend an evening telling stories and reminiscing. We all agreed that turning 50 was nothing to be worried about. In fact, it was the general consensus that the best was still to come for David (that was easy for me to concur since I just turned 50 last fall). Happy Birthday, Dave!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The cast of the Marco Polo has been performing "run-throughs" of two of their shows for us. Yesterday, they performed "Night of Stars" - a new show for the Marco Polo. They did a fantastic job, and seemed well on their way to besoming comfortable with the material. It was obvious they had been working hard to learn the lyrics and choreography. Asst. Choreographer Claire Williams and Vocal Director Brandon Thomas were on hand to take notes and evaluate their performance. Several GMC staff members were also there to lend support to the cast. Here are some pictures taken during that run.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Jennifer Pippin and Jim Sheridan

Bert Hensley and Mindy Johnson

Today, our entire GMC staff went on a "family outing" for lunch at Monelle's, one of Nashville's best loved downtown restaurants. Monelle's is know for serving authentic southern home cooking "family style" - in other words, all the home cooking you want served in heaping bowls and baskets. Fried chicken, catfish, biscuits, green beans, cole slaw, pinto beans, corn bread, corn pudding, banana pudding, and more just kept coming! We had a good time just chilling with each other. It was also a birthday celebration for Neil Bergman and Bert Hensley, two of our GMC family members. It was Neil's 40th birthday, and rumor has it he was a little stressed about it. Don;t worry, Neil - it only gets better from here! Speical thanks to Jennifer Pippin and Jonathan Yeaworth for their expert handling of all the arrangments for lunch. We all especially appreciate their self-sacrifice in checking out the food and service in advance of our arrival...afterall, they had to "inspect what they expect". Here are a couple of shots from lunch!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Today was my first day back in the office and it was pretty hectic - but great! I started the day spending some time with the MARCO POLO cast at the rehearsal studio. Claire Williams was working with the dancers on choreography and Brandon Thomas was drilling the singers on vocal parts for "Hit Me With a Hot Note". The cast is doing a great job with the shows, and our team is very impressed with their energy and enthusiasm. The cast, Claire, Brandon and Garris Wimmer also graciously agreed to allow a photographer from one of the local newspapers to come take a picture of all of us - its for an article that's running next week on corporate entertainment. Here's a picture of the MARCO POLO singers warming up before a run through.

We spent the rest of the morning interviewing a new tech director candidate for our scenic department. After lunch, Jonathan Yeaworth, Jim Sheridan and I had a production meeting with the staff of "L'ete du Vin", one of the largest and oldest charitable wine auctions in the United States. Their first event is coming up in a couple of weeks, and we are in full gear getting prepared. The rest of the day was spent catching up on paperwork and calls. It is REALLY busy at GMC right now...and that's when we are at our best!

Just a personal note to my friends Ricky and Debbie Steiner from Kentucky. Their daughter, Morgan, had a seizure over the weekend. It was pretty serious and their family spent a tense couple of days at the hospital trying to figure out what caused the seizure. She is fine now and there are no indications of any medical conditions that would be cause for alarm. In fact, her doctors encouraged her to get right back into all the activities and sports that she loves so much.. Ricky and Debbie are great parents and very special people. We are all praying that this was a one-time thing that can be monitored and easily controlled with medication. Our daughter Anna has epilepsy that came on in her senior year of high school. It can be a very disturbing thing to see your child go through the challenges associated with epilepsy. Fortunately, it can be controlled with medication.

I promised more shots from last week's cruise on the SUMMIT. Here are a few more from "NIGHT OF STARS". Here is Derrick in an exciting Ray Charles medley, He sounds awesome!

Rusty and the dancers doing a tribute to Elton John...

The cast in one of the opening production segments...

Rusty, Julie, and Jennifer in a Las Vegas revue segment.

And here's Julie (singing) with Sam and Erin doing a beautiful adage to "Hero". Their performance was especially impressive since the ship was more than a little rocky during the show. The audience loved this performance!
That's it for now...TGIF!