Saturday, January 26, 2008
Greetings from Montreal! Jonathan Yeaworth and I are in Montreal doing a show for one of clients, Orion Performance Group. The weather here has been cold - really cold. It was -2 here a couple of days ago. Fortunately, everything we're doing is indoors. This is a beautiful city. Here are a couple of pictures taken from my room in the hotel. The snow is really beautiful, especially since it has been so long since we've had a decent snow in Nashville. Canadians are a great bunch - the cold weather hasn't been that noticeable because of the warmth we've felt from our hosts. Of course, they have been constantly teasing me about my terrible attempts at speaking French - so I just use a lot of hand signals and head nodding when ever possible.
Tomorrow we head to Dallas for another week of shows. I wanted to thank my wife and kids for allowing me to spend so much time on the road doing what I love. This is the first leg of several long trips this spring. I am grateful for their support.
Friday, January 18, 2008
This week has been crazy! I spent a couple of days in Phoenix producing a western regional conference for the National Association of Electrical Distributors. We stayed at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. It is a fantastic hotel just outside Phoenix in the mountains that surround the city. Jim Sheridan and Jonathan Yeaworth went with me. The desert is such an amazing place - this hotel had rabbits and quail that wandered around the grounds everywhere you looked. It was pretty cool. Speaking of cool, the weather was a little chillier that I expected, but the sky was crystal blue and it was great to be in a beautiful, sunny place.
I flew back last night and jumped into finishing up work on three major shows coming up in the next three weeks. I leave for Montreal on Monday for a week, then go straight to Dallas for back-to-back shows. We are also working on the American Cancer Association's 2008 Heart Gala and an Elvis tribute concert for Belmont University. Our scenic department is making great progress on our project for NCL's "JADE" cruise ship. Meanwhile, David Patton, Mindy Johnson, Garris Wimmer, Steve Kummer, Claire Williams, and Jennifer Pippin are auditioning in London this week. They had over 200 dancers and about 135 singers at the audition yesterday. This was the most we had ever had! In fact, they had to postpone callbacks to today since there were so many people there for the first round. I'm looking forward to seeing all the videos of the callbacks!
Its time like this when I realize once again how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many great team members who are totally great at what they do. I am amazed at their energy and commitment to their craft. They are awesome! So much creativity and enthusiasm in one place....that's one of the reasons I love what I do so much, in spite of the crazy hours and outrageous stress that we're experiencing right now.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Today I attended the funeral of a good friend's mother.
Norma Scoggins was the mother of Chance Scoggins, a long time studio singer friend and one of the best contemporary Christian music producers in Nashville. Jennifer Paige, Chance's sister, is a very successful international pop recording artist. And Jennifer Scoggins, Chance's wife, is one of our favorite partners that helps with scripts, graphics, and show coordination. It was an amazing service filled with heartfelt celebration of life, and the music was absolutely perfect for the occasion. My wife and I reconnected with many old friends from our studio singing days, so that was bittersweet. I also got to see my good friends Bill and Mary Kay Schreiber. We do a lot of work with their company, Orion Performance Group, but I had not seen them in person since their recent move to the Franklin, Tennessee, area. Jennifer Scoggins had worked with Orion a couple of years ago. I'm always amazed at how connections happen between people that would otherwise seem so improbable.
Blessings on Chance, Jennifer, the Scoggins family, and all those friends who will mourn Norma's passing.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
COMPANY ANNUAL MEETING AND CELEBRATION
Yesterday, our company had our annual meeting and year end party. We used to do this meeting and party in December during the holidays, but we postponed it to January because we thought it would be less busy now. NOT! We are operating at a record pace, so taking a full day out to have our meeting took some careful planning. But the result was fantastic!
We had a full day to focus on all the things we did well this past year - and the things we can do better in the future. We shared our hopes and dreams for the company and each other, and talked about how all of us working together to be a little bit better in everything we do will make a huge difference in our overall success, both professionally and personally. It was great to see so many talented people sitting around our table. We collectively had nearly 200 years of employment at the company, and almost 500 years of experience in the production business. Jonathan Yeaworth won the award for being at GMC the longest, with 21 years at the company. Brandon Thomas was our newest family member, having only been on staff for 5 days. We also celebrated Blair Binkley, our lead carpenter in the scenic shop, coming on board full time after working nearly full time for the past 3 years. Afterwards, we celebrated the beginning of our new year with a party at Nashville's Boundry Restaurant. It was a special evening filled with food and friendship shared with our extended GMC family of spouses, partners, and significant others. Thanks to everyone who came, and a special debt of gratitude to Jennifer Pippin, Keith Brogdan, Melanie Cross, and Phil Barnes who volunteered to plan the party. Great events, everyone!
Here are some photos taken at the party last night.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Today was a good day for GMC! We had our entire team back in the office after the holidays and the energy was great! We also welcomed a new staff member. Many of you know Brandon Thomas from his vocal direction work with our cruise ship casts over the past year. Brandon has joined our staff as an Associate Producer. He will initially be assisting us with the NCL side of cruise ship casting and contracting, and will continue to work with the some of the casts as vocal director. He will also be assisting the producers with overlapping projects and will ultimately be developing his own clients, particularly in the entertainment, cruise, and special events areas of our business. Brandon joins us with 12 years of experience as the director of the music and arts program at Otter Creek Church of Christ, with prior experience as a performer for Norwegian Cruise Lines and other musical theater productions. He has produced numerous recording projects for the Christian market, including children’s recordings and several albums for the vocal group “ZOE”. He also has extensive studio and live vocal experience. Brandon’s wife Sheryl is a singer and a full time mom to their 3 kids Maddie, Ella, and Sam. We’re looking forward to having Brandon, Sheryl and their kids as new members of our GMC family!
Saturday, January 5, 2008
CELEBRITY INFINITY CAST - CHRISTMAS 2007
I just found this photo I thought you guys might enjoy. Here is a shot of the Celebrity INFINITY CAST taken at Christmas on board the ship in South America. Thanks to Brad Grimmer who "let me" steal the shot from his Facebook site.
Hey friends! Sorry I have been away for the past week. It has been a crazy time at GMC because of all the year-end business that had to be done, plus the bounty of great new projects that seem to be coming our way. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by team members who are able to rise to any challenge and "make the magic happen". Its going to be a busy spring!
Last night, we did some unique entertainment for a small birthday party for Norman Miller, one of Nashville and the Christian music industry's top managers and producers. You may know of some of his acts, including Steven Taylor, Sheila Walsh, and Avalon. One of Norman's favorite groups is ABBA. Norman's wife and friends asked us to put together a mini ABBA tribute to perform during his party as a surprise. (From L to R in photo) Adam Bastien, Denise Hoey, Brandon Thomas and Sheryl Thomas donned period ABBA costumes and performed several of ABBA's biggest hits. Norman and his guests loved the show and it was a big hit with his guests! Congrats to Norman Miller! And thanks to our good friend Holly Whaley (EMI Christian Music Group) for including us in the evening.
We are in the middle of planning several corporate shows and gala events for January and the middle of February. We have major productions for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTORS (Phoenix), NAPA AUTO PARTS (shows in Montreal and Phoenix), THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION "HEART GALA" (Nashville), and CYDCOR (Atlanta). Our scenic department is heavily into building 4 new theatrical sets for the NORWEGIAN JADE, the soon-to-be reincarnated version of the current PRIDE OF HAWAII . Our cruise ships team is heavily into casting for all of our cruise ships, and will be traveling to LONDON in two weeks for more auditions. And, we have many other projects coming up in the next couple of months that I'll tell you more about later. Man, I love my job!
Have a great weekend everyone!