Big Ideas from the University of Texas? You bet! Special Projects Marketing Manager Gayle Hight, at the Red McCombs School of Business, has invited me to speak at the Texas Enterprise Speaker Series. Having attended one of these presentations, I can report that they might be described as an extended TedTalk across a wide range of topics offering extraordinary insights with practical solutions from outstanding communicators. I am happy and honored to be included in this bunch of exceptional people. Please join us on September, 5, 2013.
It was March 6, 2008 when this story wrote itself. At this time of Phil Ramone’s passing, it seems appropriate to remember his influence on me and the music I compose and produce.
Glenn Richter, a longtime ally of mine and professor of music at the University of Texas, called this morning and invited me to have lunch with Phil Ramone. There are two producers in this world that would make me get dressed this fast. One is Sir George Martin, whom I have already met and briefly worked with. Phil Ramone is the other. Also present at the lunch were Executive Director of the NARAS – Texas Chapter, Theresa Jenkins and Project Director Jennifer Vocelka along with Ed Evans, Director of Technical Operations for Villa Muse and UT Recording Technology professor Mark Sarisky.
In the next five minutes, I want to change your mind: I want to challenge your long-held conceptions of the performing arts and music education. I realize that asking for a paradigm shift in how we perceive the arts is tricky business. But I no longer risk anything when I tell you that there is a lot of unmovable concrete holding up our academic institutions. And on top of that concrete, with a broader perspective of what education is and who should bring it, there does exist the upside of greater prosperity by way of building an effective network of like-minded individuals…and willing institutions.
Gary Powell brings 33 years of experience coaching singers in the recording studio presenting his skills to universities and vocal studios around the country. As an alumnus of Sam Houston State University, the university music department invited Gary to work with their student singers. Singers were auditioned on the first day followed by three nights of workshop rehearsals and vocal exercises; 12 hours of solo vocal exploration and ensemble singing. These singers, most music and musical theater majors, were wonderful to work with and eager to have fun while in the process. Cheers to all involved.
Memorial Day is the day to reclaim one of our greatest American values,
“perception becomes reality.”
No, that’s not it! Professional communicators across all cultures and generations have known and utilized this manipulation – every politician, every manager, every promoter. Decades ago, I had several people in the field of public relations suggest that it was time for me to “build my myth.” I could never understand how they could miss the fact that my musical skills and professional life didn’t need a myth. I did, however, have the need to create my own authority. Although this is the truest of American values, no one suggested it to me. The lesson of claiming my own personal authority was finally taught to me at age forty-two! Although there were immediate benefits, it took another decade before it sank in and became integrated into my being. Utilizing our self-determined authority, if we have earned it, is how we; the talented, the educated, the bold and the caring, win.
Let’s tell the story of a woman courting a deep East Texas drawl, Donna Dorrell, who finds and shares a defining perspective from her life through songwriting. Is her disarmingly insightful lyric born from the song-farms of major recording centers, or from somewhere else? That rhetorical question is only meant to wake us up to the idea that people like Donna Dorrell who have lived a conscious and mindful life make excellent artists – regardless of age.