Episode 5: Elisabeth Withers

Today I get to sit down and speak with the amazing Elisabeth Withers. I first saw her magic as a performer when I asked her to “sit-in” with my band, Best Kept Secret, during a rousing dance set at a wedding on Long Island.  Lis had stopped by our wedding, after finishing her “gig” at a nearby Bar Mitzvah. It was around 1:00am and the dance floor was packed with guests, surrounding the bride and groom, when Lis came over and gave me a hug.
I immediately handed her an extra microphone and invited her to join the other three singers entertaining the crowd. Thanks to Lis’s extraordinary personality, she immediately electrified the room, captivating the crowd with “call & response” chants.
Suddenly, I heard her call out “When I say ‘Doug,’ you say ‘Winters.’ ” As if rehearsed, she shouted ‘Doug’  and sure enough, 200 people responded ‘Winters.’  After two or three repetitions, the wedding reception was now a “rock concert,” if not a full-blown “revival meeting.”
Soon after that party she auditioned for the coveted part of “Shug Avery” in the Broadway Musical Production of “The Color Purple.” She not only got the part, but was nominated for both a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress. and a Grammy Award for Best Original Soundtrack Recording.
Lis has also sung “back-up” vocals for iconic performers Ashford & Simpson, Luther Vandross and Erykah Badu. She is currently living in Orlando, Fla. working with her husband Damon Mendes on their education-based project Orlando Eye On Talent.
Enjoy!

 

Episode 4: Vanda High

I get to sit down with wedding coordinator who explains how it’s the job of a good wedding coordinator to work with each bridal couple to help them make their wildest dreams a reality.

She starts by listening to each couple to discover their plans for producing what will eventually become their version of “the perfect wedding.”

It’s a fascinating conversation beginning with how she first gets an inkling of the path each couple wants to follow to make their celebration “a genuine expression of their unique selves.”

Please check out Vanda’s website at vandahighevents.com

Episode 3: Jim Hynes

Jim Hynes is one of the pre-eminent “session” trumpet players in New York.

If you visit his website, jimhynestrumpet.com you’ll hear his dynamic performance on the Theme Song for NBC Sunday Night Football.  He also played the lead trumpet on the TV themes for CBS This Morning, NBC Golf, Golf Central, Masterpiece Theater, and the CBS Evening News.  He is currently the lead trumpet player for “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical,”

I’m incredibly lucky to have Jim as the indispensable leader of our Best Kept Secret horn section for the last twenty years.

Here’s Jim with Paul Simon, backstage with Carole King at with our good friend and BKS alumni, Chris Botti

 

 

 

 

Episode 2: Melani Lust

Minute by minute w/ Melani:
00:19 Moving from San Diego to Manhattan to study dance with the Alvin Ailey Theatre.
Making money working as a model…dressing as a sneaker for a “toy convention,”
05:53 A short discussion of “the casting couch” for young models, actors and dancers.
07:45 Working at Sotheby’s, Authenticating artwork, and hand-delivering a $10,000,000 Mondrian to a penthouse on Park Ave.
11:30 Learning photography by shooting 2-dimensional paintings as well as 3-dimensional sculpture “in the basement of the ancient sculpture in Naples.”
12:45 Learning Latin, French, German and Dutch to transcribe art manuscripts.
13:58 Henri Cartier-Bresson and “The Decisive Moment.”
16:40 Becoming as a full-time wedding photographer.
19:50 Backing up her “flash cards” onto Hard Drives. Sending 20-50 “sneak-peak” pictures to family members before “less than flattering” photos appear on Facebook.
27:30 Process of developing “the perfect timeline” with each bride & groom, their families, and bridal party,
29:00 Arriving at 1:00pm for a 9:00pm reception
31:00 Why “Make-Up Artists” are always running late.
33:40 Shooting bridal couples during emotionally “unfortunate” toasts.
36:00 Learning how brides like to be photographed from their Facebook Wedding Page.
Tricks to get the bride and groom to laugh.
38:13 Tips for Brides: “It’s really important to know that something will go wrong on your wedding day, but the wedding is just about…love; and your connection.”

 

 

 

 

 

Episode. 1: Maura Bohan

My first episode features a delightful discussion with my friend Maura Bohan, of Maura Bohan Events.

Maura is a “Day-Of” Coordinator. The first thing we discuss is what exactly what “Day-Of” entails. She begins by explaining why the number of invited guests is the most important element in planning a wedding, and how different venues can comfortably hold a 300 person wedding, with others being more appropriate for a 70 person party.

The conversation is lively, and extremely informative, as I hope each episode will be.

Most importantly, I want this be your home for all things regarding planning your own perfect wedding.

Enjoy!