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Tuesday
Feb072017

Early 2017 Music and PSGW Announcement

Greetings, Friends!

A few goings-on that I want to share with you:

Sunday, February 12th, I am hosting the first annual "Feel the Love" House Concert, featuring a group of performing songwriters whom I have loved for years: Margaret Dorn, Janie Barnett, Terre Roche, and Sherryl Marshall. And me, too! We will each sing one original song and then lead a group sing with the audience (optional), including a song from "O Brother Where Art Thou" and a couple of old-school madrigal pieces. We are looking forward to Feeling the Love with you. If you are interested, please e-mail jennifer -at- deborahberg -dot- com (in standard email format) and let us know that you’d like to join us! We are almost ready to call it sold out, but for those of you who have been to our place, the room is pretty darn big--there is always room for one more.

Singin’ Seniors Winter/Spring 2017
The new session of the Singin’ Seniors has started! We brought in two new songs last week and the students picked them up right away. I also asked one of our students if she’d like to sing a solo verse of "The Shadow of Your Smile" in Spanish, and she agreed!

Our next recital is Friday, March 24th, at 1:00pm. We will have eight songs ready for you. The Singin’ Seniors is a great group of, well, elderly students who meet every Thursday afternoon at the Lenox Hill Senior Center at St Peter’s Church in midtown NYC. The Singin’ Seniors is made possible through the non-profit organization, Feel the Music and from grants including ASCAP. Clare Cooper is the Singin’ Seniors illustrious and colorful accompanist!

A Typical Winter Retreat MomentComing Soon to Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (PSGW)!
I am heading to the beautiful Pacific Northwest this month for a winter music retreat at the Pilgrim Firs Conference Center in Port Orchard, WA, sponsored by PSGW. This is a fun-filled weekend of playing music in the woods with like-minded musician friends. We stay in old cabins built in the 60s and jam, write, laugh, harmonize, and jam some more. We walk up to the stone and timber lodge for three hot meals every day cooked by a lively staff, and walk around lovely Lake Flora for nature-based inspiration.

I have loved my guitar camp family for 21 years now. This year, I’m honored to announce that I will be teaching at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop's summer camp for Session 3, August 12–18th.  I will be teaching two classes: Songwriting and Stagecraft. All the years of experience with writing songs and standing on stage singing in front of an audience will certainly come in handy this summer! Just typing this news out makes me happy.


~ ~ ~

In this time of unpredictable change, it is comforting to know there are many us who have the same sensibilities about keeping the faith and finding pockets of peace and beauty in every day. I am so grateful to be able to share my musical adventures with you and I love hearing from you as well. Please keep me in your loop! The community of Arts and Activism is more important than ever: to support and create together. I wish you health and stamina in the coming days.

May peace & love feed your soul,

xxx

Deborah

Saturday
Dec102016

The End of 2016, in Music

Season's Greetings!

I hope you are enjoying at least occasional moments of peace, love, and understanding (to borrow an Elvis Costello phrase) and that you are close enough in proximity to someone you love to share those moments and hold them close and tight.

It has been quite a year littered with weird ups and downs. I want to share a few musical highlights from the summer and autumn, and also thank you so much for your continued support. I love hearing from you!

Sunday, December 11th
Tomorrow!
I’m performing with Sherryl Marshall as part of her Sherita and The Girleens gig at The Treehouse at 2A in the East Village. Join us at 9pm at 25 Avenue A (upstairs).



Monday, December 12th
Julie Gold ("From a Distance") launches her new CD, “Sixty,” produced by Emily Bindiger, on Monday, December 12, at the Duplex. Listen closely to “Southbound Train”—I had the pleasure of singing with her on that track during her recording session back in July. Tickets to her CD release party are available through www.juliegold.com.

Saturday, December 24th
I’ll be singing a solo on “Long as I Got King Jesus” at the Middle Church’s 9 p.m. Christmas Eve Gospel service.

You can live stream the service via the Middle Church website or by visiting this link that evening: https://livestream.com/middlechurchlive

January 2017
My unreleased song “Secrets and Lies” is featured in a soon-to-be-released indie movie from Phillyborn Productions called “7th Secret.” Written and directed by Bridget Smith, the film is being submitted to festivals in January—so fingers crossed that they get some positive attention then!

From this Summer and Autumn

Nora York, July 19, Joe’s Pub, THROB

My dear friend, Sherryl Marshall, has been a backing vocalist for Nora York for many years. Nora invited each of her bandmates to sing one of their original songs at this July 19th Joe’s Pub gig in NYC. Sherryl, in turn, invited me to sing with her on “Storm On The Doorstep” with Stephanie Seymour and a few of Nora’s voice students from NYU (click here to watch). This was a beautiful night. Sadly, we lost Ms. Nora York on September 9 of this year. She will be sorely missed.

Elise Morris, August 22, The Bitter End

I sang backup for another good girlfriend this summer. Here's a video of "Mardi Gras."

Ray Duffy tribute, August 25, Alma Mater Pub in Philadelphia
Ray was another brilliant soul that we lost this year. He was a great friend to my husband Mike and will be missed. His musician pals put together this tribute night for him in Philadelphia. As part of the night, I played my new song “You’re Gone” with the legendary Eddie McKendry. (Click here to view!) It was an honor to share the stage with him. He’d never heard or played the song before—I threw a scribbled chord chart on the stage floor and off he went!

Late summer Puget Sound Guitar Workshop in the Pacific Northwest is always a treat. This year, I sang a Louvin Brothers duet with my camp buddy, Rachael Snyder. We dubbed ourselves the Full Moon Sisters.

~ ~ ~

May the Grace of God and All the Angels be upon you through this holiday season.

Peace and Love,
xxx
Deborah

Thursday
Sep082016

"Fly Now" on Women of Substance Radio's September 11th Memorial Show

This week, Women of Substance Radio & Podcast is playing "Fly Now" from Clean Slate as part of their September 11th memorial programming.

I am very proud of “Fly Now” and have often hoped to get it out in the world more so that other people might hear it.

As it is for everyone who was in New York that day, the experience of witnessing the Twin Towers burning and falling is etched forever in my mind. Julian Marshall and I wrote “Fly Now” for Eye to Eye's CD “Clean Slate” (2006). I find the song’s intro most haunting. We were taking a break from recording and went for a walk in Greenwich Village. I wanted to record the sound of children's voices and remembered that there was a small playground on Thompson Street.

While I was recording the children's voices in Vesuvio playground, the church bells from St Luke in the Field started chiming. It was a chilling moment, as it replicated the city sounds just before all hell broke loose on that clear Tuesday morning in September a year before.

“Fly Now” is dedicated to Ladder 3 and Captain Patrick Brown. Ladder Company 3 is on East 13th Street and is part of FDNY's 6th Battalion, 1st Division. On September 11, it received some of the heaviest casualties of any fire company in the FDNY. Most of its men were lost in the attacks. Captain Brown and his men were last known to be on the 40th floor of the north tower.

Their firehouse was en route to Dan and Keenan's school. Walking my 9 and 11 year old boys to school a few days after the attacks, I noticed that some of the bouquets that were left for the men were not fresh anymore. They needed a flower lady! I started sorting out the dead flowers.

For months, I looked after their flowers, one small gesture of care that I could offer to those who had thought “first of all to help someone.”

To listen to my tribute and others from a variety of talented women artists, tune in to the Women of Substance Radio "In Memory of 911" Show all week at 5 PM ET (2 PM PT). Listen at http://www.womenofsubstanceradio.com.

You can also listen anytime here.

Women of Substance Radio “In Memory of 9/11”
http://www.womenofsubstanceradio.com
Monday, September 5 through Sunday, September 11
5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT)

Sending love and thanks to you this week and always,
xxx
Deborah

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Wednesday
Jun152016

Dear Friends

I write to you three days after the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

My heart is breaking for all the young lives wiped out on Sunday morning.

I offer my sincere condolences to any and all family members and friends of the deceased who are grieving. I also think of the pets who have lost their owners and wish them safe transition into their new homes and situations.

I am stunned by the violence that was inflicted upon these unassuming people.

But going forward I will continue to focus on love.

On that same Sunday, the gospel choir gathered at Middle Church to sing at our 30th anniversary “Legacy of Love” concert, dedicated to the choir's founder, Jerriese Johnson, a flamboyant and civic minded black, gay neighborhood activist who in 1986 was determined to create a community gospel choir for anyone who wanted to join and help organize.  

Whether they were members of the church, agnostic, gay, straight, black, brown, white -- anyone who had an interest in singing gospel was welcome. He felt that music was a way to gather people together from all walks of life to spread love in the community.

(Click on the photo for the full size panorama. This choir is truly a magnificent source of love and light!) 

He was so right. Thirty years later, that message is still being sent out, loud and clear. We work hard as a choir, we rehearse every Thursday night, we sing big and Bam! It turns out, singing and community outreach is a whole lot of fun!

This Friday, June 17th, another small but mighty musical event is happening in midtown NYC. At 1:00pm the Singin’ Seniors will give their Spring Recital at St. Peter's Church on Lexington Ave between 53rd and 54th Streets, downstairs.

The Singin’ Seniors are a group of talented senior citizens who are members of The Lenox Hill Senior Center. I am their fearless leader and Clare Cooper is our illustrious accompanist. They will be singing seven contemporary songs with Bernice Brooks on drums and Steve Marks on bass.

As ever, many thanks to Feel the Music for their amazing work, through which The Singin’ Seniors class is made possible.

I'm also returning to The Bitter End to sing backing vocals for Elise Morris on Monday, June 20th at 8 p.m. We will be filming the show and performing new songs that no audience has seen yet, so it will be a special night.

The Bitter End
147 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
8 p.m.
$10 cover, 2 drink minimum

Thank you so much for all that you do to keep love flowing in the world.

Love,
xxx
Deborah

Thursday
Apr142016

Greetings all and Happy Spring!

Here in NYC, my window box narcissus are bright and blooming but they have had to sleep covered in black trash bags to protect them from the freeze! Fickle April! I hope Spring is treating you a bit less dramatically.

Since we last met, I’ve been grateful to participate in several wonderful nights of music.

On Bleecker Street in January at the Bitter End, I sang backing vocals for my good friend, the talented composer and pianist, Elise Morris. It was an honor to sing with her and her colorful band: Frank Burrows, Chris Bishop, Warren Odze and Emily Bindiger. Elise’s unique and luscious set of original songs was an inspiration to me and the audience liked it, too! She has another Bitter End gig scheduled for June 20th if any of you local folks are interested.

photo by Adam IslerTreehouse at 2AIn February, I participated in L’il Mo’s Harmony Swap at The Treehouse at 2A. Tom Clark runs the stage and the soundboard at this good old fashioned East Village neighborhood music bar.

This time L’il Mo chose "Family Bands" as the theme, so all performers swapped harmonies on Carter Family, Boswell Sisters, Staple Singers, Bee Gees, Carpenters, Eisley Brothers, Jackson 5, Kinks, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose, and the Pointer Sisters -- just to name a few. I sang with a whole gaggle of wonderful folks, but for brevity’s sake I will just throw out a big Thank You to Sherryl Marshall, Leslie Wagner, Paul Pimsler, Charlie Roth, Tom Shad, Tom Clark and L’il Mo (Monica Passin)!

Here's a little video that Mike recorded of me, Sherryl Marshall, Leslie Wagner, Tom Shad, and Paul Pimsler performing "Respect Yourself." The visuals are blurry but the audio is fab - enjoy!

I also spent a Sunday morning in the Middle Church sanctuary on 2nd Ave and 7th Street with five other singers, recording backup on a song for the artist Cousin George. I have not heard anything back yet, but the acoustics in the sanctuary that morning sounded great and the vocalists were all having a good time!

In March, we took a trip to the West Coast. I got to hang out with two of my three siblings and an awesome niece! We jammed at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, took in the Mapplethorpe exhibit at LACMA, and scoured the bins at Amoeba Records, where Eye to Eye was sold out but represented!

We had lunch with our old buddy Adam Carpenter who has approximately 100 trillion followers on Instagram. What a character!

I think there is nothing better than going shoe shopping with your sister and your niece. Agreed? Retail therapy never fails to excite!

Puget Sound Guitar Workshop director and royalty Janet Peterson and Karee Wardrop came out to the East Coast from Bellingham, WA, with their son Keajn to look at colleges. We had a fun gathering with them, their daughter Devan, and my friend Sherryl (who just happened to be spending the night in town after a benefit gig for Adam Roth).

Photo by MikeGospel Choir continues to be a great source of inspiration for me. The Reverend Jacqui Lewis is a powerhouse with a heart of gold and our musical director, John Del Cueto, always encourages us to trust the spirit and take musical risks. Leave your fears at the door and sing big!

Here's the most recent opportunity I had to sing a solo with the choir, on April 10th. The song is "Walking" by a band called Mary Mary.

I have the pleasure of teaching a wonderful vocal ensemble group called The Singin’ Seniors through the non profit organization, FEEL THE MUSIC, at Lenox Hill Senior Center in midtown Manhattan. I teach an eight-week session with accompanist Clare Cooper with a recital at the end of each session. Our most recent recital was Friday, April 1st, accompanied by a wonderful trio of musicians: Clare Cooper, Kenny Soule, and Steve Marks. 

This session, the Singin’ Seniors sang the following songs: “Till There Was You” (Beatles-style), “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen, “Get Happy” (Judy Garland-style), “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor, “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5, “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, and “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.

My Singin’ Seniors really pour themselves into the music and have evolved as a group. The harmonies are starting to jell and the syncopation is moving right along as well!

The Singin’ Seniors have a few weeks’ break and then we’re back at it April 28th with our early summer session. This time around, I intend to work with students on memorizing at least one song to get them off the page. It is a bit more of a mental challenge but the energy of really knowing the music pays off in performance!

Lastly, social media offered up a surprising bit of connection last month when the psychedelic rock trio Mirror Travel posted this photo on Instagram:

It turns out that “Nice Girls" is one of Mirror Travel's favorite songs! Take a listen to their new album, “Cruise Deal” here. They are awesome!

That’s it for now!

 

Thank You,

Enjoy the seasonal changes and may the petals in your life be plentiful!

…does that salutation make me a petal pusher?

Love,

xxx,

Deborah