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A History of CSA: The First Decade (1979-1989)

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CT Songwriters Assoc
Three Rivers


New Presenters Added !


(Additional presenters may be added, and there will also be several vendors, panelists, exhibitors and performers. Program is subject to change based on presenters availability on the day of the conference )


Jen Chapin   (For most up-to-date info on Jen's recent record-deal and her national tour, visit her website at http://www.jenchapin.comJen Chapin (daughter of Harry Chapin), is a third generation member of one of America's most influential musical families. She is currently chairperson of World Hunger Year, New York. Jen Chapin's songs reflect a diversity of experience in life and in music. She has been a student of International Relations in Mexico and Zimbabwe and a teacher of high school music in Brooklyn. She has performed at folk festivals in New England, on jazz-funk records in Switzerland, and most recently on Nile Rodgers' celebrity benefit remake of the dance classic "We are Family." All of these moments cohere in her intelligent, honest, and beautifully crafted music. Jen's earthy sound has been called "urban folk" -- an acknowledgement of both her family's fertile folk-rock legacy, and of her own background studying jazz and funk at Berklee College of Music. She writes songs of searching for both solitude and community; of the city and boys and guns; of love and loss.

In her home town of NYC, Jen has most often at the historic Greenwich Village club where she recorded her 2000 release Jen Chapin Live at the Bitter End. In touring both with her band and as her unique duo with Stephan Crump on acoustic bass, she has traveled throughout the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West Coast, performing at the Sundance film Festival and at various respected venues across the country. She has been a supporting act for Aimee Mann and Bruce Hornsby. Her song "Simple Things (On the Other Side)" is featured in Simple Focus Films' Fresh Cut Grass, which recently premiered at the Hamptons Film Festival.

In August 2000, Jen was chosen as the winner of an emerging artist search by Oxygen Media, which earned her a demo deal with V2 Records. More recently she was honored by The USA Songwriting Competition for her song "Indispensable," with First Prize in the lyrics category and with the Third Prize Overall among over 30,000 entries.

As a member of the elite twelve-member ensemble The Weimarband, Jen has recently expanded her creative efforts into drama, acting and singing the role f Maria in this dynamic group's innovative musical theater piece "The Blue Flower."

As an educator, Jen combines her passion for music with her commitment tosocial change through her workshop "Music and Social Action." Originally conducted as a 10-session course for students, Jen now offers this workshop as a 1-2 hour exploration of songs that make a difference -- past and present.

Jen's dedication to the non-profit organization WHY (World Hunger Year) recently earned her election as the Chair of its Board of Directors. Jen is especially committed to WHY's "Artists Against Hunger and Poverty" program, which works to forge relationships between musicians and WHY's network of innovative grassroots groups fighting hunger and poverty across the country. She also serves on the board of Secret Smiles, Inc., and on the advisory board of "KIDS Can Make a Difference."

In 2002, Jen released Open Wide on her own Purple Chair Music label. This album of 10 original songs, recorded as her voice/acoustic duo with Stephan Crump, has been hailed by critics as "brilliantly different." ; Jen has recently been signed to a major record label. (more at  htttp://   ).    NOTE : Due to Jen's busy touring schedule, her appearance is subject to her availability on the day of the conference)


Alex Forbes  is an accomplished songwriter with many hits on the charts including Taylor Dayne's #2 tune "Don't Rush Me". She is an active participant in Songs of Love (800-960-SONG), a unique charity that provides the healing Medicine of Music, in the form of personalized songs, to chronically and terminally ill kids.

A singer, songwriter and guitarist since her teens, Alex graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Creative Writing and moved to Manhattan to pursue her dream of creating music full-time. She immersed herself in the New York songwriting community, and was mentored in the art of marrying lyrics and melodies by the late, great Doc Pomus (This magic moment, save the last Dance for Me). Alex had a string of hit singles as a songwriter starting in 1985. Her highest charting song, Taylor Dayne's Don't Rush Me, Reached #2 Pop, #6 Dance and #3 on the Adult Contemporary charts, and other songs charted with a wide variety of artists including Joey Lawrence (Top 20 Pop song, Nothin' My Love Can't Fix), and Alisha (#6 Dance hit, Too Turned On). Other tunes were international hits, and many have appeared in feature films and TV shows.

Financial rewards notwithstanding, Alex eventually became restless writing for other singers. Her lyrics had become more personal, philosophical and intense, and the heartfelt response to her live shows convinced her that there was an audience for her own artistic "voice." In 1995 Alex's debut album, produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex, Moody Blues) was greeted with a flurry of critical acclaim and radio play. Her first Troubadour-To-Door Tour brought her to 28 cities in the US and Canada, and enlarged her loyal and enthusiastic following.

Recently Alex's version of starting a label, Seashell Sky, with leap as its debut release, came to fruition. Wearing the hats of producer, singer, acoustic guitarist and co-writer, Alex gathered a core group of her favorite New York players to record the CD. These included Aaron Gilmartin (classical and electric guitars), Morgan Visconti (bass), and Kevin Hupp (drums and percussion), the special guests including Libby Johnson (22 Brides), Mary Lee Kortes (Mary Lee's Corvette), and Jeff Pevar (David Crosby's band). Recorded in just two weeks with co-producer Daniel Wise, leap pulses with "live" energy and warmth.

Consistently praised for her guitar chops, vocal phrasing and dynamic stage presence, Alex has been celebrating the release of leap with a series of shows in the US and two tours in Europe. She's currently performing in NYC, writing material for her next CD, collaborating with other artists and producers on various projects, and exploring the frontier of music on the Internet. (more at )


Just added, from New York -- 

 Marci Geller  --   Marci Geller's upbeat demeanor off-stage often surprises her fans.  Her songs reveal a life streaked with conflicting tales of intimacy, alienation and survival, yet her tenacity remains unshaken.  The passionate singer/songwriter refers to her travails as 'life lessons' and 'fodder for creativity', allowing the demons of her past to battle it out in her songs.
  "It is never my intention to present a sympathetic character", the pragmatic musician states.  "I don't need sympathy, these things happened, they affected me, and now I have a choice in every moment to let them dictate my life or realize that they have made me incredibly strong."
  The New York native is at ease on stage and considers performance a form of spiritual nourishment.  "Some people will tend to focus on that victim aspect and honestly I don't see myself that way at all anymore.  With everything that I can lament, I still am so amazed at how lucky I am."
   With a list of credits that would stand taller than the petite singer, she boasts a lofty resume.  She was chosen out of thousands of applicants to perform her original song "We Carry On" on 'Live! With Regis',  has toured internationally as an opening act and back-up vocalist for legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, and has numerous compositions in syndication around the globe in the Nickelodeon show "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"   She recently scored the soundtrack to the Barracuda Yoga video (featuring the cast from WE Network’s 'Single in the City') with co-producer/composer Gian DiMauro and was voted one of the Top 10 Best Singer/Songwriters by Independent Songwriter magazine.   Her music will be heard in the much talked about poignant documentary 'A Boy, A Girl, A Virus' along side tracks from the White Stripes and Depeche Mode due for release in 2004.
   The modest singer/songwriter claims, "All of that is really great, and I am proud and so very thankful for all the places my music has taken me, but mostly I'm thankful for the music itself.  It doesn't just help me find clarity in my life; it allows me to connect with people who would otherwise be complete strangers.  I really feel like sometimes the songs come through so that someone out there who is feeling alone can hear it and feel like someone else understands.  With music ranging from sublime to bittersweet, weaving beautiful, intimate verses with infectious choruses the singer opens up her emotional diary inviting listeners to find their own voice in her songs.  
   "Every single day is a gift.  No matter what, I'm still going to out be here, doing my thing and reminding myself to appreciate all of it." (More at )


Bill Pere   Bill was named Independent Artist of the Year for 2003, by the national Independent Music Conference, in Philadelphia, PA.  Bill is also  an Official Connecticut State Troubadour, appointed by the Commission on the Arts in 1995. He is nationally known as an educator in the field of songwriting, with numerous published articles. An award-winning singer-songwriter and recording artist, Bill is a three-time recipient of the state songwriters award for Outstanding Contribution to Education Through Music. He is perhaps best known as Founder and Executive Director of Local United Network to Combat Hunger (LUNCH) using the power of popular music to produce positive social action. Bill is the President of the Connecticut Songwriters Association and was named Connecticut Songwriter of the Year for 1981, and 1991. The Mystic Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen of the Year, in 1997. In addition to more than 300 songs, Bill has written and produced 23 original stage plays, involving hundreds of students across the state, and has recorded and released thirteen CD's of original music, receiving several state awards. . With collaborator Les Julian, Bill is co-writer of "the best children's song about a moral dilemma ever written", as reviewed by Parents Magazine. He has been the driving force in Connecticut for using songwriting as an educational hub to link curricula for multiple disciplines and for service learning. His song "The Wish" was included in the 1-of-52 Artist Hunger Network compilation CD "The Time Is Now" for supporting hunger relief efforts. Bill is one of the state's foremost experts on music technology and was an invited presenter at the 2003 Independent Music Convention in Philadelphia,. In addition being the Editor of the Connecticut Songsmith newsletter, Bill is a Member of CMEA, APT, National Folk Alliance, Science Songwriters Association, is a graduate of Connecticut's ARC program, is a qualified MBTI practitioner, and holds a Masters Degree from Bucknell University in Molecular Biology. (more at and  ).


Don Donegan -- Don is Founder and Director Emeritus of the Connecticut Songwriters Association, combining Arts, Education, and Community Outreach since 1979Don has been the driving force in Connecticut for educating people of all ages about the craft and business of popular music. He performs throughout schools in Connecticut, and was named an Outstanding Contributor to Education Through Music. (more at and  ).


Nancy Tucker. -- Nancy is a nationally known singer-songwriter, guitarist, and comedienne. Her song "Everything Reminds Me of My Therapist" reached #3 on the Dr. Demento charts and was included with the internationally released 30th Anniversary Dr. Demento compilation. Nancy has consistently been ranked as one of the top guitarists in the Northeast, with original instrumentals that use all parts of the instrument in innovative ways, As a comedienne, she was the first place winner in the 2002 Connecticut Comedy festival, and has toured nationally with her original one-woman show "Everything Reminds Me of My Therapist" . Nancy's songs are sensitive and clever, and her velvet voice and impeccable timing make them moving, entertaining, and memorable. She is also an inventor, recently receiving a patent for a device that allows playing percussion while also playing guitar. It is no surprise that with all her creativity, Nancy does excellent workshops on creative process. Nancy has served as a Director and Officer of CSA. (more at  )


Les Julian : Les is the winner of 6 national awards for songs for children and youth from the American Library Association, National Association of Parenting, and Parents Choice Association. .He has served as President of the Connecticut Songwriters Association. and was Voted #1 Connecticut Performer by the New Haven Advocate. Along with collaborator Bill Pere, Les is co-writer of "Donkey in a Ditch", which is "the best children's song about a moral dilemma ever written", as reviewed by Parents Magazine. Les has shred the stage with many of the nations top children's performers. (more at )


Just Added

Tom Callinan : Tom Callinan is known up and down the East Coast as a vibrant and versatile performer who embodies the essence of the old Troubadours,  capturing news and important topics in songs that anyone can relate to.  Named as Connecticut's first official State Troubadour, Tom has been called a "State Treasure". Tom is also a member of the well know group The Morgans, performing traditional and original songs of our maritime heritage.  Well known and respected as an educator,  Tom is always in demand and has been known to do 12 or more shows in a single day, in multiple locations.   He will be sharing his expertise on marketing and promotion for independent artists.      (more at )


Joe Manning  Joe  is a Poet, Songwriter, Historian, and Author of 2 books,  "Steeples: Sketches of North Adams," and "Disappearing Into North Adams."  He is the writer of songs recorded by Arlo Guthrie and his songs about baseball have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is a Past President of the Connecticut Songwriters Association and ran the monthly critique sessions for many years.(more at )


Kay Pere   Kay is an Award-winning singer-songwriter. She is the Director of Music at Union Baptist Church, in Mystic; Kay has garnered regional renown as a Voice Instructor and Performance Coach, who has taught at the Garde Institute for Creativity and in the California public school system. Her original songs have been widely acclaimed as being musically intricate, conceptually stimulating, and emotionally moving. She serves as a Director of the Connecticut Songwriters Association, and as Associate Director of Local United Network to Combat Hunger. Kay is also a Member of CMEA, and the National Folk Alliance. (more at and )


Harvey Snitkin, Ph.D. -- Assistant Professor of Music, Three Rivers College; Former Director, Eastern Connecticut Youth Orchestra, and author of the book "Practicing For Young Musicians - You Are Your Own Best Teacher", which has been translated into several other languages. Harvey does workshops around the Northeast on techniques and strategies for effective practice. Harvey is life member of CSA. (More at  )


Carlos Diaz. --  Carlos is one of the top guitar technicians and craftsmen in the region. Following in the footsteps of his father, who worked at the original Guild guitar factory in Westerly, RI, Carlos has intimate knowledge of guitar construction, care, adjustment, materials, and of course, playing. Carlos is as fine a craftsman with his playing as he is with his guitar repairs and restorations.


The LUNCH Ensemble   Using the Power of Popular Music to Produce Positive Social Action, LUNCH, founded in 1989 by Bill Pere, has involved more than 1,600 kids in concerts and plays, raising more than $300,000 for supporting social services, and for providing community outreach opportunities for kids through music. The Ensemble will be featured in the evening concert, along  with other guest artists. (see )

PLUS, Vendors, Exhibitors, Performers, and surprise guests.

(NOTE: The conference organizers reserve the right to alter the presenters or program if unavoidable circumstances require a change. )


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