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  Bill Pere:  Executive Director



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

What is Song Craft ?

Why Join CSA ?

Members featured in Making Music Magazine

American Idol Articles

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Songcrafters' Coloring Book: The Essential Guide to Effective and Successful Songwriting

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A History of the Connecticut Songwriters Association : The First Decade

As recounted by CSA Founder, Don Donegan

                                                                   Annotated in 2004 for CSA's 25th  Anniversary

In 1989, The Connecticut Songwriters Association (CSA) celebrated its tenth year anniversary and about a year ago Bill Pere, CSA's newsletter editor asked me to write an article on my recollections and perceptions of how we have grown and developed through that first decade.

As I started on the article, it occurred to me that CSA has occupied a major part of my life for eight years - from 1979 to 1987 and as its co-founder and president for five years and executive director until 1987, I perhaps  was the only one who could provide real detail about our first ten years. So my article has turned into "A History of the Connecticut Songwriters Association -  the First Decade."   The purpose of this writing is to not only relate how and why we got started, but also to recognize the many songwriters and musicians who participated in CSA activities over the years and to give future CSA leaders some knowledge of what we have done in the past so they can effectively guide us in the future.

I am very grateful to the handful of songwriters that joined in 1979 and are still in the organization - namely; Bob Smith, Nancy Tucker, Bill Last, Don Cash, Charlie Kendrick, Grady Faulkner and Bruce Prescott. In fact, of our first twelve members, five are still with CSA. I am equally grateful to our current leadership team of Bub Julian, Chick Westover, Larry Batter, Clarisse Zielke, Bill Pere, Deb Salling and directors; Sparkie Allison, Tom Callinan, Dee Crandall, Bob Foetch, Ken Isman, Joe Manning, Helen Mannle, Bob Stevenson and Martha Theon who are helping CSA to give songwriters and musicians a chance and a place to improve their craft and attain some much deserved recognition and respect. I am sure I speak for my co-founder and friend, Will Ewing, when I say congratulations to CSA and its members and best wishes for many more years of service to music's artisans and craftsmen. Now let's go back to CSA's beginning.

Both Will Ewing and I grew up in the Hartford area but never met until 1976 when I walked into Brock’s in West Hartford where Will was performing. Will was a special ed teacher from Manchester and was a fine singer-songwriter with over fifty songs published with Acuff Rose in Nashville. I was a partner of R. D. Knox Insurance Agency in Hartford and a part time performer with the dream of doing music full time. In early 1979, Will got a grant from the Connecticut Commission On The Arts which allowed him to pursue music full time. He moved to Groton to be near the sea to pursue his writing and performing in a more creative atmosphere.

Meanwhile I was giving up a 14-year insurance career to pursue my dream and I enrolled in the Business Academy of Music in Ansonia and later worked for its owner/director, the late Marty Kugel. Marty taught me the music business, and in 1978, I moved to Waterford and spent every working hour practicing to become a one-man band performer and trying to become a songwriter. In October 1978, I flew to Nashville to pitch my first songwriting efforts and to learn first-hand the frustration that creative people feel when dealing with the business of music. Having watched 60 MINUTES  "Rip Off In Nashville"  TV Show, I had to go see for myself.  I ended up in the offices of Chartwheel on music row and was offered a record deal by Ted Revell and Johnny Howard. They would record me doing my own two songs and make a 45 R.P.M. record and mail out 500 copies to radio stations. The fee for this was $2500. I took their contract to a music lawyer to verify what I had already figured out. I passed the deal and returned home resolved to help songwriters avoid the rip-offs.

In early 1979, I saw a notice in the New London Day newspaper that an old acquaintance of mine, Will Ewing, was organizing a songwriter's showcase to start on March 14, 1979, at Anthony’s Pier One in the train station downtown New London. I immediately called Will and offered to help. The first performers that night were Karen Rand Anderson, Otis and Ridley (Robert Otis Read and Robert Ridley Pearson) and the Ted Mather Band consisting of Ted and the Mixter Brothers – Dan and Trig. I started circulating a guest book collecting names for a mailing list while Will ran the sound equipment. The 70 people in the audience loved the show; however, the club owner didn't like the informal dress of some of the crowd and forced us to change showcase locations for the next week. We moved across the street to Rudy’s Pier One and continued to run successful showcases every Wednesday. Some of the first performers were Nancy Tucker, Gypsy, Don Cash and his Band Eclipse, and Kim Oler of the Helium Brothers.

Between March and May of 1979, Will and I started meeting on a regular basis to draft plans for a statewide association. We were joined by Bob Greene of Madison who was an experienced organizer and promoter of music groups. I wrote to the newly formed Arizona Songwriters Association to get their ideas and solicited the help of Marty Kugel's music attorney, Mr. Bob Bletchman of Manchester, to help in preparing the necessary state forms for incorporation.

On May 17, 1979, we drove to Hartford and legally created the Connecticut Songwriters Association. Initially the stated purpose of CSA was to educate, encourage and promote songwriters. We anticipated workshops, showcases, recording seminars, a song tape library and a monthly newsletter. We planned a big media showcase for May 30 at Rudy's Pier One. Bob Greene was helpful in getting Ala Anderson of  the popular band NRBQ to perform

We created the first annual CSA "Songwriter of the Year"  award and designed a large plaque and gave it to Al at the showcase. A lot of preparation went into this event. We hired a professional Emcee, Lou Black from Yale, and invited TV, radio stations and newspapers to attend. We got press coverage all over the state and even Variety Magazine in New York wrote an article on us. In addition to Al who sang and got the award, performers at the May 30th Media Showcase included: Barbara Hyde, Karen Rand Anderson, Willy Kay, David Alan, Bret Farrar, Sammy Brown, Ted Mather, Gene Champagne, Al Davis and Mark Lynn Baker. The showcase was a big success – even the Mayor of New London was there. That night we collected a $2 cover charge -  our first income -  to help defray some of our out of pocket expenses.

By the end of June, Bob Greene moved away, leaving Will to concentrate on the showcase aspect of CSA and me to develop the organizational and meeting aspect. Will became the talent coordinator for the July, 1979 New London Sail Festival and spotlighted the CSA performers on the stage on the pier at New London Harbor. In July we started accepting memberships and set the first organizational meeting for September 4 in my unfinished basement at Great Neck Road in Waterford. Forty people showed up to do a lot of brainstorming and, by the end of the night, 17 people had paid $35 to become the first members of CSA. Besides Will and I, the following joined: Jim Duckett, Anthony Covino, Kim Oler, Bob Smith, Jim Hammerslough, Nancy Tucker, Jay Beatty, Bill Last, Edie Moyer, Don Cash, Jim Baker, Colleen McGeehan, Carl Henry, Jaime Bihlmeyer, and Mike Baron. We made a steering committee of everyone present and set the next meeting for October 1. At that meeting, we posted committee sign up sheets and continued brainstorming. That night the following joined: Charlie Kendrick, Lance James, Michael Firment, Ron Patton, Dave Renzoni, John Washington, Dennis Nardella, Bob Scott (Gypsy), Ted Hall, and Dan Beilert. We also selected a slate of officers to be elected at the next meeting, November 5. The following officers were elected on November 5, 1979: President, Don Donegan; Vice President, Will Ewing; Secretary, Colleen McGeehan; Treasurer, Bob Smith; and Assistant Treasurer, Adrienne Marder. Six new people joined including Jim Rosati, Phil Turano, Paul Zimmerman, Sammy Saad, Kevin Desabrais and Grady Faulkner. We now had 34 members. The meeting ended with our first pass or play session. The following performed: Jim Thomas, Dennis Nardella, Steve Fonda, Sammy Saad, Charlie Kendrick, Mark Soboslai, Will Ewing, Adrienne Marder, Bruce Dexter, Michael Baron, Don Donegan, John Parrillo, Bill Last and Jaime Bihlmeyer.

About this time I took on the task of writing our first newsletter entitled "CSA Notes" and produced the first two issues dated November 1979 and January 1980. Ted Hall then took over this job. The weekly showcases were suspended in September due to Rudy’s closing for renovations. When it became evident Rudy’s was not going to reopen soon, I persuaded the New London Holiday Inn to book the showcase weekly at $150 per show and to give us a room for our monthly meetings starting in January 1980. At our December 3 monthly meeting – the last in my cellar – over 50 songwriters attended and elected the following Board of Directors: Michael Baron of Tolland, Ted Hall of Hamden, Carl Henry of New Britain, Bill Last of Stratford, Ron Patton of East Lyme and Dan Feilert of Simsbury. The following committee chairpersons were appointed: Showcase – Will Ewing; Publications – Ted Hall; Program – Don Donegan and Will Ewing; Memberships – Adrienne Marder; Discounts – Ron Patton; Fund Raising – Dan Reilert; Song Tape Library – Bill Last; By-Laws – Michael Baron. This meeting was highlighted by our first guest speaker, Mr. Jim Baker of Island Breeze Productions who spoke on "How to Sell Yourself to a Buyer." The following new members signed up that night: John Hammock, Charlie Boone, Bruce Prescott, Karen Rand Anderson, Nick Paranzino, Mark Sobosiai, Jim Farley and Adrienne Marder. By the end of 1979, we had 47 members with Brian Gustafson, Tommy Cox, Otis Read, Mark Maulucci and Wayne Johnson joining. We had become a full-fledged music arts organization with a monthly newsletter, weekly showcases, monthly seminars, song tape library, pass or play sessions and discounts in music stores and recording studios.

January, 1980 got off to a good start when our press releases attracted Bill Pere to the CSA. He used to drive to CSA meetings from New York City before he finally relocated to Mystic. During 1980, we also picked up members Ron Nicolai, Tom Ford, Mary Noel, Bub Julian, Tom Callinan, Judy Collins, Matt Cristie, Larry Batter, Frances Donegan (my mom), Joe Manning, Paul Hotchkiss, Grey Drew, Larry Sarezky and Michael Auten (who donated $100). From now on I’m only going to list those members who remained with CSA for three or more years. It always amazed me as to the number of people who would drive an hour or more to our monthly meetings at the Holiday Inn in New London. Meanwhile, our showcases continued weekly through May at the Holiday Inn and back to Rudy’s – June through August. These shows gave us a nest egg of money and it is doubtful we would have survived financially without this $150 weekly payment plus a $1 cover at the door. The clubs even provided free drinks for performers. We are indebted to Mr. Chip Holmes of the Holiday Inn and to Mr. John Wells of Rudy’s for helping us in those early days. Regular performers at the showcases in 1980 included: Phil Turano of Jewett City, Anthony Covino of New London, Adrienne Marder of Ledyard, Michael Baron of Tolland, Jim Rosati of Hartford, Dan Reilert of Simsbury, Don Donegan of Waterford, Bret Farrar of New London, Bruce Prescott of Stonington, Don Cash of East Lyme, Bob Smith and Ron Patton of East Lyme, Bub Julian of New Haven, Charlie Kendrick of North Haven, Gene Champagne of Groton, Nancy Tucker of Bloomfield, Cathy Grier and Lenore Troia of Bridgeport, Kim Oler of New Haven, Steve Fonda of Groton (left-handed flute-player !) Ed Smith of New Britain, Sammy Brown of Hartford, Colleen McGeehan of New Haven, Will Ewing of Groton, Joe Barrocco of Waterford, Larry Batter of New London and Aggie Gervais of Taftville. Also, nationally known songwriter, Chris Smither performed at our August 13 showcase. For each of these weekly showcases, I would write up a press release to the New London Day and include a glossy photo, when possible, of one of the performers. We got excellent press coverage and anyone interested is welcome to look at our Press Profiles from 1979 to the present to see all the pictures and articles from various papers. A special word of thanks goes to Rick Kemp, photographer and brother-in-law of Bill Pere. Rick was CSA’s unofficial photographer who attended many events and never charged us for his services. An example of his fine work appears in the year-end 1980 newsletter which highlighted the year’s activities and has a special section entitled, "CSA 1980 Retrospective" written by Bill Pere.

In addition to the showcases, CSA helped organize and entertain at the March of Dimes telethon at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, in February. Will did the sound work and the performers were Adrienne Marder & Eric Robinson, Gene Champagne, Will Ewing, Bob Smith, Don Donegan, Phil Turano, Tommy Cox, Karen Rand Anderson & Bob Scott (Gypsy). In July, Will again ran the entertainment for the New London Sail Festival and the following CSA members performed: Don Cash & Eclipse, Bill Pere, Gene Champagne, Karen Rand Anderson, Bob Smith & Ron Patton, Don Donegan and Adrienne Marder & Co. In November, Bill Pere organized the first of his annual benefits concerts for the Noank Baptist Group Home for girls. This group home became special for me because it became the home for my foster daughter, Lisa McKenna, who has grown up to be a fine singer/musician herself. Performers for this concert were Bill Pere, Nancy Tucker and Michael Baron with guest appearances by CSA members Edie Moyer and Gail Armstrong. This 1980 benefit was the foundation of what would ultimately become the LUNCH program, and spin off an entirely separate non-profit agency, which Bill Pere has turned into a statewide force for using music to address social service needs, and introducing kids to the idea of social service through the arts.

During 1980 we began reaching out to other areas in the state. Michael Baron organized a "Meet the CSA" meeting at Augustino’s in Newington while Ted Hall successfully produced a musical show at the Whitney Barn in Hamden. I got to do my first live radio talk show with fellow CSA members Colleen McGeehan and Bob Smith on WELI in Hamden. Sue Granger was the show host and we fielded questions called in from the audience.

The highlight of 1980 had to be the all-day seminar and song critique session in July at the University of New Haven. Our secretary, Colleen McGeehan, contacted the American Guild of Authors and Composers (now call the Songwriters Guild of America) and they agreed to send four pros – George David Weiss, Shiela Davis, publisher Norman Dolph and Attorney Howard Beldock to our 6-hour Saturday seminar. About 70 writers attended and after the panel presentation, Shiela led us in our first-ever song critique session. Since I was the moderator of the meeting, Shiela asked me to pick out the first song from the box of tapes and lyrics. The song was entitled, "The Arizona" and the panel proceeded to rip it apart. George Weiss asked whose song it was and no one raised their hand. My face got red and finally I owned up to it – not because of the critique but because it just happened to be the first song and I was afraid of being criticized for picking my own tape first. After that embarrassment, the ice was broken and we’ve had successful monthly song critique sessions ever since.

Our first full year saw the following monthly speakers share their expertise: Will Ewing, and Don Donegan; CPA Ted Beals; Teac’s Bill Cooper with Jeff Erlick and Pete Solak of LaSalle Music; Gene Solon & Evelyn Smith of the CT Commission on the Arts; vocalist Lou Gentile; Ralph and John Pizzoferreta of Center Music in Newington; Otis Read – musical director of the Eastern Connecticut Performing Arts Center; Bill Pere presenting Music Theory; Paul Hotchkiss – successful songwriter of Red Kastle Productions; record distributor Dean Wallace; program director of WLNL & WTDY Dave Dillon; and DJ with WSUB Rick O’Brien. It was difficult getting speakers that first year. Few people had heard of us and the concept of a songwriters’ association was not taken seriously by most people.

One of the more grueling tasks was the writing of by-laws. I collected sample by-laws of other non-profit organizations and sat down for hours with Will and Michael Baron. This year also saw our first pass or play sessions in members’ homes with Rena Johnson and Bill Pere hosting the group.

We started typesetting the newsletter and editor Ted Hall wrote the first member profile of Bill Pere. In June 1980, Bill took over the position of Editor and has done this job faithfully ever since. Twenty-six CSA members have now been profiled in the newsletter. Bill started the trivia contest and his monthly column entitled, "Songcrafter’s Coloring Book," which he later published as a booklet, and eventually as a full length book which has become an internationally used reference on songwriting. 

By the end of 1980, CSA had grown to 105 members. The CSA Annual Awards started in 1979 was expanded to recognize a member who has demonstrated exceptional musical achievement and a member who has made an outstanding contribution to CSA. The 1980 winners were Nancy Tucker for musical achievement and Bill Pere for service. Both received one-year free memberships and certificates. Member Bub Julian (who later changed his name to Les) did the calligraphy on the certificates and has continued that job for many years, until the advent of desktop computers. Bill Last won the first trivia contest and received a free membership.

In January 1981, I returned to Nashville to "avenge" my first trip two years before. Our Song Tape Library contained about 200 songs, so Will and I sat down and picked out about 20 songs that had commercial potential. In five days I visited 15 publishers on Music Row and really learned how to pitch songs and deal with the hype side of the business. I asked the publishers for a few minutes of their time to listen to pre-screened CSA material from our better writers. With typed lyric sheets and cassette demos, the average publisher listened to ten songs and most gave me feed back which I wrote down. No more "pay your own way" record deals from song sharks. I got face-to-face with such professionals as Judy Harris of April Blackwood, Johnny Macrae of Combine Music (he liked Joe Manning’s "Tired Old Dreamer" and said to re-write it and wanted to hear more from Joe), Michael Henney of Cedarwood Publishing, Karen Conrad of Blendingwell Music, and Ronnie Gant of Acuff Rose. Most of the CSA songs were not strong enough; however, Paul Hotchkiss’ "Heartless Heart" and Greg Drew’s "Sugar Daddy" were real close. I also had a nice meeting with Maggie Cavender, the Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association, and she clued me in as to which publishers to stay away from. Perhaps the highlight of the trip came when I got a tip that Harold Shed, owner of Alabama’s recording studio "The Music Mill" was looking for material. I hustled over there on my last day and they liked "Heartless Heart" and made a copy of it. I missed seeing Alabama record by one hour. The most valuable lesson I received from this trip was that in order for a song to be considered commercially viable, it must be screened by many music people and the majority must love it. These publishers get many opinions before spending bucks on a song. I came back to Connecticut determined to build CSA and to try Nashville again.

The fastest way to become known throughout the state was to expand the showcases to other locations. Rudy’s Pier One became the Chandlery and then went out of business in January 1981. I convinced the Rhum Runner Lounge at Howard Johnson’s in Mystic to host us twice a month the same night I was doing my own one-man band gig there. I’d do the sound for the CSA show from 9 to 11 and then finish up the night on my own till 1 am. This showcase lasted from January through August when we got sick of the noise from the bar and the blender. The room wasn’t really conducive for a showcase and taught us the importance of looking for the right qualities in a performing venue.

Finally we got a showcase in a new part of the state when CSA members Patty Linardos, Vinny Ribas and Ted Hall got the Scenario, a dinner theatre in Fairfield, to host us. It only lasted three months but it encouraged Michael Baron and Carl Henry to pursue a new showcase at Augustino’s on the Berlin Turnpike. I prepared a contract, which Glenn Augustino signed , and Carl and Mike successfully produced six shows. These were well attended and generated some good publicity. Meanwhile in May, Bub Julian successfully booked the New Haven Restaurant for a series of Sunday night shows that ran monthly until August 1982. Bub collected the $100 fee for the CSA and generously donated his time and equipment to provide the sound. Among the many performers at this showcase was Gary Burr, performer and lead singer of Pure Prairie League and writer of Juice Newton’s hit "Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me." At the end of 1981, I opened another showcase at the Groton Holiday Inn and we stayed there until March 1982. During 1981 we hosted 34 showcases in five different locations and had three shows going on each month in various parts of the state. In addition, CSA sponsored eight public concerts featuring 48 performers. In January, we provided two days of entertainment for the Cerebral Palsy Radioathon in the New London Mall. In June, Nancy Tucker, Michael Baron, Jeff Miller and Jason Rue presented a free concert at the Manchester Band Shell on the campus of Manchester Community College. Also that month, CSA members performed for the Newington Children’s Fair, while in July we again performed on the pier for the New London Sail Festival. In August Bill Pere coordinated a benefit show at the Mystic Seaport Museum in which he performed with Nancy Tucker, Bob Smith and Ron Patton, and Michael Baron.. In October, I coordinated two days of CSA entertainment at the UCP’s Annual Harvest Festival at Camp Harkness in Waterford.

Probably our biggest concert effort in CSA’s early history  was the five-hour show on the New Haven Green on Saturday, October 17, 1981. We combined the sound systems of Lloyd Sherman, Will Ewing, Don Donegan and Bub Julian and provided a final concert location for Bill Lauf, Jr. and Horace Williams, Jr., two New England recording artists who were completing a 400-mile minstrel walk from Quebec to Long Island Sound. These fine performers performed at numerous locations on the "Follow The Fire" foliage tour and ended up on the New Haven Green to headline our show. CSA members put up posters all around town and the following performed that chilly Saturday: Bill Pere, Bob Smith & Ron Patton, Carl Henry, David Darling, Tom Sotiridy, Roger Hamilton, Pete Hasselbacker and T.G. Richards. CSA displayed its new 15-foot banner painted by Bub Julian..

Our concert season ended with Bill Pere producing and performing the second annual benefit concert for the Noank Baptist Group Homes. Nancy Tucker & Michael Baron again performed in this show.

One event I’ll always remember was a trip in September to the Bottom Line Club in New York with Will Ewing and Adrienne Marder to Support Will’s performance of his award winning song "No More Good-byes" in front of a music industry panel at the AGAC Song Competition. Will’s song was selected as one of the 10 finalists of over 600 song entries.

Our speakers for 1981 included: ASCAP’s Jim Gianopolos; Don Donegan reporting on the Nashville trip; producer Tony Chirco; AGAC’s Jonathan Holtzman; Paul Leka of Connecticut Recording Studio and producer of Harry Chapin’s, "Cats in the Cradle;" ; artist Bill Lauf (4-string guitar); publisher Randy Coates; Nancy Smith-Worthen – Director of the Westerly Arts Council; a home recording workshop with Bill Pere of Mystic Music & Bill Hudak of Reel Dreams Studio; a critique panel of Don Donegan, Bill Pere, Joe Manning & Dan Reilert; and George David Weiss of AGAC;

That year we started alternating the monthly meetings between the New London Holiday Inn and Augustino’s on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington. Also, we had two CSA picnics hosted by Rena Johnson and Bill Pere. The 1981 awards went to Will Ewing for musical achievement and Don Donegan & Michael Baron for service. Joe Manning won the trivia contest. New members to the Board included: Bub Julian, Joe Manning, Mary Noel, Jim Hammerslough & Jim Farley. Our 1981 membership totaled 144 active members and 15 honorary members. This was the year that Karen Riem, Bonnie Brown, Carlton Scott, Sparkie Allison, Lloyd Sherman, Stephen Sergio, Stan Prosco, Colleen Kennedy and Bob Sedlock became members. We were well on our way to becoming a very successful organization.

My third trip to Nashville occurred in January 1982. In August 1981 two songwriters from Maryland, Sandra Johnson and Patty Roe heard about CSA through Joe Manning’s mother. They read about my Nashville trip in the newsletter and wrote me offering to pay my expenses for a return trip to pitch their songs to publishers in Nashville. They joined CSA and sent me six well produced songs on cassettes with lyric sheets. I found myself in the opposite position from my first trip to "rip-off city." I knew there was such a job as a ‘song plugge’r, who worked for expenses plus a percentage (10-20%) of future royalties. But I also knew how very, very competitive this business is and there are not guarantees. I wrote my concerns to Sandra and Patty but they insisted on hiring me. Meanwhile, I checked with Maggie Cavender of the Nashville Songwriters Association and with our own Paul Hotchkiss who was familiar with this business and with their input, I wrote up a song plugger’s contract offering to pitch the song and negotiate any publishing contracts in exchange for 15% of future mechanical royalties and agreed on expenses. Sandra and Patty’s offer made it possible for me to take other CSA members’ songs. Bill Pere, Will Ewing and I sat down and screened 73 CSA songs and chose 23 with commercial potential for my trip.

I wrote to 31 publishers and producers the week before my trip so they would be expecting my call. I arrived in Nashville on a Thursday and immediately started making phone calls to get appointments for the next week. I spent most of Friday just making appointments and used the weekend to learn my way around and prepare for the presentations. Between Monday and Thursday I visited with 18 publishers including Cal Everhart of World Wide Music; Gene Kennedy; Bob May of Monkey Business; John Gill of OAS Music Group; Gary Beard of Music Publishing Corporation; Michael Heeney of Cedarwood; Billy stone of Peer Southern; Ted Barton of MCA Music; Don Dailey of House of God; Arden Adair of Blendingwell Music; Byron Hill of ATV Music Corp; Carmen Taylor of Taylor Watts; Blake Mevis of Pi Gem and George Strait’s producer; Bennett Rabiega of Paragon Assoc.; Celia Hill of Chappell Music; Al Cooley of Combine Music; Judy Harris of April-Blackwood; and Terry Choate of Tree International. I had each of these people sign a sheet of paper containing the song titles they listened to and the average publisher listened to 10 songs. I played our 23 songs a total of 183 times in 4 days! While in these offices I realized how important it is to get many different opinions on songs. I actually witnessed rival publishers making dates with each other to listen to each other’s songs. I knew then, that our own screening committee had to be larger and more critical. Of our 23 songs, only one "Part Time Lover" by Colleen McGeehand and Stan Prosco really stood out. Other songs were close and I got a lot of good constructive feedback on the songs. The publishers asked to retain copies of five other songs. I cam home really believing in "Part Time Lover," not because of my own opinion but because so many other "musical ears" liked it too. My song plugger’s contract ran for a year so I continued sending out the song to other publishers. Finally in October 198, Frank Fara of Comstock Records in Kansas signed the song and sent a contract. In keeping with the terms of the song plugger contract, I attempted to negotiate Comstock’s offer and solicited the help of the Songwriters Guild (AGAC) in New York to review the contract and offer suggestions. To my amazement and pleasure, Comstock re-wrote their offer and in January 1983, Colleen and Stan had their first published song. In December 1983, Canadian artist Billie J. Helmkay recorded the song and "Part Time Lover" was released on the Comstock label.

At this point I feel obligated to relate some numbers I heard from the Nashville publishers. Few people in the music business will attempt to give specific statistics because the system is very complex and full of different ways of counting things. Many of our speakers have said only one our of three or four songs recoups its actual recording costs, and it’s that one big hit that makes up for all the others. Keeping in mind that country music only represents about 15% of record sales (POP or billboards Hot 100 represent about 50% of all sales) here are some additional numbers given to me. Of 100 songs actually listened to by publishers, only 1-2 are retained for a second listen. Of these 1 – 2 songs, about one in three gets a contract offer. Of these, 10% get cut and of these cuts, only about 15% get charted on national charts such as Billboard. I asked these questions of several publishers and was told that mechanical royalties for Country songs are not usually generated until a song reaches a top 20 – 30 position in Billboard. A number 40 song might pay $3000 in performance royalties if it stayed on the chart for eight weeks. The publisher splits all royalty payments with the writer(s). I’m not trying to sound negative, but this is a very tough business and for Colleen and Stan’s song to go as far as it did was a big achievement. As of this writing, "Part Time Lover" has earned $90 in performance royalties and $15 in mechanicals. However, both writers have had other songs published and have no trouble getting their material listened to.

I will probably return to Nashville because it is a fun and exciting place but in the meantime, our own screening committee can do just as well as any group of publishers. When I got back from Nashville, CSA expanded the screening committee to include Ginny Bales, Don Donegan, Will Ewing, Joe Manning, Bill Pere and Bob Smith. Perhaps the most important thing I learned from those Nashville trips is that one does not have to be a hit songwriter or even a good writer in order to be a good song screener or critiquer. The two skills are different and future CSA speakers have confirmed that fact.

1982 was very important for CSA because we finally got our tax-exempt status from the IRS. Our original applications had been turned down because our emphasis was on "encourage and promote" as well as education. Bill Pere, Carl Henry and I re-wrote the application and asked for a hearing in Hartford to argue our case. The result was full tax exempt status (501 C-2) which allowed us to solicit tax exempt contributions. Soon after that we hired Mr. Roy Welch, a professional fund raiser from Mystic, to help us redo our printed material and guide us in writing grant proposals. That summer Karen Riem, Dan Reilert and I spent many hours researching foundations that support art groups. We wrote up a dozen ten-page grant proposals and mailed them out to Exxon, Rockefeller and other foundations to try to secure funding. Although our first attempts were not successful, the groundwork has been set for future attempts.

Our showcases in 1982 continued in Groton through March and in New Haven until August. In April Ron Nicolai got another show going monthly in Meriden at a club called Mauris’. This show lasted five months. In November, member Jim Tomasiewicz produced on show at the Goodtime Groggery in Waterbury.

Other CSA shows included the May 23 South Eastern Connecticut Expo at the Groton/New London airport. Bub Julian, Charlie Kendrick, Bill Pere, Karen Riem, Don Donegan, Bob Smith and Ron Patton all performed and Will Ewing coordinated the show and provided sound. Will again booked entertainment for the New London Sail Festival using our regular CSA performers. I produced a show for the Noank Historical Society on July 4 featuring me and my new singing partner – CSA member Diane Sullivan and another new CSA member Aggie Gervais. In August I handled entertainment for the UCP telethon using our regular performers plus new members Jim Tomasiewicz and Rick Bloeser. In September, Ron Nicolai and Don Szamier did a CSA benefit concert for the Muscular Dystrophy telethon in West Hartford. In October I again ran the entertainment and sound for the UCP Harvest Festival. Several new CSA members performed including Jeff Miller, Tim Philips, Toni Cole, Larry Batter, Lisa McKenna and Tom McAndrew. Bill Pere rounded out the 1982 concerts with another show at the Noank Group Homes. This was the year I had the pleasure of presenting a special award and an honorary membership to artist Judy Collins during her July 3 concert for over 2000 people outside at Fitch High School in Groton in the rain. The engraved plaque was donated by Mallove’s Jewelers of New London.

Our newsletter editor Bill Pere, began a free album listing and exchange service in the newsletter whereby any local artist could list his/her album or cassette product in the newsletter. Also, Bill’s informative writings entitled "Songwriters Coloring Book" began appearing regularly in the newsletter and attracting attention in the broader music community.

Our speakers for 1982 were as follows: Rusty Gordon of Rustron Music at our first New Haven meeting; Don Donegan on the Nashville Trip; Jim Baker and Tom Cogan of Flash Groups talent agency; entertainer Tom Stankus; performers Lenore Troia and Cathy Grier; vocalist and teacher Joel Blum; Paul Hanoud of Fostex Corp and Caruso Music; Bill Pere and Lloyd Sherman on songcrafting; hit songwriter Gary Burr; performer AJ Gundell who spoke to us in October at our first meeting in East Hartford; Chris Brown of Person to Person Productions; and producer Vic Steffins.

This was the year that new member Bill Fuller used to drive to our meeting from Maine. We ended up 1982 with 126 active members and 131 inactive (people who have not renewed their memberships) and 16 honorary members. A total of 63 new people joined CSA this year including: Jim Blackburn, John Lamb, Don Szamier, Miriam Murphy, Ginny Bales, Fred Harrington, Diane Sullivan, Peter Coukis, Bob Stevenson, Lenny Pepin, Judy Gamble, Jim McClimon, Joe Ronan and Jeff Postman. We are grateful to Karen Riem and Lloyd Sherman who joined the Board. The 1982 annual awards went to Bob Smith for service and to Bill Pere for musical achievement, releasing his "Crest of a Wave" album.  At this time, released recordings were on vinyl, expensive to make, and were few and far between for independent artists.

1983 was to be the last year in my first run as president of CSA. Our Board now consisted of me as President; Carl Henry, Vice President; Joe Manning, Secretary; Bill Pere, Treasurer; Karen Riem, Assistant Treasurer; and Directors: Will Ewing, Bub Julian, Bill Last, Ron Nicolai, Dan Reilert and Lloyd Sherman. Later that year Kim Perez (our 300th member) was added to the Board.

We began rotating the monthly meetings on a regular basis between Howard Johnson’s in Old Saybrook, the Holiday Inn at Yale in New Haven and the Holiday Inn in East Hartford. George David Weiss came up to us twice that year from new York and other speakers in 1983 were: artist Bill Lauf; Jill Frisbee of the American Song Festival; ASCAP’s Lisa Schmidt; Folk Legacy recording artist Cindy Kallet; Bobby Weinstein of Broadcast Music Inc (BMI); Rusty Gordon of Rustron Music; CSA Panelists Don Donegan, Carl Henry, Joe Manning and Bill Pere; professional writer and entertainer Ginny Bales; entertainer George McCannon III; and Chuck Vanderman of Roland Corp.

In April several CSA members met with George David Weiss and Connecticut Congressman Bruce Morrison to discuss the problem of home taping and recent challenges to the basic concept of copyright.  This was a  pre-cursor to the later issues raised by the Internet and electronic downloading..

This was the year members Stan Prosco, Deb Patterson, Bill Pere, Mary Noel and Joe Manning wrote articles for the newsletter and John Braheny’s "Songmine" articles appeared regularly as well as articles from Doug Thiele of SRS in LA and George David Weiss. The newsletter also contained several reprint articles from Billboard, the AGAC news, the Miami Herald, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Music Connection Magazine. As we stressed the educational aspect of CSA, we obtained our first Benefactor Member, the Rt. Rev. Horace W. B. Donegan of New York (my uncle). Several members released their own albums including Carl Henry, Bill Pere, Nancy Tucker, Bill Lauf, Cliff Japhet, Lenore Troia and Cathy Grier, Tom Stankus, Elmer Hawkes, Robert Griffin, Cindy Kallet and Tom Callinan. They all listed their albums in the newsletter’s Record Listing and Exchange Column.

This was the first year without a songwriter’s showcase, however, we participated in six concerts. In February CSA helped sponsor a Greenwich Village Folkfest at the Connecticut College in New London. Bill Pere and Will Ewing performed along with several folk musicians from New York City. In May, Bob Smith and Ron Patton, Bill Pere and Bruce Prescott performed a benefit concert for the group Freeze on the campus of the Connecticut College in New London. June saw CSA members for the fourth year in a row at the UCP telethon at the Coast Guard Academy. The following performed: Don Donegan, Lisa McKenna, Bill Pere, Bud Patterson, Carolyn Cramerossa, Paul Hebert and Hat Trick, Bruce Prescott. In July we did the New London Sail Festival for the fifth year in a row. In October the following CSA members performed at the UCP Harvest Festival at the Harkness in Waterford: Larry Batter, Don Donegan, Tom Callinan, Steve Easterbrook, Debbie Harris, Deb Patterson and Carolyn Cramerossa. Bill Pere rounded out the year with another show for the Noank Group Homes.

By the end of 1983 we had 120 active members (55 new people and 65 renewals). It was a good year and new people got involved. The following joined: Siggi John Loh, Michael Vereneau, Deb Patterson, Dave Ramsey, Steve Easterbrook, Connie O’Connor, Jules Arpin, Chick Westover, Charles Barberi, Al Forsyth, Sandy DeFeo, Ron Nazzareno, Richard Lee, Walt Brundage and Nick Petrizzi. Awards went to Don Donegan for service and to Colleen McGeehan and Stan Prosco for musical achievement. Their song, "Part Time Lover," had been released by Comstock Records as a result of my song plugging efforts. I felt avenged from my first trip to Nashville in 1979. The system can work and the songwriters do not have to pay to get a record.

1984 was the year I began to finally let go of some of my CSA duties. Will Ewing had gone back to teaching and I realized that CSA would have to move its base from the New London area to either New Haven or Hartford to reach new people. During our Board meetings in 1983, I had indicated to the group that new leadership was needed for 1984, and to my great pleasure Joe Manning from Torrington indicated a willingness to serve as President and to start scheduling the speakers and running the meetings. I agreed to maintain many of the administrative duties and act as an executive director. Our new officers for 1984 were: Joe as President; Carl Henry as Vice President; Ron Nicolai as Secretary; Bill Pere as Treasurer; Deb Patterson as Assistant Treasurer; and Directors: Ginny Bales, Don Donegan, Bub Julian, Bill Last, and Bob Smith. Later Deb Harris and Larry Sarezky were added to the Board.

Our speakers for 1984 included: Jeff Bauman of R A Records; Fostex Company; Attorney Alan Siegal, author of "Breaking Into The Music Business;" disc jockey Dr. Frank; David Weinberg of Night Thunder Records; Jay Gitlan, music historian, musician and husband of CSA board member Ginny Bales; panelists Joe Manning and Greg Drew at our first meeting in Danbury; John Braheny, co-founder of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase; Bobby Weinstein of BMI; Bill Pere on lyric writing; Paul Hotchkiss and Don Donegan on the business of music; and Cub Koda, recording artist and hit songwriter.

In April I convinced the Groton Motor Inn to host our monthly showcases and we produced five successful shows. On June 2 I again got the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon sound job and scheduled the following CSA performers for this all day live TV show: Sparkie Allison, Larry Batter, Bonnie Brown, Don Donegan, Deb Patterson, Bill Pere, Carlton Scott and Valerie Walsh. On October 6 U.C.P. again hired me for the sound work at the Harvest Festival at Harkness in Waterford and the following performed: Rick Bloeser, Jim Carpenter and Kelly Martel, Don Donegan and Diane Sullivan, Bill Pere, Deb Harris and Bruce Prescott. Our last 1984 show featured Bill Pere and Nancy Tucker for the 5th year in a row at the Noank Group Homes.

In September I moved from Waterford to Orange partly because I wanted to expand CSA into New Haven and Fairfield counties. I still had the newsletter assembly and mailing list duties and while it was difficult to move away from our newsletter editor in Mystic, I felt we could generate better press coverage in a larger town. The press gives priority to local organizations and unless the group is really well known throughout the state, they don’t cover it. So we changed our CSA letterhead to my post office box in Orange and started a press campaign. The plan worked. We got a two-page photo spread in the New Haven Register describing our activities and focusing on the recent success of Stan Prosco and Colleen McGeehan’s song "Part Time Lover." We also got articles in the Norwalk News, the Milford Citizen, the Danbury News-Times, the New Milford Times and our first articles from The Courants’ rock critic, Frank Rizzo. As a result of this press coverage, 61 new people joined CSA in 1984 including: Ida Flemming, David Lewis, Bill Bivona, Winona Silvia, Gabrile DiNello, Daniel Beers, Henry Gaewsky, Emanuel Yandacka, Clarisse Zielke, Eddie Jerz, Matt Dale, Terry Edgar, Bruce Falls, Greg Berger, Monique Topolski and Tony Aintui from England. We ended up with 121 active members and this was the year we started presenting special 5-year and 3-year membership certificates to deserving members. Bub Julian did all the calligraphy on these certificates. The 1984 CSA awards went to Joe Manning for service and Carl Henry for musical achievement.

1984 was the first year we operated in the black financially. We ended with a $663 surplus and we were able to pay off the previous year’s secreterial and fund raising consultant fees. This would not have been possible without our tax-exempt status granted in 1982. Member Deb Patterson secured a $400 grant from Aetna Life and Casualty to underwrite a musical program in Hartford and Treasurer Bill Pere donated $500 to the CSA treasury, which was later matched by Pfizer Inc. . Of our total $7,764 income for 1984, 50% came from dues, 21% from donations and the rest from seminar fees, shows and concerts, goods sold (market books) and paid ads in the newsletter.

From 1979 through 1984 our emphasis had been more on the performing aspect not only because Will and I ere both performers and sound men but also because it was the fastest way to gain publicity and exposure for the new organization. Joe Manning was our first non-performing president and during 1985, he became very adept at song critiquing. He streamlined our song critique sessions and helped form better guidelines for the song screening service. Joe’s vast knowledge of many types of music and pleasant helpful personality gave CSA a big boost. For the first time I could see myself letting go of CSA and feel the group would carry on. Our 1985 officers were: President Joe Manning; Vice President Carl Henry; Secretary Ron Nicolai; Treasurer Bill Pere, Assistant Treasurer Deb Patterson and Directors: Sparkie Allison, Ginny Bales, Don Donegan, Deb Harris, Bub Julian, Bill Last, Larry Sarezky and Bob Smith.

During Joe’s second year as president, he secured personal interviews with recording artist July Collins, Nashville stars Ricky Skaggs and Mark Gray, folksinger Tom Rush and the legendary Dave Brubeck. The resulting articles made great reading in our newsletter.

Our featured guest speakers for 1985 were: professional talent manager Cheryl Scott; AGAC’s George David Weiss (his fifth visit to CSA); music attorney Ed Kellman, an all-day Saturday workshop on June 8 conducted by hit songwriter and author of "The Craft of Lyric Writing" Shiela Davis; Joe Manning on lyric writing; recording artist and publisher Scott Zito; Ascap’s Lisa Schmidt, Broadway writer Tom Jones; and publisher/radio-TV personality Paul Payton.

In April the Board voted to create the position of Executive Director. This was a logical move to split off some of the duties from the president and to further increase the number of people involved in running CSA. In May I was appointed CSA’s first Executive Director which paved the way for the present system of shared leadership.

My relocation to Orange produced several benefits for CSA. In addition to getting better press coverage due to our New Haven area letterhead, I acquired a roommate to share the house I was renting. He happened to be a CSA member with a computer and a generous spirit. Thanks to Terry Edgar our membership list and newsletter mailing labels were computerized for the first time.

The 1985 newsletter contained excellent articles by such writers as John Brahany, Bill Pere, Shiela Davis, Monte Dunn and Joe Manning. Joe began reviewing members’ album releases and wrote reviews on the following: Karen Reim’s "Yes Yes Yes Love Is Everywhere;" Bob Smith’s and Ron Patton’s "Sail Away;" Bill Pere’s "Crest Of A Wave;" Vinny Ribas’ "Love On Tap;" and Nancy Tucker’s "A Little Stronger." The following members were pictured and profiled in the newsletter: Ron Nicolai, Monique Topolski, Marisa Manthey, Siggi John Loh, Russ Curl and Sparkie Allison.

This was the year our CSA bumper stickers were created and we ended up with a double order (for a single price) because the printer used black ink instead of blue. This was our first year with no income from shows, but we received over $1800 in donations including another generous gift from Bill Pere, and a matching gift from Pfizer, Inc. We ended up the year with a small surplus of $119 which is really all we have to do to remain solvent. We enrolled our 400th member, Rosalie Fenn and signed up 60 new members including: Sal Orio, Greg Allen, Diane Leigh, Barry Searle, Linda Getty, Tom Wagner, Fran Henriques, John Kostrisak, Nicholas Burke, Ed Rainville, Harvey Snitkin, William Weber, David Lips, Janice Patterson, Helen Patterson, Beth Boykin, Clark Howell and Mark Noster. We ended up the year with 147 members. The year-end award went to Paul Hotchkiss for musical achievement and Ron Nicolai for service.

1986 was to be my last year of active leadership in CSA for awhile. Our new board had grown to 17 people and future leadership would emerge from this group. Officers for 1986 were: President Joe Manning, Vice President Deb Salling (formerly Deb Patterson), Secretary Ron Nicolai, Treasurer Bill Pere, Assistant Treasurer Sparkie Allison, and Directors: Ginny Bales, Bill Boutin, Bonnie Brown, Walt Brundage, Terry Edgar, Carl Henry, Bub Julian, Colleen Kennedy, Robert Stevenson, Monique Topolski and Chick Westover. I continued on as Executive Director and during the year Joe and I worked hard to get new board members involved because Joe felt three years as President was enough for him and I knew I would be headed for Florida January 1 of 1987 to perform for four months at campgrounds and RV parks.

Our first speakers for 1986 were hit songwriter Gary Burr and free lance writer Charlotte Libov of the New York Times was there and wrote a good article on CSA – our first in the New York Times. Other speakers for 1986 included: George Davis Weiss; Attorney Ed Kelman; BMI’s Bobby Weinstein; performer Tom Stankus; booking agent Rudy Szlavi of Trod Nossel Artists; and Jay Gitlin, author, musician and husband of CSA member Ginny Bales. This year also featured several all critique sessions and a panel of CSA’s Screening Committee. This committee, using Bill Pere’s first draft, created the Constructive Song Analysis sheet to assist members in evaluating songs submitted for screening. The five basic areas of lyric and concept, music, structure and form, technical production and general were detailed on the form and 32 songs were submitted by 20 members. Members who had songs passed were: Bill Bivona, Walt Brundage, Don Donegan, Terry Edgar, Leigh Henry, David Lips, Joe Manning and Bob Smith.   The song screening process went through various revisions and eventually evolved into a theme-based series of compilation recordings, more suited to the niche-marketing that came along with the advent of the Internet.

After seven years we finally got around to giving the newsletter a name. Editor Bill Pere held a "Name This Newsletter Contest" and 15 entries were received. The winning entry was "Connecticut Songsmith" submitted by Leigh Henry who was awarded a free membership. Joe Manning continued his Record Review Column in the newsletter and reviewed Larry Batter’s "Romance," the Morgans (Tom Callinan) "Soundings For The Whale," Bill Pere’s "Family Portrait," and Bob Smith’s "He Call To You." The Artists’ Forum section of the newsletter included articles by Bruce Prescott, Bob Smith, Sparkie Allison, Don Donegan and Colleen Kennedy. Secretary Ron Nicolai interviewed Rob Hyman of the Hooters and Sparkie Allison interviewed country artist Gus Hardin. Member profiles this year included Deb Salling and Larry Batter.

In May I got back into the concert business and secured payment for the Up On Living Concert in Waterbury. With help from member Iris Troisi we presented the following CSA performers: Bill Pere, Deb Salling and her group Innisfree, Monique Topolski and her band Looking Glass, Bub Julian, Don Donegan and Ron Nicolai.

Financially we ended up the year with a surplus of $754 due in part to Bill Pere’s gift of $800, which was again matched by Pfizer. We raised dues from $30 to $35 for new members and kept renewals at $30. A total of 47 new people joined CSA in 1986 including: Steve Vozzolo, Bob Sundgren, Cathy Karpinski, Phil Russell, Diane Jellinghaus, Ed Cormier, Robert Jones, Gail Rogers, Leigh Henry, Amy Feldman, Catherine Vitti, Eric Litsky, Joseph Santo, Allen Grant, Dee Crandall, Hal Wegman, Nick Evento, Allen Kiertz, and Ruth Ann Kotkosky. Our active membership list totaled 146 and a total of 485 people had joined CSA. The 1986 awards went to Tom Callinan for musical achievement and Deb Salling for service. The trivia contest was brought back this year and the winner was Sparkie Allison.

Toward the end of 1986 Joe Manning and I sat down with the CSA Board and detailed the various duties and functions of the president and executive director. For our entire eight years, I had maintained the membership rolls and the newsletter labels and assembly jobs. CSA was very fortunate to have two dedicated directors, Bub Julian and Chick Westover, step forward and assume the top leadership positions for 1987. The combined talents of Bub – a full performer and long-time CSA member and Chick with extensive business background and songwriting skills made a great team of future leadership. Bill Pere agreed to take over the membership and newsletter label jobs and Joe and I agreed to stay on the Board. Our 1987 Officers were: President Bub Julian, Vice President Joe Manning, Secretary Ginny Bales, Treasurer Bill Pere, Assistant Treasurer Sparkie Allison, Executive Director Chick Westover, and Directors: Bonnie Brown, Don Donegan, Cathy Karpinski, Colleen Kennedy, Ron Nicolai, Deb Salling and Bob Stevenson. I left for Florida feeling confident that CSA would flourish and I could now for the first time devote full energy to my own music career.

Our list of 1987 speakers included: Joe Manning on lyric writing; Bill Pere on taxes; recording artist Cyd Slotoroff; Bub Julian on CSA’s future; recording artist and publisher Scott Zito; artist Nancy Tucker; artists bill Lauf and Horace Williams; producer and artist Vic Steffens of Cannon Recording Studios; George David Weiss; a home demo workshop with CSA members Clarke Howell and Bub Julian; hit songwriter Gary Burr; recording artist Bruce Pratt; and several all-critique sessions. In addition, Bub Julian, Joe Manning, Chick Westover and Bill Pere led a "Back to Basics" workshop on a Saturday in November, and Chick Westover and Bub Julian conducted a songwriting workshop for the public at the Branford Folk Festival in July.

The highlight of 1987 had to be our three songwriter showcases at the Dock in Old Saybrook. Member Larry Batter had been performing there and he and Bub Julian convinced the manager to book our shows. Bub and I did the sound work, Dee Crandall took photos and the following performed: Nancy Tucker, Bill Pere, Allison Farrell, Ted Strange, Nick Evento, Lloyd McCool, Mark Noster, Ken Isman, Bonnie St. Jean, Tom Callinan, Don Donegan, Bruce Prescott, Clarisse Zielke, Charlie Kendrick and Chris Leigh and his heavy metal band Truth. We got two good press articles from these shows.

In May we signed our 500th member, Helen Mannle from Milford. The newsletter profiled Peter Coukis and Bill Pere’s created character Lotta Bull. Member Sparkie Allison interviewed artists Cris Williamson and June Millington and the newsletter had good articles by Attorney Paul Insinna, Bub Julian, Bruce Prescott and Bob Leone of The Songwriters Guild of America.

Members Diane Leigh and Jim Small started a new service to CSA when they got Storer Cable to tape our performers in their Groton TV studio and aired these 30 minute spots on public television. The following CSA performers were taped: Bub Julian, Bill Pere, Bruce Prescott, Don Donegan and Peter Coukis.

CSA members Deb Salling, Nancy Tucker and Bub Julian put on a holiday show for the Connecticut Hospice in Branford and Deb Salling secured an Aetna grant to finance this show.

Also during 1987 we revived the "pass of play" sessions before each monthly meeting. Four or five people would play and sing an original tune for the first half hour of the meeting.

Chick Westover was responsible for instituting guidelines for Song Share Sessions in members’ homes and our 1987 hosts were: Dee Crandall, Ed Dean, Don Donegan, Nick Evento, Bub Julian, Eric Litsky and Joe Manning. Between 8 to 12 people attended these meetings and each song presented received an in-depth analysis.

The annual awards went to Chick Westover for service to CSA and to Ginny Bales for noteworthy musical achievement. We ended up the year again with a surplus of about $1600 thanks to Bill Pere’s $1000 donation, which was matched by Pfizer.

1988 saw several new ideas become reality. We started meeting twice a month and Danbury became a regular meeting location. Bub and Chick worked hard to line up speakers for the extra meetings and workshops and our featured guests included: the Song Screening Committee; Tom Callinan; artist and publisher Burt Teague; artist Alison Farrell; a panel of Bub, Joe Manning and Chick Westover; BMI’s Bobby Weinstein; Tom Stankus; artist A.J. Gundell; Jonathan Love from ASCAP; producer Louis Lofredo; Bill Pere; George David Weiss for his ninth visit to CSA; several "all critique" sessions and a collaboration panel. In addition John Braheny, the well-known co-founder of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, came here for his second visit to CSA and let an all-day Saturday workshop and critique session. Bub Julian and Joe Manning again held a songwriting workshop at the Branford Folk Festival and CSA sponsored two "Back to Basics" seminars led by Bub, Joe, Bill and Chick.

Other new projects completed included our CSA t-shirts, a collaboration profile and the 1988 Songbook. Helen Mannie was instrumental in creating our t-shirts and Bob Stevenson drafted the collaboration profile. Chick Westover produced the first CSA Songbook containing members’ lyrics and lead sheets.

In August we held our annual outdoor picnic and volleyball game at Hubbard Park in Meriden, and in October The Hartford Advocate featured CSA on the front page of its weekly news and entertainment paper. Free lance writer John Pinter came to one of our critique meetings and brought a song the Advocate staff had written. John’s article was the most comprehensive and best written article we have ever received. Our own editor Bill Pere completed his ninth year with continuous monthly newsletters and the 1988 issues contained articles by Ginny Bales, Joe Manning, John Braheny and Attorney Paul Insinna.

This year was the completion of our two press profiles covering ten years of Organization and Meetings and Showcases Benefits and Concerts. With assistance from Bub Julian and Martha Theon, I spent dozens of hours pasting up forty-two 11"x 17" sheets of paper to create a visual record of our accomplishments.

We sponsored several shows in 1988 including another show for Connecticut Hospice in February with Deb Salling producing and performing. In May, Larry Batter produced a two-hour show at Lake Quassapaug for the Up On Living fair. Larry performed as did the four-piece band "Truth" featuring CSA member Chris Leigh. In July, Bub Julian succeeded in getting CSA into the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts with a Friday night concert entitled "First Annual Songwriters Invitational." The following CSA members performed: Ken Isman, Bob Boucher, Bub Julian, Howard Lehrman, Helen Mannie, Tom Nichols, Bob Roush, Deb Salling and her group Innisfree, Ted Strange and Clarisse Zielke.

As 1988 comes to a close, CSA is planning several big events for next year’s tenth anniversary. The Board has appointed Bill Pere, Mary Stacie and me to screen and produce an anthology cassette album featuring CSA member’s songs. Pfizer Company has provided money for this project as well as $1000 for a "Tenth Anniversary Songwriters Showcase" in the New London area where CSA got started. Bub Julian and I are planning shows in the New Haven and Hartford areas and the publicity committee chaired by Helen Mannle plans to make the public more award of our service.

This pretty much concludes my effort to describe CSA’s first ten years. In addition to the above mentioned achievements, there are dozens of smaller accomplishments by individual members who got songs published, learned to craft songs and collaborate, recorded their own material, starting teaching music courses, gained valuable performing experience, and learned some of the pitfalls in the music business. I would bet that fewer songwriters from Connecticut are being ripped off from songsharks, and the public is more aware that successful songwriting is a valuable art form that requires knowledge and hard work as well as talent.

As we enter our second decade, I am very glad and proud we have a CSA. This group is in the capable leadership hands of President Bub (Les) Julian and Executive Director Chick Westover with continued service from Treasurer and Editor Bill Pere. Former presidents Don Donegan and Joe Manning continue on the Board along with such talents as Sparkie Allison, Larry Batter, Tom Callinan, Dee Crandall, Bob Foetch, Ken Isman, Helen Mannle (who now uses her stage name of Kayte Devlin), Deb Salling, Bob Stevenson, Martha Theon and Clarisse Zielke.

In closing, I would like to give special thanks to Barbara Clavette of Middletown who volunteered to type the original version of this history, before the days of electronic word processing. Special thanks also to Peg D’Amato who did the job of re-typing this electronically 15 years later for posting on the CSA web site.


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