Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Spirit of Giving-2008

Several folks have asked me where MGAPR contributions were going in 2008 (in lieu of holiday cards and client gifts). MGAPR made contributions to:

***The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, which provides food to a number of non-profit programs throughout our area. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work with them on a capital campaign project to build a new warehouse. I've been very impressed with their organization and their ability to deliver. For information on their programs and services:

***The Trevor Project, which operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. When I started working with AOL's LGBT program (then called On Q), The Trevor Project was a pioneer in reaching out to gay kids in crisis. For information on their programs and services:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mark's Very Short, Very Much Edited, Year-in-Review

Mark's 2008 in Review: Work Highlights

***MGAPR continued to provide special events and travel planning to 88.5FM/WFCR and its AM broadcast service, 640AM/WNNZ. (for 22 years -- yikes, time flies !!!) MGAPR assisted the stations by producing annual performances of "The Capitol Steps" and a reading/booksigning with best-selling author/memoirist Augusten Burroughs, whose "A Wolf At The Table" is set in our region. We organized a Santa Fe Opera trip (which will be repeated in 2009). MGAPR also helped the station partner with local non-profit cultural organizations via event co-sponsorships.

***MGAPR partnered with the Mike Thornton Agency to assist with marketing and publicity for New England performances by The Capitol Steps in Vermont and Cambridge/Boston.

***MGAPR worked with Cross-Culture Journeys in Amherst on several projects, including press and publicity for its international tours, copy for its website and newsletters, and efforts to enhance its partnerships with public broadcasting stations and other non-profit institutions.

***Other projects included serving on the Editorial Board of the Northfield Mount Hermon School's award-winning NMH Magazine; editing (for the 11th year) an online newsletter that launched during my early days at AOL; teaching a marketing/public relations workshop for my colleaue Brenda Garton at Western New England College; providing coffee and copy for resumes and cover letters for several unemployed colleagues; and strategic planning for several clients.

Mark's 2008 in Review: Play

***I spent many hours iced-caffeinating and tanning--for the latter, I made daily trips to the condo pool, where I edited the poolside gossip newsletter, organized a couple of dinner outings, and a picnic evening for some summer Shakespeare.

***I worked with classmates on organizing my Northfield Mount Hermon class reunion, and managed a great early-June weekend with my prep school buddies. I was re-elected class secretary and to the next reunion committee (scheduled for 2013). It is comforting to know that our class remains eternally youthful, and a tad scary to see us progressing to the front of the line for the parade--where the oldest classes march first.

***My best friend in Berlin (and former roomate from my Manhattan days) came to the USA for a week. We ran around New York City and took in a performance of Patti LuPone in "Gypsy". Other memorable theatre trips included "The Little Dog Laughed" at Hartford's TheaterWorks, "Xanadu" with Cheyenne Jackson on Broadway, "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center, and a great local production of "The Miracle Worker" in which my neighbor's daughter took on the role of Anne Sullivan with a performance that was really incredible.

People That Highlighted My Year

***I've been given a great opportunity to collaborate with some talented creative people; 2008 was no exception. It was a joy to work with Greg Jones at Cannes Associates, an event production coordination group; designers Susan Bergeron-West at Sirius Design, Kevin Brady at LSHD, and Michael Kusek at Communication Angle. I've had a great group of colleagues at WFCR, who always make my performance and travel projects look good.

***Two good buddies kept me grounded and focused. One, a buddy from work is making a remarkable recovery from a stem cell transplant to cure his lymphoma. His treatments have been successful. He's been extremely brave throughout his journey. We, along with an entourage of friends, get together for not-frequent-enough lunches and laughter. I'm glad they continued in 2008 and will move forward in 2009. Another buddy was abruptly laid off by his company in July. I helped him format his resume, his cover letters, and his thank you letters; I kept him caffeinated in the process and played cheerleader; I was more excited than he was, when he began a new (and better ) job this month.

***My Dad, who had a tough time after my Mom died in 2006, met a family friend who had been widowed at about the same time. They've become the neighborhood's fun couple, and I sometimes get to go along for the ride.

So, thanks to all who made 2008 memorable, and here's hopes that 2009 shines.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

WFCR Travel Program: 2009 Santa Fe Opera Tour

WFCR's 2009 Santa Fe Opera Tour
August 10-14, 2009
5 days / 4 nights
WFCR Host: John Montanari

For the 4th year, WFCR 's Travel Program is offering a summer trip to The Santa Fe Opera. We prepared this itinerary for WFCR with our travel partners, Ellen Gill CTC and Tours of Distinction.

WFCR will offer one trip as a Winter E-Pledge Prize on December 12-13. For details, see WFCR's website at

The tour highlights:

MON: 8/10/09

We depart Bradley International Airport at 7:40AM and arrive in Albuquerque at 1:35PM local time (via American Airlines with a connection in Dallas/Ft.Worth). A motor coach transfer to Santa Fe is provided. After check-in at our hotel, the La Fonda Hotel on the Plaza in Old Santa Fe, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. An afternoon walking tour around historic Santa Fe Plaza is provided. We dine tonight at the La Plazuela Restaurant at La Fonda. (Those who wish can attend a performance of Gluck's "Alceste" at Santa Fe Opera at additional cost). Meals included: Dinner

TUE: 8/11/09

After a full breakfast at La Fonda, we travel to the Santa Fe Opera House for a private backstage tour of the state-of-the-art theatre, acclaimed for its architectural design. We'll meet the resident costume designers in the theatre's costume shop and see the design process for "La Traviata", "The Elixir of Love" and other Santa Fe productions. We'll lunch (on our own) at the Opera Cantina with members of the Santa Fe Opera's apprentice program. After lunch, we return to Santa Fe. The afternoon is at leisure for sightseeing on your own in Santa Fe or for relaxing at the hotel. After an early dinner at one of Santa Fe's unique restaurants, we attend a performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” with Natalie Dessay. Overnight at the La Fonda Hotel. Meals included: Breakfast and dinner.
WED: 8/12/09

After a Full Breakfast at La Fonda Hotel, we tour the major sites of Santa Fe with a local guide. Stops include Loretto Chapel, The Palace of the Governors and the International Folk Art Museum. After lunch on your own, the afternoon is at leisure to explore the Museum Hill museums, Canyon Road galleries, and other attractions. Dinner tonight is at the Santa Fe Opera's Cantina. During dinner, we'll be treated to an "informance" prior to a performance of Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love”.
Overnight at The La Fonda Hotel. Meals included: Breakfast and dinner.
THU: 8/13/09

After a Full Breakfast at La Fonda Hotel, we depart Santa Fe for a full-day's visit to Taos with a local guide. We'll visit the Bandelier National Monument, site of the ancient Anasazi ruins; the Taos Pueblo and the Millicent Rogers Museum. Lunch on own. After some leisure time to explore Taos' distinctive shops and galleries, we'll have an early dinner at Doc Martin’s at the historic Taos Inn, before returning to Santa Fe. Overnight at The La Fonda Hotel. Meals included: Breakfast and dinner.
FRI: 8/14/09

After a Full Breakfast at La Fonda Hotel, we check out and head for Albuquerque with a stop enroute at the Sandia Mountain tramway. We'll travel to the top of Sandia Peak for dramatic vistas of New Mexico, including Albuquerque. We then travel to Albuquerque's Old Town for sightseeing, shopping, and lunch on one's own. We have an early afternoon check-in for our flight home. We depart Albuquerque at 3:45PM and arrive at Bradley International Airport at 12:45AM on Saturday, 8/15/09. Air is American Airlines via Dallas/Ft. Worth. Meals included: Breakfast.

Tour price includes: round-trip airfare between Hartford/Springfield and Albuquerque; airport transfers in New Mexico and all local transportation in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Taos; four nights accommodations at La Fonda in Santa Fe; 4 breakfasts, 4 dinners; orchestra seating for two opera performances at Santa Fe Opera; guide services, admissions as listed in itinerary; fulltime tour escort, and Tips/gratuities for local guides, skycaps, bellhops. A portion of the tour cost benefits the programs and services of WFCR and WNNZ.

Not included: lunches, alcoholic beverages, items of a person nature, travel insurance, tips for tour escort and bus driver; additional taxes and fuel surcharges, airline charges for checked baggage.


Early Bird (when deposit is paid before March 31, 2009): $3,959.00 per person/double occupancy; $640.00 single supplement. Land only: approximately $300.00 per person less***

Regular: (after March 31, 2009): $4,259.00 per person/double occupancy; $640.00 single supplement. Land only: approximately $300.00 per person less***

Deposit ($500 per person) due to secure reservation. Balance payments due on or before June 5, 2009.

***Participants who choose this must make their own transfer arrangements to/from Albuquerque Airport and Santa Fe at their own expense.

For information on the WFCR Santa Fe Opera Tour: