Monday, August 31, 2009

Fundraiser for Ronni Gordon.

My colleague and friend Ronni Gordon has been fighting leukemia for a while now. She's quite stoic, and her blogs and articles about her illness, her remissions, her setbacks, and her recoveries are both blunt and inspirational.

I've known Ronni since the mid 1980s, when I was the publicist for a local regional theatre (and she was the features reporter assigned to cover it). I was an arts and features reporter for another media source, and we became friends as we went to cover shows and catch coffees.

It's been a tough summer for Ronni. She got laid-off from the Springfield Republican, and along with the absence of a paycheck was the news that her health benefits were now history. She's a single mom with three kids in school.

A fundraiser has been planned to give Ronni a needed hand. The August 18 request is below:


August 18, 2009
Dear Friends, Neighbors and local Business owners,
How would you feel if you were battling leukemia for almost 6 years and you recently became unemployed?  You were about to lose your health insurance and you had three children, one still in high school.  As a single mother, Ronni Gordon of So Hadley, is faced with these issues.
I am writing to you with a plea for help.  We are putting together a fundraiser in her honor.  It’s scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2009 from 6pm to midnight, at the Holyoke Country Club, near the Delaney House in Holyoke. There will be a buffet, music and dancing.  We are also planning on doing a raffle. This is where you come in.  We would like you to donate something of interest to raffle off.  We’d appreciate any assistance that you can offer, whether it be a monetary donation, an interesting raffle item or a gift certificate of some sort. Perhaps this would be the perfect way to thank your employees and give them each a ticket to the event.
All gifts will be acknowledged with a card next to the donation unless requested otherwise.
If you are interested in attending the party, the price is $20.00 per ticket and you can obtain tickets by contacting either myself or Pat Holtz. I can be reached by my cell phone-335-2377.  Pat can be reached at home-533-2534.  You can also get tickets at my place of business, which is Ahimsa Yoga Center, So Hadley in the Village Commons.   We are shooting for a deadline date of October 16th.
We ask that you take some time to consider how you might help make this event more successful.  It’s in times like these that it’s important to join forces to help someone in need. Let’s make this a powerful and successful community outpouring of support.
Thank you,
Erin Kelly
Ahimsa Yoga Center
123 Homestead Avenue, Holyoke, MA 01040

Hope everyone can help.

Here's an article Ronni wrote for the New York Times about her battle:

Here's Ronni's blog with ongoing recaps of her ups and downs.

"Says You!" now on Facebook

"Says You" now has a fan page on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Says You Holland Trip: Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended

Says You! Holland Trip
Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended

The early bird discount deadline for this trip has been extended until September 30, 2009. For information on the trip and to download an itinerary, look at previous blog postings, or visit or

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Says You" in Tennessee

"Says You" taped performances in Nashville last weekend. A blogger who attended one of the tapings wrote an entry about being part of the audience.

Also, "Says You" heads for Memphis on 3/19-3/21/10. Performances will be held at the Buckman Arts Center at St. Mary's School. For performance information:

People We're Glad We Know: Jane Scheckter

Jane Scheckter is a Springfield, MA born-and-raised talent. Her dad was a well known harmonica player. Her mom was my 4th grade teacher. Jane was one of the first free-spirits I knew growing up in the area. When I worked for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, we had a summer pops concert series at Stanley Park in Westfield. I recommended a series that showcased local talent who had moved on. Jane performed an evening of pops standards before 5,000 people. She won the crowd over. I've seen her subsequently in a cabaret venue where she belongs, because she's dazzling to watch and hear in an intimate setting. If you're in NYC, she's worth a listen. The Metropolitan Room is a great club.



A Tribute to Irving Berlin

“Invaluable musical skill. A bright, clear voice with a brassy edge and a luscious, rounded vibrato. Meticulous phrasing, a sultry lower register...and she swings!”

Stephen Holden, NY Times, May 9, 2008

Metropolitan Room at Gotham

Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7:00

Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 7:30

Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 7:00

Sunday, Sept. 13 at 7:00

Tedd Firth, Musical Director

Tom Hubbard, Bass

Peter Grant, Drums

New York: Acclaimed jazz stylist Jane Scheckter will make her Metropolitan Room debut with her all new show, “Play A Simple Melody — A Tribute to Irving Berlin,” with four shows only on Tuesday, Sept. 1, Wednesday, Sept. 2, Tuesday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept 13. All shows are at 7:00 except Sept. 2 which is at 7:30. Tedd Firth will be musical director with Tom Hubbard on bass and Peter Grant on drums. Metropolitan Room at Gotham is located at 34 West 22nd Street (between 5th & 6th Avenues.) There will be a $20 music charge and a two drink minimum. Discounts for MAC, NYSMS and Cabaret Hotline. Reservations: (212) 206 0440.

As in the past, Jane Scheckter will not be doing a biographical show. Her new show will focus on the music and lyrics; songs that have special meaning to her. Along the way, she will share a bevy of anecdotes from Irving Berlin's amazing career and personal life. She said, “The title is totally misleading because nothing about the man or his music was simple. As Jerome Kern wrote, “ Berlin has no place in American music; he is American music.”

The program will feature many popular Berlin hits as well as some surprises gleaned from Broadway, Hollywood musicals and his lesser know works such as “The Best Thing For You,” “Fella With An Umbrella” and “Falling Out Of Love Can Be Fun.” Ms. Scheckter also noted, “ The fascinating thing about Irving Berlin is how a school dropout (at thirteen,) could emerge as one of our greatest composers ranking alongside Gershwin, Porter, Kern and Rodgers in sophistication, style and versatility.” It will all be enhanced to the fullest by Tedd Firth's swing arrangements with his trio which has been referred to as, “ ... one of the strongest trios in cabaret.”

Starting in New York, Jane Scheckter has performed in many leading night clubs and concert halls around the world including Los Angeles, Paris and regularly on the French Riviera. She appeared in “Our Sinatra” with Peter Cincotti and was a guest soloist with the Springfield (Mass.) Symphony Pops Orchestra with Mike Renzi and Chip Jackson. She regularly headlines at Hotel Majestic at Cannes in their “Jazz Nights” series. She began her career singing backup vocals on Barry Manilow's first album and was a regular at Reno Sweeny's and Grand Finale. She was honored with a Back Stage Bistro Award as Outstanding Female Jazz Singer in 1996 and has recorded three albums, “I've Got My Standards” and “Double Standards” with Mike Renzi for DRG. Her 2003 CD, “In Times Like These” features Tedd Firth, Jay Leonhart, Joe Cocuzzo, Grady Tate and Scott Kreitzer.

On the web,

For information or press reservations, please contact Donald Schaffer at (212) 946 1265 or