8th Annual AFABW Arts Festival – Sunday

October 12, 2008 – Hollywood: Day two of The Artists for a Better World (AFABW) 8th Annual Arts Festival continued today on the grounds of Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood, supporting the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), “a group working to create a better future for our children and communities.”

Besides visual artists displaying their work, the Kids Creative Corner and The Way to Happiness Outdoors Club’s 26-ft boat on display, several seminars and workshops were given on Sunday. The day culminated with a display of talent at the Open Mic hosted by Bud Hayes and Annie Brown. The highlights of the Sunday seminars and workshops were as follows.

Public Speaking Without Quaking Knees

This morning, the Toastmasters Group of Celebrity Centre International, the Renaissance Speakers, enabled attendees to experience the art of public speaking. No matter the discipline, all artists reaching the level of a professional need these skills.

May the Best Band Win

In the 400-seat Garden Pavilion, a Drum Circle opened what event producer/musician, Tom Fair, called “A musical event to thrill the heart and soul.” Attendee, Heela Cohen, arrived plenty early for the show. Cohen said, “Tom puts together such a good performance. Last year I got here late and I could have killed myself. This year I vowed to definitely be on time!”

Tom and his new vocal partner, Lauren Perreau, kicked off the concert with a short acoustic set. They were followed by Tom’s award winning music students, India McFarlane and Hutton Rounds, performing a piano duet composed by Tom especially for this occasion.

The featured act, Glendale’s Mission Jam Band, backed up Tom and Lauren on several rockin’ tunes and played a set of their own; the musicians comprising the band are professionals Joe Hesse, Mitch Talevi, Mel Nelson, Larry Williams, Carmen Barth and Bob Sullivan.

The audience had a chance to pick their favorite band in the The Battle of the Best, fought with lyrics and music, featured 9 contenders, namely, Kim Acuna, Niswander, Malou Toler, Ukulele Bartt, 805 South, Sherrie Davis, Garret Swayne, Deanna D’Amico-White and Charlie King. Each audience member took notes on a tally sheet (sponsored by MSS Audio Services of Woodland Hills, Charles Music of Glendale, Theta Sound Studio of Woodland Hills, Black Pedal Records of Los Angeles and Guitar Ideas of Altadena) and wrote the winning band on a 3×5 card. As the last minute votes rolled in, the top three bands were selected. All three were awarded three hours of free studio time with an engineer. Third Place was Charlie King; Second Place was Garret Swayne; First Place was Kim Acuna. Attendee Randy Mate described the event: “It was energetic and fun.”

Last but not least, the winners of the North Star Music Awards for 2008 were announced. With this award, Tom Fair celebrates songwriters whose lyrics help people overcome obstacles and whose lyrics reflect the happiness and joy in life. The top winners in each of three categories winners were: Margaret MacDonald, Holly Light and Charles Hardman.

In a thank you note to Tom, Charles Hardman had this to say: “Thanks again for a great time and for giving us an opportunity to see and hear some great performers. I enjoyed the event tremendously.”

Boy Can She Sing!

Sunday afternoon brought the Vocal Breakthroughs Workshop with Jeannie Deva, Celebrity Vocal Coach, seen on E! Entertainment TV, and author of The Contemporary Vocalist, a Non-Classical Approach for Singers.

In an effort to take their talent to the max, Deva taught attendees how to sing with confidence and power, how to improve vocal range and tone, how to overcome stage fright and how to sing without blow-out. Attendee Justine Fitzgerald said, “I have been in vocal training for three years and have regularly struggled with projection. Amazingly, what I could not master in three years, I managed to do in one workshop. Thank you so much!” Jeana Beeman was also in attendance and declared, “I learned that I can do almost anything with my voice! Funny how before I got here I said to my girlfriend: ‘Maybe you can’t sing because you’re singing the wrong type of music and you need to find your heart song’ – wow was I wrong! Thanks, Jeannie.”

Don’t Venture into the Film Business Alone

Award-winning producer/director, Eric Sherman, has been intimately involved in the film business a very long time. His Film Business Seminar was filled with real life stories which show the inner workings of the fickle-fated film industry. For example, he told of his friend who wrote the perfect Clint Eastwood script, but three attempts to present it through normal channels were balked. A year and a half later, a messenger showed up at the airline ticket booth to pick up tickets for Mr. Eastwood. It was the writer’s wife who handed him the tickets, and she told him her husband had the perfect script for Eastwood, but had been unable to get it to him. Eastwood’s personal messenger replied, “Give it to me; he reads everything I give him.” She pulled out a tattered copy of the script, which she had carried as good luck, and handed it to him. The next morning, the writer got a call. Eastwood, per his contract, was under deadline to choose a script of his preference, or defer to the studio’s choice. It was a sale. Sherman said there were two lessons in this: “One, persistence. Two, be prepared.” The script? “Every Which Way But Loose.” Sherman also gave many informative tips, such as pointing out that no client of his ever sold a script that had a cover on it—two brads, yes, but no cardboard covers.

You Sidle Up To The Piano Introducing Yourself as a Jazz Singer…

On stage in the Theatre at Celebrity Centre International were Bob Sullivan at a drum set, Marty Butwinick on bass guitar and a keyboardist. This professional jazz trio served as the “audio-visual aid” to Cathy Segal Garcia, internationally-known jazz singer, who taught the Jazz Vocal Workshop. Sometimes the best way to learn to swim is to be thrown into the pool. One of Garcia’s students found this out when he told the trio he was coming in four bars early. The keyboardist wanted to know if the trio was to “play the chart,” “play the ink” or “read it down,” which in jazz lingo all mean to play all the notes on the sheet music. The student mistakenly said yes, when he meant to omit those four bars. The result, per Butwinick on bass was another technical jazz term: “a trainwreck.” Garcia pointed out that you might be somewhere and want to step in and play with a trio. It is important to know the lingo so that everyone is on the same page. Students went on to learn more about the art of performing with a jazz trio.

Open Mic Event

The 8th Annual AFABW Arts Festival concluded with the Open Mic event in the Garden Pavilion, which began with long-time rock and roller, Tom Little, who performed songs with his new band, “Eclectica”.

Sheila Baker brought a wide assortment of energetic and entertaining performers who electrified the stage with song and dance. Event producer, Bud Hayes, noted that the event was more of a showcase than an Open Mic and said, “I want to thank all of the performers for their wonderful acts and a special thanks to Celebrity Centre International for their professional staff operating the sound equipment and assisting in making this event a great success.”