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As fall arrives, bringing vividly colored leaves and anticipation of baseball's postseason, I'm pinch-hitting for David Petrelli, who usually authors this column. Two major life events have demanded his attention recently. First, we offer sincere condolences to David and his family after the unexpected passing of his father, Frederick Petrelli Jr., on September 6. By contrast, the second event is a very joyous occasion. On October 10, Victoria Banks and David were married in Wethersfield, CT. We offer best wishes for a life of happiness for David and his bride.
Now here's a rundown of what's happening with alumni in the Nashville area. On July 28, songwriter Greg Becker '96 visited with students at Berklee during a trip to Boston. In a jam-packed day, he sat in on a songwriting class, conducted a master class, and interacted with key members of the songwriting club during a luncheon.
Touring and session guitarist Eric Normand '89 published his first book, The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide. It includes an overview of the Nashville music scene with information on nightclubs, touring, and the Nashville recording industry. Normand shared his firsthand experiences gained working with such artists as Toby Keith, Jamey Johnson, and Rhett Akins.
Alumni Mare Wakefield '04 and Nomad Ovunc '05 are wrapping up a two-month coast-to-coast CD release tour for their latest project, Meant to Be. By the time October ends, they will have performed more than 30 shows in cities across the country.
Guitarist Ron Miller '91 participated in the annual Celebration of Nations festival at O'More College of Design in Franklin, TN, on September 17. Miller played acoustic and electric guitars with Ingrid Salas & Black Shadow. Local musicians and dancers performed together in a festive celebration of multicultural musical performances represented by Tennesseans sharing their diverse ethnic heritages at the historic Abbey Leix Mansion. Miller has served as the musical director for Grammy-winning artists such as the late Bobby Hebb (best known for writing and singing the 1966 hit song "Sunny"), Ted Jarrett, and "Guitar" Johnny Jones.
Tuba player Neil Konouchi '01 is featured on the Alice Cooper song "Last Man on Earth" from the new Welcome 2 My Nightmare CD. Konouchi also recently played with the Nashville Symphony on the premiere recording of Joseph Schwantner's Morning's Embrace issued on Naxos Records.
Songwriter and performer Shantell Ogden '05 released her new country-folk album, Stories Behind Songs, on October 7. The CD release event will raise funds for the children's literacy nonprofit organization Book 'em. Ogden cowrote the song "Lost," which was recorded by Acklen Park and has achieved airplay on more than 60 contemporary country stations around the nation.
Drummer Mitch White '10 has been on tour since July 2011 playing with JT Hodges, a Nashville artist, and on the Toby Keith tour, along with country artist Eric Church. The tour will go through October and includes 35 dates.
Veronica Petrucci '90 has inked an exclusive joint-venture deal with Vicki Mack Lataillade's label, Latin Soul Entertainment. The first project to come from this venture, Made It Out Alive, is slated to arrive in stores in early 2012. Petrucci wrote or cowrote all the songs for this new project, and Lilly Mack and EMI Publishing will handle the publishing. Petrucci also performed on October 1 at the Stand One Body Rally at the Georgia Dome with Cory "CoCo Brother" Condrey, Soledad O'Brien, T.D. Jakes, Fred Hammond, and a host of other artists.
Best wishes to singer/songwriter Eve Fleishman '05 who relocated to San Francisco at the end of September. Fleishman began her East Coast tour mid-October, which will include dates in North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maine.
That's the news from Music City.