|NEW Letter from Annie Spring 2008
It has been a long time since I have been in touch and I apologize for that.
On December 3rd, 2007, I was in a head on car crash that really took its toll on me mentally and physically.
I was in shock for days, but even so carried on with my commitments. It’s only now that I realize the extent of what happened and how fragile we are. When the emotional side became calmer and all the x-rays and MRI’s were complete, the doctors found out that I had 5 bulging discs in my cervical spine and lower back. My hands and arms were hurt too, stopping me from painting.
This was difficult to deal with, but I am thankful that I am alive. I am having Physical Therapy to help mend my back, arms and hands. My emotional side is a lot stronger and I am almost back to normal (whatever that may mean for me!).
The policeman who came to the scene of the accident said that if I had not been driving my Volvo station wagon, I would probably have not survived.
My advice to anyone buying a new or pre-owned car, is to please consider a Volvo as they are rated as one of the safest vehicles on the road and I highly recommend them.
Mine died the day of the accident, which upset me greatly. I am, and always have been, a car lover and so it was difficult to lose it, but at the same time I was thankful that it was that car I was in. I have another now and no other car would come into play for me.
I am starting to paint again and may possibly be doing some singing this year. I will post any news on that later. Also, I will be a part of a very different kind of art show in May in Point Pleasant, PA. I will post all the information on my site soon. Thank you to those of you who have come to see me in the past at my art shows. I appreciate the support.
A very big thank you to those of you who bought the ‘Seal Haven’ Holiday Cards. I was dealing with that during the time of the accident but managed to get that dealt with. Actually it helped me keep sane having to get them signed and mailed. A nice size check was sent to the HSUS on behalf of the polar bears. I am making the cards available again to help benefit the beautiful seals that need help too. The card is basically an all year round card and not primarily for the Christmas season. I hope you will consider it. I will add a reminder on my homepage regarding that soon.
So now it looks like Winter is over and we got off rather lightly with the weather... apart from extremely high winds, BUT thankfully, little snow.
Please keep checking in on the site, there will be news and new art added soon. Please keep in your hearts, love for the planet and all its children human and animal.
I am sending positive love and healing thoughts to you all.
Love and Peace,
November 24, 2007
In the spirit of my favourite season of the year, I am proud to offer the image of one of my paintings, 'Seal Haven', as my first Holiday card.
This will be on behalf of 'The Humane Society of the United States' who are actively involved in fighting against the trophy hunting of Polar Bears.
Click here to see the card.
The card is 5"x7" and printed on high quality velvet paper, the inside will read:
Love Light and Peace
Price: $15 for six cards plus shipping. I will happily autograph the front of the cards if requested
For ordering information please e-mail: email@example.com
Love and Peace,
November 14, 2007
The Pets For the Elderly Foundation (PFE) is a national 501(c)3 public charity that assists with the adoption fees when a senior citizen adopts a new 'family member' from one of the animal shelters participating in their program. There are currently 59 shelters in 32 states that are part of this program.
From now into December, PFE will be hosting a series of eBay (click here to see doggies) auctions entitled 'How Much is That Doggie?' several well-known celebrities have donated their time and talents to autographing (and some designing) 12" autograph dogs that will go up for auction, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the placement of companion pets with the elderly.
As a Board Member of PFE, I have donated three original "works of art" called Faith, Hope & Charity to these auctions they will be sold as a set and, because they are original pieces of art, are not intended as toys for children and are not washable. I had so much fun painting these and they seemed to come alive with the color!!!
You can preview the Doggies on the PFE website during the November/December charity auctions or go straight to eBay. We anticipate that there will be four weeks of auctions some of the others whose Doggies will be auctioned include:
Sir Anthony Hopkins, Loni Anderson, Joey Bishop, Jim "Garfield" Davis, Jeff Foxworthy, Dr. Phil McGraw, Jaclyn Smith, Bill Hayes & Susan Seaforth, Alan Jackson, Ed Asner, Dyan Cannon, Helen Gurley Brown, Mouseketeer Judy Harriet, Jay Leno, Wes Craven, Celine Dion, and Betty White.
October 29, 2007
For all my Vegetarian (and non Vegetarian) friends out there, I have been perusing this site, 'The Vegetarian Society' for some new ideas for my Thanksgiving and Christmas menus this year.
I found many choices and wanted to share them with you.
As many of you know I am convinced that my Vegetarian diet saved my life when confronted with breast cancer in 1993. My surgeon (a meat eater) was the one who pointed out that he felt the lump in my breast would have been twice as big if I had not been a 'veggie'.
Food for thought in many ways...
Happy, healthy eating.
August 26, 2007
Back in April of this year, I was approached by Bucks County musician Kevin Mackie (Think of 3), to donate a song for a CD dedicated to raising funds for the 'Serenity House Hospice Support of Doylestown', PA.
I was happy for this opportunity to give back to the community of Bucks county, that I am now part of, and call home.
I contacted my friend and co-writer, Rave Tesar, to ask if he would be willing to donate 'Michael' Prince of Angels to the project, and without hesitation he agreed.
I asked Kevin, who was doing the artwork for the CD, and was excited when he said that I could be a part of that too if I wanted, so I said YES!!!!!!!!
I painted the house (I mean a painting not 'painting the actual house' !!!! (which is not built yet) from an architects rendition of what it will look like, and then added my style making it half surreal and half real...the result was a warm inviting house.
I am very proud of the painting and ended up designing the whole CD package with graphic artist Krista Wallhagen. Click here to see the 'Serenity House' painting.
Giclee copies of the painting on canvas, will be available through my site in the art gallery section (scroll down to the bottom), and all proceeds will go to the 'Serenity House' fund.
The actual CD is wonderful. An un unusual array of musical styles that are quite diverse but fit together so well because of the sentiment behind them.
Musicians that donated tracks are: ASIA, IAN ANDERSON, PAT DE NIZIO from the Smithereens, ROBERT HAZARD, THINK OF THREE, KATHY SLEDGE and some very talented up and coming new artists also gave their time and music to this project.
On September 6th, at PUCK in Doylestown, there will be a CD listening party along with 'live' music from some of the local musicians that took part in the CD.
Please check out:
www.myspace.com/serenityhousecd and www.pucklive.com for more information on the party.
Hope you can make it. I will be there but not performing. Come and say "Hi" and hear some great music and get to meet some great people too!
Official press release below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kevin Mackie
INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL ARTISTS DONATE TIME AND MUSIC FOR 'SERENITY HOUSE' CD TO BENEFIT THE SERENITY HOUSE AND HOSPICE SUPPORT OF DOYLESTOWN
Kevin Mackie, from East Coast Recording Company, has put together an album called “Serenity House” to benefit the Serenity House Hospice Support being built in Doylestown, PA. The impressive list of artists, who donated songs to the album are: ASIA, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Pat DiNizio (The Smithereens), Robert Hazard, Kathy Sledge (Sister Sledge), Think Of 3, The Luck Brothers, Jann Klose, Sterling Koch (V.I.H.), Dave Renz with Bob Miles and Steve Pullara.
Annie Haslam also painted the original artwork "Serenity House" for the CD cover, and designed the CD package with graphic artist Krista Wallhagen. One hundred percent of the profits will go to hospice.
Nina McKissock, R.N. (founder and visionary for the house that supports those in hospice care) explains the “Serenity House and Hospice Support of Doylestown Inc. is a volunteer organization providing physical, emotional and spiritual support, without cost, to those incurably ill members of our community and nurtures those who love them. Within a freestanding residence or within someone's home, our highly trained compassionate volunteers provide non-medical care to those at the end of life. Bereavement counseling and financial services are also available.” The capital campaign will begin in the near future and, once the funds are raised, the construction will begin.
This CD was made possible because of caring donations from sponsors: Shop Rite of Warminster (owned and operated by the Brown Family) and The Albin Family Foundation.
The CD, “Serenity House” will be released on September 6th, 2007. There will be a CD release party MC'd by Grover Silcox, television personality at WLVT PBS 39 (Tempo TV magazine) and worked ten years at The Fox Morning Show in Philadelphia. The party will be held at the Puck, 1 Printers Alley, in Doylestown, PA. For more information on the release party go to www.pucklive.com.
You can purchase the CD at www.myspace.com/serenityhousecd.
In the album's notes, WMGK-Philadelphia radio personality Debbi Calton writes, "The music on this CD was donated by the artists as their way of being a part of the story. All of these musicians have provided their own brand of shelter in this wonderful collection of songs: some gentle and introspective, some rousing and vigorous, all intending to tend to the human spirit."
February 5, 2007
Geert Steffens's body was found February 2nd, in the river Lahn, Giessen Germany, where he was attending medical school.
It is difficult to know what to say in this sad situation, a promising life cut short for no reason!
Thank you to everyone who prayed for him, and sent such comforting letters, they were passed on to Geert's family.
Please pray for them.
Love and Peace,
Janurary 29, 2007
Please take a moment to read the following:
A friend of mine has a friend in Germany who is going through a traumatic time right now.
His son has disappeared.
Geert Steffens is a 24 year-old student living in Giessen, Germany. He disappeared on December 23, 2006 shortly after 4 a.m., after leaving the discotheque Agostea in the West part of the city (apparently this is mostly a college town because of two universities).
Geert is 1.90 meters, or a little over six feet tall with short brown hair, slim with an athletic build. He was wearing a knit hat, olive-green cross-hatch hooded zip-front jacket, blue jeans, a blue Lacoste polo shirt, and blue Adidas sneakers.
The criminal investigation department phone number is 0641-7006-2555.
If you know anyone who lives in Germany or in the vicinty of where Geert lives, PLEASE contact them to let them know that he is missing and pass on the web link to them and everyone they know.
There is always hope, and the beauty of the Internet is that it can stretch around the earth connecting millions of people... maybe reaching that one person that can help us find Geert.
I thank you ahead of time for any help that can be given concerning this unacceptable and heartbreaking situation.
Love and Peace,
December 8, 2006
It is with great sadness that I inform you that my little dog Daisy left this earth this morning.
She was fifteen years old. She had given me a lots of Love and Joy during our time together.
A beautiful little girl who I miss already, a light has gone out in my home. I know however that she will always be 'around' in spirit. Click here for photo.
Many of you know of Daisy and many have met her in the past. She has graced several shows with her appearance, from the TLA in Philadelphia to the Christmas shows at The Upper Tinicum Lutheran church in Upper Black Eddy, PA.
Please say a prayer for her...
November 21, 2006
This letter has been a long time coming because so much has been happening in my world!
My animal family are doing well and since I wrote last I have adopted a little boy Chiwawa (that's how I spell it!) who I have named 'Love' (click here for photo). I have called him many names other than that!!!!! since he has been with me , HELP... he's a RUNNER !!!!!!!! But overall his name suits him well. I find that people are usually quite surprised by his name which has turned out to be an effective way to spread the most powerful word there is! I LOVE IT!
He was rescued from the Euthanasia room in a high kill shelter in Philadelphia by Animal Alliance, a wonderful caring organization, dedicated to saving animals from shelters, that would otherwise have no hope.
I hope this next piece of news is a nice surprise for you, I even surprised myself by making the decision to do this! I was going to release this sometime in the future but decided now was the time.
My new CD is called 'Woman Transcending', and is comprised of rare recordings from my 'solo' career dating back to the 70', 80's, and 90's.
I am extremely excited for people to hear these songs, some of which have never been released by anyone, and some that were released on other CD's that were not so easy to find. The songs I have chosen for this CD, cover several styles of music, some that you wouldn't normally hear from me.
Getting all the elements together was quite emotional as several wonderful people that were involved, were lost to us in recent years. This CD is a tribute to them.
So many of you have been with me on this musical journey. It has been a wild ride sometimes. Stumbling blocks and upsets, joys and much LAUGHTER... but never giving up...
We have all gone through these chapters in our 'lives'. With many of you I have had personal contact and insight into 'your lives'. Whether it was assurance and support in illness or advice on 'how do I become a singer!', I am always touched by any request that is aimed at me as a 'regular' person and not just an entertainer.
I am eternally grateful to everyone involved in this CD and also to everyone who will get to hear it.
During these recordings, I was very fortunate to work with some wonderful and talented musicians and songwriters, including Tony Visconti, Steve Howe, Michael Haslam, Warwick Embury, Mike Rutherford, BA Robertson, Mike Read, Rod Edwards, Neale Heywood, Kit Hain, Raphael Rudd, The London Symphony Orchestra, David Biglin, Dick Plant, Bob Brown and Ward Parks.
I am also proud of the performances from my band at the time, Rave Tesar, Mark Lambert, Dave Keyes, Joe Goldberger, and Larry Fast, who performed as well as produced the first three songs.
Although Raphael Rudd didn't write the song he is performing, I chose this because he is playing the Harp, which was quite rare; it is a beautiful piece of work. We sadly lost Raphael in a car accident. His spirit and talent were strong, and all who knew him, miss him a lot!
I also sing a Bee Gees song which I found suited my voice very well. Tony Visconti did a great job with this one. It was originally recorded for the Blessing in Disguise CD but for some reason we did not include it. I am glad we didn't, as I feel this is the right time for it to be heard.
One song in particular is very special to me, in that it is the only song I ever recorded with my Brother Michael, whom I lost to lung cancer a couple of years ago. His voice was magnificent and I am proud to be able to share it with you. If you have never heard Michael sing, I think you will be surprised and impressed by the power and timbre in his voice, it always brings me to tears... a cross between Elvis and Roy Orbison.
This recording is quite 'raw', but even so, I decided I wanted his voice to be heard, so I ask you to be forgiving with the quality of this piece. It was done on the spur of the moment while I was visiting Michael and recovering from breast cancer. Singing this with him, helped me a great deal in my healing process! I only wish I could have sang with him more.
A friend I wish I could have known better, was Warwick Embury. I met him and Jo for the first time in 1986. We hit it off immediately as we had the same sense of humor. Apart from being a very talented songwriter, he was also a 'special' soul, who touched every person he met. He was larger than life in many ways.
'Shadows' is one of my favourite songs on this CD. I remember the day we recorded it, as there was a lot of snow on the ground and it was FREEZING. It took me a while to 'defrost' before I could sing... and now as I write this, I can smell the log fire in Warwick's lovely old house... what lovely memories.
In 1998, I traveled to Jackson, TN, to record with members of Carl Perkins' family. This was an incredible experience, meeting and recording with this very talented family. It was truly an honour. I recorded two 'country' songs written by Carl, Debbie, Stan and Greg. I loved singing these two songs. It shows a completely different side of me... Annie 'sings' country!
On a lighter note, my experience meeting and working with Mike Read on 'Hunter Trials was a lot of fun! Mike who is very well known DJ in the UK, has recorded two CD's, dedicated to the poetry of English Poet 'Sir John Betjeman'. Mike brought the poetry even more alive by adding his poignant music.
I enjoyed singing this song as I could pretend I was a young schoolgirl 'again'! You will hear me giggle towards the end!!! A fun piece!
This collection of songs was recorded at various times and in different countries, and because of this, the sound quality will vary a little... but I feel this adds to the emotion and beauty of this CD.
'Woman Transcending' also represents my 'personal' journey through Music and Art. Art is such a huge part of my life now, so I couldn't let this CD out into the world without having it involved.
The painting for the cover artwork is my portrayal of 'Leonardo de Vinci'. Giclee copies of the painting on canvas and Archival paper are now available. (click here to see image)
I am particularly thrilled to share this painting with you, as it is my own meaningful rendition of an extraordinary man, that also happened to be known as 'The Renaissance Man.' He was also a vegetarian and a singer! There were no second thoughts when I was deciding what artwork to use for this project. This just felt right.
'Woman Transcending' will be released on White Dove Records, December 5th, and is now available to pre-order in the STORE section of my website.
If you wish me to sign the CD, then please request that in the comments section of your order.
Or you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other requests or questions.
The new CD will only be available to purchase through this site. If that changes we will post an update.
On a personal note, my eternal thanks go to my 'x' husband' and forever friend Marc Hoffman, and Laura Gardner for all her patience and expertise while we were designing the CD artwork!
I do hope this CD warms your heart, brings back fond memories, and makes you smile.
Love , Light and Peace,
September 7, 2006
I would like to share with you a personal story from September 11th, 2001. A day that everyone will always remember.
In 2001, I was approached by Nick Haros to sing at his mother's memorial concert. Frances Haros, Nick's mom had lost her life in the attack on the World Trade Center.
I wasn't able to grant his request, so he used selected songs of mine that he thought appropriate for the ceremony. I was very touched by this. Nick stayed in touch with me, and we met up for the first time in person at my New Hope Art show this past June, 2006.
After that, we started to talk about me painting my interpretation of the attack on the Twin Towers, before and after...in memory of his mother, Frances. Nick was very specific about the feeling that he wanted me to portray, at the same time allowing me the artistic freedom that I needed to capture that day. He also was specific about the size and wanted the canvases to be in correct proportion to the buildings themselves, hence I had the canvases specially made up.
Nick also worked at the World Trade Center, but that day he was away from New York on business!
His Father, Nicholas Sr., was also connected to the Twin Towers. He was part of the excavation project, at the very beginning...How extraordinary for three people from the same family to be so connected to the same workplace.
Please take a moment to read about Frances. She was the inspiration for these two very special paintings.
As the anniversary draws near, I feel fortunate to have been able to express my thoughts and feelings in these paintings.
God bless all the people who lost their 'lives' and all the families they left behind.
In Love and Peace as always,
Proceeds from sales of 'Ascending and Descending' in the form of Giclee Canvas prints, prints and postcards will be donated to Families of September 11 in loving memory of Frances Haros.
If you have any interest, please contact Grace at email@example.com
December 9, 2005
This newsletter is way overdue, I apologize…so grab a cup of tea or glass of wine, there’s a lot to say!
This year seems to have gone so quickly but when I think of all that happened, I realize that everything that I experienced was worthwhile, even though stressful on all kinds of levels. It’s called plain old ‘LIFE!’ Boy did I live it, a roller coaster of emotions and professional situations being tested to the limit…
Earlier in the year, the shows I did in the Spring with David Sancious were a lot of fun. Working with David was very different. I had to apply a completely different discipline to my way of performing. It was him and me, so much space on stage, LUXURY!
He is so talented, I would lose concentration sometimes just watching him…not a good idea when there are only two of us on stage and eye contact is very important! He put a new feel into the old Renaissance songs which was different every night!
We did four new pieces that were influenced by my artwork. In particular he wrote some instrumental music to portray the painting ‘Melinka’ which is about an Alpaca, he captured her perfectly. This painting can be seen in the commissions part of my website. We also did ‘Heartsong’ which is a love song that I wrote the words to (this also is another painting).
We did six shows and when we did the last one at the Sellersville Theater, we wanted to just carry on. Here are some photos of David and myself.
Then I went to England to visit friends but decided that it is not a country that I want to be anymore, so America remains my home and I am thankful!
Summer came and went and not being a lover of hot weather I was happy when it cooled off. As it cooled off here I went to Brazil to do a concert in Rio with Marcus Viana and his progressive rock band ‘Sagrado’.
On one of the two planes I had to fly on to get there, I picked up a virus! I came down with it the day after I got there!!!
Most of my time in Brazil I stayed in Niteroi with my friend Carlos. I got to see more this time than before. I enjoyed very much going inside the Museum of Contemporary Art which to me looks like a UFO!
My art opening at 'Fazendola' was to be on the Monday. I was not feeling good but did it anyway. My good friend Mark Lampariello (Lambert) came to the opening. Many of you may remember that Mark was in my band (guitar), as well as Renaissance in its later years. It was great to see him; he has a permanent tan and now and lives in Rio with his wife and one year old daughter. Mark now is the MD and guitarist for Ute Lemper and travels the world with her.
Luiz, who is my friend in Brazil and who was promoting the show, flew with me to Belo Horizonte to rehearse for two days with the band. I could only direct them and had no voice to sing! A few things got ‘Lost in Translation’ and I feel exhausted just telling you…
Anyway, I saw a second specialist the day of the show, but still had no voice even though the burning had subsided! He gave me a huge Cortisone injection which opened up my throat and instructed me to spend the rest of the day drinking water eating as many APPLES as I could and gave me some exercise too.
Well, I managed to do the show, highly medicated that I was, but I was scared, as I had never done a show without ANY rehearsals at all…I guess there is always a first time for everything…The show went well considering. Before I went on, Marcus and his band had rehearsed an overture of Carpet of the Sun and Let it Grow. It was wonderful. The band did a very good version of Ashes are Burning too.
The set list was:
Carpet of the Sun (Marcus played Violin)
Sweetwater (Marcus’s song)…loved this one…(Marcus played Violin)
Michael Prince of Angels (Marcus played Cello in this)
She’s Leaving Home (Marcus played Flute in this)
Let it Grow (Marcus played Violin)
After the Oceans are Gone (Marcus played Violin)
Ashes are Burning (Marcus played Violin)
All in all it was great experience. Marcus plays violin, cello and Brazilian flute, and to hear those added to my music was very emotional. I came off stage and gulped down a huge glass of champagne due to my overwhelming relief! And then took a photo!
The reason was, that in my dressing room I had a plate of fruit, on there were cashews, still attached the fruit that bears them. I had to share this with you, I used to think they grew on trees!
After the show we all proceeded (at 2:30 a.m. I didn’t go on stage until 12:30 a.m.) to go to an Indian restaurant! Got to bed at 5 a.m.! I was a zombie at this point!
The next week I spent with my good friend Carlos and his family and friends and I felt like I got to experience the real Brazil, we drove around and saw some lovely beaches and one of the highlights of my trip, WATER BUFFALO, lots of them. They were so beautiful and were a lovely dark gray color.
One day we went with Silvia, Carlos’s Mother, to buy some AIPIM (Yucca)…the man dug it out of the ground cut off the roots and planted the tree back in the ground to grow more…that was an amazing sight! And it tasted wonderful! The food as always was amazing but the weather was unpredictable, just like here.
The evening we arrived in Saquarema there was a thunderstorm over Rio that we could see from the roof of Carlos’s house. There was a lot of thunder and lightening and for the first time I saw HORIZONTAL lightening, I thought I was seeing things, what a storm. That night Rio was flooded!
I wish my camera had been working, the power converter had broken so I could not charge my camera…(grrrrrrr). I missed some wonderful moments in Saquarema because of that.
The old town with a little white church on top of a hill overlooking the sea, that at night was lit up blue and green, there were little brown ‘owls’ dotted along the edges of the beach, almost like ‘lookouts’, quite moving to see such beauty.
Even though from start to finish it was a very dramatic visit (the story of my life), it was wonderful to be with Luiz and Carlos again. I still can’t speak Portuguese and probably never will, but I do my best which amuses ‘some’ people I know, hahaha.
At the end of the two weeks I felt physically better but not 100%. Even so, it was a trip that I will never forget and will always be thankful for. I made some new friends and got to play with some great Brazilian musicians.
Click here for photos from my trip to Brazil.
On returning from Brazil I sent three paintings to Florence, Italy to be part of the Florence Biennale. I had been invited out of 800 artists worldwide to participate in the show. I was honored and so thrilled. The show runs from December 3rd to 11th.
So it is now almost Christmas time, and hopefully it will be a white one! I will do my best not to take so long in writing next time.
I wish you all Happy Holidays. I pray that the New Year will bring good health and happiness to all of us and most of all PEACE to the Planet.
Love and Peace,
P.S. The flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil could set off a storm in Texas. Isn't that an amazing statement? The "Butterfly Effect" theory suggests that the power released by a butterfly's wings can amplify over time to eventually affect weather patterns thousands of miles away. Now imagine the impact of 4 million butterflies!
December 21, 2004
It has been a somewhat crazy unusual year for me, and I am sure for many of you too. I will be writing soon after the New Year begins with more detailed news and our next 'Painting Competition'.
I wanted to share with you this photo of 'Daisy', one of my precious animals.
She LOVES SNOW!
Until then, I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and a Healthy, Prosperous, and above all PEACEFUL New Year.
In Love and Light,
August 1, 2004
My experience at NEARfest on July 10th and 11th at the Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem, PA, was one that will stand out in my memory for a very long time. NEARfest is the brain child of Rob LaDuca and Chad Hutchinson, and this was its 6th year. It is the largest Progressive Rock Festival in the U.S. It promises each year it has been in existence, to unveil diverse progressive music in a way that no others have done.
A friend, Jud Patterson, was the catalyst responsible for me being at NEARfest in the first place, and Rob and Chad were very welcoming to the idea. Originally I was a little hesitant to be involved, especially as I was not singing. I thought that it might stir up some emotions inside of me, regarding my decision to not sing for a while, but was relieved to find out that it was not the case at all! I was there to introduce my artwork and had no problems in making that the focus of my appearance there. There were many people that were fans that I had met before and many that I had not. Some folks came from as far as Russia, Japan, Norway, Germany and Costa Rica for this magical weekend. I am sure there were more countries represented. They had all gathered together at this weekend festival, all with the same thing in common, their love and support for ‘progressive music.’
I was accompanied by my friends Mark and Dara Murray who helped me set up my artwork and be my sidekicks. It was a very memorable weekend in more ways than I can count! The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with a concert by The Musical Box, which is a remarkable Genesis tribute band. They did a marvelous job. My good friend keyboard wiz (Synergy) Larry Fast was there and he agreed on that. He is probably the best person to judge, as he played with Peter Gabriel for several years and was well versed in the music of the night.
As we had an early start on Saturday morning, I decided that it would be best that we should stay overnight in Bethlehem. We stayed at the old Hotel Bethlehem, which was full of character, even down to the lounge singer who went as far as following folks into the elevator with her cordless microphone......AH! The wonder of technology! And although I could not turn the shower on and could not find the towels in the bathroom (DAH) work that one out!......I was still enjoying every moment of staying in a Fawlty Towers type of setting!
The Zoellner Art Center where the event was staged, is a lovely building that houses three separate concert halls as well as art galleries. From the minute we arrived to set up (9 a.m.), the first music lovers started to drift in, armed with old album covers and CDs to sign and their hard earned cash to spend on new gems for their collections! The first show of the day started at 11 a.m.!
I was thrilled that my artwork was received so well. It was fulfilling for me to hear the different comments about it and to be asked some very interesting questions. I spoke to people about music, of course. I was also presented with some bootleg CDs, which was most upsetting but seems to be a sign of the times!
This year featured the full electric band version of the Strawbs, Frank Zappas band alumni Mike Keneally, and eight other eclectic bands from around the world. I didnt get to see any of the music, until the end of the second night, and it was the Strawbs. I am sure most of you who are Renaissance fans, will know that John Hawken, who plays with the Strawbs, was the very first keyboard player in Renaissance, before even I joined. I had a nice chat with all the guys in the Strawbs (except Dave Lambert). The last time we had all met up was back in the early 70s at the Tower Theater in Philly, when we all performed on the same bill. We had a lot of laughs and it was good to hear those British accents! I was also honored to be asked to sign a very special guitar that would be raffled at the festival in support of Gary Strater from the band STARCASTLE' and his fight against pancreatic cancer. The guitar was raffled and was then donated by the winner to the next festival RogueFest and then to Prog Day. A very nice gesture indeed.
The main highlight of the weekend, for me, was meeting Roger Dean who was also there displaying and signing his artwork. Roger is best known for his album cover artwork for the bands YES and ASIA and his Home for Life architecture. What a thrill. I think he is a genius. His work is so full of possibilities of other worlds and dimensions. I can really identify with his imagery; I get sucked right in to the landscapes with their magnificent color, and Rogers articulate style just takes my breath away. He has a reputation for being a really nice person and very friendly. He lived up to that most definitely, plus a great sense of humor! Although we had moved around through the years in much the same circles, we had never met. It is interesting that we should finally get to meet when my focus in life had shifted to painting. He was accompanied by his lovely daughter Frejya, who is also a gifted artist which of course is no surprise. Click here to see Roger and Annie.
I will be appearing with my artwork at NEARfest again next year and look forward to it. I recommend it to anyone who loves progressive music. It was like a large gathering of friends, but friends from far-off lands......I am sure you can tell from what I just told you, that my first experience at NEARfest was a positive one. I send greetings to all the new folks I met up with, and hope we meet again.
Always think loving and positive thoughts.
Peace and Love,
June 9, 2004
I want you to know that this letter is about some issues that are very close to my heart, and I felt a need to pass on my thoughts and observations to you because it means so much to me to be able to share this with you.
The sun is shining and the long cold winter is but a memory (thank goodness!) So sit down with a cup a tea, as this is a long letter, I have lots to tell you!
It is time to count our blessings and enjoy these warm nature-filled days. Groundhogs and deer abound in my garden and I encourage it, but they seem to be part of a dying population, due to the heartbreaking tearing up of the earth and the man made destruction of natural animal habitats, all to build yet more new housing developments.
I can understand, to a certain extent, the desire to have a bigger home to house a family and entertain friends, but the future of the children growing up in these homes will be affected greatly by this earth and natures devastation. Hey! Why not buy a house thats already there, rather than one that is taking away more of the integral landscape, and depleting the ecological system?
I get very emotional when I see what is going on and very stressed that most people don't care! That's the killer for me! I know that I have to accept that everyone has their own choices in life, but I get upset easily when it comes to the obvious destruction of the planet and the fading animal kingdom. It's right before our eyes, it can't be any clearer.
We cannot live without the animal kingdom, nor can we live without the beautiful earth and the trees that give us the oxygen we breathe. It is common sense. I know that many of you feel the same as I do, and hope together we can spread the word to help make others understand the urgency of what is going on. I will be putting up a new 'links' page very soon which will take you to different sites to learn more about what is happening and what you can do to help.
The reason you are on my site, and reading this, is because you know me from the beautiful music that I was part of (and still am) and my artwork that seems to be touching folks too. All of this would not be possible without the beauty that surrounds us all, this gift that is Mother Earth. All inspiring.
On Saturday May 22nd, I attended the Farm Sanctuary Gala at the Plaza hotel in NYC. I had donated a painting Piglets in Paradise inspired by a photo of a piglet that they had sent me and that had brought me to tears. I was born in the year of the pig/boar and feel this is why I was so sensitive to this image.
The evening was very special, and the four course vegan dinner was some of the best food I have ever tasted. The evening started with a reception and hors doeuvres that were so good I can't put into words how good they were. I was privileged to be invited to the VIP reception attended by Farm Sanctuary spokesperson Mary Tyler Moore, Chrissie Hynde, Fred Schneider from the B52s and many other celebrities. (Farm Sanctuary Gala photos)
I went there with Marc and Heather Hoffman, also big animal activists like myself. At the next table was artist Peter Max and his wife Mary. She received an award for Outstanding Activist for Farm Animals and was greeted with a roaring ovation from the audience. She apparently lives and breathes her beliefs, and is highly active within the organization.
After the dinner, Mary Tyler Moore spoke about the plight and treatment of farm animals. I applaud her strength and tenacity and her involvement with the sanctuary. I would not have been able to speak to an audience (I know thats hard to believe of me) without breaking down, as the atrocities that are happening to farm animals are too devastating for me to put into words. I will let you see for yourself on the web site link included. Several short videos (which are available for you to purchase and see for yourself) were shown which made me sob uncontrollably, so much for the make-up! I know many people feel they cant watch these images and I was the same. However we need to know the truth about what is happening, and how dangerous the intake of meat, especially from animals that have been abused, can be for the human body.
When we eat any food that is made with love our bodies thrive. When we eat food that is made with hatred or comes from fear, as in the trauma of an animals slaughter, then we ingest that into our own bodies. Again this is common sense. In the words of Sir Paul McCartney if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian!
Towards the end of the night we were treated to some great music. Chrissie Hynde gave a moving performance of I'll Stand by You, for which received a standing ovation and Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson from the B52s also sang 'Love Shack' and a few more hits! (Click here for photo).
The evening will stay with me for a long time. It was a different experience being with so many like minded people, the atmosphere was calming yet electric. The Gala happens every year and I would highly recommend it. Please check out the Farm Sanctuary web site at www.farmsanctuary.org
You, who know me so well, will know that I mean only the best for everyone, and this has been an intimate and emotional letter for me to write. I feel I can share this with you, as most of you have been in my life for many years and have been interested in what I have been doing. I also know that many of you have become vegetarians because of my influence, and this is something I urge others to do. My surgeon, who performed my lumpectomy for breast cancer in 1993, said that he felt if I had not been a vegetarian, the lump in my breast would have been twice the size. In which case I would not be here today.
I am sending love to you all in hopes that everyone will have a safe and happy summer. I will write again very soon.
Love and Peace,
February 7, 2004
My young English friend George, lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday the 21st of January. His mother said he was a brave little soldier, and having spoken to him by phone I could tell that was to be true. I could also tell that he had a profound effect on those who knew him and feel that, for some greater reason, his strong spirit was needed somewhere else at this time in his young life. I was unable to attend, but was there in spirit and in voice as the song A Thousand Angels from The Dawn of Ananda CD was played during the service.
A hundred balloons were released in Surrey, England for a brave little soldier who will never be forgotten.
Thank you to everyone who said a prayer for him, I know that it made a difference and it gave his family more added strength that was needed.
God Bless You George!
Love and Peace,
February 2, 2004
First, I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. Last year was a very positive year in many ways, I have missed singing, but my tooth implant surgery is closer to completion. I would like to thank everyone who has sent me goodwill messages it helped a lot.
On a personal note, I had a totally unexpected loss. My close friend Ed Sciaky died on January 29th in New York City of a heart attack. He was 55 years old.
He has had health problems for a few years, but this did not deter him from traveling any distance to see and hear his favorite music. I am sad that I could not have said goodbye, and feel it was way too soon for him to be taken from us. His life was music, his wife Judy, and daughter Monica.
The service was like no other. There was a constant stream of people wanting to show their respect. There were at least a thousand people in attendance with more people outside the chapel that could not fit in. There were many tears. There were celebrities, friends and fans. People he had touched by his friendship, his warm friendly voice on his shows, and his great love of music. A very clever, intelligent man whos knowledge of music knew no bounds.
In attendance were Max Weinberg (drummer for Bruce Springsteen), Steve Forbert, Rob Hyman (The Hooters), DJs Gene Shay, Helen Leight, Michaela Majoun, Debbie Calton, John Dabella, Pierre Robert, and many other friends and devotees of this very much loved voice of Philadelphia.
I commend Gene Shay who made the first speech that was both touching and funny. Max Weinberg also spoke about how he had helped Bruce (and band members too) in his rise to fame and how like with all his favorite musicians would never miss a show! Loyalty was his middle name!
My friend, and close friend to Ed and Judy, Amie Richan, was overseeing the service and also gave a lovely speech, but the most poignant was from Eds daughter Monica. It was hard to hold back the tears as she spoke of the love for her father and of how much he had loved her too. Monica is studying opera at North Western Music University in Chicago and has a magnificient voice, who I believe will be very successful one day.
The service was well over an hour, with Rob Hyman (on keyboard) and Amie playing violin, giving a short recital. There was also (taped) music by Monica, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Nils Lofgren, and also quotes from Billy, myself and Chris Squire from YES that had been on WMGK radio the day before.
Life will be very different without Ed, he changed my life and I probably would not be where I am today if it wasnt for him. I am one of many who feel the same.
I miss him so much already. He will always be in my heart and the hearts of many he has touched over the years.
He was a pioneer in radio and probably the last of his kind. Radio is big business corporate in structure now and the freedom to play whatever they wish has been taken away from the DJs.
God Bless you Ed. You will never be forgotten as long as there is music!
Love and Peace,
|December 18, 2003
I am now recovering from my front tooth implant, which you will know from my earlier correspondence, has stopped me from performing my Christmas shows this year. I didnt realize the effect that it would have on my general health, but obviously when a piece of metal is put into the body, there has to be some kind of reaction
Aching teeth seems to be the order of the day! I am managing to deal with it and my painting helps a great deal to distract my attention. I am adding a testimonial page to my site so to show paintings that folks have purchased along with their comments about them
I hope you will take a moment to check on my artwork when you visit my site, there are always additions being added regularly.
We are working on updating the site as quickly as we can and I apologize for it not being finished yet, there has been a lot to deal with. I am very proud of the way it is turning out and have had some wonderful comments about it. I am especially looking forward to adding the photography page, as it will not only have photos of me, but photos taken by me, photography is another love in my life.
In the discography section you can now hear some samples of my singing (for those of you who dont know my voice).
There will be some interesting links to other sites too.
I am praying that we (on the East Coast of the USA) have an easier winter this year, although I have to be honest and say I would like another White Christmas!
I will miss seeing all of you that have faithfully come to the shows for the past seven years; they were very special to me too.
Until we cross paths again, I wish you all Happy Holidays! I hope that everyone has a fun and peaceful time, and I also wish that the New Year brings all that you desire and wish for, and PEACE, which is integral in all our lives.
Stay warm, keep smiling and laugh as much as possible!!!!!!!
Thats my recipe for today!
Love, Light and Peace,
|November 21, 2003
On Saturday the 15th November at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ, I had the very great honour of sharing the stage with a well-respected musician I have admired for many years. It was something that happened out of the blue when I had heard that he would be performing in my home territory.
The person I am talking about is Ian Anderson! He is touring with his Rubbing Elbows with Ian Anderson show along with a really great band of musicians (all from the UK).
It was such a treat to meet everyone and hear the familiar accents from my homeland, very friendly guys and very funny too, but even more so was the way I was royally treated and made to be relaxed and part of the show. (I hadnt performed since last February and was due to have my tooth implant the following Tuesday so singing was not in my agenda for the rest of this year). The song that was chosen was Northern Lights as it was a favourite of Ians. We rehearsed it a few times in the afternoon and it came out very well. It was a great feeling to hear a real flute in the song instead of a synthesizer, which is used normally in my own band!
Ian is traveling around the USA and each city he has different guests who join him onstage to perform with him. Mostly they have been young aspiring musician/songwriters.
The stage was set up in an unusual way with the band on one side of the stage and a sofa on the other where the guest would first sit and be interviewed by Ian before joining him and his band for a musical piece. Andre Gardner, well known DJ from WMGK FM radio along with Ian announced me and brought me out onto the stage (where we rubbed elbows). The audience were surprised to see me and gave me a warm welcome, that was a relief! We talked about when we first met in the 70s and then we talked about my CD One Enchanted Evening and then my paintings...
Ian also involved the audience in several fun things and overall, the evening was thrilling and a lot of fun! If you get a chance to see this show, I highly recommend it., The air was electric all night and Ians performance was flawless as were his bands'. A night I shall remember for a long time!
On another note: I am now aching a little from the implant (tooth I might add) at least that is over with for another 6 months! I never realized how long a process that would be.
I am looking forward to a quiet Christmas, although I will miss seeing all of you that have been coming to the annual shows for the past seven years.
I will be in touch again soon. Until then, take care, laugh a lot, we need to do that!
Love and Light,
|November 5, 2003
I have had a wonderful time meeting old friends in the past couple of weeks. Two of those being Rick Wakeman and Eric Idle (the latter not a close friend but of course unforgettable and well known as part of the Monty Python lot...
I went to see Rick (www.rickwakeman.com) play at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia. His show was very entertaining and very brave as it was a one man show! His playing was breathtaking as usual and his humor typically English and a little 'rude', not unlike mine! If you get a chance to go and see him in his solo show where you live, I guarantee a great night out!
If you click on to Eric's site you will see some of his journal he is keeping while he is touring the USA with his 'Greedy Bastard Tour'...an interesting tidbit from my past is included...note he calls me ANN!
His show was on Halloween at the Keswick Theater, Glenside, PA, he was very funny and everyone had a great night, a little bawdy at times but for me anyway and probably everyone there it was side splitting! The folks that joined him in his little 'sketches' were excellent too!
There will be news of Haslam activities very soon...keep checking in.
Love and Light,