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TONI'S
TAKE
- 2007 -

Toni’s Thoughts on Life, Music and Whatever...
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December 25, 2007
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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS | ET APPEARANCE | C&T FUTURE?


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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS
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To all of my Christian readers...a Joyous and Happy Christmas, celebrated in the glow of your faith! To all of my readers of other faiths.... and of no particular faith.... a Warm and Wonderful Holiday Season! I hope all of the holidays that fall from Thanksgiving through December, leading up to the “clean slate” of the sparkling, hopeful New Year, will bring to all of you all of the love, good health and happiness you could possibly hope for. And I hope you will remember from this Christmas to the next, the wise words of the legendary lyricist Sammy Cahn..... ”the secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through.”
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It is Christmas morning in La Quinta, and as I write this at my little desk in the kitchen, I can see, through the sunny window in front of me, the large terracotta flower pots filled with bright red, pink and white geraniums blooming cheerfully in our courtyard.... perfect Christmas colors against the green of their leaves. And as I do every single day of my life, I think of how absolutely blessed I have been in my life. I am truly humbled and thankful.
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Today Daryl and I are going to share Christmas dinner with long-time dear friends of ours. As my regular readers know, my sisters and their husbands were out here earlier in the month, and now is the time to concentrate on friends... who are, after all, extended family, and just as precious. I am trying out a new recipe for my contribution to dinner today...Bishop’s Bread.... a dense, moist cake filled with pecans (or walnuts), chopped dates or raisins, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and chopped marachino cherries. It is meant to be eaten in thin slices, perhaps with a cup of tea or coffee. Just so you know..... it is NOT the dreaded FRUITCAKE!!! If it turns out well, I’ll post the recipe in my blog before the New Year.



ET APPEARANCE

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ET finally aired the segment they shot on us, and before I say anything else, I want to say thank you to the ET producers for including us in one of their shows. It gave us a great deal of exposure for the Christmas CD we would never have otherwise, and we are grateful.
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However, I am now going to give you my impressions of the surreal experience of watching ourselves on that show. To me, Daryl and I seemed like a couple of big old elephants in a room full of darting, racing bees and hummingbirds. It is very clear to me now that television and people’s tastes have really moved on since our heyday. I mean, I knew it, but, frankly, I don’t watch ET or ACCESS HOLLYWOOD or any of those shows. My taste in television runs to news, Public Television and HGTV.
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Daryl and I didn’t know where we would appear in the show, so we watched it right from the beginning. Frankly, after about 15 minutes, I was starting to get a headache. All of the quick cuts, rapid pace, commercials, Paris/Lindsay/Britney/Britney’s little sister/and all kinds of superficial silliness was just getting to me! Most of the “stories” seemed to be measured in seconds. I must say I was pretty amazed when our segment lasted a bit longer than a minute or so... that seemed very generous for that type of show.
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What did NOT make me happy was the emphasis on my comments about Karen Carpenter’s anorexia...... although I now realize that was probably the only reason we made it onto the show. A little bit of “dirt” seems to be needed for today’s audiences. Here is how that happened.
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In November, the ET crew was at our home in La Quinta for about four hours, setting up the lights and camera, taping an interview, taping us performing CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA at our piano, and also shooting some footage of us walking together in our backyard. They also shot some of the personal photos we have in the house, including the one of us that quite a few of you mentioned.... the sepia-toned photo of us taken way back in the early 70s. It was our first “publicity” photo, and we have it displayed on the mantel over our fireplace in La Quinta.
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Anyhow.... after the producer finished our interview and the crew was getting ready to wrap things up, somehow Karen’s name came up. I think the producer and I were talking about singers we particularly loved. She asked if we had known Karen, and I said we had been at A&M Records at the same time and knew each other casually. She then signaled the camera operator to start taping again, and began to ask me about Karen and her anorexia.
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Although alarm bells went off in my head, I thought (in my usual positive way), “Maybe they are going to do a special about Karen some day, and want to store comments from people who knew her in their files.” So I went along with it. It never occurred to me they would use it on the show we were on! After ALL of these years in this rotten business, I am still too damned trusting! Yes, indeed, things have changed, and tabloid TV has taken over.
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I had hoped that my comments about Karen might be used in a way to help other young women (and men) struggling with anorexia and bulemia. Instead, it was used to titillate and tease, and draw in an audience in the cheapest possible way. I am so sorry. She deserves so much more kindness and respect for the great joy she brought to all of us with her beautiful voice.




C&T FUTURE?
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This new year ahead of us looks like it will be a year when Daryl and I will have to make a lot of decisions about our future, and what we want to do professionally in the next twenty or so years of our lives. We have a lot of thinking and pondering to do. Here are some of the things we are taking into consideration as we think about our professional future.
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On the ET show, it was kind of unnerving to watch one’s self “age” so rapidly in such a short piece..... from our first publicity photo (1972) to early TV clips from 1976-77, to our appearance on the GLAAD Awards show back in the early 90s to NOW. Yes, we both look pretty darned good for folks in their late 60s, but there is no doubt that we are now looking rather... ahem.... mature. I see my mother looking back at me from the TV screen.
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This is not a BAD thing.... my mother was such a terrific woman, and so much fun to be around. It is just that, inside myself, I was always that young woman from 1970's TV. Now it is time to move to a much later phase, and be the most graceful, cheerful, MATURE woman I can possibly be. I am thinking that the best thing I can do right now is to pass on to younger people some of the things I have learned over a pretty long career. For example, Daryl and I were thinking about doing some Master Classes for the local Prescott colleges, perhaps passing on some of our performance and music business knowledge to the students.
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Every October in Prescott, jazz trumpeter and music educator, Mike Vax, puts on a jazz festival that lasts for three or four days. The events occur in several venues throughout the town. Last year I had the privilege of attending one of the jazz concerts, which included a performance by a big band made up of Arizona university musicians... I believe they were from either Arizona State University or Tucson. Anyhow, their musicianship and enthusiasm just knocked me out, and took me right back to the days when I sang with the AUBURN KNIGHTS ORCHESTRA while I was at Auburn University in the early 1960s.
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I was thinking that, once Daryl and I get settled into the new house and finally get our music library moved down from Carson City, I would dust off my great big band arrangements, and volunteer to sing and share them with these young college bands. It would be great fun for me, and I think they would love playing the fabulous arrangements Sammy Nestico and Matt Catingub (among others) have done for me over the years. This is kind of what I have in mind... giving back musically in some way.
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I will write more about things Daryl and I are considering for the future as soon as we figure them out!! Right now, I think I’ve gone on enough for now. I do appreciate all of you who take a look at TONI’S TAKE from time to time, and I will try to write more regularly after the first of the year. So... until next time... Keep A Song Of Joy Inside Your Heart!
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December 19, 2007
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UPDATE !!
DARYL AND TONI ON ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT

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Well, we just got word that ET will air the Christmas segment they shot at our La Quinta home in November TOMORROW NIGHT, December 20th. I am so sorry I am so late letting you know about this, but we just found out this morning. Remember, the segment could be as short at 30 seconds, so if you are going to watch for it, don’t blink!!!!
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I think I told you that an ET crew was at our home for four hours last month, shooting the segment. It was supposed to air on their Christmas Special, but according to the producers, they “ran out of time and wanted to give us more time than was available on the special.” Actually, considering how many Christmas CDs have been released this year (about 3 times more than last year), we feel fortunate to be included at all!!!
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I will try to write a new blog before Christmas. Thank you so much for being patient during this busy and hectic time. Right now we are in Prescott, checking on the construction of our new home. In about half an hour, we’re going to be receiving a call from my sister, Louisa, who teaches second grade in Torrance, California. Her second grade class is going to sing I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS just for us over the phone! Louisa says they just love the song, and can’t wait to sing it for us. This will be fun!
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Until next time....Keep A Song of Joy (and a hippopotamus) Inside Your Heart! - LISTEN NOW..
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December 3 , 2007

BACKSTAGE AT THE “SPIRIT OF THE SEASON” IN RENO | THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HELP !
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BACKSTAGE AT THE “SPIRIT OF THE SEASON” IN RENO
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I am writing this Take while sitting in the Reno airport, waiting for the flight that will take me back to La Quinta... back to Daryl, the dogs and the cats. Daryl has been in Prescott, checking on the construction of our house while I was here. I talked to him this morning, and he was just getting ready to leave Prescott. He will make it home to La Quinta long before I do, since I have to fly to Phoenix, wait a couple of hours, and then take the cramped commuter jet to Palm Springs. I’m hoping to make it home by 6:30PM.
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The Reno Philharmonic Christmas Concert was just beautiful, as it is every year. When the curtain opens on that huge stage to reveal the 90 member symphony orchestra and 150 voice chorus, the audience explodes into spontaneous applause because it is just such a lovely sight! I’m hoping to round up a few photos of the concert to share with you.
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The concert, called SPIRIT OF THE SEASON, was created by Maestro Barry Jekowsky five years ago, and has become a highlight of Reno’s Christmas season... sold out every year. I have been guest artist four of the five years.
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Barry basically puts together an entire Broadway-type show on a shoestring budget. Dress rehearsals are so chaotic, it just seems impossible that it will all come together on opening night, but it always does. Remember, this particular show is brand new each year, and there is only one full rehearsal to put it all together.
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There were a few glitches on opening night. The magician that appeared just before the lovely Sugarplum ballerinas evidently shot some confetti out of a cannon as part of his act. The stagehands didn’t clean up all of the confetti, and one of the ballerinas slipped on the bits of paper and fell to the stage (she’s fine). The other dancers continued to dance.... veeerrry carefully. For the matinee yesterday, the director reversed the order of the acts so the stage would be confetti-free for the dancers.
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Speaking of the dancers, they were absolutely LOVELY.... dancing en pointe to the familair
WALTZ OF THE FLOWERS. Onstage they moved like they were weightless.... floating effortlessly like feathers. Becky and I were standing in the wings when these lovely girls glided offstage as if gently carried along on a soft breeze. The minute they were in the wings and out of sight of the audience, they all bent over, hands on their thighs, gasping for breath! Then when they heard their musical cue to return to the stage, off they floated, smiling and gliding.
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For the past two times I have been guest artist, I have been carried onstage in grand style in a horse-drawn sleigh. While the orchestra and chorus sing SLEIGH RIDE, Star, the little mustang, brings me onstage, passing right in front of the musicians and chorus. His owner leads him on... I’m not doing any driving. Besides, I’m in a fancy ballgown.... not my jeans and leather driving gloves!
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Star was born in the wilds of Nevada as part of herd of mustangs. He was adopted when he was young by a loving family, and now appears in many shows, especially at Christmas time. They dress him up in red leather “boots”, and his harness is covered with bells and bows, and he looks adorable. He has carried me onto that huge stage safely four times now, and I have to admire his courage and calm amidst the sound of the instruments, the singers, the flashing stage lights and the audience’s applause when they see him.
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However, there are things the audience never sees or knows about, thank goodness. On opening night, Star’s owner brought him and the sleigh into the wings, stage left, so I could get myself and my ball gown into the sleigh before our entrance. We were supposed to enter about halfway through SLEIGHRIDE. Just as I was preparing to get in the sleigh, Star lifted his beautifully decorated tail and pooped.... .a very large, steaming pile on the stage floor. We only had moments before our entrance. One of Star’s handlers came flying over with the pooper scooper, and as she removed Star’s contribution, I got into the sleigh, and onstage we went, the audience none the wiser. Star made a perfect stop, right by the percussion section, as they were banging away on their various instruments. I descended to the stage as gracefully as I could, and off he went to get his treats for being a good boy. I had a very hard time holding back the laughter that was bubbling up inside me. Yes... you were a good boy, Star!
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At the matinee yesterday, once again, Star and the sleigh arrived in the wings, I got into the sleigh, Star raised his tail, and pooped....... seconds before our entrance this time. Is it something about ME, or does he have just a touch of stage fright? Once again, someone appeared with the scooper, and off Star and I went to make our grand entrance. That little mustang will always have a place in my Christmas heart!
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Oh, and I must say how fabulous TAHOE SNOW sounded! I sang it, backed by full orchestra and chorus. You just can’t imagine how thrilling it is to me to hear one of my songs played by a symphony orchestra!
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Later...Wednesday, December 5th. My trip back to La Quinta from Reno did NOT go smoothly. We boarded the plane in Reno right on time. Then we were told that there seemed to be leak of some sort in the brakes, and we had to wait for a maintenance crew to check it out and, hopefully, fix it. We sat on the plane at the gate for almost two more hours before the problem was repaired and we took off for my first stop...Phoenix.
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Since I had 2 1/2 hours between flights, I thought I might have a chance to make my connection to Palm Springs. With about 15 minutes to go, I raced as fast as I could to the next gate, two terminals away. When I ran up to the ticket counter, I was told that the Palm Springs flight would be delayed two hours!
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Well...what can you do? This is the nature of air travel these days. So, I bought myself a Wolfgang Puck spinach salad in a plastic container, sat in one of those little cafe-like places among the other weary and rather disgruntled passengers, and ate my “dinner”. I finally made it home around 9PM, where I was greeted by Daryl and the frantically barking Aussies..... all of whom seemed as glad to see me as I was to see them!
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I do want to mention a lovely young singer who appeared in the Christmas concert. She has an absolutely beautiful, crystalline voice...what I call a “Broadway Voice”....pure, strong, sweet and expressive. Her name is Carrie Lyn Brandon and she is fourteen years old! Evidently, Maestro Jekowsky heard her sing the National Anthem at a Giants game in San Francisco, and asked her to sing with the orchestra he founded, the California Symphony. In Reno, she sang two gorgeous songs from the Broadway musical, ANASTASIA, and the audience loved her. She had a loving and proud family with her in Reno, and I got the sense that they would not let her do anything professionally that would push her too hard vocally and possibly harm her young, developing voice. Broadway is her eventual goal, and I predict you will find her there not too far in the future.




THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HELP!

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And now I must say many, many, MANY thanks to all of you who have written, telling us about your experiences trying to find THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS and our new DVDs. I have passed on all of your comments to Brant Berry, the head of RetroActive Entertainment. And Daryl and I are so grateful and so moved by those of you who have called radio stations and stores in your area to ask for the product. We can’t thank you enough for your efforts on our behalf.
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We find ourselves releasing product at a time when the entire business is changing completely. Where it will finally end up, I have no idea. “Brick and mortar” stores are stocking less than half of the CDs and DVDs than they have in the past. Recording artists who have stayed above the radar and worked constantly, like Barry Manilow, are getting the prominent display spots in the stores, as well they should. Daryl and I have been so quiet professionally for so many years, it is harder for us to get the store’s attention. Also, quite a few of the store buyers now are a couple of generations younger than we are, and the name Captain and Tennille doesn’t ring a bell with them. The good news is, most of the outlets have had to re-order, so we are seeing sales! Your calls and requests to the stations and stores really make a difference for us.
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By the way...if you have children or grandchildren, you might find that they will really enjoy the C&T DVDs. My sister, Louisa, who teaches second grade, showed some of the shows to her class, and she said they LOVED them, and demanded to see them over and over again. What did they love best about the shows? THE CAPTAIN!!! Others have told us the same thing. This, of course, makes Daryl very happy! He has a whole new generation of Hat Joke fans!
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Now I’m off to do a million things in preparation for the arrival of all three of my sisters! Louisa and Bob arrive tomorrow night, Jane and Frank Saturday afternoon, and Melissa and Andy on Sunday morning. I will probably not write again until their visit is over. Once again, thank you all! Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. LISTEN NOW..
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November 27, 2007
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CHRISTMAS CD PROMOTION HELP | ALL FOUR TENNILLE SISTERS TOGETHER FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!!
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CHRISTMAS CD PROMOTION
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RetroActive Entertainment, the company that has released our Christmas CD and DVDs of our ABC TV Specials this month, has hired a Record Promotion person to help get songs from THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS on radio stations around the country this holiday season. Just yesterday we received a rather disheartening note from him regarding the Virgin Megastore in San Francisco. Although they had 10 copies of the CD, they were not on display. They were in the stock room, where, of course, no one could see them. Please read his comments below.
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“I was in the Bay Area for Thanksgiving, and found myself at the Virgin Megastore on Market St./San Francisco. Thought I'd pop in to see if "Secret" was in stock. After searching, I did not see it in the Christmas music section nor was it in the C&T section in Pop/Rock. So I asked a store employee to locate the title in their computer. Sure enough, it "came up" as being in stock...but where were the copies hiding!!!???? Long story short, he checked the stock room, and soon retrieved 10 copies. I said to him in a friendly way, "Dude...these should be out so people can buy them!" Moral to shoppers: if you don't see it, ask for it!
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It was back on the phones with radio today, and most PDs (Program Directors) just received the CD in the mail after the holiday and yet to listen. Just a note of suggestion to Daryl and Toni for your website and blog--please consider asking the fans to request songs from the album at their favorite radio station. Every little bit helps!”

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So... as he has suggested, when you are in one of the “Big Box” stores, please ask if they have our product. If they don’t, ask them to search the computer listing of their stock. Perhaps you will find that the copies are “in the stock room” instead of on display.
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If possible, you could also really help us out by calling your local radio stations, and asking them to play selections from THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS on their station during this holiday season. If they say they don’t have the CD, please let me know, and I will make sure they receive one ASAP.




ALL FOUR TENNILLE SISTERS TOGETHER FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!
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I am getting all my chores and housecleaning done before I leave for Reno early Thursday morning. I’ll return on Monday, and shortly after that, my sisters and their husbands start arriving here in La Quinta. Louisa and Bob arrive first, and can only stay a few days. Melissa and Andy arrive on Saturday morning, and can only stay until Monday morning. Jane and Frank arrive (all the way from Orlando) on Saturday afternoon, and will be with us until Thursday morning. That gives us ONE complete day when all four Tennille Sisters will be together... Sunday, December 9th! It is so rare that all four of us are together, and I can’t wait! I’ve booked a private dining room at one of our favorite restaurants here so we can all have dinner together that evening. Since the room is private, we can laugh, talk and even sing without disturbing the other diners.
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Daryl and I are making some pretty big decisions about our future and what we will be doing after we get the new house finished and have settled in. Things are just in the “concept” stage right now, and I will share them with you at a later date. Believe me, it is nothing huge, but something we feel like we can handle at this stage of our lives.
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I’m off to alter one of my gowns for the Christmas show, and then do some serious housecleaning. Many, many thanks ahead of time to all of you who help us out with calls to radio stations! Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. LISTEN NOW..

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November 16, 2007

PROCRASTINATION | MORE ON SEDAKA TRIBUTE | MORE ON CLAYMATES | RENO PHIL CHRISTMAS | C&T ON TV?
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PROCRASTINATION
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I am writing this from our little rental house in Prescott, AZ. Daryl and I and the dogs drove over from La Quinta a few days ago to check on the progress of our new home. I am happy to say it is going very well, and I am really hopeful that we’ll be able to move in this spring and start our new life here in Prescott.
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I sat down at the computer yesterday morning, with a couple of hours to devote to writing TONI’S TAKE. I sat there... and sat there... and I just couldn’t get started. “WHY am I having trouble writing this TAKE ?” I kept asking myself. And then it hit me. Frankly, I am SICK of talking about myself!!!!
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For the past couple of months, Daryl and I have been promoting the C&T Specials DVDs and the Christmas CD, doing interview after interview, answering many of the same questions over and over again.... which is to be expected, of course. Most of the interviewers don’t spend their lives trying to keep up with what Daryl and I are doing..... or did... or might do in the future. They are just doing their jobs. So they ask, “How did you get the name CAPTAIN?” and “How long have you been married?” My mother was a TV Talk Show host when I was growing up, and I had my own syndicated talk/variety show in 1980, so I know how hard it is to ask questions that might be interesting to the person you are interviewing. It is just easier to ask the usual questions.
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I also feel that I should only write TONI’S TAKE when I have something to say about show business or something of that nature. Honestly, Daryl and I lead such unremarkable lives.... we just do a lot of the same things you do..... cook dinner, take out the trash, clean the house, take care of the dogs and cats, visit with friends, etc. Once in a while we have an “excitement bump”, such as the recent trip to New York for the Neil Sedaka Tribute and to crazy, traffic-snarled, hectic LA for promo. But most of the time, we are just regular people.... like you are. Admittedly, we have a pretty interesting past, but our present is very mellow, and that is just the way we like it.




MORE ON SEDAKA TRIBUTE
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A few comments from the past couple of months’ events. I heard from a writer to TONI’S TAKE who was at the Sedaka afterparty - http://www.sedaka50.com. She said that she saw CONNIE FRANCIS and PAUL SCHAFFER there, near one of the entrances to the party. I didn’t know they were there, since I didn’t see them, but Daryl and I were kind of backed into a corner, with a sea of people between us and the entrance, so that is why we missed them.
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Many of you wrote to ask if the Sedaka event was taped for television, and the answer is no. Actually, although the artists who were gathered there to pay tribute to Neil’s songwriting were wonderful, and even legendary, I must say I was disappointed with the presentation. I thought the stage looked pretty bare and boring, and the lighting was lacking in creativity. I suppose the producer wanted to keep costs down so as to donate even more money to Elton’s AIDS Foundation, but I just feel more should have been done to make the stage setting worthy of Neil and the talent assembled on his behalf, and to give the audience more of what they paid a great deal of money for.




MORE ON CLAYMATES
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I can’t believe the number of emails I have had from Clay Aiken fans since I mentioned him in my last TAKE! They call themselves CLAYMATES, and they absolutely adore him. What was interesting to me was how many of them say they are middle-aged women in their 40s, 50s and up. They tell me that, in addition to his voice, they are incredibly impressed with him as a person, and with his interaction with his fans. They follow him from show to show in different cities, and talk to each other in chat rooms all the time. Something about Clay has really touched a huge number of people, and I think it has something to do with this crazy, out-of-control world we live in now. Clay seems to display the sort of caring, kind persona we all wish we saw more often. So to all of you CLAYMATES.... keep rooting for your guy! With all of you behind him, I’m sure he will have a long, fulfilling career.




RENO PHIL CHRISTMAS
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In a couple of weeks I am headed back to Reno to sing with the RENO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA in their annual SPIRIT OF THE SEASON Christmas concert on Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd- http://www.renophil.com. Daryl won’t be going, since he needs to be in Prescott to check on the house construction during that time.
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I missed singing with the orchestra last season, and this year is the final concert under Maestro Barry Jekowsky, who is leaving at the end of the season. When Barry called me a couple of months ago to ask if I would join them again, I just couldn’t say no. I absolutely love that orchestra, and have many friends among the musicians. And the trip also gives me the opportunity to see my non-musician northern Nevada friends again!
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Like the Sedaka Tribute, this show will NOT be taped for television viewing, which is a real shame, since it is a spectacularly beautiful show in every way. It is just too expensive to pay for eighty or so musicians, all the tech people working the show, the dancers, chorus, acrobats, and everyone else involved, PLUS pay the rights for the music and arrangements. I have always donated my appearances with the RPO as part of my support for the Arts in Nevada, partly because I’ve always thought it was the right thing to do, but mostly because it is just so much fun for me, and gives the audience such a lovely and heartwarming holiday treat.
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This year I’ll be singing a gorgeous and thrilling arrangment of THE CHRISTMAS WALTZ by Daryl’s father, Carmen Dragon. I recorded it some years back with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for a CD called CHRISTMAS WITH THE POPS. Rosemary Clooney and Doc Severinsen are also featured. It is a lovely CD, and I highly recommend it. I believe it is still available at amazon.com.
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I’ll also be singing TAHOE SNOW at Barry’s request. Most of the people in the audience either live at Tahoe, or spend lots of time there throughout the year, so you could call it a special Christmas song for nothern Nevadans. Daryl and I performed it with the orchestra two years ago, and it really sounds great with full orchestra and chorus. You can’t imagine what a kick I get out of hearing one of the songs I have written performed by a symphony orchestra! I’ll also sing a sparkling arrangement by the legendary Sammy Nestico of the much-loved WHITE CHRISTMAS, and ask the audience to sing along with me.
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But my favorite part of the show is when I get to recite the famous poem, ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, as a kind of “duet” with the orchestra. The arrangement is just enchanting... there is just no other word that better describes it, and it gives me great pleasure to tell that classic story again for all the children in the audience.
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By the way, many thanks to all of you who wrote with anniversary wishes for me and Daryl. It is truly hard to believe we have been married 32 years (plus three “illegal” years). As Daryl says, we have now been together longer than we HAVEN’T been together. He definitely has a way with words.




C&T ON TV?
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And now a couple of things to tell you about where you might see us on television during the holiday season. A crew from ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT came out to our home in La Quinta a couple of weeks ago to shoot an interview and footage of us for their Christmas show. They were at the house almost four hours, including set-up time. However, knowing how television works, if we ARE included in the show, the time devoted to us could be as little as a couple of minutes. I believe it is set to air around December 8th, but I will post the actual date in TONI’S TAKE as soon as I find out when it is.
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We also did an interview for the TV GUIDE CHANNEL for their Christmas roundup. I’m not sure when that will air, either, so I’ll have to get back to you as soon as I find out specific dates.
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You know, these shows are mostly about the current pop music scene, and Daryl and I represent the past, so how much air time we’ll get is really up to the directors and producers (who are younger and younger these days). It is just a fact of the way things are... and not just today. It has ALWAYS been that way. Also, Daryl and I keep such a low profile, when we “resurface”, it takes a while to get things going.
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Now I’m off to do a million things. We’re headed back to La Quinta tomorrow, and have lots to do before we leave Prescott. Until next time... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart!
- LISTEN NOW..
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October 29, 2007
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THANKS TO YOU, MY READERS | OUR TRIP TO NYC | NEIL SEDAKA TRIBUTE CONCERT
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THANKS TO YOU, MY READERS

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Before I get into my TAKE for today, let me say a million thanks to all of you who took the time to write and tell me about your experiences purchasing our new DVDs. I would say 98% of you said you bought them online... quite a few ordered from Amazon.com..... and that you were very happy with their service.
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Since I wrote my last TAKE, I received a very enlightening email from Brant Berry, who is the president of our releasing company, RetroActive Entertainment. He explained to me the difficulties of trying to get the product into the “brick and mortar” stores. It is not only that RetroActive is a very small company, but stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc., are cutting way back on the number of CDs and DVDs they stock because of pirating, downloading and file sharing. AND... they charge a hefty fee for “shelf space” for the ones they DO stock..... a little out of RetroActive’s budget abilities. However, just about everyone buys online these days, including me! I hardly EVER shop in stores anymore. This is just the way things are shaping up in the music business in this new era. Anyhow... thank you all once again for taking the time to write.



OUR TRIP TO NYC
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Becky, Daryl and I landed at the Palm Springs airport Saturday night around 7:30PM, very, very tired, and glad to be home from our New York trip. Becky needed one more flight to take her home to Las Vegas, but stayed over in La Quinta on Sunday to relax and watch her beloved Sunday football on TV. I must admit that, although Daryl and I had been dreading the flights to New York, all of our American Airlines flights were fairly close to on time, and our bags arrived when we did!
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Daryl, as happens every time we fly, was pulled aside this time by Palm Springs airport security, told to remove his hat, jacket and shoes, and was wanded, patted down, and questioned by the agent. He must look like a terrorist, poor guy.
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The only little bump in the air travel road happened when we landed back home at Palm Springs and taxied to the gate. After the Captain turned off the seat belt sign and all the passengers stood and gathered their things to get off the plane, airport ground staff were unable to “mate” the jetway to the plane door so we could get off. It was an interminable fifteen minutes or so before they finally got the jetway in place so we could deplane. Then we waited forty minutes for our bags to appear at baggage claim.... but at least the bags showed up..all five of them.
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For those of you who may be reading TONI’S TAKE for the first time, let me explain that we were in New York last week to appear in a concert honoring singer/songriter Neil Sedaka for his fifty years of writing hits. We also did some promotional interviews for our new Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS, and the DVDs of our ABC television specials from the 1970s. Many of you have written to ask about the concert and events that occurred before and after, so here is my TAKE.
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Daryl, Becky and I arrived at New York’s La Guardia airport late Tuesday night. We checked into the hotel arranged by the producer of the Sedaka tribute concert. The hotel lobby looked like a setting for the “beautiful people”...very, very chic and upscale... maybe even a tad pretentious. We had stayed there some years ago when we were in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it had been renamed and remodeled, and I honestly did not recognize it. When the Doorman said, “Welcome back,” I thought he thought I was someone else.
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Our suite was very nice.... clean, spare, neutral colors... kind of Scandanavian in style. The bed had lots of fluffy down pillows, and a down duvet, all covered in very high thread-count white sheets. I liked the decor. Daryl didn’t. But it was quiet, clean, and the bed was comfortable. Our first interview was scheduled for 12:30PM the next day, so we knew we could sleep in for a while in the morning.
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The next morning we got our first shock. I ordered breakfast from room service.... fruit, yogurt, granola and hot tea for me.... orange juice, apple juice and a banana for Daryl (he brings his own cereal). The bill was $96.00!!!!! Yes, that is NINETY-SIX DOLLARS!!!!! For breakfast... for two people. Later, Becky told us she ordered a bagel and coffee, and the bill was $36.00! Although the Sedaka people were paying for the rooms, we were paying for all of our incidentals.... like breakfast. So much for hotel food. It is just against my principles to pay that much. Thursday morning, when our interviews started at 8:30AM, we bought granola bars at a little shop in the radio station building, and then begged the radio staff for coffee once we got upstairs.
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Did I mention it rained the entire time we were in New York?
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Later on Daryl and I walked in the rain to a drugstore a few blocks away and bought reasonably priced bottled water for our room. The hotel only had Evian, and they charged almost $10.00 a bottle for it. I’m sorry I am venting, but the whole thing is just ridiculous. Daryl and I finally just had to laugh when we realized we could eat breakfast every Sunday for a month at the Dinner Bell in Prescott for what we paid for one breakfast at the hotel.... better food, too!



NEIL SEDAKA TRIBUTE CONCERT

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Thursday afternoon Daryl, Becky and I arrived at the rehearsal studio to rehearse LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER with the band, and go over LONELY NIGHT/ANGEL FACE with Neil. Just as we were entering the studio, the legendary Connie Francis was leaving, having rehearsed WHERE THE BOYS ARE and STUPID CUPID with Neil. She greeted us with a big smile and a hug, and seemed genuinely glad to meet us. I remember hearing her voice on the radio in the 50s and 60s, smooth and sweet, like vocal satin, with just a little “teardrop” in it when she sang the big ballads. She has one of the great “radio” voices.
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I was so happy to see Neil again. He was bouncing around the studio like a man half his age... or LESS! Neil is all about the music... it is the true love of his life and his reason for being. The minute he starts to play the piano or sing, he lights up like a Christmas tree! And his voice is as sweet and true as it ever was.
The band Neil provided was excellent, and we were finished with rehearsal in about 20 minutes.
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Friday afternoon, concert day, we went over to Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for sound check. Just off stage I ran into Natalie Cole, whom I hadn’t seen for several years. Natalie and Daryl go back a long way... to Malibu in the 1950’s. She was just a little kid, but she used to come over to Daryl’s parent’s house on Carbon Beach, and sing in a little jazz trio with Daryl’s brother, Dennis, and arranger Nelson Riddle’s son. Natalie wanted to sing like Ella Fitzgerald (who didn’t?), and jazz was her music back then. She has had a long and well-deserved career, and it was great to see her.
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At sound check that day we also met singer Lou Christie (LIGHTNING STRIKING AGAIN), who was funny and quite charming, and musician Paul Schaffer, whose acerbic wit was just like it is on the Letterman Show.
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After sound check, we went back to the hotel and ordered room service! We only had a couple of hours before we had to be back at the theatre, it was raining, and we just decided to bite the bullet and pay up. Two small side salads, a shrimp cocktail (for me) and vegie pasta with a side of green beans for Daryl. $90.00. Unbelievable.
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It was raining heavily when we left for the theatre Friday night. We shared the limo with singer/actress Renee Olstead and her mother. Renee stars in STILL STANDING on the CW Network, and has a new CD produced by David Foster, who has produced records for many, many famous singers such as Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand. Renee is a tiny little slip of a girl with a radiant, beautiful complexion (I hope she stays out of the sun for the rest of her life!). She looked about 12 years old to me, but she is actually nineteen. She has a lovely voice which sounds much older and more mature than she is! She sang Neil’s beautiful ballad, I SHOULD HAVE NEVER LET YOU GO.
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When we arrived at the theatre, we entered the dressing room marked CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE to find producer, David Foster, napping on the couch! We ended up sharing the room with him, and he and Daryl had some very interesting discussions about the current state of the music business. On that subject, if you have a chance to pick up the latest issue of NEWSWEEK, read the Op Ed piece called HOW MUCH IS MUSIC WORTH by Steven Levy. It is the best description I have read of the current sad and sorry state of the music business right now. You can also go to newsweek.com, and type the above title in the site search. I recommend that ALL of you read it now. All I can say is... thank God Daryl and I had our hits in the 70s. Today, we wouldn’t have had a chance.
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We also met Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Dion, and his wife backstage before the show. He went out onstage with just his guitar and had the audience rocking and singing along to Neil’s infectious CALENDAR GIRL. What a pro he is!
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Now.... for all of you “Claymates” out there who might happen to read this..... I never saw Clay Aiken backstage. He wasn’t there for the finale, THAT’S WHEN THE MUSIC TAKES ME, and he didn’t attend the afterparty. In fact, I never saw him at all!!! He drifted in and out of the proceedings like a ghost... almost like he was “beamed” in and out of the theatre. Becky and I sneaked out into the stage right balcony to hear him sing SOLITAIRE, and he sang the heck out of it! And I got such a kick out of the screams of excitement when he appeared on stage, and when he held that four-measure, fortissimo note (“Sol-i-TAIRE!!!!!”) in the middle of the song..... the audience went bananas just like all the young girls who screamed for Sinatra and the Beatles! His fans, who appear to be mostly female, absolutely adore him. What a phenomenon. I’m so out of it, I had no idea how huge he is.
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Before I tell you about the afterparty, I want to make it clear that Daryl and I were paid absolutely nothing for our participation in the show. The producer paid for our airfare, hotel rooms and transportation to and from rehearsal and the concert. For every other expense we encountered in New York, we were on our own. But the net profits for the show go to a very good cause.... Elton John’s AIDS Foundation.... and we were happy to be there for Neil, and for Elton’s worthy cause. AND, we were able to do some promotion for our new releases while we were there.
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It was our understanding that, since some people were paying a great deal of money to attend the party after the show, we were expected to be there to meet, greet, sign autographs and pose for pictures. I somehow had pictured a party of no more than 50 or 60 people... 100 at the max. I was also looking forward to seeing my niece, Laura (Jane’s middle daughter), whom I had not seen for three or four years. She and her friends had purchased their tickets long ago, and we arranged for them to come to the party.
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What greeted us when we arrived was a huge room with too many people packed into it!!! If the fire department had been there, they would have made everybody leave. People were jammed into the room like sardines in a can. If you were afflicted with claustrophobia, you would have been a dead duck. At the entrance to the main room, we posed for photos with Neil and his wife, Leba, and then waded into the fray. I was trying very hard to find my niece, a petite young woman. Becky finally got her on her cell phone, and we guided her to the corner of the room where we were. We were really unable to exchange more than a few words, since there seemed to be a long line of people wanting us to pose for photos and sign autographs.
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This is what I know...... Natalie and Clay did NOT come to the afterparty. Neil came, had a glass of wine, posed for a few photos, and was gone within 45 minutes or so. I didn’t see David Foster, Dion or Paul Schaffer, so I’m guessing they didn’t come either. That left me and Daryl, Renee Olstead (bless her heart, she was so tiny, it would be hard to find her in that packed room) and Lou Christie.
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After about fifteen minutes, during which time we posed for photo after photo, and signed many, many autgraphs, I realized that my feet were KILLING ME!!! I was still in heels (only two inches), and I hadn’t had heels on for so long, my feet were fiercely and painfully complaining. I’m certain that we were only getting that much attention because we were the only “celebrities” anyone could find in the room.
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After about an hour, people started leaving the “party”. I was in so much pain with my feet, I couldn’t wait to get out of those heels! But everytime we tried to leave, someone would ask, “Oh, please, just one more photo,” and so we stayed.... to the very end! By the time we finally made it to the elevator, we were told that all of the cars taking the show’s participants back to their hotels were gone for the evening! It was still raining, and we had no transportation.
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Finally, a very nice young gal from Neil’s publicist’s office went down in the rain, and found a cab for us.
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And that is all I can write right now. We’re leaving for Prescott tomorrow morning, and I have a million things to do. Tell you what... if you have specific questions about the event, please write to me, and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability in my next TAKE. By the way, my feet are finally feeling better!!! Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart! - LISTEN NOW..
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October 20, 2007
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BACK TO LA QUINTA | RPO CHRISTMAS CONCERT | GROUNDHOG DAY FOR THE DVDS | A BIT ABOUT DARYL
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BACK TO LA QUINTA
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Daryl and I just returned to La Quinta a few days ago, and now we are getting ready to fly to New York on Tuesday for the Sedaka Tribute http://www.sedaka50.com. Construction of the new house in Prescott is coming along well, but we are very nervous now, since we won’t be there every day to check on the construction and catch problems before they become unfixable. We plan to drive back and forth between La Quinta and Prescott every couple of weeks or so.....as often as we can squeeze in a trip. Luckily, the drive is only 4 1/2 hours... a piece of cake compared to the 10 hour drive we had from northern Nevada.
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This is going to be a quick TAKE just to bring you up to date.


RPO CHRISTMAS CONCERT
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I will be appearing in the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra’s SPIRIT OF THE SEASON Christmas concert again this year. I was unable to join them last year, but they invited me to sing with them once again, and I just couldn’t turn it down. The orchestra is superb, the Christmas concert is lovely and charming, and I’ll get to see all of my dear northern Nevada friends. There is an evening concert on Saturday, December 1st, and a matinee performance on Sunday, December 2nd. For more details, please contact the Reno Philharmonic office at 775 323 6393, or visit their website at http://www.renophil.com Although the website doesn’t mention my appearance in the concert, be assured that I WILL be there!



GROUNDHOG DAY FOR THE DVDS
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Now I want to speak to you about the product we are releasing this year. As most of you who are regular readers know, the DVDs of our three 1970s Specials for ABC...C&T in HAWAII, C&T in NEW ORLEANS, the C&T SONGBOOK special..... and the 1976 C&T CHRISTMAS SHOW have officially been “released”. The C&T Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS, is due for “release” November 6th, along with boxed sets of the three specials.
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When I say “released”, that means they should be available in stores, as well as online. I do know that Amazon is carrying the DVDs right now. However, it is now seeming to me and Daryl that it is Groundhog Day once again. I have received emails from several fans, detailing how difficult (or impossible) it has been for them to find the new DVDs in stores. I would infer from those emails, that the DVDs are NOT in stores. This is exactly what happened last year. Needless to say, Daryl and I are becoming more and more frustrated and upset. THIS time it was going to be different. But it isn’t.
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Before I explain what I believe the main problem is, let me tell you that Daryl and I, and our Personal Assistant, Becky, have been ready to go with this project since MARCH of this year. We have had everything ready for release, and were only waiting for the packaging to be completed, and we’d be on our way.
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Well.... MONTHS went by, with delay after delay. Our publicist, The Lippin Group, is one of the finest in the business, and they had been anxiously awaiting the DVD promotional copies, so they could get them to the media....newspapers, magazines, tv, radio, etc. The promo copies finally arrived at Lippin, but many weeks late, during which time we lost all sorts of media opportunities to let anyone who might be interested know that the C&T DVDs are available for purchase. We are now going through the same thing with the promo copies of the Christmas CD. The bottom line is, if people don’t know the product is available, they won’t look for it.
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I understand that the promo copies for the Christmas CD (in beautiful new packaging, I might add, including lyrics and personal notes about each song) will finally be delivered to the publicist on Monday. That is very late, but we’re going to do the best we can under the circumstances.
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Now here is what I believe the problem is. RetroActive Entertainment is a very, very small company. And although the national distributers (Navarre for the DVDs and Koch for the CD) are large and well-respected distributers, they are catering more to their very large clients, and letting the “little guys” wait. That’s just the way the business works, and there is really nothing we can do about it. Brant Berry, founder and President of RetroActive, is actually a big fan of ours, and is doing the best he can under the circumstances.
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Also, because of piracy, copying and file sharing, profit to the retailers, releasing companies and distributers is drastically down. The music business is in the middle of a huge sea change, and we have yet to see how it will all sort out. Daryl and I frankly don’t expect to receive or care about any monetary profit to us. It would be NICE, but we don’t expect it. We are very pragmatic about the state of the business right now. We just want to get the music out to you. Unfortunately, we need these other entities to make it happen.
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So here is what I would like for you to do. Please email me your experiences in trying to purchase any of our product. Did you find it in a store, or did you order it online? And, if so, which stores and which online companies did you use? How long did it take you to get the product? How did you find out about the product? This will be very helpful to us as we try to determine what is going on out there in the “real world”.




A BIT ABOUT DARYL
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Now....on to other, a bit more personal, matters. Some of you have heard me mention that Daryl has developed a tremor. He has actually had it quite a while, but to a much lesser degree. It is NOT Parkinson’s Disease, thank God.
UPDATE: 08/2009: Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S DISEASE. - - Read more.
He was thoroughly checked out a couple of years ago for Parkinson’s at Stanford Medical Center by one of the top neurologists in the country. His condition is called Familial Tremor, and it is exacerbated by stress and anxiety.
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The problem is, whenever he is involved in a public appearance or social situation, the tremor causes him embarrassment, which then makes him anxious, which then makes the tremor worse. You get the picture. Consequently, he is less and less inclined to appear in public.
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Also, his knees are just about ready for replacement, something he has been putting off for decades. The pain is at a point now where it is physically interfering with many things he likes to do, such as hiking and walking, or things he SHOULD be doing, like kneeling to put air in the tires or pick up an item he has dropped. Luckily, Prescott has a very fine orthopedic knee surgeon, whom Daryl has already consulted. Did I mention that anxiety about impending knee surgery also makes his tremor more pronounced?
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Now we just have to decide WHEN he will have the surgery. We will have to finish the new house and get ourselves moved in before we undertake the surgery and the rehab that will precede and follow it. This situation is going to postpone any concerts we might want to do until Daryl is fully recovered. Life deals you the cards, and then you must decide what to do with them. I’ll keep you posted.
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And now, as my sister, Louisa, always says, “I’m off to do a million things” before we leave for New York. Until next time... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
- LISTEN NOW..
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September 27, 2007
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GOODBYE, MONSOON | AUTUMN IN NEW YORK | YOUR MAKEUP QUESTIONS ANSWERED

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GOODBYE, MONSOON

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Monsoon season here in Arizona went out with a wild deluge last Saturday. After a week or so of dry, sunny weather, we were beginning to think the monsoon, with its sometimes violent thnderstorms, stunning cloud formations, and heavy rains was over for this year. Hubble, our thunder-phobic Australian Shepherd was as happy and relaxed as I have seen him since the monsoon began.
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Then the monsoon gods laughed and threw everything they had left down on little Prescott. Hubble cowered and shook and panted as the lightning and thunder raged outside, especially when one lightning strike flashed and cracked with a tremendous BOOM within a block of the house.
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After that, the storms swelled and ebbed all day long, with one brief period of sunshine. It’s over. NO IT ISN’T!! More lightning and thunder into the night, finally subsiding, I THINK, until next year.
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I must say that, after that “big bang” so close to the house, Hubble actually began to calm down a bit. It really surprised me when he hardly flinched when he heard the rumble of thunder not far off. He even accepted a treat, which he has never done during the storms. Maybe he was just too tired to react anymore. Next year, when the new house is finished, he will have a special hidey-hole in an interior closet, where he can ride out the monsoon in a dark, quiet, safe spot.



AUTUMN IN NEW YORK

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We are coming close to the time when we will return to our home in La Quinta, CA until after the first of the year. We have quite a bit of traveling to do to promote the release of our ABC Specials on DVD and the Christmas CD, and it is much easier to fly back and forth from the Palm Springs airport than it is from here in Prescott. The nearest airport is Sky Harbor in Phoenix... a ninety minute drive from Prescott (if traffic is moving well). We also have some promo to do in Los Angeles, which is a relatively easy drive from La Quinta. I don’t have a promo schedule yet, but as soon as I do, I will post it in TONI’S TAKE.
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We will be in New York City October 22-27. Our main reason for going is to appear in the tribute to Neil Sedaka’s fifty years of writing great music. (Neil Sedaka’s Fifty Years of Songwriting .) The event will be held on October 26th at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, with all net proceeds going to Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. Although most of you who are regular readers know that Daryl and I HATE to travel, we felt we should be there to pay tribute to Neil. After all, he wrote (mostly in collaboration with Howie Greenfield) three of our million-selling hit singles (LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, LONELY NIGHT/ANGEL FACE and YOU NEVER DONE LIKE THAT), as well as many other terrific songs we were privileged to record.
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Here’s what I know about what we will be doing in the concert. Daryl and I will perform LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER (our version) on our own in the first half of the show. Then we will do LONELY NIGHT/ANGEL FACE (Neil’s version) as a duet with Neil in the second half. As you know, Neil’s version is quite different from ours.... no jungle sounds!!!! I’m going to have to take a listen to Neil’s recording of the song to remind myself how he sings it to make sure my phrasing complements his.
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We will perform only those two songs, since there are at least TEN acts in the show, and time is limited. The latest act to be added to the show... as far as I know.... is Connie Francis, who had SO many hits singing Neil and Howie’s songs back in the 50s. WHERE THE BOYS ARE comes to mind, among many others. I always thought she had a great voice.... perfect for radio. It caught your ear as you were changing stations, and you simply had to stop and listen to her. I am looking forward to seeing her. We may have met once briefly, years ago, at some event or the other, but we certainly didn’t have a converation of any sort.... just hi, nice to meet you. While we’re in New York for Neil’s concert, we’ll also do some promo for our DVDs and the Christmas CD, and as soon as I know what we’ll be doing, I’ll pass it on to you.



YOUR MAKEUP QUESTIONS ANSWERED
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On another subject, after Daryl posted the interview we did for CASPER’S SCARE SCHOOL with SIDEWALKS, a show out of San Francisco, I received some very nice emails to TONI’S TAKE, saying how nice we looked. Thank you. It is getting harder and harder to “look nice” as we get older and older, but great lighting really helps! More than a few of you asked about my makeup, and wanted to know who does it, and what cosmetics I use.
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First of all, whenever I think I can get away with it, I run around town with NO makeup on..... but I’m always hoping I don’t meet anyone who wants to take a photo with me!
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I do my makeup myself, and have for years. Of course, during our television show, I simply didn’t have time to do it, and we always needed a makeup person standing by while we were taping, to make sure that we didn’t get “shiney” or smudgey, or sweat all the makeup off. I still have a makeup artist standing by during a long photo session, even though I do my own makeup for the shoot.
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However, for concerts, and even for photo shoots, I found I was much more comfortable doing my own makeup... mainly because I do it much faster, and I am always looking for a natural look. Many makeup artists want to cake on the foundation, and load on the false eyelashes. I look HORRIBLE with false eyelashes, and they absolutely drive me crazy anyway. It took me a while before I was confident doing my own makeup, but I had just had too many bad experiences with makeup artists who tried to make me look “glamorous”. I’m not the glamorous type. I always think of myself as just a regular person who happens to sing and write songs for a living. When I call someone “regular”, that is the highest compliment I can pay to them. That means they don’t “put on airs” or “play games”. It is hard to find “regular” people in our business, although there are some exceptions. Ella Fitzgerald was “regular”. So was Dinah Shore.
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Anyhow..... back to makeup. Right now I am using Maybelline Instant Age Rewind (I wish!!!) Foundation, which I put on pretty sparingly with my fingers. It covers my trouble spots pretty well, without having to plaster it on. I use a concealer that is not on the market. It was given to me by my dermatologist... his wife created it, but never marketed it. When this runs out, I’ll have to find another one.
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I use Maybelline mascara, both regular and waterproof, in black. I also like the Maybelline and Sonia Kashuk (Target) matte eyeshadows.... shades of brown work best for me. I line my eyes, top and bottom, with dark brown matte eye shadow, using a fine brush. I use a very light brown shade of eye shadow on my poor, fading eyebrows. I brush it on with a small angled brush.
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I am always looking for a transparent powder to set everything (after blotting thoroughly with a tissue), and I’m now using Dermablend Setting Powder. It has no color of its own, and doesn’t affect the color of my makeup base.
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I’m using Physician’s Formula Mineral Wear blush in the Pink Glow shade. Note: Use SPARINGLY!!!! When I’m done, I brush Physician’s Formula Multi-Colored Light Bronzer over my entire face, neck and throat. Women my age tend to lose warmth and color in the face....and we certainly don’t want to lie out in the sun and get MORE wrinkles!!!! The Light Bronzer is subtle, but it does the trick.
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I hope that answers some of your questions!
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Please remember that I am probably NOT going to be writing every week as I used do. Life is just about to get extremely hectic. Not only are we in the middle of building the new house, but we’re going to be packing up and heading back to La Quinta in less than two weeks. And we’ll also be traveling quite a bit. I promise to write as often as I can. Thank you all for being such faithful readers. Until next time.... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN NOW..
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September 9, 2007
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PRESCOTT UPDATE | FALL DVD / CD PROMO AND RELEASE SCHEDULE | MY PAVAROTTI STORY

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PRESCOTT UPDATE
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Autumn is almost upon us, and I simply cannot believe how fast the summer went by. We broke ground for our new home here in Prescott the first week of May. Although the progress on the construction seems agonizingly slow, it is actually pretty much on schedule. The exterior walls are up, most of the interior walls have been framed, the sub roof is on, the shingles have been delivered and are waiting to be loaded onto the roof to “settle” for a few weeks before they are installed. The windows are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, although the contractor is not quite ready to install them just yet.
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Daryl and I go out to the site almost every day to check on the progress. It actually seems a bit eerie to go through the house now, since it is almost an exact copy of our northern Nevada home. It is even sited exactly the same..... courtyard facing south, kitchen window looking east, etc. However, the views from the windows could not be more different! Instead of seeing the Sierras and the Virginia Range of mountains, we see Granite Mountain to the south, and a pair of flat-topped buttes to the north. The house, and all the decisions that need to be made daily, have been taking up quite a bit of our time. But because we are out at the construction site so often, we have caught small problems before they developed into big ones.
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I must say that we are loving Prescott more and more as each day goes by. It is really a kind of leap of faith to move to an entirely new state and community. You can do all the research you want, and make as many visits as possible before making your decision, but you absolutely have to LIVE in a community before you really know if you made the right choice. After having lived here all summer in our little rental house, Daryl and I feel certain that we did make the right decision.... the friendly people, the healthy lifestyle, the history, the art scene, the scenic beauty, the weather... all suit us and our lifestyle perfectly. We are looking forward to next year, when the new house is finished and we can really settle in and start to contribute to our new community. I’ve written a Christmas song for California (CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA), and one for Lake Tahoe (TAHOE SNOW). Perhaps I could write a PRESCOTT Christmas song. After all, Prescott is called ARIZONA’S CHRISTMAS CITY!
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Now, however, we have to get ready to head back to our home in La Quinta and get ready for our promo trips this fall. We will be tied up with all of that until after the first of the year, when we will return to Prescott and remain here until the new home is finished. I guess what I am saying is.... life is hectic right now, so please forgive me if I am not punctual with Toni’s Take each week. I may even have skip a week now and then until after the first of the year.


FALL DVD/CD PROMO AND RELEASE SCHEDULE
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Next month, Daryl and I will be flying to New York to appear at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in a tribute to Neil Sedaka’s Fifty Years of Songwriting. Natalie Cole and Clay Aiken are among the other artists who will perform during the show. I have absolutely no idea how much or how little we will do during the show, since that is up to Neil’s producer, and we haven’t discussed it yet. I assume we will perform LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER. I’m not sure whether it will be OUR version, or Neil’s. They are quite different, as you know. If Neil decides to sing it with us, we will probably do his version, since it IS Neil’s show!
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I’m sure the concert will be very enjoyable for the audience. Neil is a GREAT performer, and I’m pretty certain he will be participating in almost every musical number. Knowing Neil, I feel sure he won’t be sitting in the audience! I also suspect that things will be pretty hectic and frantic backstage, as these kinds of things always are. As soon as I know more about how the concert will proceed, I will try to let you know exactly what songs Daryl and I will be performing. I hope to see some of you there! The concert will be held on October 26th. You can find more information about the Sedaka Tribute at this link: http://www.sedaka50.com/
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For those of you who have asked about release dates of our ABC Specials on DVD, here is the schedule we have been given by RetroActive Entertainment:
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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9TH - Release of the individual DVDs...The CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, the NEW ORLEANS SPECIAL, the HAWAII SPECIAL and the SONGBOOK SPECIAL.
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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH
- Release of THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS CD and a three-DVD boxed set of the NEW ORLEANS, HAWAII and SONGBOOK SPECIALS.
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I have been told that Amazon.com will be accepting pre-orders for the individual DVDs one month prior to the scheduled release date (October 9th). You should be able to find them in stores after the scheduled release dates. Notice I say SHOULD...... we had such a terrible and disappointing time last year with R2 Entertainment’s “collapse”, we are nervous to say ANYTHING, lest we jinx it all!!!! But we’ll keep a positive thought this time!



MY PAVAROTTI STORY
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And now to Maestro Luciano Pavarotti’s recent passing. I had the great privilege of hearing him sing in person in 1983. We were in the midst of building our home at Lake Tahoe at the time, and our architect invited us to attend a concert by the great tenor in Reno, Nevada. Many of you know that I am a great fan of opera, and Daryl and I lent our support to Nevada Opera for many years, occasionally doing local concerts on their behalf.
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My only concern was the venue. It was held in the basketball arena (Lawler Events Center) at the University of Nevada at Reno (UNR). Now, I don’t have a problem with rock or pop concerts in huge arenas.... some acts are so big, they require a large venue. But a concert by an opera singer seemed out of place there. Still, the opportunity to hear the great singer in person overcame any doubts I had about where he would be singing.
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The concert was sponsored, in part, by Harrah’s... one of the major casinos in town. The head of the entertainment office at Harrah’s invited us to meet Pavarotti at Harrah’s after the concert, and I jumped at the chance.
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For some reason, Daryl didn’t go with us that night... I can’t remember why. The concert was excellent, and the sound was very well done. Maestro Pavarotti was accompanied by a full symphony orchestra, and, although he had to use a microphone because of the size of the place, it was not a distraction to me.
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When he made his first entrance onstage, the audience went bananas.... jumping up from their seats, cheering, shouting, yelling bravos... all this before he sang a note. He was VERY large in size, but he sailed onto the stage, huge white handkerchief in hand, like a large, graceful sailing ship, his famous wide smile beaming his joy to the audience.
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His voice was magnificent.... strong and vibrant throughout his entire vocal range... from the low notes to the ringing high “Cs”. His technique was effortless, and his personal charisma filled the space.... larger than life, indeed.
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Yes, when you saw him in an opera, rather than in concert, it was very hard to believe this hulking man as a young, starving poet in LA BOHEME, or a handsome, strong military man in TOSCA, and I must say I like my opera singers to look and act the parts they are singing. But you didn’t go to hear Pavarotti sing because he was a great actor... or even just an adequate one. You went to hear him sing because the voice was one in a lifetime... because you are unlikely to ever hear a voice like his again.
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Later, I had my very own “Pavarotti Moment” when I was taken to meet him at Harrah’s after the show. The Vice President of Harrah’s introduced me to the Maestro. He was seated, signing posters and programs for the very lucky people who were in line. “Maestro, I’d like to you to meet one of our most famous singing stars here in the United States, Toni Tennille,” said the Harrah’s executive. Pavarotti looked up at me (he had no clue who I was, of course), beamed his brilliant smile, grasped my hand in his HUGE hand, kissed it, and said in his wonderful Italian accent, “You no have-a to tell-a me she’s a beeg star....she is so BEE-U-Ti-FOOL!!!!” I promptly fainted.
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No I didn’t. But it is a moment I will always remember!
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And now, as my sister, Louisa, says....I’m off to do a million things! Until next week (or whenever I can sit down to write again) Keep A Song OF Joy Inside Your Heart.
- LISTEN NOW..
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August 27, 2007
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DARYL’S FIRST PRESCOTT BIRTHDAY | A SATELLITE TOUR | LENTILS VINAIGRETTE

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DARYL’S FIRST PRESCOTT BIRTHDAY
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“I’m gonna bake a batch of cookies and a great big pie just to show him that I love him so”

- from BOOGIE BABY CHRISTMAS by Toni Tennille
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Today is Daryl’s birthday.... his first birthday in our new town of Prescott, Arizona, and hopefully the first of many, many birthdays he and I will celebrate here. Daryl is not particularly thrilled that today is his SIXTY-FIFTH birthday. He is now receiving mail from Medicare and Social Security, and that kind of disturbs him, because he knows he must REALLY be 65 in order to be receiving this stuff.
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Every year for his birthday, for Thanksgiving and for Christmas, I make a “legal” pie for Daryl. I just now took one of his favorite pies out of the oven, and the wonderful scent of apples and cinnamon is filling this little rental house. THAT should make him feel much better!
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For those of you who are not long-time readers, I’ll explain that “legal”, to Daryl, means that I make the pie crust with whole wheat flour, and I use honey instead of refined sugar for the filling. I used to struggle and get very cranky trying to wrestle with a home-made whole wheat crust, but now I buy frozen whole wheat pie crusts at our local whole foods market, and it just makes things MUCH easier!
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About six weeks ago, I bought a tee shirt for Daryl that I thought he would get a kick out of. It said, “OLD GUYS RULE.” Well, he wouldn’t wear it. I don’t think he liked the word “old”. However, a few days ago he finally wore it, and it looked great on him. And, actually, old guys DO rule.... they are wiser, smarter, and more interesting to be around. Maybe I just think so because I’m an “OLD GAL”. But for a man to have been around the block a few times, survived the slings and arrows of life and come out the better for it, makes him the kind of man that interests ME. There is no doubt that, since we are now in our mid sixties, we are considered “old.” Well....maybe “young” old...but still old. I also remind my dear husband that I am older than he is, and I’m doing just fine.
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As we usually do, we spent Daryl’s birthday at home together.... just the two of us. Daryl doesn’t enjoy large gatherings, and a birthday party for him would only make him miserable. So I baked him his special apple pie and made one of his favorite healthy, vegetarian dinners (recipe to follow).
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By the way, thank all of you who wrote to send birthday wishes to Daryl. He loved reading them, and was very happy to know so many of you were thinking of him.



A SATELLITE TOUR

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Recently Daryl and I did a Satellite Tour on behalf of the release of CASPER’S SCARE SCHOOL on DVD. Some of you may know what a satellite tour entails, but I thought you might be interested in how it is done. When you watch celebrities promoting a movie or CD, and they are not physically on the set with the host, but instead are appearing on a television screen in the studio, they are doing a satellite tour.
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It is much easier and less expensive to make appearances on television shows around the country via satellite than it is to actually GO to these cities. The CASPER releasing company, Genius Products, arranged to have a satellite truck, complete with a director, sound and lighting crew and makeup artist, drive to Prescott from Phoenix. Daryl and I and our assistant, Becky, met the crew and the representative from Genius Products at 6AM in the morning at the Prescott Conference Center, where they had created a set for us in front of a large CASPER’S SCARE SCHOOL poster. We had to get started so early in the morning in order to connect with the morning television shows in the eastern time zone.
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I always do my own makeup and hair, so I had gotten up that morning at 4AM in order to clean the cat litter boxes, set out food and water for all the animals, walk the dogs (in the dark), and get myself camera-ready before we had to leave for the set. Daryl has to be made up on the set, since I really don’t know how to do a man’s makeup (and don’t really WANT to know).
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Once the lighting and sound check were done, we were ready to go. Daryl and I each had earpieces so we could hear the satellite tour director and the people who would be interviewing us from around the country. We weren’t able to actually SEE anybody we were talking to, but just talked right into the camera lens.
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We would hear the director in our earpieces saying, “Now you will be talking to Marie in Miami at such and such a station.” Then we’d hear Marie’s voice, and we’d be off and running. This went on for 2 1/2 hours, with one short break.... station after station. Many times we’d answer the same questions over and over again.
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I am pretty good at this sort of thing, but it takes a quite a lot mental concentration, especially that early in the morning! Daryl and I are very early risers, but we aren’t really THINKING at that time.... just walking the dogs and reading the paper. On a satellite tour you have to be ready to jump right into each interview with enthusiasm and keep your facts straight. Daryl can keep it going for about 20 minutes, and then
his attention starts to wander.
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I’m a Taurus.... plodding, methodical and patient. Daryl is a Virgo.... creative, intelligent and totally LACKING in patience! Once he has answered a question, he really doesn’t want to answer the same question AGAIN.... at least, not the SAME way he answered it before, even if it is a completely different interview. This can make for some very interesting answers from Daryl. As we went from interview to interview with our faceless hosts, I had to work hard to keep MYSELF “with it”, much less helping Daryl to stay on track.
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On our C&T home page, Daryl has posted one of the interviews we did that morning. It was with a young host named Rafael for a show called SIDEWALKS out of San Francisco. I think this interview was about the fifth or sixth one that morning, and Daryl had just about HAD it by that time! You can see Daryl kind of going off on tangents as the interview progressed. If you look closely towards the end of the interview, you can
see me not-so-gently “jab” Daryl with my elbow. That was the only way I could remind him we needed to wrap up the interview!

At 9AM we finished the last interview, and frankly, I was pooped. I had not slept well, knowing I had to get up so early. Daryl was tired, too. However, a satellite tour is definitely MUCH easier than packing a suitcase, getting on a plane, and flying to all those cities. And I have to say that the Phoenix satellite director and crew were absolutely wonderful! They were professional in every way, and made things as easy and comfortable for us as they could. And, boy, did I appreciate the excellent lighting!!!


- LENTILS VINAIGRETTE -


Here is the recipe for LENTILS VINAIGRETTE, the dish I made for Daryl on his birthday. It takes a while to prepare, but it is delicious, and the leftover lentil mixture keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
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LENTILS VINAIGRETTE
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1 1/2 cups lentils
1 quart water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 pound (about 2 quarts) mixed salad greens
Ground pepper to taste
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Put the lentils in a medium saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender...about 25 minutes. Drain and return to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix gently and set aside.
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After the lentils have been cooking for a while, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan, over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the carrots, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender...about 10 minutes.
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Remove the vegetables from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Combine the cooked lentils with the vegetables.
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In a small frying pan, toast the sliced almonds over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown.....about 5 or 10 minutes. You can do this ahead of time, if you like.
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Shortly before serving, stir the toasted almonds and chopped parsley into the lentil mixture.
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Put the salad greens in a large bowl and toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve the lentil mixture over the greens. Makes enough for six to eight people. Healthy and delicious!
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And remember, you can adjust the salt in the recipe according to your own taste and health requirements.


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Until next time.....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart
- LISTEN NOW..
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August 19, 2007
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AN EARLY MORNING VISITOR | MARVELOUS MERV
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AN EARLY MORNING VISITOR
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Early this morning, around 3AM, I let Hubble out on the deck. If there are no thunderstorms about, he likes to lie out there until Daryl and I get up around 6AM. This morning, just before six, we were startled awake by Hubble’s HUGE alarm bark... ”HAAHOOOOOOOOOOO... Rarf! Rarf!! Rarf!!! !... HAAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!......”
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“What in the heck is THAT??” I said, jumping out of bed to see what was going on. By that time Adelaide, who was still inside the house, had joined in the barking, and was pawing at the front door to get outside.
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When I opened the door, she rushed past me to join Hubble as they barked frantically at something beyond the trees and shrubs on the far side of the yard, next to the road. Soon both dogs changed directions and ran along the deck towards the garage.
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And, suddenly, there it was. In the early morning light, looking like some kind of weird visitor from another planet, my first
javelina.... a large male, trotting along the road, oblivious to the wild barking of the dogs. He didn’t even look in our direction. I called to Daryl to come outside to see the big guy, but Daryl wasn’t too thrilled about appearing on the deck in his underwear (I was in my pajamas), so he missed the whole thing.
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I have seen javelinas in zoos and in photographs, but that simply cannot prepare you for seeing one strolling along your neighborhood street. This guy was big.... I’d guess around seventy pounds or more... but he was traveling alone. I’ve been told that javelinas usually travel in family groups of up to eight or ten or even more. This guy might have been ousted from the pack.... or maybe he just wanted to go out for his morning walk without having to deal with the kids and the inlaws. In any event, it was pretty exciting to me. I’m used to seeing deer, coyotes, bears, bobcats, skunks and such, but NEVER a creature as weird-looking as a javelina. Once again, welcome to Arizona!!!



MARVELOUS MERV
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I confess I always thought that Merv Griffin would live to be a hundred. A few years ago I read that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but many elderly men live with prostate cancer, and die from something else much later in their lives, so I kind of forgot about it. I was certain Merv would be around for many years to come, because he was one of the most cheerful, positive, joyous, happy people I have ever known. You simply could not be in a bad mood when you were around him. His great, jovial personality and zest for life filled any room he entered with instant warmth and cheer.
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Daryl and I first met Merv in the mid 70s when we were guests on his talk show, as we were several times during our career. I liked Merv the minute I met him. I loved his genuine enthusiasm for our music, and his interview “technique”. I say “technique” with tongue in cheek, because Merv’s interviews always stemmed from his honest interest in whomever he was interviewing at the time.
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Let’s contrast Merv with some other talk show hosts of the time... I’ll let you decide who I’m talking about. Often hosts had a set list of questions to ask... usually questions written by their producer.... and nothing would make them deviate from that script, certainly not actually LISTENING to the person they were interviewing. During the show, there was usually an assistant standing off camera, just behind the guest, with all of the pre-prepared questions written on a cue card. No matter what the guest said in response to a question, the host would read the next question on the list, even if it turned out to be a total non sequiter... sometimes with hilarious results.
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Many times, when you were responding to a question, you would see the host’s eyes focused just beyond you, trying to read the next question on the cue card, so you KNEW he wasn’t listening to what you were saying. It was very disconcerting, and actually kind of funny. With Merv, however, you had an actual CONVERSATION....fancy that!!!
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After my first Big Band album, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, was released in 1984, Merv often had me on his show to sing some of the great standards. He always raved about my arrangements, most of which were done by the great Sammy Nestico, and he always praised my singing. I remember that he especially loved a swinging arrangement Sammy did for me of a tune called EASY STREET, and insisted that I sing it on his show.
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Later on, he invited me to participate in Big Band shows he would put on at the hotel he owned in Atlantic City. That was SO much fun. Merv always brought in the finest musicians on the east coast to play in the orchestra. And he always put me up in a beautiful suite, complete with a grand piano!
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I met the famous Big Band singer, Helen O’Connell, who sang with the Jimmy Dorsey band in the 30s and 40s, at one of Merv’s shows. She was in her seventies then, and absolutely GORGEOUS!
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I also met Merv’s longtime close friend, Eva Gabor, who was absolutely delightful and even more lovely in person than she was on television. She was down to earth and utterly charming. When I admired a beautiful pale blue pleated chiffon gown she was wearing, she gave me the name, address and phone number of the man who designed it for her, and encouraged me to call him, saying he could do something equally as lovely for me! She also told me, in her charming Hungarian accent, “Women should always put pink lightbulbs in their lamps, because it makes their skin look so much more beautiful!” As she said this she pointed to the wall sconce backstage into which she had installed, of course, a PINK lightbulb! And she was right!!! We all looked much prettier lit by the soft glow of that pink bulb.
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But, at a rehearsal break for one of his shows in Atlantic City, I found out something about Merv I did not know. He was a FABULOUS pianist! While most everyone was on a break, he wandered over to the piano, sat down, and started to play. A few of us sat or stood around the piano and called out names of songs, and he invariably knew every one of them, and played them beautifully....verses, too! Amazing. Even some of the lesser known songs of the 30s, 40s and 50s, he knew and played from memory.
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Yes, Merv was a Renaissance Man.... Talk Show Host, Singer, Musician, Horseman, Hotelier, Creative Businessman, among many other things. I was so pleased to read all the wonderful things people said and wrote about Merv when news of his passing hit the media. Isn’t that just how you would like people to speak of you when you pass on? But first and foremost, Merv was a lover of people, of music, of life, and the world is a much better place for his having been here.
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And now I’m off to clean the kitchen before bedtime! I never did get all that ironing done last week....only half of it! Until next week....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN NOW..

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August 8-12, 2007

HELP FOR HUBBLE’S TROUBLES | A LAZY PRESCOTT AFTERNOON | CHOOSING SONGS | MY SPACE PAGE NOT “OFFICIAL” | DARYL’S SISTER. CARMEN | UPCOMING PROMO AND EVENTS
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HELP FOR HUBBLE’S TROUBLES
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I have had so many thoughtful and helpful emails with suggestions for ways to help Hubble’s Thunderstorm Phobia. Quite a few of you wrote to say that your dog was Thunder Phobic, too. I never knew how very common this condition is in dogs.
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Well, I’m happy to say that we have had a break in the Arizona Monsoon for the past few days, and Hubble is wag-tail happy! He is his old cheerful, confident, funny self. It is hard to look at him now and imagine how this happy dog could shake, tremble, pant and cower in fear when the storms roll in.... actually BEFORE the storms arrive! He knows they are coming long before we do.
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After trying all sorts of herbal and homeopathic remedies, including putting lavendar oil on his collar and rubbing him down with a dryer sheet (to supposedly reduce the electrical charge he is sensing), we have finally settled on giving him a “doggy Xanax” (Ace-Promazine) as soon as we estimate the storm is aproaching, and before he really gets agitated. I checked with three veterinarians.... our Prescott vet, our vet in La Quinta, and a veterinarian friend up in northern Nevada..... to make sure this would not harm him, and all three assured me he could take it as needed throughout the monsoon season and have no ill effects.
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In the new home we are building in Prescott, there is an interior bathroom located just off the breakfast area. We were going to put a Solatube in there to bring in some daylight, but after watching Hubble suffer through the storms, we have decided to eliminate the Solatube so the room can be made quite dark and provide a refuge for him. We are also going to soundproof the walls and ceiling, so it wil be extremely quiet (maybe we could record in there!!!). We are hoping this little dark, quiet space will offer Hubble a place to feel safe when the monsoon hits next year.



A LAZY PRESCOTT AFTERNOON

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Saturday, August 11th

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Where is the summer going??? Days are flying by, and I am constantly feeling guilty about tasks I have not gotten done. I have a mile-high pile of ironing to do, among other things. Mostly, I need quiet time to sit down and write TONI’S TAKE.
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As I write this, I am sitting on the deck of our little rental house among the pine and oak-covered hills in Prescott with the computer balanced on a pillow on my lap. It is a beautiful afternoon.... warm, with a light breeze, and white, puffy clouds floating about in a heavenly blue sky. I can hear the raucus call of the huge ravens that seem to be everywhere in Prescott, the cartoon laugh of the Acorn Woodpeckers, and the peeps and twitters of various chickadees, finches, and other little birds I have yet to identify. Occasionally there is the drone of a single engine plane passing overhead.
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It is a lovely, lazy afternoon, and I am reminded of a lyric from the great old standard by Hoagy Carmichael and Paul Francis Webster, MEMPHIS IN JUNE....”I can see old granny ‘cross the street, still a-rockin’, watchin’ the neighbors go by.” Well, I feel like “old granny” right now, and it feels pretty darned good!
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Adelaide is dozing on the floor next to me, one of her well-chewed old stuffies nearby. Down below, beneath the deck, Hubble is watching for any action he might spy on the road.... neighbors with their dogs, kids on bicycles, the occasional javelina (or “jalapeno”, as Daryl calls them). And I am thinking to myself... I NEED to do this more often... just sit here and look and listen.



CHOOSING SONGS
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I had an email recently asking how we chose the songs for our albums. First of all, Daryl and I long ago made an agreement with each other about which songs we would record. BOTH of us had to like the song.... otherwise.... no go. This rule could be frustrating, because once in a while I’d hear a song that I really wanted to sing, and when I played it for Daryl, he would say he didn’t like it at all, and that was the end of that.
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It was actually very difficult to find just the right songs because we felt there were certain parameters we needed to stay within. For example, we both felt that any song we recorded had to have a positive lyric. We were concerned that our fans would interpret a sad song as meaning there was something wrong in our relationship, and I believe we were correct in that thinking. It was very limiting for both of us musically, but we were pretty much “stuck” with a certain image. Later on we began to slip in some tunes that didn’t exactly fit those guidelines, including some I wrote with other artists in mind, such as THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME (Cher) and DON’T FORGET ME (Dolly Parton).
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After our first album was such a success, we were deluged with demos from publishing companies. There were more songs sent to us than we could ever have had time to listen to, but we didn’t want to miss a good one, so we enlisted my sister, Louisa, to sift through them. Louisa had great “ears”, and could tell within a few bars if a tune might work for us. She made demo tapes for us with about 30 seconds of several tunes from the current batch of submissions so we could narrow them down. After we chose some to listen to, she’d send us the complete demo and the lead or lyric sheet.
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It was very interesting sifting through all those songs. I would say that at least 97% of them were just not particularly good or weren’t right for us for one reason or another. About 3% would pique our interest enough that we would listen to the complete demo, and if we found one or two tunes that were strong ”possibles” we were pretty happy. And, of course, I always tried to write at least three or four tunes of my own for each album.
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There were so many things to consider.... were the lyrics well structured and were they right for Captain and Tennille? Were the melody and the style right for my particular voice? Was the music exciting, or at least interesting, to Daryl? Since both of us poured so much of ourselves into each song we recorded, it had to be the “right” song.
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Now, that’s not to say every song we recorded turned out as we had hoped. There were a few.... which I will not name, since one of them might be your favorite.... that, in our opinion, just didn’t hold up as well as we hoped. But we ALWAYS strived to make every song on an album stand on its own.... no FILLERS!!!!! Many artists of the time would record a couple of songs they were sure had a good shot to be “hits”, and then record a bunch of what I call “filler” tracks to complete the album..perhaps a mediocre song written by a buddy. I always thought that was lazy and showed a lack of respect for the people who purchased their albums.
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My sister, Jane, also has great “ears”, and she found a couple of very good songs for us. She was living in Nashville at the time, and would go to the music publishing houses on Music Row to see what they had that might be right for Captain and Tennille. If she heard a good song, she passed it on to us.
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We recorded one of the songs she found for us... a terrific sort of country-style song called YOU NEED A WOMAN TONIGHT. I LOVED that song... loved Daryl’s arrangement and production, and loved singing it. It was released as a single, but never made it into the Top Ten for us EXCEPT in the Northwest, where it was a big hit (thanks to all of you up there)! Jane also found CAN’T STOP DANCIN’...a tune written by Ray Stevens.... for us while she was in Nashville. She is a Hospice nurse now, but she would have been a great A&R representative for one of the major record labels.




MY SPACE PAGE NOT “OFFICIAL”
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I have had some emails mentioning our My Space page. We did not put up that page, and we don’t know who did. We never check it, so I just want everyone to know that, if you write to us there, we won’t see it. It actually kind of bothers me that someone put up a My Space page in our name without our permission. Seems to me that should be OUR choice to do or not to do. And now that there is already a page claiming to be ours, it would just confuse the issue if we tried to put up one of our own. The internet has many flaws, and this kind of thing is a real problem.




DARYL’S SISTER
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Many of you have asked about Daryl’s sister, Carmen. She is on her third or fourth round of chemo to treat her cancer, and she is doing well. She has her own blog, and I’m sure she would love to hear from some of you.




UPCOMING PROMO AND EVENTS
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We are starting to do some promo for the upcoming DVD and Christmas CD releases. We just did an interview yesterday for Marilyn Beck’s syndicated column. If you see a mention in your local paper, please let us know. We also did an interview with Nevada Magazine for their November issue. They were particularly interested in the upcoming release (October) of our Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS, and one of the songs I wrote called TAHOE SNOW. I wrote it in 1984, the first year Daryl and I lived in Nevada.
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Also, we were just contacted by the makers of the CASPER’S SCARE SCHOOL movie which was aired on the Cartoon Network last Halloween, asking us to do some promo for the release of CASPER on DVD this October. Most of you regular readers know we did the voices for a two-headed character in the CASPER movie and also recorded a couple of songs for the score.
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Next week we are doing a series of phone interviews for the print media, and very possibly a satellite TV “marathon” to promote CASPER. The satellite marathon involves our being in a studio, and being interviewed by many tv stations around the country, one right after another, via satellite. It is pretty exhausting, but you can get to a lot of TV stations that way without having to get on a plane and go to all those cities!!
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Also, it looks like we WILL be appearing in the tribute to Neil Sedaka at Lincoln Center in New York City this coming October. Neil has been writing and singing hit records since he was about 14 years old, and this tribute is well-deserved. LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, which Neil wrote with Howie Greenfield, was our first hit record, and we recorded many of Neil’s songs over the years....Y OU NEVER DONE IT LIKE THAT, LONELY NIGHTS (both million sellers), LET MAMMA KNOW, and others. Hopefully, one or two of you can get to New York for the show.
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Well.... it is now time to tackle that pile of ironing I’ve been putting off for so long! I hope you all have a wonderful week. Until next time...Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart!

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July 26, 2007

ARIZONA WILDLIFE | HUBBLE’S MONSOON TROUBLE | AN INTERVIEW WITH “CHRYSLER”
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ARIZONA WILDLIFE
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Two fist-sized brown tarantulas and many thunderstorms later, we are well into Arizona’s famous Monsoon Season. The tarantulas appeared, each on a separate evening, after a rainstorm, crab-walking their way very slowly across the street. The first time I saw one of these creatures, the dogs were sniffing at something in the middle of the road, and when I pulled them away to see what had caught their interest, there was one quite large, very disgruntled
tarantula.
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I leaned down to get a good look at it in the fading light, since I had never seen one “in the wild” ....only in cages at a zoo. I thought it was a very attractive spider, covered with pale bronze and light brown “fur”. He seemed fairly cranky after the dogs had sniffed him, so I left him to make his slow, deliberate way to the other side of the road.
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Now, if this had been a large snake .....I would have been outta there ASAP! I don’t mind the small ones, like the Garter Snakes. And I don’t mind lizards at all. But the great big Diamond Back Rattlers, Gopher and King snakes that live in this area are absolutely not my cup of tea. I’m sure I will cross paths with one or two while I live here, but it will not be a happy meeting for me.




HUBBLE’S MONSOON TROUBLE

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We have had thunderstorms here every day for the past 10 days or so. As a rule, I don’t mind them.... in fact, they are fairly exciting. However, they have caused a great deal of stress for me, mainly because our male Australian Shepherd, Hubble, suffers from Thunderstorm Phobia, which is quite a common ailment for dogs, the vet told me.
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Hubble knows there is a thunderstorm approaching even before we do .....he somehow senses barometric and electrical changes in the atmosphere. As soon as we hear the first clap of thunder, he is already shaking, shivering, panting, and trying to hide. He is literally terrified. I have had panic attacks before, so I know what he is feeling, and it breaks my heart to see him so distressed.
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We have tried several different herbal and homeopathic remedies, but none have worked. The vet gave me a tranquilizer for him, but we have to give it to him at least one half hour before the first sound of thunder. If he is already shaking and panting, it is too late to give it because it won’t be effective.
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Since we are in a small rental house here in Prescott, we cannot leave him alone during a storm, or if one is expected, because we are afraid he will do damage to the house in his panic. This has left us pretty much tied to the house. Only one of us can leave at a time, since someone has to be here with him to medicate him if a storm is approaching.
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This situation has really put a dent in our social life for now. No dinners out until the monsoon is over! The locals tell me it could end soon after Labor Day. Let’s see ....that means about five weeks before we can go out to dinner!!! Oh, well ....it can’t be helped. We love this little guy ....we raised him from a six-week old puppy ....and we’re sticking with him!
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Because of the thunder storms, I have had to turn my computer off for hours at a time, so I have been unable to concentrate on writing TONI’S TAKE. As you know, I try to get it written by Sunday morning, so Daryl can post it to the website that day. I realize I have been fairly erratic in my postings since we arrived in Prescott, but please be assured I am trying to keep to my schedule.

Besides the monsoon, we have many things going on that demand our attention. We are in the process of building what we hope will be our last home, and that requires all sorts of meetings with the builders and suppliers, and many, many decisions. And, by the way, I am truly touched by those of you who wrote, worried that I might be ill since I haven’t written in a while. No...I am FINE! Just very busy with the new home, and worried a lot about Hubble.



AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRYSLER
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I had an email recently with a question about my 1980 syndicated talk show, THE TONI TENNILLE TALK/VARIETY SHOW. The writer said he had heard that I had interviewed a very well-known celebrity of the time, and he had heard that the celebrity was obviously on drugs at the time of the interview. He wanted to know the person’s name.
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Well, I would never reveal the person’s name, but I can tell you this .....he made his name on Saturday Night Live in the early days, and went on to have a fairly successful movie career. We’ll call him “Chrysler.” Chrysler was very much in demand as a guest on many of the shows of the day. My producers were excited when he agreed to appear on my show.
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However, Chrysler made many, many demands regarding the circumstances of his appearance. He would not appear live on the show, as every other guest did. He insisted that we pre-tape his interview in an empty studio, so the entire production team had to come in at a special time to tape his segment. He was late, totally unprofessional, and kept disappearing into the bathroom every 1/2 hour or so (I suspected that he was much too young to have had prostate trouble).
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The thing I remember most about Chrysler was how absolutely rude he was to me and the staff. His answers to almost every question I asked him were snide and supercilious. It was all I could do to continue the interview, since I could tell it was going absolutely nowhere. We finally finished the “interview”, such as it was, and I was more than grateful when it was over and he left the studio. I’ll have to say that never before, or since, have I had an experience like that with another “celebrity”.
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On his behalf, though, I understand that Chrysler has cleaned up his act, and gave up drugs quite a few years ago. I truly hope that he has found some happiness. In my unpleasant experience with him, despite his fame, he certainly did not seem like a happy man.
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Overall, I was quite pleased with what we were able to accomplish on my talk/variety show ...especially the music! I had some fabulous musical guests, and I also had a wonderful small band of great musicians who made the music so much fun! I was even able to persuade Daryl to appear every now and then!
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In a future TONI’S TAKE, I will get more specific about the show. What was great about it, and what was really hard about it ...and how and why it ended one year later.
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That is all for now. Hang in with me in the next few weeks. After the monsoon season is over, I’m hoping Hubble and I will return to normal. Until then, Keep
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart! - LISTEN NOW..
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July 16, 2007

ROOT CANAL | ”TENNILLE” CUT | NEW RELEASES | LOVELY EMAIL TO SHARE
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ROOT CANAL
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Many thanks to all of you who wrote, worried about my possible root canal. I was almost certain that was what was causing the pain in my jaw, and what felt like a knot in the side of my neck. The dentist took a look at the tooth last Saturday, and said she thought it might be an old root canal gone bad, so she referred me to an endodontist. On Monday the endodontist poked, prodded, tapped on and x-rayed the suspected tooth. Then he said, “Toni, I cannot see a thing that indicates you have an infection in that tooth. Have you been grinding your teeth at night?” Well, I have never ground my teeth that I know of, and Daryl says he has never seen me doing it, so I told him no.
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He then asked if I were under any stress right now. HAH!!! Let’s see..... we are in the middle of moving to a brand new town in a brand new state. We are building a new home. Daryl and I and the three cats and two dogs are living in a very small rental house while we keep an eye on the construction. You could say it is waaay too cozy in here. Actually, this little house is not much bigger than our “Butterscotch Castle” from way back in 1974...the very first house Daryl and I lived in together. Those of you who are long-time fans are familiar with the song I wrote about that little place.
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Another concern is our dog, Hubble. He is terrified of thunderstorms, and the monsoon storms started here in Prescott this afternoon. Hubble has been shivering, shaking, hiding and panting for several hours now, while Daryl and I try to act like everything is just fine, even when the thunder shakes the house to its foundation! I can only hope the poor little guy gets used to the storms, since they are forecast to continue almost every afternoon through mid September. By the way, our other dog, Adelaide, and the three cats don’t care at all about the storm.
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The point the endodontist was making is that people under stress can end up with TMJ.... a painful cramping of the muscle that hinges the jaw. I have made my own diagnosis..... sinusitis or “swimmer’s ear.” I’m taking Sudafed (the REAL stuff you have to sign for) and Advil, and I must say I DO feel better.
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So thanks so much for your concern. Sorry to have carried on like this, but... SINCE you asked!!!



“TENNILLE” CUT
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I had a recent email to TONI’S TAKE, saying the writer had heard that I “didn’t like” the hairstyle.... often called the “Tennille” Cut.... that I wore on our television series, and asking if that was true. Actually, I really liked that hair style, but my HAIR didn’t like it! The haircut was designed by the famous stylist, Vidal Sassoon, who was known for his simple, “swingy” hair cuts.
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My hair has a natural wave... almost a curl. When I let it dry naturally, without using a blow dryer, you can easily see the curl. In order to keep my hair looking sleek and smooth for television, it had to be blown dry by the hair stylist every single time. When I had to blow it dry myself, it was a disaster! I just couldn’t make it look the same. Whenever Daryl and I went on the road, I always did my own hair and makeup (I still do today), and my hair never looked like it did on TV.... especially when we did outdoor concerts in humid climates. By the end of the concert, my hair would look like I stuck my finger in a light socket.
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Finally, I just got tired of fighting my hair. Now I wear it fairly short, and blow it dry using just my fingers to scrunch it up. Takes only about five minutes. The time I save is better used doing something else, like practising piano! I hope this answers the writer’s hair question.



NEW RELEASES
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Daryl and I, and our assistant, Becky Greenlaw, have been going over and approving all the art work for the C&T DVDs and the Christmas CD being released this year. I have been hesitant to talk about it, because long-time readers of TONI’S TAKE know what happened to the release of our Christmas CD last year, and we don’t want a repeat of that unpleasant situation. However, this time it looks like things will be done correctly by our new releasing company, RetroActive Entertainment, with national distribution by Navarre.
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By the end of August, you should be able to find the HAWAII special, the NEW ORLEANS special, the SONGBOOK special (either individually or in a boxed set), and our CHRISTMAS special in stores as well as online at Amazon.com. By mid October, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS CD will be in stores as well in a beautiful new package, which includes lyrics, liner notes, and new photographs. We have an excellent publicist for the project, The Lippin Group, whom we have worked with in the past, and they are already lining up interviews for us to promote the product.
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Daryl and I have some concern, because, as most of you know, the CD and DVD business is changing rapidly because of pirating, copying and filesharing. Many, many retailers are cutting back on the number of CDs and DVDs they stock because sales are way down and they don’t want to end up with stock they cannot sell. This is making it more and more difficult for even established artists to get new product out there. We’re just hoping to make it “under the wire” this time before the entire business goes kaput..... something Daryl has been warning about for years.



LOVELY EMAIL TO SHARE
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It always amazes and heartens me to receive an email like the one I am posting in this week’s TONI’S TAKE. It amazes me because, even after all these years, I still find it hard to believe how many people have been affected by our music. And it heartens me, because it lets me know that some people have really been touched by what has been our life’s work for over 35 years now. It truly means the world to us, and lets us know that we have made a difference.
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This writer’s story is such a lovely one, I wanted to share it with you. I received his permission to reprint it here. I hope you enjoy his story as much as Daryl and I did. Until next week.... Keep A Song Of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN NOW..

"Love Will Keep Us Together" - a true story

My name is Craig Colling. I live in New York state. I am married, 47 years old, and a successful businessperson. I state these facts simply to assure you that I am a serious & well-grounded individual, and that the brief story that I am about to tell you really happened - in 1984 - almost 23 years ago. I feel that I need to tell you the story now, because time passes very quickly, and it is time that the Captain & Toni Tennille became aware of a very unique circumstance involving their hit song "Love Will Keep Us Together", before another fleeting decade passes. [I am hoping that you will pass this amazing story on to them...]

In 1984, my beloved girlfriend MaryEllen (who did become my wife) and I were at the end of our relationship. Despite being in love, we were having a very difficult time, and we were on the verge of ending our relationship. Before doing so, we decided to take a Fall drive to try to lessen the pressure that we were feeling. While driving in the car, you could "literally cut the air with a knife" as they say, so, I decided to turn on the radio. When I did, MaryEllen and I both chuckled when the song "Love Will Keep Us Together" was playing.

Please read on, this gets better & better...

Once the song finished, I hit another button on the car radio, and - to my surprise - the same song was playing again. Please bear in mind, that this song had been a hit some nine years earlier, and was now only played periodically. By now, MaryEllen and I were very intrigued by the coincidence.

Well, you'll never guess what happened next....? I hit the radio button for the third time.. and what was playing...? You guessed it...
"Love Will Keep Us Together" for the third time in a row. Wow! What are the odds of that happening we thought..? A nine year-old song on three different stations back to back to back. Needless to say, we were quite taken back by this coincidence.

From here our story turns into a downright miracle - and one that I felt that the Captain & Tennille should know about before we all get 23 years older.

Upon completion of the third playing of the song, MaryEllen suggested that we stop at the Salvation Army to look at some furniture for her apartment. (MaryEllen had just completed her Masters Degree, and money was tight.) As we walked in, I told MaryEllen that I would be looking at the used records, if she wanted me for anything...

So, over I went...

I started leafing through a line of LP's when all of a sudden...
the single: "Love Will Keep Us Together"

Literally fell from the sky and landed face up in front of me!


In actuality, it had been on a shelf above my head, and had fallen when I started flipping through the LP's. It landed (face-up) right on top of the LP's - right under my nose!! It even fell with the correct (A) side facing up! Needless to say, I immediately called MaryEllen over, and we both literally trembled at what we saw.

To this day, I simply cannot fathom the odds of what happened that day. I truly do not see how such a thing could have happened without some type of Devine intervention.

Becky, I am neither a nut, nor a very religious man for that matter, but there is no denying that some type of miracle happened that day. Some type of Devine power had to have intervened to cause such a unique series of events to unfold.

At the conclusion of this miraculous series of events, the Captain & Tennile's record literally fell from above, and MaryEllen and I have had the most wonderful marriage that anyone could hope for. My two parents had a total of eight marriages between them, so God must have been saying "enough is enough" on that fateful day.

[Becky, I could not let another day pass without sharing this with the Captain & Tenille. I hope that you will pass this on to them. They had unknowingly been involved in something much bigger than all of us on that day, and I hope that this miraculous occurrence will bring them the joy that it has brought us.]

Perhaps MaryEllen and I may one day have the opportunity to have the record signed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you will pass this forward.

Sincerely,

Craig M. Colling


July 8, 2007
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OH, NO...... ROOT CANAL!
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I’m going to wait a few days before writing my next TONI’S TAKE. I always try to get it ready so Daryl can post it each Sunday, but, frankly, I have a horrible toothache! I started having some discomfort on Friday, but tried to ignore it, hoping it would go away. By Saturday morning, I could no longer ignore it. My right lower jaw was throbbing painfully. Problem: Daryl and I don’t yet have a dentist in Prescott, and it was SATURDAY!!!! WHY do these things ALWAYS happen on a weekend or a holiday??? All I could think of was suffering all day Saturday and Sunday, and then spending Monday trying to find a new dentist who could see me right away.
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Well.....all I can say is, the people in our new town came through big time. By 4PM yesterday Daryl and I were in a dentist’s office. The dentist is a friend of a new friend here, and met Daryl and me at her office, where, after an examination and an x-ray, she gave me the bad news ....an old root canal had “failed”, was infected, and needed to be redone. Oh, boy. She gave me the name of a local Endodontist, and told me to call him at 7AM on Monday morning, when his office opens.
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So, I am hoping I’ll feel much more like writing in a few days. In the meantime, Keep A Song Of Joy Inside Your Heart! - LISTEN NOW..
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JUNE 30, 2007
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LAST WEEK’S TAKE | MARRIAGE | CELEBRATING SEDAKA
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LAST WEEK’S TAKE
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I received many, many emails commenting on last week’s TONI’S TAKE, and 99% of them were understanding and supportive, and I thank you so much for writing. I am also interested in hearing from those of you who disagree with me, too, especially if you express yourself courteously and clearly. However, that was not the case with a couple of writers. So I am going to tell you right now that if, as I am reading your emails, I come to a dirty word or an expletive of any sort, I stop reading immediately, make a note of the return address, and hit the delete button. I never open another email from that address again. If you cannot express your opinion without using such words, you are a poor writer indeed, and not worthy of being read. And that is the LAST I am going to say on that subject.



MARRIAGE
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A young woman who has written to me a few times in the past wrote recently to say that she is about to get married. She asked me if I had any advice on how to make a marriage last. I have a few things I can suggest.... my opinion only.... but every marriage is as different from the other as the two people in it. And you just can never tell from the outside looking in which marriages are really successful. But here are a few things I think every couple should consider before they decide to marry.
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It is important that your ethics, ideals and morals be similar. That is the foundation upon which your relationship will be built. All the other stuff..... he likes football, you like opera... are just superficial things that you can compromise on.
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Daryl and I both believe that marriage is monogamous. Once you take those vows to love and cherish each other for the rest of your lives, that means ONLY each other. If you are not ready to make that commitment, you are not ready for marriage. I know there are many “open” marriages these days, but I don’t consider them true marriages.
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Be proud of each other, and support each other. Never be jealous of one another’s achievements. Encourage each other to explore his or her abilities and gifts, and be helpful if you can.
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NEVER speak ill of your partner to anyone or in any public place (that’s not to say that, if no one else is in the car, you can’t scream at each other while driving.... you know about me and Daryl and the driving thing). NEVER say things to your partner like, “You are stupid.... you are worthless... I hate you.” Harsh and mean words can hurt and scar and wreck a relationship.
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And, of COURSE, you lay a hand on your partner in anger and it’s over! That goes without saying. No hitting or physically hurting each other AT ALL. After all, if you have chosen correctly, this person is your partner for life and your best friend in the world, and you should cherish them and be grateful to be sharing your life with them, and all the rest is small stuff.
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TALK to each other. I mean it! When we first started living together in 1972, Daryl and I had completely different ways of coping with problems in our relationship. He comes from a family that doesn’t express emotion very easily. His idea of dealing with a problem was to go into his room, close the door and just kind of “stew”.
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I come from a family of outgoing people who talk easily and all the time!! After a while, I finally figured out that I needed to wait an hour or so for Daryl to “percolate”, and then just go in and start talking to him...not yelling, mind you.... just talking.. about ANYTHING, not necessarily what we thought was the problem. Pretty soon, we were BOTH talking, and what we almost always discovered was that whatever we were worried about was usually nothing much. Now we talk easily about things, and I’d say that communication is just about the most important key to our long relationship.
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I always cry at weddings.... especially those involving young people. I don’t cry because the bride is so beautiful, or the flowers are gorgeous, or the music is so lovely. I cry because I believe that most of the couples don’t have a CLUE how hard it is going to be to make their marriage work, and how very hard they are going to have to work at it. When you say, “I do,” that is JUST THE BEGINNING! Marriages don’t just move along nicely with no effort on your part. There are constant adjustments and compromises you have to make along the way EVERY DAY. Remember, every relationship is different, and there is no “perfect” marriage.
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Let me just leave this subject with this thought for couples contemplating a lifetime together. Picture your partner in your mind right now, young and beautiful, healthy and strong. Now, imagine you and your partner fifty or sixty years from now when you are elderly, not so strong and beautiful perhaps. Can you see yourselves, walking together, hand in hand, comfortable in, and grateful for, each other’s presence? If you can picture that, you have a darned good chance of making a go of it.



CELEBRATING SEDAKA
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There is a possibility that Daryl and I will appear in a concert in New York City celebrating Neil Sedaka’s 50 year career. It will be held at Lincoln Center this coming October. There are still many details to be worked out, so I can’t say this is definitely going to happen, but I will let you know as soon as I know it is on for sure. Daryl and I recorded many, many songs by Neil such as LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, YOU NEVER DONE IT LIKE THAT, LONELY NIGHTS and others. Neil is one of the finest, most prolific songwriters our country has ever produced, and it has been such a joy to know him and sing his terrific songs.
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If it does happen, I hope those of you who live around the New York area will come and help us celebrate Neil’s great career. And even if we are unable to make it, you should go anyway. Neil is a great performer, and you’ll have a fabulous evening.
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I hope all of you have a wonderful Fourth of July. Listen for Daryl’s father’s beautiful arrangement of AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. It is played EVERYWHERE by bands and symphony orchestras over the Fourth of July holiday. Enjoy family and friends and fireworks and picnics, and celebrate this country we all love so much. And send your love and grateful thanks to all of our young men and women in harm’s way in the Middle East, and everywhere else in the world they serve us and our country. Until next week..... Keep A Song Of Joy Inside Your Heart.
( LISTEN NOW...)
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June 24, 2007
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CROSSING THE LINE | CASPER ON DVD IN AUGUST
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In my last column, I wrote about the wonderful people we have been meeting here in Prescott. The majority of the ones we have met seem to be friendly, welcoming, helpful in so many ways, and respectful of our privacy. In fact, this evening we are headed over to a neighborhood picnic just around the corner from our rental house. In other circumstances, I might have been hesitant to go in case we’d become the “center of attention”, but my gut feeling tells me we’ll be fine with these people. Yes, they know who we are, and yes, quite a few of them are excited we are going to be in the area while we build our new home, but I think they realize we want to be treated like “regular” people. So far, so good.
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In a way they remind me of the people Daryl and I used to meet on the streets of Manhattan whenever we had to go there on business. Even during the craziest times of our television show in the mid 70s, when we were on viewer’s television sets weekly, New Yorkers were great! If one of them recognized us, they’d smile and call out, “Hiya, Captain and Toni! We love you guys. Welcome to New York!” And that was it. They went on about whatever they had to do, and let us go on about our lives. We never felt “stalked” or overwhelmed by New York fans. They were cool, and we loved them for it. In fact, Daryl and I have talked about those New York fans for years, and always look forward to spending time in Manhattan (even though we’re rarely recognized on the streets these days).
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Which brings up an uncomfortable situation that occurred yesterday when Daryl and I went out to check on the construction of our new home. We were there rather late in the afternoon, and I was taking some photos to document the progress of the construction. As we were walking around the property, I noticed a car driving up to our gate. I didn’t recognize it, so I wondered who it might be.
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A woman got out of the car, and headed, purposefully, in our direction. I thought she might be a real estate agent. I walked toward her and asked if I could help her. She told me she lived in “the house on the hill over there. We’ve been hoping to see you here so I could come and meet you! My husband saw you through the window, and I jumped in the car so I could come over here before you left!”
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She went on to explain how much she loved our music, and how excited she was to meet us. We chatted a bit, and she said that her daughter, who was driving the car, was “so embarrassed I made her drive me over here so I could meet you that she won’t get out of the car.” I asked her daughter’s name, and said I’d love to say hello to her.
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As we walked towards her car, she turned to Daryl and said, actually, DEMANDED, “Take off your glasses! - I want to see your eyes!

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Right then she crossed the line. Even if she had asked politely, the answer was NO. I was stunned she would even ask such a thing. I immediately bristled, but managed to stay calm as, after Daryl quietly told her he would not remove his glasses, I explained to her, keeping my anger in check, that Daryl has had several surgeries on his eyes, and never takes his glasses off anymore.
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Now I’ll explain to you exactly what the situation is with Daryl’s eyes. He has a congenital condition called Megalophthalmus, which basically means “extremely enlarged eyes.” Most ophthalmologists, although they learn about the condition in medical school, NEVER see a case of it. His eyes are one in several hundred-million. His beautiful eyes that we all thought were so mesmerizing, were destined to cause all sorts of problems for him as he aged.
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In the last several years, he has had surgeries on both eyes.... one involved the implantation of a tiny “drain” in one eye, to relieve the pressure of glaucoma. It was so severe that prescription eye drops could not do the job. He has also had surgeries for cataracts in both eyes.. an inevitable result of Megalophthalmus. In fact, the only Ophthalmic Surgeon in this country who had some experience with eyes like Daryl’s was in Cincinnati, so we had to fly there three different times so he could have the tests and then the procedures. Our regular eye doctor in Reno would not touch it.
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Also, it is actually painful for him without dark glasses, because his eyes do not adjust well to light. When he was growing up, he was often teased unmercifully about his “big eyes” by other kids, who called him “
Martian" & "frog-eyes,” so he has always been extremely sensitive about those eyes we all thought were so beautiful.
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I know there are people out there who think they can demand anything they want from “celebrities”, because “they wouldn’t be anybody without us fans!” Yes, without the fans who love and buy our music and attend our concerts, we wouldn’t have a career, wouldn’t have been able to write, share and perform our songs. But there is a line.... and that woman jumped right over it. Some things are private and personal, and always will be. We will be avoiding her as much as possible in the future, and will be polite if we end up in a situation where we can’t avoid her, but will make for the door as soon as we possibly can.



On a lighter note..... it appears that the animated film we did last year, CASPER’S SCARE SCHOOL, will be available on DVD sometime in August. Some of you may have watched it last Halloween on the Cartoon Network. Believe me, it is much more pleasant to watch it on DVD. We were the voices for a two-headed character called ANKLE.... Casper’s Aunt Belle and Uncle Murray. We also recorded several songs for the soundtrack. There is one absolutely gorgeous song that you hear on the soundtrack when you see Casper flying off to Scare School to learn how to be more “frightening” The song is called WORLD WITHOUT FEAR and it was written by Magnus Fiennes (brother of actors David and Joseph Fiennes). The sentiments in the lyrics are perfect for today’s world, where so many of us live in fear of “terrorists”, “aliens,” and all sorts of bad guys. If you have children of a certain age, I am sure they will love CASPER’S SCARE SCHOOL.
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Well, that’s my TAKE for today. Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN NOW..
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June 18, 2007

WELCOME TO PRESCOTT !
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At this moment Daryl and I are sitting on the deck of our little rental house in Prescott, AZ. Hubble and Adelaide are out here with us, wondering why they are not allowed in the house. All three cats are hiding under the bed. We are all in our places because the carpet cleaner is inside the house, doing his thing!
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When we arrived at the rental last Saturday afternoon, the house had been cleaned, but the carpet had not. We figured that the landlord, knowing we were bringing two dogs and three cats into the house (and bless him for allowing us to do that!) decided it was a waste of money to have the carpets cleaned. However, I like to have a “clean slate” when I live somewhere, and there were quite a few dirty smudgy places in the traffic areas. I decided to have the carpet cleaned at our own expense. I will be MUCH happier when the work is done.
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We have been living in Prescott now for just over a week, and we finally seem to be settling in. The cats have staked out their places in their new digs, and the dogs are getting used to seeing people go by right outside our door. This little rental house is located on a corner lot, and people and cars pass close by all day long. It isn’t busy here at all...it is a quiet area. But our dogs are used to living on five acres in a rural area, where they NEVER saw anybody pass by.
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The neighborhood where we are renting is cozy and attractive, tucked into the pine-covered hills west of town. We have met quite a few of our neighbors, and they have been very friendly and respectful of our privacy, which is really nice. We walk the dogs every morning and evening, and as we pass by, people smile and wave from their porches or driveways and say hello. When we first started walking the neighborhood, they would say, “Are you Captain and Tennille? We heard you were coming.” Word gets around VERY fast here in Prescott. Daryl and I usually stop to chat with each one for a bit before we continue on our way.
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My impression of the neighborhood is that most of the people here are in their 50s and up, and are really into health and fitness. We see them walking with their dogs, riding bikes, hiking, heading for the health club in the neighborhood to work out, take the yoga classes, swim, and play tennis. Of course there are younger people here, too, and everybody seems to be into a healthy lifestyle. I really like that. We have met some of the nicest people here, and they have been so helpful in many ways, recommending restaurants, hair stylists, physicians, veterinarians, etc.
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The funny thing is, our moving here has caused quite a stir! This is really suprising to me, since we have been out of the public eye for so long, and it has been many years since our last hit record. In La Quinta, where we have our winter home, our presence evokes mostly yawns, because the Coachella Valley, which includes Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, is PACKED with celebs...movie stars, television stars, famous singers, etc. But here in Prescott, I guess we are “it” for now. Although I HAVE heard a rumor that Denzel Washington has a home here. Maybe I’ll run into him at Target someday!
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Let me tell you a funny story that kind of shows you how uncomfortable it can be to be “famous” sometimes.
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The day we got here, my 2001 Toyota Tundra truck had a flat tire right in the driveway of our rental. It turns out it had picked up a nail left over from the building of the dog enclosure, which the landlord had installed for us.
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To TRY to make a long story short, Daryl took the truck to Walmart to have the tire repaired. The work was done by a “trainee”, who stripped one of the lug nuts while installing the repaired tire. The Service Manager told Daryl to go to the local auto parts store to get a new lug nut, and they would waive the charge for the tire repair.
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Daryl decided to go to the local Toyota dealer to get an “official” Toyota lug nut. On his way there, he heard a loud THUMP just as he pulled up to a stop light. He looked back and saw the SPARE tire lying in the road. The “trainee” had installed the spare, which goes under the truck, incorrectly, and it fell off. By the time Daryl could safely make a u-turn to pick up the tire...just a couple of minutes later.... the tire had been stolen right off the street! Welcome to Prescott.
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While all this was going on, I was at the rental, cleaning like mad, and trying to get things organized. I was wearing a ratty old “cleaning” tee shirt and a pair of old shorts , my hair was sticking out all over the place, and I had NO makeup on. I was a mess, actually.
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The phone rang. I heard Daryl’s frazzled voice in the line.... ”Get over here to the Toyota dealer..... you’re buying a new truck!”
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“WHAT????,” I said! “Why am I buying a new truck...what’s wrong with my old one? We just had it serviced!”
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“Just get over here now,” he insisted.
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I didn’t know about the tire fiasco, but I knew that tone of voice. So I got in the minivan right away, and made my way to the Toyota dealer.
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When I arrived, I parked the minivan, got out of the car, and saw Daryl walking towards me with a saleman accompanying him. The salesman was smiling broadly, and when he saw me he said, “YOU’RE TONI TENNILLE!!!!” Oh, boy. I was NOT in glamour mode. In fact, I looked like hell, but here was this guy carrying on and drawing attention to me. I wanted to crawl in a hole, but there I was.
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He proceeded to show me every new Tundra he had on the lot. I was still in a daze. Daryl and I had talked about my getting a new truck when the 2007 models came out, but I was concerned about the size of them. The trucks ARE incredibly impressive, and they are REALLY BIG.
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Well, we ended up in the little room where they put you while they “take a look at your old truck” and decide how little they are going to give you for a trade-in. ALL I wanted to do was go away, but there we sat for what seemed like an interminable time, while the salesman did what they do. In the meantime, people popped in and out of the little room saying, “YOU’RE the Captain and Tennille!” Some of them asked for autographs. I could tell they were thinking (or at least I THOUGHT they were thinking), “God, she looks awful! And OLD, too.” And I did. Get me outta here!
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Finally, I had enough. I told the saleman exactly what I wanted.... a black double-cab with pale beige interior, and all the bells and whistles, and I left Daryl to deal with the rest of it. The saleman wasn’t happy because he had to order the truck, and it is going to take about three weeks to get here, but... oh, well.
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And it wasn’t all ”Oh how exciting, you’re the Captain and Tennille!” As I was trying to head for the door, the salesman grabbed a younger employee, pointed at me and said, “Do you know who THIS is?” The younger guy looked me up and down with a critical eye and said, “No. Should I?” Embarrassed, I said, “No, you shouldn’t.” He said, “Well, I’m ONLY thirty-one,” and walked off. OUCH.
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Anyhow, that’s about all the news I have for now. I will do my best to write every Sunday, so stick with me! The carpet cleaned up nicely, by the way. Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN NOW..
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June 4, 2007
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A SUMMER IN PRESCOTT
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The time has come for us to make our transition to Prescott for the summer. It is 8AM, and Daryl and I just got through loading up the truck with most of the stuff we’ll need while we’re there. We were up at 4:30AM this morning in order to walk the dogs for the full hour and beat the 106 degree heat that is forecast for today. We’ll be driving out of here tomorrow morning. We’ll leave the pets here for now, and come back to pick them up in a couple of days, once we have the rental house all set up for them (and us).
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The dogs know something is up. The minute they see us packing suitcases and loading stuff in one of the cars, they begin to get a bit anxious. I wish I could tell them, “Calm down...we’ll be back to get all of you in a couple of days!” The cats, of course, don’t care if we come or go, as long as they have food, water, and clean litter boxes. You gotta love cats! They’re easy.
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We will be “computerless” for the next week. The rental house will not be set up for high speed access until the middle of next week, so I won’t be able to write another TONI’S TAKE for another week or so. Just hang in there with me. I’ll be writing again once we’re settled in Prescott. Until then... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. (
LISTEN NOW...)
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May 27, 2007
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DESERT HEAT | A GRAY MAY | UPCOMING C&T SPECIALS ON DVD
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DESERT HEAT
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Now that Memorial Day weekend is here, the desert is heating up! Daryl and I have to get out each morning before the sun rises to walk the dogs, because once the sun blasts over the eastern mountains, the temperatures rise fast. Our air conditioner is running most of the day now, and I find myself cringing when I think of how high our power bill is going to be. I checked out the forecast for
Prescott, where we will be spending the summer, and the temperatures sound perfect..... mid 80s during the day, and 50s in the mornings.... just right for walking the dogs, and we WON’T have to get up at 5AM every morning to beat the heat!



A GRAY MAY
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This has been a rough month, this “gray May”. After I attended two memorial services in a row last week, I felt very weepy for a couple of days, like I was carrying around a huge “bubble” of sadness in my chest. Both of the men who died.... Daryl's Uncle Roland and our neighbor, “Jack”...were wonderful men...true gentlemen, with the kind of presence that lights up a room. Both were kind, generous, warm individuals who did good things for people, and left the earth a better place.
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Yes, both of them lived long lives... Roland was 88, and “Jack” was 80... but we could have used a few more years of their presence in our lives. Roland died after a long descent into Alzheimers. “Jack” fell like a tree cut down by the blow of an axe... healthy and strong until he suddenly crashed to the earth. Their deaths caused me to do a lot of reflecting on how I am living my life, and what I can do to live the kind of life “Jack” and Roland did.
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I want to thank those of you who have written expressing your concern about Daryl’s sister, Carmen. Although she has a difficult road ahead, we feel that the latest news on her health is hopeful, and we are continuing to hold positive thoughts.




UPCOMING C&T SPECIALS ON DVD
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Daryl and I are spending this Sunday morning recording “commentary” for the DVDs we have coming out this fall. Evidently, a viewer will be able to watch the shows with or without listening to our comments on what they are seeing at the time. We just finished the commentary for our 1976 Christmas show, and will be doing the New Orleans Special as soon as Daryl gets it set up in his studio.
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We have not watched these shows since we taped them in 1976 and 1978. Yes, we’ve seen the
occasional clip show up on YouTube, but not the entire shows. It is really easy to see why so many critics thought (and still think) we were superficial and silly, because a lot of the sketches, dialogue and song settings were kind of...well.... they actually WERE silly. That is the way television variety shows were in those days. Audiences just wanted to escape into light music and fun for the most part, and all of us who were part of that scene.... Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie, Tony Orlando and Dawn.... gave viewers the opportunity to “escape” for a little while.
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I was very proud of the technical quality of the music we presented on our shows. Daryl, in particular, worked very hard under a relentless schedule to bring the music up to a standard of technical excellence that was really hard to achieve on television at that time. We were one of the few musical television acts in the 70s who were able to use their own recording engineer to work with the television “staff” engineers, thanks to a special concession by the television engineer’s union. This helped make the sound quality of the music as good as possible, and above what was standard at the time.
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There are some moments on the Christmas show that really moved me. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that all three of my sisters were featured in the show. I don’t know how many of you come from a family with all female siblings, but it has been very special to Jane, Louisa, Melissa and me. My sisters are all terrific, accomplished women, and I love them very much. In my mind we will always be “The Fabulous Tennille Sisters.”
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The last number of the Christmas show is OH HOLY NIGHT, a traditional Christmas song that I have sung many times over the years. Daryl’s father, Carmen, wrote a gorgeous orchestral arrangment of OH HOLY NIGHT that I have sung with symphony orchestras throughout the country. On our Christmas show, I sing the first verse alone, with Daryl at the keyboard. At the second chorus (“Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices...”) we are joined by my sisters AND the four Pointer Sisters, and when all our voices join together.... well, as I listened to it this morning, it just knocked me off my feet! I can’t explain it exactly, but it took me right back to the moment we sang together, and to the absolutely joyous feeling of joining our voices with theirs on that beautiful song. It is a musical moment I will never forget.
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Anyhow.... Daryl just said it is time to do the commentary for the New Orleans Special, so I’ll close for now. I haven’t seen that show for so long, but I remember the opening number.... the Doobie Brother’s
BLACK WATER. What a great song... and I LOVED singing it! New Orleans was in its glory then. We have not been back since Katrina, but perhaps it is best to remember it as it was, full of laughter,with Dixieland jazz spilling out of noisy little clubs along Bourbon Street, balconies graced by the traditional wrought iron railings, small,"secret" gardens tucked away behind stone walls, smiling tourists and all sorts of “N’yawlins” characters strolling or dancing along the streets, and.... pralines...gumbo... hush puppies... shrimp creole... cafe au lait and beignets at the Cafe Du Monde... the sweet smell of night blooming jasmine and magnolias. I hope against hope that New Orleans can ever return to the way it was then, the way I remember it from my childhood visits and from 1978.
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That’s all for today. Until next week..... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart! - LISTEN NOW..

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May 13-15, 2007

A GRAY MAY | PRESCOTT SUPERMARKET | THE CARPENTERS AND C&T

A GRAY MAY
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“April is the cruelest month,” wrote the poet T.S. Eliot in his poem, THE WASTE LAND (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waste_Land), but this month of May is proving to be the more difficult month for Daryl and for me. His sister, who is very ill (as I mentioned last week), is holding her own, but we don’t really know her prognosis yet. We went to see her in the hospital in northern California this past weekend, and she was overjoyed to have Daryl there.
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We just got word yesterday morning that Daryl’s Uncle Roland passed away. Roland was a dear and loving man who lived a long, full life, and who, along with his beloved wife of 68 years, Virginia, raised a terrific son. He was a court reporter by trade, and a musician (string bass) in his heart. He had suffered from Alzheimer’s for the past several years, and was very ill the last months of his life. Although we will miss him, we are all relieved to know that he is no longer suffering.
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This week we will attend Uncle Roland’s memorial service in Los Angeles on Friday, and then attend ANOTHER memorial service just a few houses down from ours on Saturday morning in honor of a neighbor (a man Daryl and I both thought the world of) who died suddenly a few days ago.
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So, as you can see, May has been very “gray”.




PRESCOTT SUPERMARKET
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On a much lighter note, I have a funny story to tell you. A couple of weeks ago Daryl and I were in Prescott, Arizona, meeting with the builders of our new home. It was a wonderful trip...we got a lot done, and spent some time with new friends.
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We were especially excited to see the huge cement trucks show up on our property to pour the footings for our new home. This home will be the third one we have built together from the ground up, and it is always a thrill when the cement trucks arrive. That means construction is actually underway. The builders tell us it will take about a year to build our house, so I am hoping we can move in by my next birthday.
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Anyhow, we stayed in a “suites” type hotel near the downtown area, and there happened to be a large supermarket within walking distance. I needed a couple of things, so I left Daryl in the room and walked over. I was strolling up and down the aisles, trying to find the items I needed, when I heard the intro to DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME on the store speakers. Then I heard my voice throughout the store singing, “Do that to me one more time, once is never enough.....”. I’ll have to say, I broke out in a huge grin. The system was a good one, and the recording sounded great (to me).
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As I was standing there listening, a young 20-ish clerk sashayed by me singing along at the top of her lungs, “Do that to me one more time....”. That made me laugh out loud. She wasn’t even born when that song was a hit!
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A minute later, I just couldn’t stand it, so I walked up to her as she was stocking items on a shelf and asked, “Do you know the name of the group on that record?” “Heck no,” she said. “That’s waay too old for me!”. I laughed and said, “Well, you seem to know the song pretty well.” She said, “Oh, yeah. It’s a good song.”
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So I just couldn’t stop myself. “Well, I wrote that song, and that is me singing.” I saw the skeptical look on her face as she studied me ... a 60+ woman in jeans, a tee shirt, and sneakers... and tried to decide if I was putting her on. “Really?” she said. “Really,” I replied. I turned around and headed over to the checkout stand. THAT was fun!
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By the time it was my turn to check out, the young clerk had positioned herself at the end of the counter to bag my items. She said to the cashier, a young woman in her mid 30s, “Do you know that song, DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME?” and the cashier said, “Of course I do... that’s Captain and Tennille.” The clerk said, “How did you know that? You’re just a few years older than me.” The cashier looked at me and smiled as she said, “I know good music.” I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to tell Daryl!



THE CARPENTERS AND C&T
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On another C&T note.... I was getting ready to write TONI’S TAKE on Sunday, when I got a call from the neighbor whose husband died suddenly just a couple of days before. She asked if I would mind calling some people on a long list of names to tell them where the memorial service would be held. Of course I would. I dropped everything and started down the list.
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I ended up leaving voice mail for most of them, but the actual conversation I had with one woman on the list was quite interesting to me. As I made each call, I started by introducing myself.... "Hello, my name is Toni Tennille, and I’m calling on behalf of Sarah Carson (not her real name). Sarah asked me to tell you where Jack’s memorial service will be held......” and so on. One of the people I actually talked to was a woman who knew the couple well, and wanted to chat about the memorial service. Well, this woman finally said, “You know, you have the same name as that singer who died.” I said, “What?” She continued, “You know...Toni Tennille... she died a few years ago. I think it was of bulemia.”
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Finally I said to the woman, “I AM Toni Tennille, the singer, and I’m not dead yet I don’t think. You have me mixed up with Karen Carpenter.” “OH...I’m SO sorry,” she said, sounding totally flustered. YOU’RE the one who works with your brother, right?” “No,” I said. “I work with my HUSBAND, the Captain. We’ve been together for 34 years. KAREN sang with her brother.” Well, by that time the poor lady was totally in a tizzy. I told her that people often mix us up, and she shouldn’t feel embarrassed.
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After we hung up, I got to thinking about what she said. Aside from the fact that it is a bit disconcerting to have someone tell you that you died several years ago, I had to admit that it has been a very long time since our records were heard every day on the radio. It seems that, as the years have passed and the 70s have faded a bit in people’s memories, Karen and Richard, and Daryl and I have kind of morphed into each other. I’ll have to tell you though, that if people keep mixing me up with Karen, that’s fine with me. Karen had one of the loveliest, most distinctive voices in pop music, and I am proud if I stand in the glow of her talent in some people’s minds.
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I will probably be late again with TONI’S TAKE next week, but I’ll do my best to get it out by Sunday. We have two memorial services and a graduation party to go to on Friday and Saturday, so please bear with me. I hope all of you who are mothers, or who HAVE mothers still living, had a wonderful Mother’s Day! Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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May 09 , 2007

POSTPONEMENT OF TONI's TAKE...

Just a quick note to let you know that I am going to postpone TONI'S TAKE until next week. We got word this weekend that Daryl's sister is quite ill, and flew up to northern California on my birthday so Daryl could spend some time with her. She was overjoyed to see her brother, and we both thought she looked very good, so things are hopeful. As you can imagine, both of us are pretty overwhelmed right now, but I'll be able to gather my thoughts again by this coming Sunday.

And speaking of my birthday....Wow! Many thanks to all of you who took the time to send birthday greetings. My mail box was jammed with birthday wishes! All I can say is....YIKES!!!! How can I POSSIBLY be this old?

Until next week....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN NOW..
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April 29, 2007

CLEANING FOR THE PET SITTER | THE COACHELLA | A SUMMER SALAD


CLEANING FOR THE PET SITTER
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This week’s column will be a fairly short one. Daryl and I are getting ready to take another trip to Arizona to check on the construction of our new home, and that means I have to clean this house like crazy. Why? Because the pet sitter is coming to stay with the “kids” while we are gone, and I can’t stand to have anyone think I keep a dirty house.
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Actually, the house really isn’t “dirty”, but there is cat hair on every chair and cushion. Little drifts of dog hair hide under the piano, Hubble and Adelaide’s stuffies and rawhide chews are scattered throughout the house, and I notice that my bathroom DOES need a good going over. And, of course, the travertine floors need to be mopped...which means they have to be swept and vacuumed first. I’m sure most of you know the drill.
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If I complain about the cleaning, Daryl says, “Why don’t you hire a cleaning person?????” I just prefer to do it myself. I do have a very nice lady who cleans our little guest casita before guests arrive, and that really helps. But I like to do the main house myself. What am I going to do when I am REALLY elderly, and don’t have the strength and energy I have now? I like to think that will never happen.... that I’ll continue to sweep, mop, dust and clean until I ride my vacuum off into the sunset.



THE COACHELLA
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This is a wild, crowded and busy weekend in the Coachella Valley. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival started on Friday, drawing over 200,000 music lovers to the area from all over the world. For those of you who don’t know about “The Coachella”, it is a gathering of many, many “Indie” bands... some of the performers I have heard of..... The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Bjork, Crowded House.... but most of them are new to me.... The Black Keys, The Roots, Explosions in the Sky, Klaxons, and others (my favorite name of the ones I have never heard of?...”The New Pornographers”).
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Yesterday morning around 9:30AM, I decided to make a quick trip to the local Ralph’s Market to get some things for dinner. I forgot it was the first day of the Coachella. Well, I spent the entire time I was at the market, laughing inside at what was going on around me.
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Folks who live around here are a pretty conservative bunch.... most of them conservative politically AND personally, and quite a few of them are, ahem, “Senior Citizens.” You see them dressed in their neat shorts and golf shirts, or designer tees and capris. You see lots of gray hair or carefully coiffed “bottle blondes” (like me...actually, not the “carefully coiffed” part). They are used to things being pretty quiet and peaceful, especially when they go to the supermarket!
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After I wheeled my six year old Toyota Tundra into a parking space and got out, my ears were assaulted by VERY loud alt music. A local Indie radio station had set up a tent right by the entrance to the supermarket, and had the music going full blast on the loudspeakers. Scores of young people dressed in tight tank tops and low cut shorts or capris (the girls) and shorts and baggy tee shirts (the guys) were streaming in and out of the market, getting the supplies they would need for a hot day at Coachella. Quite a few of them also sported body art and multiple piercings. Some were hanging out by the radio station tent, having their fast-food breakfasts and enjoying the music.
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I laughed out loud at the sight of the “locals” shaking their disapproving or perplexed heads as these young people passed by. Two worlds colliding! Actually the concert goers appeared to be not at all interested in the locals, and just continued to go about their business, preparing to spend this VERY hot day listening to their favorite bands. The funny thing is, I’M a “local” and I am also a “Senior Citizen”, but somehow I found myself identifying more with the excitement and musical anticipation I saw in these kids than I did with the “old folks.”
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I can absolutely understand the thrill they were anticipating, I just had the same kind of thrill a couple of weeks ago when Daryl and I were privileged to attend a concert of the Cincinnati Symphony featuring probably the greatest violinist I have ever heard in my life, Leonidas Kavakos (http://www.intermusica.co.uk/artists/violin-viola/leonidas-kavakos/biography). I could go on and on about him (you could actually call me a Kavakos groupie), but since I don’t think most of you are classical music fans, I’ll stop right here. My POINT is, even though the KIND of music we like may be quite different, I experienced the same transcendant joy and thrill hearing Kavakos play the Brahms Violin Conerto as these young people do hearing their favorite Indie bands.
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We live only a couple of miles from the Indio Polo Grounds, where the Coachella is held. Last night, before Daryl and I went to bed at our usual early hour, I looked out towards the festival grounds, and saw enough light in the sky to seem like the sun was getting ready to rise again. I heard only faint sounds coming from the area then, but at midnight I was awakened by loud booming bass sounds. The festival was about to wind down for the night, and the DB level had risen considerably. Hubble, our male Australian Shepherd, who has “noise phobia” bless his heart, was cowering in the hallway. Luckily, the music ended abruptly at 12:30AM... just a half hour over the designated end time.
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Tonight is the last night of the Coachella, and I’m sure most of the locals are breathing a sigh of relief... no more long lines at the supermarket..... no more “strange-looking young people” everywhere..... no more traffic jams to deal with. Until NEXT year! Here’s to the The Coachella, and here’s to the love of whatever kind of music speaks to your heart!
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A SUMMER SALAD


A reader recently asked if I had any ideas for a summer recipe. Actually, I do. I found this salad recipe in a newspaper years ago. Daryl and I liked it so much, I make it often. It is perfect for a hot summer evening. Serve it with a nice Sauvignon Blanc and some crusty, whole grain bread you can dip in extra virgin olive oil.
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LAYERED GREEK SALAD
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- For the dressing....

3/4 Cup Olive oil
1/3 Cup freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Salt
- For the Salad...
Romaine Lettuce, 1 pre-washed Bag
5 medium tomatoes (or 4 1/2 cups chopped smaller ones)
1 medium red onion
1/2 Cup Chopped fresh Parsley
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Baby Dill
2 cups chopped English Cucumber
1 cup chopped Kalamata Olives
1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
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First make the dressing: Combine dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well to disolve salt. Taste for seasoning (add black pepper if desired), but remember that there are a bunch of chopped herbs in the salad. You may want to make it more or less tart by using more or less lemon juice.
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Make the salad: Chop the lettuce and then layer it in the bottom of a large, preferably glass bowl (it is pretty if you can see the layers through the glass).
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Toss the tomatoes with a tablespoon of the dressing and distribute evenly over the lettuce. Repeat with the red onion.
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Combine all the chopped herbs and sprinkle them evenly over the salad. Then add the chopped cucumber, then the olives, and finally, the feta cheese.
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Pour half of the remaining dressing over the salad and pass what is left. Serves four people as an entree salad..... six to eight as an appetizer salad.

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I hope you all enjoy this salad as much as Daryl and I do. Until next week....
Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart! / ( LISTEN NOW...)
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April 22, 2007
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WHY DID THE CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE VARIETY SHOW END AFTER ONLY ONE SEASON?
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People who haven’t followed our career very closely are often surprised to learn that the CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE VARIETY SHOW was only on for one season.... 1976-77. Before our own variety show, we appeared as guests on several of the summer variety shows, such as the one singer John Davidson hosted. And AFTER our show ended, we did a series of specials for ABC... the HAWAII special, the NEW ORLEANS special, and the SONGBOOK special.
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Television in the 70s consisted of three national channels.... ABC, NBC, and CBS. Other than local channels, viewers had no other choices, so if you had a successful show, you could draw at least 30 million viewers each week. Our show was aired on Monday nights at 8 PM, and our competition was LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE on NBC, and RHODA (a spinoff of the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW) on CBS.... both of them also “family-friendly” shows like ours. Most of the time we “split the pie” with the other shows, each of us drawing about 33 million viewers each week. I can say, after all these years, that I am very aware of the power of television since, even though our show was only aired for one season, we are still remembered and recognized by many people today.
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Why did our show end after only one season? Here is the true story.
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I had a strong background in theatre, and was comfortable on television having grown up watching (and sometimes appearing on) my mother’s television show in Montgomery, Alabama. Mother’s show on the local ABC station was called THE GUEST ROOM. She was on, live, for a half hour every week day, interviewing various prominent people in the area, and celebrities who happened to pass through Montgomery. My favorite piece of television advice from mother was, “Toni, always be good to your lighting man. He can make you look great, or like you just came off a ten-day drunk!” So true.
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Although I came from a background that made me comfortable with most of the demands of television, Daryl did NOT. He was used to being the “guy in the back of the class, slumped down, hoping the teacher wouldn’t call on him.” He was never comfortable in a prominent position on stage, and had never even read a cue card before we started appearing on television. He always says that he was learning how to host a television show in front of millions of people every week, and he was pretty miserable about it. He was very aware that his lack of experience and ability showed, and he took the public criticism very hard.
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Also, it was very important to Daryl that the music on the show have the “C&T sound,” and that it not sound “generic”, as so many other musical variety shows did. He was responsible for producing almost all of the music on the show. This meant that the night before taping day, he was often in the recording studio until very, very late, and then had to appear at the television studio very early the next morning, ready to do the show with only a few hours of sleep.
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When we were first approached by Fred Silverman, Vice President of Entertainment for ABC, to do a new variety show, we had a series of meetings with him and the other ABC executives. I remember that our biggest sticking point in negotiations was ABC’s insistence that we do a LOT of sketch comedy in addition to the musical numbers. They wanted us to do 60% comedy, and 40% music. We simply couldn’t understand their thinking, since we were known for our music. We didn’t mind doing SOME skits, since all of the other variety shows did it, and it was pretty much expected. But we wanted the percentage to be reversed.
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Well, we wrangled and debated. The lawyers on both sides huffed and puffed and rang up big bills. Our management team was terrified we’d blow the whole deal, since they were looking forward to a Captain and Tennille national television show that would bring them in a nice bit of change. We finally agreed (we thought) that the comedy/music ratio would be about 50/50. We weren’t thrilled, but thought we could deal with it.
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The show debuted on ABC in the fall of 1976, and we were off and running. As the weeks went by in a blur, I began to feel like
Lucy trying to package the chocolates as they raced by on the out-of-control conveyor belt. Every week I was learning dances (which I was very mediocre at, but which was required for a variety show), musical arrangements, and comedy skits. Daryl didn’t have to dance, but they often threw him into a dance number by dressing him up in some silly outfit (see RUBBER BAND MAN) and having him finger-synch on his keyboard to his pre-recorded track.
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Each week we would tape introductions to the show and to the guests, reading the script from teleprompters. Daryl had a helluva time with that. He never was comfortable with it, and every week he would become more and more unhappy. Daryl is actually a very funny man in his own way. His dry sense of humor works best when he improvises or “wings it.” He felt constricted and often overwhelmed when he had to read lines from a script.

We were contantly battling the script writers, who wanted us to do “put-down” humor, like SONNY AND CHER or DONNY AND MARIE. We told the writers over and over again that we wouldn’t put each other down on the show, but every week the script would reflect that kind of humor, which we would have to change before taping.
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And while we were taping the shows, week after week, we were expected to do as much promo (tv, radio, print, etc.) as we could cram into the schedule. This was certainly understandable, since ABC was investing a great deal of money in the show, and was hoping for a hit, but it was still incredibly demanding and stressful, since it allowed us no “personal” time to decompress and “breathe”.
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Finally, right after we finished our 1976 Christmas Show, Daryl and I just felt like we couldn’t take it anymore. I was worried to death about Daryl, and the stresses that spilled over into our personal life. The fame and all that went with it just wasn’t worth it to us. So during the holiday break, we flew to New York City to meet with Fred Silverman and tell him we wanted to stop doing the show.
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He couldn’t understand why we would give up a successful show, and offered us a proposal. He gave us a list of new producers for us to consider for the remainder of the season. On that list was the legendary DICK CLARK. Dick had never produced a television show before, but he was a MUSIC man, and that was where we always wanted the show’s emphasis to be. We thought that, with Dick at the helm, we’d finally have a show that reflected more of our strengths.
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I do believe that the second half of the season was much more what we had hoped the show would be, but we decided to give it up anyway. Dick went on to produce two of our specials..the HAWAII and the NEW ORLEANS specials, and, over all, we were pleased with both shows.
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Looking back on the experience, I am glad we did the television show. I truly believe that the only reason people remember us after all these years is because of our television exposure. It is a powerful medium, and can change your life in an instant. It is scary, actually. For instance, I sometimes watch the contestants on American Idol as they are hit hard with fame and its demands. I will be interested to hear from them years from now to see how it affected THEIR lives and careers.
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Anyhow, that’s the true story. What would have transpired had we continued the
CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE VARIETY SHOW for another season, we’ll never know. You make decisions based on your circumstances and experiences at the time. I am very grateful for the fortunate life I am living now, and I give much of the credit to that one season we had on television, and to all of the viewers who took us into their homes each Monday night.
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Until next week.....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.

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April 15, 2007

BIG SISTER | J. BELL AND A. IDOL | CACTUS PETE’S | STARTING ARIZONA
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BIG SISTER
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I called my sister, Melissa, on her cell phone this morning. She and her husband, Andy, and their two youngest children, are in New York City, celebrating Andy’s 55th birthday. I called because I was really worried about the weather there, and I knew they were planning to fly back to California tomorrow. I caught her just as they were about to be seated at a restaurant.
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“I called because I was worried about the weather,” I said. When are you flying back?” “Tomorrow morning... why?” she asked. “Well,” I told her, “the flights out of New York are backed up for hours. It’s all over the national news. I’m worried about your flight home.”
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She laughed and said that the weather had been perfect for the last couple of days... that they had had a foot of snow overnight, and now it was raining. She said they were having a fabulous time, and she hadn’t given a thought to the trip home. I made her promise to call Jet Blue early in the morning to check on her flight time. She laughed again and said, “Thanks, Big Sister! I will.”
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I guess once a Big Sister, always a Big Sister... even when we are in our 50s and 60s. Melissa is the youngest of the “Fabulous Tennille Sisters,” and still has that wonderful joie d’vivre and cheerful optimism. I’m the practical one who always seems to point out the possible rocks in the road ahead. Somebody’s gotta do it. Next I’m going to call my sister, Jane, in Orlando, and tell her to watch out for the severe thunderstorms and possible tornados that have been forecast for her area today! Once a Big Sister.......



J. BELL AND A. IDOL
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I received many, many interesting comments on my last TONI’S TAKE... .most of them regarding the Washington Post article on Joshua Bell, and a few regarding American Idol. One writer took me gently to task with a very well-written rebuttal of my opinion of American Idol. He believes it is a wonderful family show... something all generations can watch together and enjoy... a rare thing in television these days. He said it is fun and inspirational to watch the contestants grow and gain confidence as the season progresses. Perhaps I’ll put away my misgivings and check it out next season.



CACTUS PETE’S

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The Joshua Bell article made me think of many, many times over the years when Daryl and I have been in performing situations that were less than ideal.... humiliating, even. Here’s the story of one of those occasions.
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The year was 1994. It was late November. I had a very robust and musically rewarding second career going as a guest artist, singing the “Great American Songbook” with symphony orchestras all over the country. I had begun doing this in 1984, and usually sang with 10-12 orchestras per year. I loved every second of it, and, as a classically trained musician myself, was honored to be accompanied by so many terrific and beautifully trained orchestral musicians. I had gorgeous arrangements in my symphony book.... most of them by the legendary Sammy Nestico, and it was a thrill every time I sang them. And I always passed on to Sammy the compliments the musicians often expressed about how much they enjoyed playing his arrangements.
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Many times I would go from a symphony gig to a Captain and Tennille gig, meeting Daryl and the band at the next venue without flying home, and that was the situation in this case, where I had a couple of concerts with the Cincinatti Symphony Orchestra in Cincinatti, and then flew to a place called CACTUS PETE’S, a casino located on the border of northern Nevada and southern Idaho, right in the middle of NOWHERE! Cactus Pete’s actually did (and still does, I guess) a vigorous business, drawing gamblers from Canada, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and other surrounding states. We had been booked for the Thanksgiving weekend. We had never been there before, but the money was very good and our then-personal manager and the booking agent told us it was “really nice” and that “lots of other top artists” had performed there, and we thought... why not?
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I remember those concerts I sang with the Cincinatti Symphony as among the best I had done. The 100 member orchestra played to perfection, the audience responded to the concerts with standing ovations at both shows. I left Cincinatti feeling wonderful.
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What I remember about flying to Cactus Pete’s was being crammed into a tiny, regional jet... single seats on either side of the aisle. A winter weather front was coming in, and we bounced up and down, up and down, as we headed northwest, over the remote mountainous countryside. There might even have been some lightning flashing out of the window.
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It was one of those tiny commuter planes with a low ceiling, which forced me, at 5’11”, to hunch over as I made my way to my hard, tiny seat. I looked around at Daryl and our group (we had met up at the Salt Lake City airport), and most of them were gripping the armrests tightly, ashen-faced. We finally landed safely in a little airport that was so small it barely existed. We were picked up by hotel personnel, and after about a 90 minute drive, were delivered, shaken AND stirred, at Cactus Pete’s.
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At first glance, it seemed like a pretty nice place.... out in the middle of nowhere..but nice, as regional casinos go. There were cars in the parking lot, although I didn’t see any people walking around. It was FREEZING cold, and an icy wind was howling when we stepped out of the cars. “Are people REALLY going to come here for Thanksgiving weekend?” I thought to myself as I looked around? I knew it wasn’t something I would do.
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We were shown to a very nice, spacious “high roller” suite. We were hungry after our trip, but Daryl and I were to discover, much to our dismay, that most of the food available wasn’t on our diet..... no fresh fruit, not much in the way of vegies, no fresh salads, DEFINITELY no whole grains....you get the gist. And there was no place to go to GET any “healthy” food. Cactus Pete’s was the only place around for miles and miles.
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But the food concerns PALED when we got our first look at “the showroom.” The stage was small and cramped, the showroom itself was smallish and smelled of stale smoke. The only way to get backstage was through dark, musty, poorly lit hallways. It was actually scary. I kept thinking, “ Is this building up to CODE?? What would we do in case of a fire???” And my other thought was, “This showroom is so small, how can they actually make any money, even if all the seats are filled, considering what they are paying us?” I was miserable, and I smelled a rat.
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The weather got worse and worse. Our tech people gamely did the best they could to set up our equipment. I was embarrassed for them, for the band, and for us. Then I started feeling guilty. What if very few people showed up? I’d feel terrible if the casino had to pay us, even though if we didn’t draw a crowd.
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Opening night. Probably 20 people in the showroom. Who knows where the heck they came from.... maybe they were “locals”, if there were any. I was close to tears. Had it come to this? Yes, the weather was terrible and dangerous, but wouldn’t SOME people brave the icy roads and howling winds to hear us play? Not many.
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We played anyway... after each tune hearing the light applause gamely afforded us by the paltry audience. We did the best shows we could under the circumstances, remembering the old theatre adage... even if there is just one person in the audience who paid to see you, they deserve the best show you can possibly do. Still, I cannot tell you how hard it was, and how grateful Daryl and I were when the shows were over. I believe we gave the casino back a percentage of the fee, because we felt so bad about not drawing an audience.
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Daryl and I rented a car after the gig was over, and made a frightening drive through blowing snow over the two-lane state road to Elko, Nevada, where we waited while the tiny regional jet that would take us back home was de-iced a couple of times before it finally took off with us on it. After that, we fired our “personal manager” and the booking agent. We were MUCH more careful after that about where and when we would perform. For both of us, the most important thing about performing is NOT how much money we can make, but how musically fulflling and even joyous it can be. Our Cactus Pete’s experience will always remain a bad memory for us. All I will say about it now is that we learned a couple of very hard lessons from the experience.



STARTING ARIZONA
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On another note.... On Monday, Daryl and I will finally be breaking ground for our new home in Arizona. It will take about a year to build it, during which time we’ll travel back and forth many times to check on the construction progress. We have rented a small place there for the summer to get away from the stifling heat here in the Coachella Valley. I always try to get TONI’S TAKE written every Sunday, but my schedule for the next several months might be a bit erratic as we deal with all the traveling. If you don’t see it on Sundays, just give me a day or two to catch up.
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Until next week...Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart! / (
LISTEN NOW...)
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April 9, 2007

SISTER VISIT | ”HOW DOCTORS THINK” | DATE SHAKES | AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS | JOSHUA BELL

SISTER VISIT
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I’m a day late with TONI’S TAKE because my sister, Louisa, and her husband, Bob, were here for a visit this weekend. Most of you who are regular readers know how much I enjoy having Louisa and Bob here. They are wonderfully bright and wryly funny people, and they both make me laugh. We talked about family, the mostly sorry state of the world today, politics, the environment and religion, among other things. And, since we are pretty much on the same page about most things, our conversations are interesting (to us), lively, and stress free.




“HOW DOCTORS THINK”
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Louisa and I are both hot on a new book by Jerome Groopman, M.D., and I’d like to recommend it to you. It is called HOW DOCTORS THINK. I first heard of it in the New York Times Book Review, and it proved to be as fascinating as it sounded. I knew Louisa would love it, because it helps to explain why it took so long, and so many different doctors, to finally diagnose her Hyperparathyroidism. Dr. Groopman explains why doctors sometimes, without even realizing it, make errors in judgement and engage in “snap diagnoses” based on the most common reasons for certain symptoms. Most of the time they get it right, but they can be wrong, with catastrophic consquences. Dr. Groopman also gives excellent advice on how to help your doctor make the correct diagnosis for your problem.




DATE SHAKES!!

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Around 11AM on Saturday morning Louisa, Bob and I headed over to the OASIS DATE GARDENS in Coachella, CA, about 15 minutes from here, where we indulged in totally sinful, lusciously delicious date shakes. Oasis makes them with fresh dates, not dried, granulated dates as some do, and they are so thick you have to eat them with a spoon! We enjoyed our date shakes at a picnic table on the grassy lawn outside, under the shade of one of the towering date palms. The weather was warm and the shakes were rich and icy cold. Heaven.
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Daryl didn’t join us on this little excursion, since he gave up refined sugar long ago, but he does love the Medjool Dates (the softest, sweetest ones) stuffed with walnuts, so I always buy several packages to bring home for him (and for me). They make a great, healthy snack. You can order a huge variety of dates from Oasis Date Gardens at http://www.oasisdate.com/, but you have to come to the Coachella Valley for the shakes!



AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS

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Quite a few of you have written, asking whether or not we watch AMERICAN IDOL, and if so, what we think about it. We don’t watch it. I can’t answer for Daryl, but I have a real problem with the verbal cruelty afforded the contestants by the “judges”, and the way these hopefuls are manipulated by the Big Machine they find themselves in once they enter “American Idol World”. Yes, show business can be tough, cruel and mean, but those aspects are not often played out on national television for all the world to see.
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Daryl and I are very cynical about the whole concept. And, although I admit I have never seen a copy of an actual contract between a contestant and AMERICAN IDOL, I suspect the contestants have had to give up creative rights, career control, and a huge percentage of future royalties in order to compete. Many people say, “Well, they would never have made it at all without AMERICAN IDOL, so it is a fair exchange.” Perhaps it is, but it wouldn’t work for me.
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I am also sure that hopefuls, desperate to “make it”, will give up anything for the chance at stardom. And some on American Idol HAVE achieved it. But there is something about the whole American Idol process that doesn’t feel quite ethical or right to me. I may be wrong, and maybe giving up rights and control is fine with the contestants, but since Daryl and I worked so hard to retain those things in our own career, it doesn’t sit right with me.
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I actually have a family experience with AMERICAN IDOL. My nephew, Ben.... my sister Melissa’s oldest son... flew up to the San Francisco Bay Area last year to audition, along with over a thousand people, for AMERICAN IDOL. Although he wasn’t chosen, he told Melissa that he did get to sing most of the song he had prepared, and none of the “judges” said unpleasant things about his performance. Ben was pretty happy with the whole experience, but he said he wouldn’t try again.



JOSHUA BELL
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On another musical topic... a friend of mine who is married to a classical musician sent me a link to a recent story in the Washington Post... a story that made me sad in many ways. Let me tell you about it, and try to express why the article affected me so much.
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Young, handsome and brilliant, JOSHUA BELL is considered one of the finest violinists of this generation. He plays all over the world to Standing Room Only audiences. If you saw the film THE RED VIOLIN, you will remember him as the solo violinist who played the Grammy Award winning score by one of my favorite contemporary classical composers, John Corigliano. Bell plays with technical perfection and gorgeous tone on the famous Gibson Stradivarius violin, which is worth millions of dollars, and comes with a fascinating history in itself. Read about him and his violin at http://www.joshuabell.com/.
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The Washington Post approached Bell with an idea for a “social experiment.” He would play a full concert on solo violin, unannounced and anonymously, in a Washington D.C. subway station during rush hour. The Washington Post reporters would observe how commuters reacted, or IF they reacted, to the performance by this brilliant musician, who appeared to be just like any other street musician, playing for tips. What do YOU think happened? I truly was not surprised by what ensued, but I was saddened. Here is the link to the story, which also includes some video of the event: http://www.washingtonpost.com . I’d love to hear your thoughts after you have read the article.
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I’m off now to do the things I didn’t get done while Lu and Bob were here. I hope you had a wonderful Easter week. Until next week Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. (
LISTEN NOW...)
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March 31, 2007

KRAFT NABISCO GOLF FINAL COMMENTS | THE STORY BEHIND “IF THERE WERE TIME”

GOLF FINAL COMMENTS
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The ProAm part of the Kraft Nabisco Golf Tournament is over for 2007. All that remains now is to see which of the great women golfers will win this first major tournament of the LPGA season. I didn’t play in the ProAm this year. I have played very little golf since last summer, and I just felt my game wasn’t ready for prime time. So I participated in what they call LADIES DAY instead, and I took a few of the golf clinics offered by some of the top LPGA and local professionals who give instruction to the guests during the tournament. And, as usual at the tournament, I met many, many nice people from all over the country... most of them in the “food” business.
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Rob Stanger, the Assistant Director of Instruction at The Golf Academy at Mission Hills, where the Nabisco Tournament is held, MAY just have taught me once and for all how to hit my ball out of a sandtrap (instead of throwing it out, which is what I usually do).
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Daryl just added a photo of me taken during Ladies Day this year. Click on the MEMORIES icon (which I am trying to get Daryl to change to “PHOTOS” instead) to see the photo. You might be able to see that I am holding a golf ball on which I have signed “Toni” with a blue sharpie. That is how I mark all of the balls I play with. So if you ever play one of the courses where I have been playing, and you find a “Toni” ball in a lake, in the rough, under a rock, or stuck in a tree, you will know it is mine! Feel free to keep it... or play it yourself. I just hope it stays in the fairway for you!



IF THERE WERE TIME
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I received a lovely note from a reader, asking about the DREAM album.... he particularly wanted to know about IF THERE WERE TIME, which was arranged and conducted by the great Gordon Jenkins.
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That particular track is very special to me. It was the first time I ever sang with full orchestra, and it was a thrill beyond compare. IF THERE WERE TIME was very different from the kind of music people expected from the group that brought them LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, SHOP AROUND, and MUSKRAT LOVE to name a few. But you should remember that Daryl and I both were raised in musical homes, where the great songs, artists and arrangers of the 30s, 40s and early 50s were treasured and loved. Daryl’s father, CARMEN DRAGON, was an Academy Award winning conductor and composer, and my father, FRANK TENNILLE was a big band singer in the late 1930s (daddy often sang under the stage name, CLARK RANDALL).
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Here is the story of - IF THERE WERE TIME.
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BRUCE JOHNSTON, who wrote the music for IF THERE WERE TIME, was a member of the BEACH BOYS backup band back in the 60s. He was hired to take over for BRIAN WILSON after Brian stopped touring. But Daryl and Bruce go back quite a few years before those Beach Boy days. Daryl and Bruce first met at a coffee house in Venice, California called THE BLUE HORN. Daryl says it was just a spot where musicians would meet to jam....nobody made any money to speak of.
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Bruce was playing piano there...he was about 18 years old Daryl thinks... and Daryl was really impressed with his musicianship. Eventually, in the 1960s, Bruce and Daryl both ended up in the Beach Boys band, Bruce playing keyboard and singing Brian’s parts, and Daryl playing acoustic piano and, sometimes, organ. Bruce eventually became an official “Beach Boy”, and still tours today with lead singer and songwriter, Mike Love. Daryl eventually left the Boys to work with me, thank God!
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Daryl tells me that Bruce could really wail a blues tune. I never knew that part of Bruce. What impressed me most was the incredible beauty and complexity of the songs he wrote. Most of you will know Bruce for his song, I WRITE THE SONGS, which Barry Manilow made so famous. Daryl and I were actually the first artists to record it, but Barry made it a hit. I’m rather sentimental about our version of the song, because all four of my sisters AND my mother sang on it. Mom just sang a note or two, but she’s THERE! And Melissa’s beautiful soprano floats like an angel’s voice at the top of the background vocals. Still, Barry Manilow knew exactly what it took to make the song a huge smash, which was wonderful for Barry, and great for Bruce.
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Over the years we recorded several of Bruce’s tunes. A couple of my favorites are THANK YOU BABY from the SONG OF JOY album, and DON’T BE SCARED from the COME IN FROM THE RAIN album. Bruce’s melodies were exquisite, and his chord structures were complex, interesting and deeply moving. I often thought that, in some ways, Bruce was born a bit too late for his style of writing. Sinatra would have snapped up his songs in a heartbeat. And, remember, Bruce usually wrote his own lyrics, which were quite good.
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When he first played IF THERE WERE TIME for us, I fell inlove with the song immediately. For this song, poet Rod McKuen wrote the lyrics.
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“If there were time, oh I would buy you a ribbon of rain
And a silver-tongued nightengale to sing out your name,
If there were time, oh I would fly you across the room
Then I’d carry you back again through the afternoon....”

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But the last line of the song is what absolutely killed me.
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“.....but Time is a messenger that comes and goes so fast
And while thinking up the good times, all our good times have passed.”

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Time has certainly passed since we recorded that song.... about thirty years! And time is even more precious to us now.
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Anyhow.... the more Daryl and I listened to the song, the more we became convinced it should be done in the style of an earlier era. Daryl said, “I can’t do this song justice. Gordon Jenkins should arrange it.” Gordon Jenkins was the legendary arranger for many great artists. Check out his credits on his Wikipedia bio. My favorite arrangement of his was the one he wrote for IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR on Frank Sinatra’s 1966 album, THE SEPTEMBER OF MY YEARS. Gordon arranged the entire album for Sinatra. The songs are suffused with a deep melancholy and longing by both singer and arranger, perfect for a man approaching the “September” of his years. Daryl and I both felt that Gordon was the ONLY arranger who could do justice to IF THERE WERE TIME.
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But here was the problem. Neither Daryl nor I knew the man. The only thing we knew was that he lived in Malibu, where Daryl grew up. Also, since we were just a pop group, we weren’t even sure he would work with us.
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Somehow we managed to get a phone number for him. When I spoke to him, he agreed to come out to our Pacific Palisades home and listen to Bruce’s song. He made it very clear that, if he didn’t like the song, he wouldn’t do the arrangement.
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On the day he arrived at our house, I was a nervous wreck. I was so in awe of him, and hoped against hope that he would agree to arrange the song. We had Bruce’s lead sheet on the Steinway concert grand in the Great Room, and I sat down and went over the chart with him, and sang some of it for him. Well, he loved the song, and said he would write the arrangement for a thirty-three piece orchestra, and would also conduct the orchestra for the recording session.
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On the day of the recording, which we did in one of the large studios at A&M records, we walked in to find Gordon and thirty-three of the finest musicians in Los Angeles ready to record IF THERE WERE TIME. When they played the arrangement so our recording engineer, Roger Young, could adjust the mikes and get his levels set (and so I could familarize myself with the chart), I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
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Once all the levels were set, it was time to record. Gordon gave the downbeat, and the achingly gorgeous intro began. I closed my eyes, and gave myself up to the music. In a few minutes, it was over. We listened to the playback, and I was incredibly moved by what I heard...it was one of the great personal musical experiences of my life.
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Bruce hated it.
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Like most composers, including ME, Bruce is very protective of his chord changes. He works very hard to get them exactly the way he wants them, and they are NOT to be fooled with. Gordon Jenkins never met a chord he didn’t change for HIS personal vision of a song. Gordon was famous for what we call “subsitutions”....putting a different chord in place of the one that was written by the composer. Most of the time, when arrangers write chord substitutions, it just pisses off the composer. But, to me, Gordon Jenkins was in an entirely different class. As far as I was concerned, he could subsitute any chord he wanted for any chord I ever wrote, and I would be thrilled! But Bruce wasn’t thrilled, and hardly spoke to us for a long time after that.
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And A&M wasn’t happy either. The session was rather expensive.... thirty-three top LA musicians, most of whom were making double or triple scale. We were called on the carpet for the expense of that session, and were told in no uncertain terms “NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.” Luckily, we had a big hit, YOU NEVER DONE IT LIKE THAT, from the DREAM album, which helped keep A&M quiet. But, we never DID do it again.
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I sang IF THERE WERE TIME with symphony orchestras a few times, but I always felt bad about doing it, since Bruce hated it so much, and eventually I stopped singing it. But so much time has passed, and things tend to calm down. I think Bruce forgave us and Gordon for “ruining” his song, but we haven’t seen him in at least seven or eight years.
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Gordon Jenkins died of Lou Gherig’s Disease in Malibu, California in 1984. He was 73 years old.
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That’s the story of us, Bruce Johnston, Gordon Jenkins and IF THERE WERE TIME. Now that you know the whole story, if you have the DREAM CD, take a listen to it again. Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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March 25, 2007

TONI TEES OFF AT THE NABISCO
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The first major competition of Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) season begins tomorrow at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA. For most of the past 16 years I have donated my time to participate in the ProAm and other activities associated with the tournament. I started this when the wonderful singer (and wonderful human being) Dinah Shore headed up the tournament, and invited me to participate. At that time the tournament was named after her, and all of us who played in the ProAm called it “The Dinah”.
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Dinah Shore had most of her many, many hit recordings during the 30’s and 40s, and she had one of those voices that was instantly recognizeable. She was born and raised in Tennessee... she was just about the same age as my mom.... and she was just a lovely, gracious person. After her death a few years ago, the Kraft Nabisco company took her name off the tournament, which really angered those of us who knew and loved her. She did so much for the LPGA, and we felt that removing her name was uncalled for.
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The Kraft Nabisco company tried to soften the blow by naming the tournment course, formerly called the “Old Course”, the DINAH SHORE TOURNAMENT COURSE, and also installing a bronze statue of Dinah at the famous 18th hole. For a few years after her death, those of us who loved and admired Dinah stubbornly continued to refer to the tournament as THE DINAH. However, I have finally given up, and call it THE NABISCO. As a so-called “celebrity”, I continue to participate in it, though, because the money earned goes to charity, and the celebs are part of what brings paying guests to the tournament.
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Since, for one reaason or another, I have only played golf five or six times since last summer, I’ve decided not to play in the ProAm portion of the tournament this year.... my game is just too embarrassing right now!!!! I WILL be playing in what is called LADIES DAY. LADIES DAY is fun because you play nine relaxing holes in the “best ball” format. Then they serve you a lovely lunch on the patio of the Westin Mission Hills Hotel, and give you a bag of “goodies.” I have met many terrific women from all over the country while playing in LADIES DAY, and once in a while, you even get to play with an LPGA Hall of Fame golfer!
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I’ll also be participating in the golf clinics given during the week to guests of the tournament.... not as an INSTRUCTOR, of course!!! As a STUDENT. I might even FINALLY learn how to get my ball out of a sand trap as I meet, greet, and pose for photographs with the guests.
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I will get back to TONI’S TAKE next week, but this week belongs to THE DINAH! Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN NOW..
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March 17 , 2007 / St. Patty's Day !

ST. PATRICK'S DAY MEMORIES | OUR FIRST GIGS

Ah, Saint Patty’s Day is here again, and I have to look around in my closet and see if I have anything green to wear to a neighborhood gathering this evening. The only shade of green that looks good on me is “apple” green....but since Ireland is known for its myriad shades of green, I figure my apple green tee shirt will be Irish enough for the event.
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Saint Patrick’s Day takes me back to about 1972, when Daryl and I were struggling to find clubs that would hire us. Daryl was our “agent”, and you can imagine the response of the club owners when they heard Daryl’s rather monotone voice on the phone saying (and I SWEAR this is exactly what he would say), “Hello. I’m a duo looking for work.” Ninety-five percent of the time the response would be, “Not hiring right now,” and then a dial tone.
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Why didn’t I do the calling? Because it was embarrassing to me. I’ve never been one to try to “sell” myself. I’m just damned lucky I finally had a successful career, because if it had been up to me to try to promote myself, I’d still be working at North American Aviation. And Daryl...bless his heart...was not much better. He tried, but he certainly wasn’t a “salesman.”
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Somehow, by hook or crook or by sheer luck, we managed to find work at an assortment of local LA clubs. There was DAVID’S, a gay club at Melrose and La Brea in Los Angeles. We got that gig though a local agent named Dimples Fox, and that was really her name! Anyhow, I guess she felt sorry for us, and found us a week at DAVID’S. I actually loved working there, because the gay men that frequented the place were a very enthusiastic audience. They loved my singing (and I’m sure more than a few of them had their eyes on Daryl), and they were a particularly knowledgeable music crowd. They were very encouraging to us, and we began to think we might have something special going for us. I think we played there two or three weeks.
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There was RON PERANOWSKI’S STADIUM CLUB...a nightclub in the San Fernando Valley that was owned by a former Dodger pitcher. It was dark and dank and smelled like stale cigarette smoke and spilled beer. I guess Peranowski always wanted to own a nightclub, and after he retired he opened the Stadium Club. Although we were booked for about a week, I only lasted a couple of nights. Most of you know about my terrible allergy to smoke, and I swear the Stadium Club had NO ventilation, and EVERYBODY at the club smoked constantly. I promptly lost my voice, and that was that.
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Then there was a little club in Canoga Park called the SANS SOUCI. We got that gig because Daryl asked one of his old friends, “Bob”, to make the HelloImADuoLookingForWork phone call for us. This friend had a BIG BOOMING BARITONE VOICE like that “Announcer Guy” in the current Geiko Car Insurance TV spots. Daryl figured “Bob”, with his big voice, would get a more positive response. Well, “Bob” managed to persuade a skeptical owner to book us for a couple of nights at twenty-five bucks per night. After our two nights the owner fired us, because we “weren’t bringing in enough business.” I have always loved the fact that the SANS SOUCI was just a block away from what became RUMBO RECORDERS, the successful recording studio we later owned for many years.
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But I have digressed. Back to St. Patty’s Day. Somehow, Daryl and I managed to get ourselves booked into a restaurant/bar in downtown LA called O’SHAUGNESSY’S. In fact, if you dig into the MEMORIES link on our website, you will see a 1973 photo of us that was taken while we worked there. I still remember that little gray panne velvet dress I was wearing!
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O’Shaugnessey’s was located in the lower level of a huge office building in downtown LA. What I remember most was how hard it was for the two of us to haul all the instruments and the PA system from the loading dock, down a freight elevator, into the club. Daryl’s A100 Hammond organ alone (similar to a B3, for those of you interested in that sort of thing) weighed 500 pounds. He and I had to move it in all by ourselves, since “roadies” were out of the question on the paltry salary we made. The organ was not only heavy, but moving it was literally terrifying to me. Daryl was worried about the organ, but I was worried about it falling on my FOOT! I was always relieved when we finally got it into place without its falling on either of us.
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The O’Shaugnessy’s gig was just a regular gig for us.... we played our usual mix of Elton, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Carole King and Carly Simon songs, among other Top 40 songs popular at the time. And then, when I thought we could get away with it, I’d throw in one of my original compositions. Most of the time the patrons were talking or eating, so we were just background music.
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And then one night, as we were headed to work, I said to Daryl, “Hey, I think it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. We might need to play an Irish tune.” We decided that, since we both knew OH DANNY BOY, we would play that some time during the evening, in honor of the holiday.
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Well, when we got there, the place was jammed with people who, if they weren’t of Irish heritage, had decided they would be Irish that night. They were drinkng heavily, and it was still EARLY. It was that kind of jovial, blotto crowd that was just edging towards a drunker, darker mood. I started to get nervous.
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Once we started playing, we began to get the “requests”....”Can’t you play something IRISH...it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, for God’s sake!” Whoa. We immediately played OH DANNY BOY, and that seemed to pacify them for a short while.
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Then, as they became more and more inebriated, more and more of them approached, slurring their words....”You’re working at O’Shaugnessy’s! Don’t you know any Irish songs?!!!” Once again, out of fear actually, we played OH DANNY BOY. This happened several times over the evening, and all that Daryl and I wanted to do was GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE! It was like beating back an angry mob.... we’d spray them with the firehose (OH DANNY BOY for the umpteenth time), and they’d regroup and surge forward angrily again. The fact that we got out of there with ourselves and our instruments intact was a miracle.
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I actually have Irish in my heritage, and I love many Irish songs, but since Daryl and I only had OH DANNY BOY in our repertoire, we decided never again to play an Irish club on St. Patty’s Day!
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That’s TONI’S TAKE for this week! I’ll close with a little Irish saying.
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AN IRISHMAN’S PHILOSOPHY

In life, there are only two things to worry about—
Either you are well or you are sick.
If you are well, there is nothing to worry about,
But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about—
Either you will get well or you will die.
If you get well, there is nothing to worry about,
But if you die, there are only two things to worry about—
Either you will go to heaven or hell.
If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.
And if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends
You won’t have time to worry!

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Until next week....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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March 12, 2007

BRONCHITIS | ELTON JOHN | HEARING PROTECTION
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Cough...Cough.
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“You have bronchitis,” he said, flatly.
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“No, I don’t!” I insisted. “I could not POSSIBLY have bronchitis. I haven’t had bronchitis since I was fifteen years old!”
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Cough....cough.
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“You have bronchitis,” he said again.
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“No I don’t!” I said, stubbornly. “This is just the tail end of that flu, and I can shake it off.”
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Cough....cough.
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“You have bronchitis. GO TO THE DOCTOR!” he said, finally losing his patience.
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Cough...Cough.
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“You have bronchitis,” said Dr. Allen, after listening to my lungs and removing the stethoscope from her ears.
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Score one for Dr. Dragon.
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I am now on meds, and feeling just incrementally better... improving by inches instead of leaps and bounds like I usually do. So I am going to blame my tardy TONI’S TAKE on the bronchitis. At least this didn’t happen just before a concert, or right in the middle of the VICTOR/VICTORIA tour. I can’t tell you the number of nightmares I’ve had about getting a cold or the flu when I had concerts to do!
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But now on to other topics.



One of you recently asked about my experiences with Elton John. I’m really sorry to say that I actually haven’t spent much time with Sir Elton, in spite of having sung backgrounds on some of his recordings.
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It would be lovely to think that we all gathered in a studio, and played or sang together for these sessions, but the truth is the sessions were usually done on separate occasions, and in separate studios. Elton was never in studio when I was contributing background vocals for his tracks. Usually his producer, Gus Dudgeon (who is now deceased) would put together a basic track for Elton. Elton would then lay down a “work vocal”, and do his final vocal after the entire track was finished. We never saw each other during the recording sessions.
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I sang on Elton’s DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME.... if you listen carefully, you can hear my voice in the MIDDLE of the chord, where I usually sang so I could blend better with the other voices. I also did background vocals on SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD from his BLUE MOVES album, and Daryl wrote the background bass-vocal arrangement for CRAZY WATER.
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Singing background vocals is a true art. The singer needs to listen to the other singers, and make sure that he or she blends with the other voices. If you can’t hear the other voices as you sing, you are too loud! What you want to achieve in background vocals is a seamless blend, with no particular vocal style standing out. It is not that easy to do, and I’ve always loved the challenge.
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I finally DID meet Sir Elton when he, Natalie Cole and I hosted the American Music Awards in 1982 (I believe that was the year). What I remember about him most was that he kept me and Natalie in absolute stitches the entire time we were rehearsing for the show. He was hysterically funny, with a very dry, self deprecating wit.
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As I worked with Elton on that show, I kept remembering back to when Daryl and I played at The Smokehouse in Encino, CA in the early 70s... long before we ever had a prayer of a hit record. I sang several of Elton’s songs each night, but I particularly loved DANIEL. I have never quite figured out what Bernie Taupin’s lyrics for DANIEL meant, but it didn’t matter. I had my own ideas of what I was singing about, and the melody was plaintive and lovely.
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Elton’s record producer, Gus Dudgeon, had a very unique style of creating the final mixes for Elton’s tracks. Daryl and I were in England in the mid to late 70s to do some promotion and tape a television special for the BBC (wonder if they still have that show in their vault). While we were there, Gus Dudgeon invited us to his studio to hear the mixes he was working on for Elton’s latest project.
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Now, before I tell you about Gus’s mixing style, let me tell you how Daryl listens to his final mixes. After he and the engineer think they have a good mix.... eqs just right, good balance of instruments, the perfect sound on my lead vocal.... Daryl listens to the mix on very small speakers at a relatively soft volume. Quite a few engineers and producers love to turn everything up as loud as they can, because it usually sounds powerful and exciting. But WE were mixing for radio, too. The record had to sound good coming out of small speakers, such as those in an automobile, in addition to sounding great on top notch stereo equipment (remember, this was the 70s!). Daryl always felt he could get a much better idea of how the song would sound on the radio by listening at a soft to moderate volume.
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When we arrived at the studio, Gus proceeded to play for us a final mix he was working on. IT WAS SO LOUD IT ALMOST BACKED ME UP AGAINST THE WALL!!!!! I mean, the sound was actually painful. I thought that Gus might be losing his hearing, and HAD to turn it up that loud so he could hear what he was working on. But he later told me and Daryl that he turned every track up until it “hurt”. If it was painful to listen to, he turned it down a bit until it was just LOUD. I have to say, it worked for him. Gus produced some of Elton’s greatest recordings. I often wonder, however, if his hearing started to go later in his career.
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Daryl and I are so fanatic about protecting our hearing that we always take ear plugs to every concert we attend, just in case we need them. We broke that rule a couple of years ago, when we attended Barry Manilow’s show in Las Vegas. It was a FABULOUS show, by the way, but it was so loud, it shook my body and blew me back in my seat. I have no idea why Barry felt he had to maintain such a volume, but perhaps he didn’t know how loud it was in the house.
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As performers, we are really “at the mercy” of our house sound mixers. The artist can’t always tell how loud it is in the concert hall. Daryl and I rely on our Personal Assistant, Becky, to listen in the hall during rehearsals to check for balance and volume. I hate it when people walk out because the show is too loud. At Barry’s show, all I had in my purse was some kleenex, so I wadded it up and stuffed it in my ears for the duration of the show. It helped a bit, but I sure wished I had brought the ear plugs!
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Well, dear readers, I am going to close for now and work on getting back to my old self again. Until next week... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart!
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March 4, 2007

OUR PALISADES HOME | CATS


“...Oh, everybody needs a home
Where all the vibrations are flowing
In a positive way...”

(from BUTTERSCOTCH CASTLE by Toni Tennille)
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It is an absolutely gorgeous Sunday morning here in La Quinta... a carbon copy of yesterday. The high temps are expected to be in the mid 70s, with cheerful sunlight, a few clouds, and just a bit of a breeze. The only thing I can feel as I enjoy it all is grateful thanks.
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And thanks, once again, to those of you who have written with get well wishes. I am totally back up to speed with my strength and energy, but the sniffles and naggingly persistant cough linger on. Word is those symptoms could continue for another couple of weeks!!!!
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This coming April, Daryl and I will break ground, in Arizona, on the third home we have built together from the ground up. I was thinking back, this morning, on all of the houses we have lived in since we have been together.
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The house we bought in Pacific Palisades, California in 1975 (with LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER money) was the first home we purchased together. It was a sprawling, French Country style home, built in the early 1930s on a large lot, landscaped in what I would call a “tossed salad” style. The house was spacious, rambling and utterly charming and had been designed by a female architect (or so we were told).
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My mother, Cathryn, found it for us. She was a licensed realtor, and set about finding the “perfect” first home for us. We were so busy and overwhelmed after LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER hit the charts, we didn’t have time to look at houses ourselves. Mother sure knew how to find the right house for her eldest daughter...... Daryl and I loved it the moment we walked in.
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The house was located in a very desirable Pacific Palisades neighborhood on Amalfi Drive, just a few blocks from the famous Riviera Golf Club. One of its former owners was the famous Hollywood Film Director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and his wife. In fact, her initials were intricately carved in the antique mahagony door leading to the master bedroom.
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I immediately set about “decorating” the place, and, of course, in my enthusiasm, went waaay overboard! I was inlove with floral wallpaper at the time, and I decided that every room had to have its own “color”. There was the “Pink Room” (a guest bedroom/extra room), the “Yellow Room” (a sort of a library), and the Master Bedroom, which I wallpapered in a BLACK paper with a cream colored floral motif. It was actually quite lovely and very “French”, but, overall, it was quite over the top!
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My favorite story about the reaction to my decorating was what happened when we finally put the house up for sale before we moved to Lake Tahoe. Many, many rather well-known people came through to look at it when it was on the market... among them, television producer Tony Thomas, actor Dustin Hoffman, and singer/songwriter, Bob Dylan, who, after touring the house, turned to his agent and said, “Too many G--damned flowers!” Hah! He was right. As the years have gone by, my decorating has become more and more minimalist and Zen, aiming more for calm and peaceful surroundings and soothing, soft colors. Guess it comes with getting older!
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While we lived in the Palisades house, Daryl and I added a pool, a huge covered patio, and a tennis court. There were always workmen around, and things being torn out or installed. Also, shortly after we moved in, we learned that the plumbing and electrical systems were ancient and had been mostly destroyed by rats and such. All of that had to be replaced..... a huge expense. That was before sellers had to disclose, by law, anything wrong with the property.
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Still, I have so many wonderful memories of living in that house. I wrote quite a few songs there. I remember Daryl’s coming up with the crazy “jungle” arrangement for LONELY NIGHT ANGEL FACE while we lived there. I also remember hearing Neil Sedaka’s version of YOU NEVER DONE IT LIKE THAT, and deciding that the song might work really well for us. However, the beat just wasn’t right... .not sassy or sensual enough in my opinion. Daryl had his keyboards and other equipment set up in the infamous “Pink Room”, so I suggested he sequester himself in there to try to find the right “hook” for the song. After a few hours of struggling with the beat, he finally called me in and played what he had come up with. PERFECT. He must have been inspired by all those pink flowers Dylan disliked so much!
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I also remember writing DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME in that house at the Steinway Grand in the Great Room. Most of you know the story of how I came to write that song. Anyhow, in 1979 we were getting ready to record our first album for our new label, Casablanca Records, and were gathering songs for the project. The young president of Casablanca, Neil Bogart, and the vice president of the label, Bruce Bird, came over to our house to hear what we had come up with. We played them a few things we had in mind. Then Daryl said to me, “Why don’t you play that song you just wrote?”
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Well, I was very hesitant to play it, because it was so SIMPLE. I thought it was just a “little song”, and not a very big deal, but I sat down at the electric piano sang it for Neil and Bruce. Well, after I finished, Neil JUMPED to his feet and shouted, “That’s a SMASH!!!!!” Daryl and I couldn’t believe his reaction, but you know the end of the story. In 1980 DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME became a #1 single for us, in addition to being the second biggest-selling single we ever had. The guy had ears. Neil died at age 39... a terrible loss.... and the label fell apart after that.
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In the end, we sold the Palisades house to famous TV Producer (Hill Streeet Blues, LA Law, and NYPD Blue, among others) Stephen Bochco and his then wife, actress Barbara Bosson.




On another subject, quite a few of you wrote to ask about our cats. We have three of them.... IVY, a beautiful, sassy, talkative Calico, and two “tuxedo” cats named VICTOR and TORIA. And, of course, there is a story there.
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I returned from my VICTOR/VICTORIA tour in June of 1999. Shortly after that, I took our dog, Adelaide, to the vet for her regular Rabies vaccination. One of the vet techs asked me to come over and see a litter of kittens that had been born to a female stray someone had dropped off at the vet hospital. There, gathered around their mother in the wire cage, were the tiniest little kittens I think I’ve ever seen. They were only a couple of weeks old, and when the vet tech told me the date of their birth, I realized it was the SAME date as my return from the tour.
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In the darkness of the cage, I could just make out two tiny little black and white kittens with “tuxedo” markings..... white feet, white under the chin, white on the tummy. Since I had just spent most of the past year wearing a tuxedo onstage, since they were born on the day I returned from tour, and since one my of my cats had been killed (probably by a coyote) while I was out on tour (a HUGE trauma for me), I knew we would give them a home.
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They turned out to be brother and sister, and we brought them home when they were 4 weeks of age. They were tiny and kind of “ratty” looking afer their difficult start in life, but now... what a change... especially for VICTOR. He is an 18 1/2 pound, sleek black god! I call him the Brad Pitt of cats, but I don’t think he is quite as bright as Pitt. His sister, TORIA, despite receiving exactly the same love and care, is less than half his size (but twice as smart). They are eight years old now (I can’t believe it has been that long either), and are an important part of our current menagerie.
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Daryl just passed by me on his way to lie in the sun for a few minutes. Although he didn’t get the fever I had, he has all the other symptoms I’m dealing with.... sniffles, maddening little persistant cough. I think I’ll head out there and join him for a while. I hope your Sunday has been a good one, too. Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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February 27, 2007

THE DAMNED FLU!!!!

I just have to thank all of you who wrote with “Get well soon” wishes. I just can’t believe I came down with this damned flu bug. I did everything I’m supposed to do to prevent it..... I got a flu shot, always slather my hands with Purelle after touching anything like a shopping cart handle, am very careful to wash my hands often, and live a VERY healthy lifestyle! But in SPITE of all of that, I ended up in bed for four days with a fever hovering between 100 and 102 degrees.
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Mostly it just pisses me off...what a waste of precious time! There are so many things I should be doing, but, even if I felt better, I wouldn’t want to be out there, spreading this flu to anybody else. Today my temp is normal (or at least it was a couple of hours ago). After I got up this morning and found my temperature normal, I stripped the bed, threw the sheets in the washing machine, and then took a shower to “wash away” the remainder of the flu. And even though I feel like “merde”, I thought I’d maybe head over to the market later this afternoon for a few staples we are almost out of. I figured that, since I don’t have a fever anymore, I am probably not contagious.
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However, everyone has been warning me that you can easily relapse from this strain of the flu, so I am forcing myself to cool my jets for another day. I need to make sure that my temperature stays down for at least another twenty-four hours before I plunge right back into my busy life.
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Believe me, if you are under the weather, you wouldn't choose Daryl as your caregiver. Now, I adore him... he’s brilliant and funny in his own way, and there are so many things he does in this relationship that hold up his end of the deal, but caregiving is not a good thing for him. I am pretty much taking care of myself, although he DID go to the market yesterday to buy me some chicken soup and fruit juice, and he IS cooking for himself. However, if I were REALLY ill, I'd have to hire a nurse!!!!
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He doesn't want to walk the dogs, because he absolutely will NOT pick up dog poop, which is required in our development (and rightfully so). Poop-picking-up is my job. Of course, our two Australian Shepherds are bouncing off the walls, desperately needing their daily three mile walk to take the edge off their incredible energy! So Daryl found a place nearby, where he could slip through a gate, and run the dogs in a former artichoke field that is being developed for homes... no one was working there on the weekend, so he just let them poop where they wanted to, and ignored it. The bulldozers will plow it under soon enough.
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The sweet thing is, our three cats cuddled up to me all day and night when I was stuck in the bed. Even our little scaredy-cat, Toria. She has turned out to be my most affectionate little kitty.
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Anyhow... I’m going to quit complaining right now. I’m a very lucky woman, and a bout of the flu is not the end of the world by any means. This is just a quick note to let all of you well-wishers know that I am on the mend, and will be back writing TONI’S TAKE this weekend (if I don’t RELAPSE!!!!) Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart (and don’t forget to wash your hands!).
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February 24, 2007

SORRY: FEELIN' UNDER THE WEATHER TODAY..

A note from Toni's webmaster / husband.

Toni's feeling a bit 'under the weather' today, and promises - as soon as the fever is down a bit, she'll be bloggin' again. Have 'patients'. (...get it?)

February 18, 2007

NO PERFECT PLACE | KEELY SMITH | COOKING FOR DARYL


The last two days here in the Coachella Valley have been absolutely glorious.... mild night time temperatures, and highs in the mid 80s. The skies are brilliant blue, the grass as green as emeralds, and all the colors of the myriads of flowers vibrate with an almost psychedelic intensity. This is why all of the “snowbirds” (including us) head down here for the winter months.
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When I see how absolutely AWFUL the weather has been in most of the rest of the country, I almost feel guilty for my good fortune to be living here at this time of year. However, this area is not always paradise. Summers here reach 120 degrees during the day, and the 90s at night. The heat is oppressive and almost predatory. You lie in your bed at night, praying the air conditioning doesn’t break down. The heat outside is like a beast trying to break in and attack you. Swimming pools, normally a refreshing, cooling splash, are so hot you can almost boil an egg in them. I’ve been told that some of the wealthier residents down here have been known to truck in huge blocks of ice to dump in their pools to make the water tolerable for swimming.
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Also, if I drive just a few miles north of our house, I can actually SEE the famous San Andreas Fault, innocently meandering along the mountains. One of these days, it is going to make a huge, catastrophic move as the tectonic plates realign themselves, and we will experience THE BIG ONE! It will look like Katrina around here.... only not as wet. I sometimes lie in bed at night and think about what I’d do if THE BIG ONE hit right at that moment. Scary. It could happen right now, or in thirty years, but it is going to happen.



I ventured out for another concert this past week.... this time on Valentine’s Day. No, Daryl did not go with me. On this occasion I went with my friend, Carole, and her Uncle Dick and Aunt Polly to see the legendary pop/jazz singer, Keely Smith, at the beautiful McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. Dick and Polly have been fans of Keely’s since the 1960s, when she regularly performed in Las Vegas with her late husband, Louis Prima, as part of what I call the “Greatest Lounge Act in the History of Las Vegas”: Louie Prima and Keely Smith with Sam Butera and the Witnesses. This concert was my and Carole’s treat for Dick and Polly, who flew down from northern Nevada to attend.
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Keely has a voice as sinuous and smooth as fine silk. Her vibrato, and the timbre of her voice, remind me of kd lang’s, and I often wonder if kd realizes how similar their voices are.
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Louis Prima was a wild and crazy Sicilian band leader, who jumped around the stage, whirled like a dervish throughout the show, sang with intense gusto, and punctuated the entire routine with Italian gestures, words and phrases that were sometimes translatable, and sometimes SHOULDN’T be translated. Keely, who is part Cherokee Indian (as I am, on my mother’s side) would stand there during the entire show like an island of serenity and calm in the midst of Louis’ hurricane, never cracking even the tiniest smile, no matter how hard Louis and the band would try to make her laugh. The entire room was rocking, but Keely always stayed cool, and sang like an angel. It was hystericlly funny, and musically fabulous.
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We had great seats for Keely’s show, which thrilled Uncle Dick (a retired LA motorcyle cop) and Aunt Polly no end. We were three rows back, right in the center. By the way, Daryl and I are very fortunate that we are usually able to get very good concert seats through the entertainment offices of the venues we attend, but we ALWAYS pay full price for the tickets. Tickets for Gordon Lightfoot’s show cost us $60 apiece, and $95 each for Keely’s show. I think there is sometimes a misconception that we get “freebies” because of our “celebrity”. That is not the way it works.
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Keely was backed by an orchestra of some of the finest musicians in the LA area, including the great sax player, Pete Christlieb. What a joy it was to hear them play. Keely, who confessed onstage to being 79 years old next month, still has that pure and unique voice. She IS rather a wild card on stage, however. You never know what Keely is going to say, and that is part of the fun of being at one of her concerts. But when she sings those lovely ballads, like her 1960s hit I WISH YOU LOVE, her voice sounds just as fresh and young as it did when she was in her 20s.
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Keely lives in the Palm Desert area, so the audience was full of friends and local celebrities like singers, Jack Jones and Jerry Vale, and comedienne, Kaye Ballard. She introduced all the celebrities in the audience, including me, during her show, and I must say I felt a little uncomfortable, since I was positive at least a few people in the audience were saying to themselves, “It’s Valentines Day. Where is the Captain? Isn’t this their anniversary?” But since I couldn’t explain that Daryl was happily at home, doing what Daryl does, I just had to let it slide. Most of you know that our anniversary is actually on Veteran’s Day (November 11th) anyway. And I have also told you that Daryl and I are not particularly interested in “special” days. Everyday is Valentine’s Day to us! He did give me a lovely bouquet of red and pink roses this year, though. We’re both getting a bit sentimental in our old age!



Quite a few of you have written to ask for more recipes. I am NOT Rachel Ray, but I do have a couple of things I make for Daryl that meet his “healthy diet” criteria. One of his favorite dinners is Pan-Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa and Tabbouleh with Snow Peas and Red Peppers. By the way, if you can’t find fresh mangos in your market, pineapple makes a pretty good substitute for the mangos. You can make the Tabbouleh (sometimes spelled “tabouli”) ahead of time. It actually tastes even better once the flavors have had a chance to blend in the fridge. Also....be aware that you have to combine the bulgar and the boiling water, and wait 40 minutes for the water to be absorbed before finishing preparation of the Tabbouleh.


CAPTAIN'S SALMON FEAST



TABBOULEH WITH SNOW PEAS AND RED BELL PEPPER
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1 and 1/2 cups uncooked bulgar (cracked wheat)
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water (+ a couple of extra tablespoons)
1 cup chopped English cucumber (the ones in shrink wrap that are seedless and don’t need to be peeled)
1/2 cup diagonally sliced snow peas
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup (or more to taste) lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
2 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
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Combine bulgar and boiling water in a large bowl. Stir well. Let stand 40 minutes or until water is absorbed. Add remaining ingredients. Toss well. Cover and chill. Serves 8.


MANGO SALSA
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2 and 1/2 cups chopped, peeled mango (about 2 mangos)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (more or less, according to your “heat” tolerance)
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
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Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Cover and chill at least one hour. Serves 8.


PAN ROASTED SALMON
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4 salmon filets, about 6 ounces each
olive oil
salt and pepper
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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
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Rinse salmon filets and pat dry with paper towel. Brush filets with olive oil. Pour olive oil into a WIDE cast iron (or other oven-safe) skillet just to coat the bottom. Place skillet over high heat.
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Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper (or commerically prepared dry rub made for fish). Place filets in the skillet skin side UP and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the filets over and cook one more minute.
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Place skillet in the oven and cook 8 (or more) minutes or so until the filets are just translucent in the middle. My fish cooking rule is TEN MINUTES TO ONE INCH OF THICKNESS. I don’t like “gelatinous surprises” when I cut into my salmon, so I cook it just over “medium”. (When I think it’s done, I make a discreet poke in the center with a slender knife and take a look).
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Remove from the oven and serve with the mango salsa and tabbouleh. Serves four.
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Hope you enjoy what I like to call THE CAPTAIN’S SALMON FEAST. Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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February 11, 2007

VICTOR/VICTORIA - PART THREE

[ go to - part ONE / part TWO ]

Almost eight years after my tour with VICTOR/VICTORIA ended, I still have dreams about it. I had one last night. I found myself in a rehearsal hall, and I realized that I was supposed to perform in VICTOR/VICTORIA again that night. I went into a total panic...I couldn’t remember my lines, the songs, or the dances....expecially the dances. I woke up shaken and anxious but when I awakened and looked over at Daryl sleeping beside me, I realized it was only a dream.
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I probably had that V/V dream last night because I knew I was going to write about the tour today. “Why in the world does she have such strong negative feelings about the V/V experience?” you are probably asking yourself. I don’t think I can really explain it, but I will try.
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None of this was the fault of anyone connected with the first national tour of VICTOR/VICTORIA. The cast and crew, the director, the choreographer, the production company.... all were wonderful and patient with me. This was all the result of my own stubborness.... not giving up my “dream” of doing the part of Victoria, even though every instinct I had was telling me NOT to do the tour. The warning signs were everywhere. And because I plowed ahead anyway, as I started “falling apart” emotionally, I caused a lot of stress and anxiety for other people, and that was wrong.
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Here’s what happened as best I can explain it.
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In August of 1998, the day finally arrived for me to leave for New York to begin rehearsals. Becky, our Personal Assistant, and I had made plans to meet in Dallas and continue on to New York. Daryl headed south to Las Vegas, where we had purchased a small home, and Jennifer moved into our northern Nevada house to care for our pets until the tour was over. My whole life was being turned upside down because of decisions I had made. I missed Daryl the minute I said goodbye to him. I got on the plane with the usual “blue” feeling in the pit of my stomach I get everytime I go out on the road. But I tried to look ahead to the challenges and the excitement of what I was about to undertake.
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Rehearsals took place in New York City during August, 1998.... a full month of blocking and rehearsing scenes, trying to make it through the dance numbers without lookng like a total klutz, working with the music director on my vocal solos and duets, having costume fittings, doing interviews, getting to know the cast and crew, trying to get enough sleep at night, eat right, and get enough exercise. I was so busy every day, I was able to stay focused on the task at hand, and not think about the next 40 weeks I would be spending away from home.
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Daryl flew out to New York twice while I was in rehearsals. I was so relieved to have him there, but found myself torn between wanting to spend time with him, and the demands of what I was undertaking.
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I’ve just re-read what I have written so far, and it sounds like I am just a whining wimp! So many people would kill to have had my opportunity, and they would have made the most of it and never looked back. But here is the thing I didn’t know about myself..... I am not emotionally cut out to be away from home and the people I love. Maybe it’s a Taurus thing. I truly didn’t realize this about myself until I got out there, and then it was too late.
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Still, I enjoyed rehearsals, and I loved the cast and crew. They were brilliant and hard-working and grateful for the opportunity to earn their living doing the thing they loved most. They were dear people, and I remember them all with much fondness.
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Finally the New York rehearsals drew to an end. We packed up the show, and headed to Reno for our final technical rehearsals. Now you would think that tech-ing in Reno would be great for me.... I’d be home for a week before the actual tour began. But it didn’t work out that way. My home was no longer my own. Our friend, Jennifer, was living there, caring for our pets, and I would never dream of asking her to move out for a week, so Daryl and I decided to stay in the guest room in the “barn”, a second building on our property that housed Daryl’s office/studio, a guest “suite”, a garage and storage. Looking back, this was probably not a good decision. I felt like an outsider in my own home. My beloved Taurus “routine” was destroyed..again, by my own decision.
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During tech rehearsals, the cast and crew block and rehearse all day long, and perform the show for a paying audience at night. The Pioneer Theatre was very familiar to me. I had performed there several times over the years, either solo or with Daryl, in benefits for the Reno Philharmonic or the Nevada Opera. It was about a 30 minute drive from our home in the Washoe Valley area south of town.
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Those of you who have seen VICTOR/VICTORIA onstage know what a demanding role Victoria is. She is onstage from five minutes after the curtain goes up, until the end, with only one break, which occurs during a solo by the male lead. There are something like eleven songs or dance numbers, and equally as many costume changes, quite a few of them needing to be completed in seconds before you are back on stage. And if you remember the set, it is a two-story set, with the characters constantly running up and down the stairs. It is a very physically and vocally demanding show.
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And, for me, as the “star” of the show, there were promotional demands as well..... interviews, photo sessions, etc...all having to be squeezed in during rehearsals and performances. It is part of the job of the person whose name is above the title to do everything possible to promote and advertise the show. There are barely enough hours in the day, but it must be done..and you still have to save SOMETHING for performances.
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I always felt that my first repsonsibility was to the people who paid good money to see the show. They should see the best performance possible from me. Often it would seem impossible to do all the promotion I had to do, and give the audience the best performance I possibly could.... but I had to do both.
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Tech rehearsal is truly the most difficult time of the tour, and we were all looking forward to beginning the actual tour itself. Finally we packed up the show once again and headed to Portland for Week One of the First National Tour of Victor/Victoria. I said goodbye to Daryl, and he headed to our house in Vegas. Goodbye, too, to dear Jennifer, our dogs Bodie and Adelaide, and the cats.
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Portland was beautiful that September of 1998...sunny and warm. Becky and I stayed in a lovely hotel down by the river. The show went well, and we had some nice reviews. I was finally catching up on some restorative sleep after the stressful, demanding tech rehearsals. My voice was holding up just fine. Still, I began the routine that I knew was necessary to keep myself in good performing shape for the rest of the tour. I made sure to get at least eight hours of sleep a night... nine hours were even better, if possible. I rarely spoke during the day (except for the 2 or 3 times a day I talked to Daryl on the phone), saving my voice for the show.
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I set aside part of every day for a power walk and strength training. Most of the time Becky and I would have an early dinner... around 3:30PM...so I would have plenty of time to digest the food before the show. We rarely spoke much during dinner... I had to protect my voice. And we were ALWAYS looking for non-smoking restaurants, since I am terribly allergic to smoke. That was really difficult in some cities... such as Louisville, KY, where the “non smoking” area was a couple of tables right next to the smokers! Many times I just gave up and ordered room service.
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I’m also allergic to theatre dust and mold, and since some of the theatres we performed in were built during the Vaudville era, there was a LOT of ancient dust and mold backstage. Sometime I even wore a mask during the first run-through just to protect my voice.
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Here is what a typical week’s schedule was like for me as the star of VICTOR/VICTORIA:
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MONDAY....Pack up everything and travel most of the day to next city. Usually we flew..although the crew would occasionally drive through the night in order to prepare the stage and get the set put together before we arrived.
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TUESDAY...In the early afternoon, go to the theatre to do television interviews with local stations.. usually two or three (full makeup and hair!!!!). Run through the show to check the blocking on the new stage. Occasionally rehearse the songs with the local musicians who join the band in each city. Rest (if there is time). Opening Night performance.
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WEDNESDAY...Second performance.
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THURSDAY....Do five or six phone interviews to promote show for next city (all the while speaking softly and trying to preseve the voice!). Third performance.
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FRIDAY...Fourth performance
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SATURDAY...Fifth and Sixth performances.... a matinee, usually about 3PM, and an evening show around 8PM.
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SUNDAY...Seventh and Eighth performances....same as above. Then pack up everything for early pickup in the morning.
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MONDAY...Start all over again.
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As you can tell, there was absolutely no time for leisure. I was unable to join the rest of the cast members for “nights on the town” because I had to protect my voice. I remember once, as the tour was winding down, when we were playing in Memphis, Daryl flew out to be with me and to check out the famous blues clubs on Beale Street. “Come with us, Miss T!” the dear kids in the cast would say.... but, of course, I couldn’t. Have you ever heard of a blues club that wasn’t smoke filled??? On that occasion, Becky, Daryl and the cast made a night of it on Beale Street (Daryl actually played boogie piano in one of the clubs), while I was stuck in my hotel room, protecting my voice!
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The truth is, with a part as large as Victoria, and your name above the title, you simply have to live “like a nun”. No partying, no talking. Now, if you have a smaller part.... say you are a chorus member, or you don’t have to sing, you can get away with it.
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But with all of this I have been telling you, I still haven’t gotten to WHAT happened to me out there that was so traumatizing, but what I have written will help explain a lot about WHY.
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I’m going to have to finish the V/V story later. I’ve relived enough of it for now. Perhaps by my telling you all of this, you might be more careful when you make a career decision..... maybe you will listen to the faint warning voices inside of you. My problem with the entire tour wasn’t that I couldn’t do the part, or didn’t love doing it. The time onstage was the absolute BEST time of the whole experience. It was the time in between performances that did me in...and all because I didn’t know myself as well as I thought I did.
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I know for certain that if I had been doing the show in one location... not having to be out on the road the entire time... I would have been just fine. I would have had Daryl and the pets with me at all times, and I could have set up my little “nest” and my “Taurus routine”. However, “coulda, woulda, shoulda” is not the way life works.



C&T IN THE NEAR FUTURE
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On a happier note, we are putting together a deal for sale and distribution of several C&T items for this year. I will let you know more details once we get the legal business taken care of. But here is what we hope to make available to you by this fall...

1. THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS CD
2. THE 1976 CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL on DVD
3. OUR CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE SPECIALS FOR ABC: the HAWAII SPECIAL, the NEW ORLEANS SPECIAL, and the SONGBOOK SPECIAL on DVD. They will be offered individually, and in a boxed set.

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Daryl and I have been talking quite a bit about a C&T concert in fall of 2008. I would say we are 90% certain to do it. The bulk of the preparation would fall on Daryl’s and Becky’s shoulders. All I have to do is choose the songs, relearn quite a few of them, and put them in show order.
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We will probably do a series of concerts in a two-week period.... one per night.... and we are thinking that Las Vegas would be our best location. There are a couple of venues Becky is looking into. Now... DON’T hold me to the “two-week” schedule. There are many things to consider.... financial and technical. But we will let you know in plenty of time to make plans.
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After seeing Gordon Lightfoot in concert last week, I realized even more that, in some ways, like Gordon, we are the keepers of people’s memories, and I think we have a responsibility to our fans in that respect. You know me.... I won’t be going out on a tour again, but I could handle a “sit-down” in one place... as long as we can find a rental house that will allow our dogs to join us! The cats would be fine at home with a sitter.
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Just wanted to let you know our thoughts. I’ll take up Part Four of the VICTOR/VICTORIA story at another time. Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
- LISTEN NOW..
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February 4, 2007

“BEAUTIFUL” GORDON LIGHTFOOT

Last night Daryl and I attended a concert at a local Indian casino, not far from our home in La Quinta. This is a rare event for both of us for more than one reason. We are “day people”.... usually up by 5:30AM, and lights out by 10PM. Also, Daryl is really uncomfortable in crowds. He’s a very quiet and private person, and crowds make him quite anxious. And neither of us enjoys going to casinos. We lived in Nevada for over 20 years, and rarely went to one. Casinos are loud, hectic, smoky places, and we prefer a more “serene” atmosphere on our rare nights “on the town” (God, we sound totally DULL).
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What would make us dress up, get in the car, and try to find our way on dark and pot-holed roads to a casino we have never been to? Gordon Lightfoot.
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Those of you who read TONI’S TAKE regularly may remember the recent column I wrote about Gordon... how he had invited us to his beautiful home in Toronto after our concert at the Canadian National Exposition in Toronto in 1978 (or 1979).... our experience as part of the audience for his debut in Las Vegas in the late 70s... and how we used to perform his songs at The Smokehouse in Encino, CA in the early ‘70s, long before we ever even dreamed of having a hit record.
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Not a night went by at The Smokehouse that I didn’t sing BEAUTIFUL and IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND LOVE, but BEAUTIFUL was my favorite, because it was a love song in the deepest sense of the word, and expressed my growing love for Daryl.
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“At times I just don’t know
How you could be anything but beautiful
I think that I was made for you
And you were made for me
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And I know that I will never change
Cause we’ve been friends through rain or shine
For such a long, long time”

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Those words by the songwriter and poet, Gordon Lightfoot, were favorites of mine back in those days. And the music was so lovely... gentle, honest, and true. It has probably been thirty years since I last sang BEAUTIFUL, but I wanted to hear Gordon sing it, in person, at least one more time.
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The Entertainment Office at the casino arranged front row seats for us. The show room was very large.... it probably seated about 3000 people, and by the time the show began, most of the seats were full. Gordon is Canadian, and many, many Canadian “Snowbirds” come down to the Palm Springs area to spend the winter. I would say that quite a few of them were in the audience last night.
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Gordon almost died of an abdominal aneurism a few years ago. Daryl and I first heard of it when we were in Vancouver BC shooting a Kohl’s Christmas commercial. I picked up a local paper, and there was an article about Gordon’s illness, and how he was struggling to recover so he could sing and write again. My heart just sank at the thought of possibly losing this wonderful songwriter, whose music was so much a part of my past. Thank God he made it through, and began writing, and even touring again. Last night’s concert was his eighth concert in nine days... a tough schedule for even a very healthy person.
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Within minutes of the scheduled start of the concert, Gordon and his band, without fuss or fanfare, took the stage. He was backed by a keyboardist, a drummer, a bass player and a lead guitarist, all of whom were superb musicians.
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Gordon was so very thin and frail in appearance...certainly not the robust and strong young man I remember. The familiar baritone was a shadow of its former self... possibly because this was his eighth concert in a row, but the heart and soul of the man were still there in full force. He sang for 90 minutes.... songs I knew and loved, and wonderful songs that were unfamiliar (to me), but bearing his unmistakeable stamp. He varied the mood and the tempos, and carried the audience along with him as he sang and talked.
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Often, during the show, flashes of the fiesty and mischievious Gordon I remembered from the past would emerge, mostly as he talked about how the ideas for songs came to him. “Once,” he joked, “I was playing golf with my ex brother-in-law, and when we got to the first tee, he pronounced to the rest of us, ‘Either step up or step back,’ and that gave me an idea for this song,” a bluesy, mid-tempo number which he proceeded to sing with humor and gusto.
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But it was when he strummed the opening chords to BEAUTIFUL that I found myself swept back to those early days in The Smokehouse with Daryl. And as he sang the well-loved words, I was absolutely struck through the heart, and I found myself in tears. I glanced over at Daryl, and as our eyes met, I could see that he was right there with me, remembering. So much time has passed so quickly, but here we are, and the words mean even more to us now.
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“And I must say that it means so much to me
Just to be the one who’s telling you
I’m telling you
That you’re beautiful”

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Before the show, a young woman took a seat next to us, and I thought she was probably a wife or girlfriend of a band member, because the front-row seats were very difficult to come by. As we waited, we chatted a little bit...she did not recognize us.... and she told me that she had gotten the ticket by going to the casino website. She said it is not that difficult to get single tickets at the last minute, and that you often end up with terrific seats, as she did.
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Her name was Gwen, and she told us that she had seen her first Gordon Lightfoot concert when she was ten years old, and had been a fan ever since. In fact, she had seen him in concert three times in the past year! But what was most wonderful to me about her story, was that she was a Marine Biologist... a professor at Cal State Long Beach... and that she had been inspired to become one because of a song Gordon wrote about the sea and the creatures in it. She heard him sing it when she was a little girl, and it changed the course of her life.
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After the show we went backstage to thank Gordon, but it was incredibly crowded in the Green Room.... at least fifty people were in there, waiting to shake his hand, or have their photo taken with him. There were the head honchos of the casino, two Canadian Senators and their wives (very charming people), and various other Lightfoot fans. I had told Gwen that I would tell Gordon about how much his song had meant to her, and how it changed her life, but it was a zoo backstage, and I could see he was tired, so I just gave him a quick hug and Daryl and I thanked him. I don’t think we really needed many words to express how we felt about him. I’m sure he could tell.
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His show was simple, quiet and intimate, even in that huge room. Just the man and his incredible songs. It was all that was needed. Gordon, may you live, sing and write for many, many more years. We are forever grateful to you. GORDON in 1974 / GORDON Today
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By the way, I did not ask permission to reprint part of Gordon’s lyrics for BEAUTIFUL in this week’s column, but I don’t think he would mind.
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I hope the rest of you enjoy this Superbowl Sunday. Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
- LISTEN NOW..
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January 28, 2007

THOUGHTS ON JENNIFER HUDSON | SINGING WITH ELLA


I happened to catch part of an interview Diane Sawyer did with Jennifer Hudson, the morning Jennifer received her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for DREAMGIRLS. As I watched her struggle to express her feelings about what was happening to her, I noted that she appeared very shaken, and it seemed to me that she was struggling to retain her composure and was holding back tears, even in the midst of her joy and excitement. Wow. I’ve been there.
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My heart instantly went out to this talented young woman, whose career is just beginning. She looked like she had just been blasted off on a sky rocket, and was holding on for dear life. She said to Diane, “I just need some time to myself for a while.” Yes, you do, Jennifer. Shoo everybody out of the room, turn off your cell phone, and take that time just for yourself. Everything has happened to her so very fast, and I think I know pretty well what she is feeling.
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I just wish there were some way I could give her a little bit of advice, based on my own experience. Perhaps it would help her to avoid some of the inevitable pitfalls and heartaches that are part of every show business career, especially one moving as fast as hers is. I am also bearing in mind that she is very young.... much younger than I was when my career with Daryl took off. Also, she is out there all alone. Daryl and I have always had each other for comfort and support.
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We were in our thirties when our career took off, and were more mature and a little more able to cope with all the things that happen when success comes very quickly (although our success was definitely NOT overnight... Daryl and I toiled away in LA clubs for a long time before we were “discovered”). Still, we made mistakes along the way... not dire ones, thank goodness.... but we could have handled some things better than we did.
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If I could talk to Jennifer, one on one, I’d say to her, “Jennifer, gather and keep around you friends and family who knew you before all of this happened.... people you love and trust. Be cautious of new ‘friends’, who may be there simply because of your celebrity. They will be gone quickly if your career should start to falter.
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“Be careful of hiring friends or family to be part of your working staff. You probably feel like you want to share the wealth and celebrity with them. But no matter how much you love and trust them, and how much they love you, things can get very sticky down the road, and you may have to face some agonizing choices at some point. Try your very best to keep business and family/friends completely separate.
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“Hire an attorney well-versed in show business. You will need one who is on your side, to protect your interests. They are usually worth the exorbitant fees they charge, and can help to keep you from getting into unexpected and difficult legal situations that are out there like mine fields, waiting for you to step on one and blow yourself up.
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“Hire a Personal Assistant to organize your time, and take care of all of the many things that you simply will not be able, or have time, to do. Our PA is Becky Greenlaw, and she is priceless! We were so lucky to have found her, and we are thankful every day to have her on our side.
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“Trust your gut feelings!!!!! You will have all sorts of people wanting pieces of you... especially agents and managers. They are a necessary evil, as far as I’m concerned. You need an agent to sift through the many offers that are flooding in, and a manager to guide you in your career choices. Of course.... and THIS is important.... you have to remember that managers and agents want to make as much money off of you as they possibly can. They usually don’t much care about, or take into consideration, your emotional health and physical well being... unless it affects the income you generate for them.
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“You may often find yourself exhausted, stressed beyond belief, and needing time to yourself to gather your thoughts. Remember, agents and managers don’t have to DO the work they line up for you.... they just have to collect the money. The more you are out there working, the better they like it. Trust your gut feelings, and don’t ever be afraid to say NO if something doesn’t feel right.”

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Jennifer Hudson seems like a lovely person, genuine and honest. I hope she has someone she can trust, someone who cares more about her than the money she can generate, who will nurture her talent, and guide her to a long, rewarding career.



Speaking of lovely and genuine people, I can think of no other person I loved and admired more in this business than the legendary Ella Fitzgerald. She was kind, thoughtful, and generous, and absolutely warm and welcoming to me whenever our paths crossed. She sang with such honesty and sweetness, and she could swing with the best of them!
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In 1980, when Daryl and I were planning our SONGBOOK SPECIAL, we made the decision to make the show all music.....no comedy sketches. Daryl and I each chose a musical guest for the show. I chose Ella, and Daryl chose legendary blues guitarist and singer, BB King. It would be BB’s first appearance on a network television show, and you know how many times he has been on television since then. Glen Campbell, was the network’s choice as a third musical guest on the special. Daryl and Glen had something in common... they were both members of the Beach Boys band, although not at the same time. BB King’s guest appearance with Daryl is a story in itself, but for now, I’m going to talk about dear, dear Ella.
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I had loved and admired Ella Fitzgerald from the time my father introduced me to her recordings when I was a young girl. I used to stand in front of the mirror, holding some object as a pretend microphone, and sing along with her recordings. I think every little girl has probably done that with a favorite singer. When I realized that I was actually going to be singing with Ella on our special, I was thrilled beyond belief.
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Our music director created a wonderful, complicated arrangement of “Torch Songs” for us to sing together. Ella and I worked on it for a very long time, trying to get it just right. She was so modest and unassuming. During rehearsals she would say to me, “Am I singing it the way you want?” I almost fell over when she asked me that. She was the legendary ELLA!!! I hugged her and told her she was absolute perfection in every way.
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Well, she and I pulled it off brilliantly, I thought. We had so much fun together, loving and sharing the music, blending our voices on all of those great songs. I was in Music Heaven. There is a video of that duet floating around on You Tube, and when I watched it again after so many years, I was instantly transported back to the transcendent joy of making music with Ella.
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A couple of years later, I was set to do my very first Big Band concert in Las Vegas, opening for someone.... I don’t remember who. I was SO nervous. I was doing this without Daryl, since I was singing the standard repertoire... songs of the 30s and 40s, and Daryl is not comfortable in that genre. Anyhow, I walked into my dressing room on opening night to find a beautiful floral arrangement on the makeup table. The card read, “Good luck on your opening night...Lots of Love...your Big Sister, Ella.” I have no idea how she found out I was even going to be there, since I hadn’t seen her in quite a while. But I will never forget that gesture from her, and I will never forget the joy she brought to me and the rest of the world. She was one of a kind, and I doubt we’ll see her like again.
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That’s it for now. Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
- LISTEN NOW..
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January 25, 2007

A QUICK TAKE . .

Daryl and I just returned last night from four days in Arizona, meeting with the people who are going to build our new home. As you probably know, as soon as you return from an out of town trip, there are tons of things to do to “catch up”. I won’t be able to write a column this week, but I promise I will get it done by this coming Sunday.

Once again, thank you for all of your song suggestions for a possible Captain and Tennille concert in 2008. Your requests have been absolutely fascinating! I’m going have to learn some of these songs all over again. I must say that if we did all of your requests, we’d be up there for HOURS!

Just so you know, we have decided to limit the concert to only songs we have recorded or performed in concert over the years. That means I won’t be doing any of the “standards” I’ve been singing in my solo concerts. That will have to wait for another day. I may write a new song for the concert. I’ll just have to see if my songwriting “line to the spheres” opens up before then.

By the way, Daryl has put up a new photo of us, taken at neighbor’s home during the Christmas holidays. You can find it by clicking on the MEMORIES icon.

I have to dash for now. I have a million things to do, as my sister, Louisa, loves to say. Until Sunday, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
- LISTEN NOW..
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January 14, 2007

GORDON LIGHTFOOT | CIRCLES
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First of all, thanks to all of you who have written so far about which C&T songs you would like to hear us do in concert. It has been absolutely fascinating to both of us to read your comments and preferences. I was particularly heartened to find that so many of you would like to us to do songs I wrote, such as LOVE ME LIKE A BABY, HONEY COME LOVE ME, DEEP IN THE DARK, CIRCLES, BUTTERSCOTCH CASTLE, BABY YOU’VE STILL GOT IT, KEEPING OUR LOVE WARM, and others. I have been passing your requests on to Daryl, who is keeping a list of your most requested songs. And, of course, we would definitely do the hits... LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, SHOP AROUND, MUSKRAT LOVE, DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME, etc.
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We know that most audiences ALWAYS come to hear the artist’s hits. Which reminds me of the time Daryl and I went to see Gordon Lightfoot in concert in Las Vegas, of all places. Gordon, a Canadian, is a brilliant songwriter, and Daryl and I used to perform some of his songs when we worked at The Smokehouse in Encino, California in 1972-74. Some of my favorite songs by Gordon are IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND, BEAUTIFUL, and THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE. Gordon also has a very distinctive voice, rather plaintive and melancholy.
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It was VERY unusual to have a performer of Gordon’s “hipness” perform in Las Vegas at that time... it was in the late 1970s, I believe. Any venue in Vegas was considered “plastic” and “square” for pop artists then, so most of us avoided it like the plague, trying to stay away from the “stigma” of Vegas. It actually seems stupid to me now that we even concerned ourselves with stuff like that. However, Daryl and I were VERY surprised to learn that Gordon would be performing there. But we really wanted to see him in concert, so we booked our reservations, and were there in the audience along with all of his fans who had made the trek to Vegas to see him.
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I don’t know how many of you have ever seen a classic Las Vegas show, but at that time the shows were very UP UP UP and moved right along at a fast and furious clip, stopping only now and then for the accasional ballad. The audience’s attention was never allowed to waiver for one second!
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After we waited almost 45 minutes for Gordon’s show to begin (shows are NEVER late in Vegas... they want YOU out in the casino, gambling your money away for as long as possible), the showroom lights dimmed, and the announcer said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Gordon Lightfoot.” The audience responded with thunderous applause and excited anticipation. Gordon slowly strolled onstage, very casually dressed in jeans (absolutely NO Vegas glitz or glam), his eyes on his band, not even glancing at the audience. When he reached center stage, he TURNED HIS BACK TO THE AUDIENCE AND TUNED HIS GUITAR for what seemed like an eternity! All of us in the audience maintained a respectful but uncomfortable silence while the tuning was going on.
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Finally, he turned to the audience, and started playing the intro to a tune none of us had ever heard before. It turned out to be from his just-released album, and, of course it was a very good song... as all of his are.... but it was unfamiliar to most of us. After the song was over, the audience applauded politely, expecting Gordon to then break into one of his hits. Instead, he played seven brand new songs from the new album, and he rarely spoke to the audience at all. By this time, people were grumbling and muttering to themselves, and some were leaving.
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In my case, I had been wondering how Gordon would approach his Vegas concert, and if he would make any changes because of the venue. Well, he didn’t. He played it just like any of his concerts. And as a consequence, he lost his Vegas audience. He finally played several of his hits, but by that time all was lost. He never played Vegas again, and I don’t blame him. It wasn’t his style, and he didn’t NEED to play there. His concerts were always packed with music lovers... not necessarily gamblers!
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Today it seems that EVERYBODY plays Vegas. The “stigma” is pretty much gone. It is just a convenient place for performing artists to reach a wide audience of people from all around the country and the world.




LATER IN THE DAY... .Daryl and I just finished signing 350 HUGE art prints (in which our faces are featured) by Nevada Artist, Steven Saylor. He drove all the way down here from northern Nevada and told us it would only take an hour to sign them. Well, bless his heart, it took THREE hours, since Daryl and I both signed them, and, we had lots to talk about with Steven as we signed. He just left to drive the ten hours back to northern Nevada, and I am now WAY behind on my blog, so I’ll have to cut it short for today.


I have one more story about Gordon Lightfoot. In the late 70s, Daryl and I performed in Toronto at the Canadian National Exposition or “CNE” as it is called. We didn’t know it at the time, but Gordon lived in Toronto. He sent word that he would like for us and our band to visit him at his home in the Toronto suburbs while we were there.
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His home turned out to be this magnificent English Tudor-style mansion in a very posh suburb of Toronto. It was set into a wooded area, and was just a beautiful structure. The interior was even more beautiful. I remember his “office” was done in rich, dark, mahagony panelling. I thought it looked like the kind of home the British Prime Minister might live in.... stately and elegant.

Gordon, of course, was a free spirit, and seemed to me to be kind of out of place in such a formal setting. However, he seemed to be very proud of the home, and enjoyed showing us around.
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We arrived on a late summer afternoon. Shortly after the sun went down, he called us all into the huge kitchen to see something special. As we stood there, he opened the door to the backyard, and at least 12 raccoons walked right in and made themselves at home. I was totally flabbergasted! They roamed around the kitchen, getting into this cabinet or that cookie jar, and Gordon seemed to enjoy the whole thing. I guess he let them into the house every night!
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A couple of years ago, Daryl and I were in Vancouver, shooting a Kohl’s commercial, when I read in the local paper that Gordon was terribly ill. He had been stricken by a very unusual stroke that occurred in his digestive tract, I believe. I haven’t heard anything since, but I’ve thought of him often since then. I hope he is back, writing and singing his wonderful songs by now.




One of the writers to TONI’S TAKE asked about the poem that inspired my song, CIRCLES. I have to take you back to when I was in junior high school. I had the most WONDERFUL English teacher then. Her name was Mary Persons, and she was filled with the love of poetry and literature, and passed on that passion for the written word to her students.... especially me. Through her I learned the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Keats, Byron, and all the greats. Because of her I committed hundreds of poems to memory... some of them I can recite to this day.
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One day she read to us a poem by an American poet named Edwin Markham. It was called OUTWITTED.... a short poem whose wise words struck a chord in a fifteen year old girl.
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OUTWITTED
by Edwin Markham
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He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, Rebel,
A thing to flout
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in.

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Flash forward to around 1975, when I wrote CIRCLES. I was thinking back to when I first met Daryl. It was the summer of 1971 in San Francisco. When I first saw him, I knew he would be an important part of my life... I just didn’t know exactly how.
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As I became more and more certain that Daryl and I should be together, he was a little more reserved. I later found out that his former girlfriend had committed suicide recently. Even though she and he were no longer together before she died, it hit him very hard, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to become involved in a new relationship.
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I, however, knew that I was exactly what he needed! And I remembered the Edwin Markham poem. So, based on his poem, I wrote these words...."Oh, Love and I, we knew just where to begin. Yes, Love and I, we started his circle to spin, oh Love and I...we drew a circle, a beautiful circle, a wonderful circle that took him in.” And that is how I came to write CIRCLES.
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Well...I must close for now. Daryl and I are going to Arizona next week to meet with the people who will be building our new home, so I may be late with TONI’S TAKE next week. Don’t give up, though. I’ll get to it as soon as I can. Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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January 7, 2007

THE PERCEPTION OF BEAUTY | C&T IN 2008?

Many of you have written to TONI’S TAKE over the past few months saying how great you think we look. Like most people, I like to hear compliments, and my mother taught me to always say a simple “thank you” when I receive them.... none of those phrases like, “Oh, thanks, but my hair looks awful today,” or “I’m glad you like our house, but it is really a mess today,” or “I really didn’t sing very well, but thanks anyway.” Just “Thank you,” is all you need to say.
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However, the comments about how we look got me thinking about physical beauty.... or actually, the PERCEPTION of physical beauty, and how much we seem to want our idols to remain physically “beautiful.” That, of course, is impossible as we age. Wrinkles slowly appear, tiny at first, and then relentlessly marching across our face, our neck, our hands, carving frown lines and “smile” lines (hah!) in every visible area. And gravity always eventually prevails, slowly tugging skin and flesh down down down. It is disheartening, but inevitable.
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I would ask you all to remember that I am sixty-six years old now. And being this age would not be a problem for me if I did not have a “public” image. I think some fans are always shocked when they see a performer they haven’t seen in 30 years or so, and are amazed to find out the “stars” have gotten old, just like they have!
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I have always felt that one of the responsibilities a performer has to their fans is to look as good as they possibly can whenever they make a public appearance. I have, however, been known to head to the supermarket in sweats and a baseball cap, and wearing no makeup, HOPING I don’t run into anybody I know. And I am always reminding Daryl, whenever we head out to a restaurant or to do some shopping, that he needs to clean up bit (shaving would be good), in case we are recognized. You never know when someone will ask to take a photo of you, which will end up in their scrapbook forever, or on the internet (THAT’S the Captain and Tennille???)
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I can only assume that some of you are judging how “great” we look from the photos on our website, since I doubt most of you have actually seen us for several years. Those photos were taken a couple of years ago by one of the finest photographers in Hollywood, the legendary Harry Langdon. Harry has been photgraphing us from the very beginning of our career. He knows us well, and knows how to light us for the best effect. Lighting can make you look really great, or really dreadful. In fact, Harry’s lighting is so good, very little retouching is needed to smooth a wrinkle here and there, or soften circles under the eyes. After all, you want your publicity photos to be as flatteering as possible. However, those photos are not reality! Reality is what you look like when you first get up in the morning, and get your first glance at yourself in the mirror. Frightening.
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I guess what I am trying to say is that those of us who are considered “stars” or “celebrities” are not much different from you. We just have better lighting! I really had to admire Jamie Lee Curtis when she posed totally au naturalle... no makeup, no special lighting, no retouching..... a few years ago for a magazine story to let other women know that Hollywood images are a fantasy... at least they are for the older women in show business.
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After I got over my “chubby” pre teens, I was considered fairly attractive by most people. Not a beauty by any means! That crown belonged to my lovely younger sister, Jane. But I always had a nice smile, and I was tall. I used to think that being tall was a disadvantage, because all the “popular” girls were petite, but my dad always told me to be proud of my height, and to stand up as tall as I could. Many people over the years have told me how “beautiful” they think I am, but the truth is, I’m not “beautiful” and never have been. And I am not just being modest here. I mean exactly what I am saying. Any “beauty” people may see in me is a “perception”, not a reality.
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As I age, I more and more understand why actresses like Loretta Young and Kim Novak, and singer/actresses like Doris Day, quietly removed themselves from public life as their beauty faded. They didn’t want to be compared with the images of themselves at the very height of their beauty.
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I do know, however, that I have something more important to our fans than my physical looks.... and that is this voice I have been blessed with. It is still in great shape, and I attribute that to the healthy lifestyle Daryl and I have lived since we’ve been together. It really pays off as you age.




Many people have also asked when we are going to perform in public again. A couple of years ago my answer might have been, “Probably never.” I guess I have been waiting for some kind of “sign” as to what we should do next with our musical talents. Most of you know that I absolutely HATE to tour, so that kind of thing is off the table. However, in the last few months, without talking to Daryl about it, I have been asking myself, “If we DID do a C&T concert, what would it be like? What songs would we sing? How big would the band be, and who would be in it? Where would we do it... IF we decided to do it?”
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The fact that those thoughts are even crossing my mind is kind of a break-through for me. I finally mentioned it to Daryl to see what his thoughts were. He didn’t absolutely say no. Of course he came up with all the potential problems... among other things, we don’t have a band anymore, and we’d have to put one together and rehearse several days to get ready.
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But, honestly, Daryl’s main problem with performing again is that, over the years, he has developed what is called a “essential tremor”. It is not Parkinson’s Disease, thank God,
UPDATE: 08/2009: Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S DISEASE. - - Read more.
and is not life-threatening in any way..... more of a nuisance, you might say. But to Daryl, it is devastatingly embarassing, and the more anxious he becomes about it, the worse it is. He is afraid people will stare at his tremor while he is on stage instead of enjoying the music. He is a very private man, and this is one of the main reasons he is hesitant to do any public appearances.
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Anyhow, if a C&T concert ever came to pass, we would probably do it in one location.... a series of concerts... maybe a couple of weeks. I am thinking about a concert of ALL Captain and Tennille songs... the hits, of course, but also some of the lesser known tunes that we’ve never done in concert. THAT would interest me.
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IF we do it, I’m thinking spring of 2008 (God, I’ll be using a walker by then!). If everything works out, 2007 is going to be filled with promotion for the Christmas CD, the Captain and Tennille Christmas Special DVD, and the DVD release of our three ABC Captain and Tennille Specials (Hawaii, New Orleans, and the Songbook Special), which we plan for this year. I’d like to hear from all of you.... if you were to attend a C&T concert, what songs would you like to hear? Give us some suggestions, and we’ll add them to a master list.
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And now, as my sister, Louisa, likes to say, I have a “million things to do” today, so I’ll sign off for this week. I hope your year is starting off beautifully, and that you are happy and healthy. Until next week, Keep A “Song of Joy” Inside Your Heart!
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TWO
December 31-January 3, 2007

HOLIDAYS IN LA QUINTA | "DENNY" | VICTOR/VICTORIA - PART TWO

It is a little after 7AM on New Year’s Eve, 2006. Daryl is doing his morning meditation. I arose before Daryl, started the fire, and prepared a cup of tea. I love the early mornings, especially here in the desert. Everything seems fresh and new, and the day full of possibilities. We are certainly so very lucky to be here in La Quinta at this time of year.
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For the last couple of days, as President Ford lay in repose at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert not from here, the desert he loved so much blessed his memory and his family with perfect weather.... warm sunshine, bright blue skies, and an abundance of colorful flowers.
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My heart went out to Mrs. Ford as I saw her stricken face on television. I cannot even allow myself to think what she must be feeling at this time. I will never forget my first sight of her at the White House in 1976.... a vision of grace and warmth in a yellow linen suit, a welcoming smile on her lovely face. President Ford was a good and kind man..a regular guy...who helped heal this nation during one of its most troubling times. I hope Mrs. Ford and the rest of his family can take comfort in how much his service meant to the American people at a very troubling time in our history.
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LATER
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It is now January 3, 2007. As I drove home this afternoon after having lunch and doing a bit of shopping with my sister, Melissa and my niece, Cathryn, I watched a glorious full moon rise slowly and majestically in the eastern sky, the tall date palms standing in graceful silhouette before its light. During the holidays we were joined here at the house by my sister, Louisa, and her husband, Bob, and.... in the last couple of days.... by Melissa, and her husband, Andy and their eleven year old daughter, Cathryn. We all had a wonderful time together. We just don’t see each other often enough. But now all is quiet, and I can finally concentrate on my VERY late TONI’S TAKE.
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A quick answer to a question from a recent writer to TONI’S TAKE.... I did not write DENNY’S SUCH A FLIRT about Beach Boy, Dennis Wilson. I actually had Daryl’s youngest brother, Dennis, in mind when I wrote it. DENNY’S SUCH A FLIRT was one of the songs I wrote in the 1980s for a collection of tunes with male names in the title. It was just kind of an exercise to see what I could come up with using that theme. Some other titles in that group of songs are BOY CRAZY, DAVY I MISBEHAVE (I got the idea for that name from my friend Lin Lopes’ former husband, Dodger second baseman, Davy Lopes), and JOE DON’T CRY. I pictured them being sung by a “girl” group...not me, of course. But, as usual, I never submitted them to any artists. Actually, DAVY I MISBEHAVE was a much more mature, jazz-tinged song, and I REALLY like that one. Daryl and I recorded it on our Australian album, MORE THAN DANCING. I think some of the others, which we only did as demos, ended up on the album, MORE THAN DANCING, MUCH MORE. Anyhow, I hope that answers the question about my inspiration for DENNY’S SUCH A FLIRT.




Many of you wrote, expressing your interest in my VICTOR/VICTORIA story. I must tell you that I am finding it fairly hard to think back on that time, although...of course..not ALL of it was traumatic. It is just that I thought I knew myself well, and I found that I really didn’t at all. You should also know that I tend to almost completely erase unpleasant things from my memory, so I may be fuzzy about exact dates and times.
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I believe I stopped telling you my VICTOR/VICTORIA-PART ONE story at a point where I finally understood that, if I got the part, it would involve a completely different commitment from me (and from Daryl) than the one I originally had in mind. Remember, my first hope was to replace Julie on Broadway when she left the show. Then Raquel Welch was hired for the part, and the show closed on Broadway a few weeks later. By then I had invested so much time (and money) in going after the part, I felt like I just HAD to keep going. So I lowered my sights a bit to the First National Tour, which I thought might involve stays of two or three months in large cities. By the time I realized what the tour would actually entail, I was in too deep and had gone too far to stop myself. The rocket left the launch pad, and I was on it.
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When I finally got the word that the part was mine, I was thrilled... after all, I had worked VERY hard to get it. But at the same time, I became anxious and even a little scared. What had I gotten myself (and Daryl) into? He and I began to make plans for how we would handle the logistics of the tour. I can only say, thank God for Daryl. He put up with so much to let me pursue this crazy dream.
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Our dear friend and longtime pet sitter, Jennifer Dory-Pahl, offered to move into our Washoe Valley home, and take care of our two dogs and two cats. Jennifer, by the way, is the friend who told us about the song, I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS, which has turned out to be a favorite from our Christmas CD.

Daryl had absolutely NO interest in taking care of the pets for a year all by himself, so we bought a small house in Las Vegas (where it doesn’t SNOW) for Daryl to live in while I did the tour. The plan was that he would fly out at least every two weeks to spend time with me. Becky Greenlaw, our long time friend and Personal Assistant, would travel with me on tour to help me cope with everything involved in headlining a big show.
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I busied myself memorizing the part and the songs, taking a few dance classes to try to brush up on what little dance skills I had, and trying to organize my mind around this new reality. Becky and I flew to New York so I could have publicity photos done, and read with actors and actresses auditioning for supporting parts. We also took a trip to Seattle to do video promos. There were costume fittings and interviews, contract negotiations, and, finally, preparations to go to New York in August, 1998 for a month of rehearsals.
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Everything was a blur of activity and excitement, but I began to have trouble sleeping, and a feeling of dread was starting to insinuate itself into my heart. Just before I left for rehearsals in New York, my sister, Jane, came to visit us at our Washoe Valley home. Jane, a hospice nurse, is just 20 months younger than I am, and we are very close even though we live 3000 miles apart. Months later she finally told me that, during her visit, she was sure I was going into a depression.... what she called “anticipatory grieving.” She knows me well, and she could see what even I could not.
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Becky and I chose an apartment-type hotel in New York, with me staying in a large “apartment” with plenty of room for Daryl when he came to visit me. Our director, Mark Hoebee, was a wonderful guy, and a terrific director. He worked patiently with me as I tried to find my own style in the part so very much associated with Julie. We decided that I would play Victoria as a southern girl, rather than British, like Julie. I could do the British accent, but I really needed to make the part my own and try to move out of Julie’s formidable shadow.
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Speaking of Julie, during one of my first trips to New York for meetings with the director and producers, I attended a performance of VICTOR/VICTORIA while Julie was still in the show. The minute she made her entrance, the audience adored her. Her innate beauty and charm glowed from the stage. I could tell that she was struggling a bit with her voice..... but only another singer would realize it. She was wonderful, as she always is.
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Later, I was escorted backstage to meet her. She was in an adjacent room changing clothes when I arrived in her dressing room, but her famous husband, Blake Edwards, was there, and he is a fascinating man. I, of course, was in awe of him, but by the time Julie entered the room, he had already offered me and Daryl the use of their home in Switzerland anytime we wanted it!
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When she entered, Julie gave me a warm smile, gave me a hug, and said in her cultured British accent, “I knew you were in the audience! I could hear your laugh.” This is one of my fondest memories of the V/V experience.
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I will take up the story again soon...perhaps next week. I never know what I am going to write until I actually sit down at the computer. Thank you for your interest. My hope is that perhaps, by hearing some of the mistakes and wrong turns I have made, you may avoid some of your own!! Until next time...Keep a “Song of Joy” Inside Your Heart.
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New Year’s Eve

POSTPONING TONI’S TAKE

I’m going to have to postone TONI’S TAKE until Tuesday morning. I just don’t have time, with all the holiday goings on, to organize my thoughts. I hope you ALL have a safe, sane, and joyful New Year. One of my fondest hopes for 2007 is that we will all try to be more civil and courteous with each other. When you go out today, try to greet people along the way with a smile....it can be a tiny one...just try at least to have a pleasant look on your face (that’s what I tell Daryl.... Eeyore personified). The cashier at the supermarket.... the lady you meet pushing her cart in the grocery aisle....the teller at the bank..the kid walking their dog. Try looking them straight in the eyes and say, “Good morning” or just “Hi” as you pass by. I find that even people who seem to be total grumps will light up just a bit if you do that. And look for TONI’S TAKE this Tuesday. Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
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December 24 , 2006

CHRISTMAS EVE 2006 | THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR



The air was a chilly 40 degrees this morning as the sun rose over the palm trees here at our home in La Quinta. However, the sky is now a brilliant blue, and the temperature is supposed to reach the mid 70s here on this lovely Christmas Eve. My sister, Louisa and her husband, Bob, along with their darling little Chow/Corgi mix, Tina, arrived yesterday to spend Christmas with us. I adore Louisa and Bob....they are bright and funny, and make me laugh.

Today I am making dinner for Louisa and Bob, our friends Judy and Boots, and, of course, dear Daryl. It will be a pretty simple repast..... Chicken and Dumplings for everyone but Daryl. He will have his own vegetarian entree. We’ll all enjoy steamed green beans with almonds, and big salad. Daryl gets a special dessert...”
Legal Apple Pie”...which I plan to bake as soon as I finish writing this. “Legal” means, as most of you know, a whole wheat pie crust, and honey or pure maple syrup instead of sugar for the apple filling. The rest of us are going to try to make a dent in the fudge and brownies we have been given as gifts. But more important than the food, is the warm friendship and lively conversation we’ll share together.
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I know you will understand when I tell you that this TONI’S TAKE will be brief. I have lots of cooking to do!
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Since we are about to begin a brand new year, I had the thought that you should know a few basic things about us. Many of you probably think you know us pretty well, but you might be surprised at what I am about to tell you. Some of you may be disillusioned, and decide that we are not your “cup of tea.” But it has always been my policy to be up front and straight ahead. Emotional gameplaying is a total waste of time. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You must be who you are, and if people don’t like it, then they are not the kind of people you should be worried about impressing or spending time with.
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Daryl and I are not religious. He was raised Catholic, and I was raised Episcopalian, but over the years, we found that organized religion did not speak to our spiritual needs. We have many friends who are Christian....and we also have friends who are Jews, Agnostics, a couple of Atheists, and even a B'Hai guy! We love and respect them all. In fact, we included SILENT NIGHT on our Christmas CD (which is otherwise pretty secular) , not only because it is a beautiful song, but also because it means so much to our Christian friends and relatives, such as my sister, Melissa.
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Daryl is a registered Republican, and I am a registered Democrat, but we found that neither political party truly represented us. So, since everybody seems to need some sort of "label" these days, we call ourselves "Independent Moderates." Both of us were opposed to the Iraq war from the very beginning, but were willing to accept the possibility that the administration "knew things we didn't know", Unfortunately, things have turned out exactly as we had feared, and we are terribly distressed about it.
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These days, most people talk about politics or religion only with people who agree with them, because all sides are dug in, unwilling to consider another opinion, and it just causes tension and stress. It saddens me so much that our country has become so divided...that civility and common courtesy seem to be rarities. I am hoping that, in the new year, we will all find more common ground, and try to treat each other with more respect and care.
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Daryl and I both hope you all have a joyous and warm Christmas and much happiness in 2007. In the meantime, Keep ASong of Joy” Inside Your Heart.
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December 17, 2006

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.... MY VICTOR/VICTORIA STORY - PART ONE


From the time I was a little girl, growing up in Alabama, music and the arts were a central part of my life. I studied classical piano from the time I was seven years old until my senior year in high school. I also took classes in ballet, tap, and acrobatics (I was way too tall for ballet, and I was horrible at the acrobatics... couldn’t do a frontwise split.... I had to turn my hips sideways to do the deed). Most of my friends, and my sister Jane, took dance classes as well. To this day I am grateful for the classes and the dance recitals. I’m a rotten dancer, but at least I stand up straight, and don’t usually bump into the furniture on stage. I was tall even then, and a bit chubby, and pretty awkward, so dance classes helped a lot with my ability to move around with a modicum of grace.
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By the time I reached junior high school, I was very excited about theatre and doing plays. I acted in my very first play when I was in ninth grade. The play was FATHER KNOWS BEST, and, of course, since I was SO tall, I played “Mother”. I acted in at least a play a year until I went to college at Auburn University. There I majored in English and minored in Music and sang every weekend with the Auburn Knights Orchestra to help pay for my education, so theatre fell by the wayside until a few years later.
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My sisters and I used to sing together constantly, trying to pick out the harmonies from female groups like THE McGUIRE SISTERS and THE KING SISTERS. We learned all the songs in every new musical that hit Broadway. Whenever we were in the car together, we would assign each other parts and would sing the entire score to SOUTH PACIFIC, OKLAHOMA, even PORGY AND BESS (I was always Porgy). This would, of course, drive our parents crazy, but there was no shutting us up.
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I always had a thought in the back of my mind that I would love to perform in a musical on Broadway. A lot of girls have this same dream, and I realized my chances were less than slim. But still, the idea always lurked in the back of my mind. I did perform in many community theatre musical productions and plays over the years...I even WROTE my own musical, MOTHER EARTH, at South Coast Repertory Theatre in southern California. Even though the shows were fun to do, and I learned a LOT... they weren’t Broadway.



Which brings me to VICTOR/VICTORIA. This is a long story, and I probably will have to write it in two parts, so here begins the saga. (see www.youtube.com clip of Julie Andrews here)
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Around 1997, a friend of our then manager, suggested to me that he thought I would be perfect to take over the role of Victoria in the musical VICTOR/VICTORIA, which was running on Broadway at the time, starring the great, beloved Julie Andrews. She had already starred in a wonderful 1983 movie of the same title, written and directed by her famous husband, Blake Edwards, of PINK PANTHER fame.
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The V/V story in a nutshell is about a “woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman,” and the part is demanding, for the singing as well as the acting. Henry Mancini wrote most of the score...but, sadly, he passed away before it was completed, and Frank Wildhorn completed the score. Leslie Bricusse wrote the lyrics.
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I got a copy of the score, and started to work through it, to see if I could handle the vocal demands. I found it fit comfortably within my range... in fact, it worked well for me, because I am basically a tenor. The only vocal problem for me was the one high note, which provides a running “joke” throughout the play. Everytime Victoria sings that high note, glass shatters, and everything and everyone within earshot comes to an awe-struck halt. I could sing a high enough note to make the joke work, but I’d be in trouble if I ever had a cold or an allergic reaction, because the first things I lose in my voice are my falsetto or “high” notes. As long as I am singing in the “chest” range, I can sing for hours with no problem.
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The more I thought about the possibility of doing the role, the more I wanted to do it. Julie was reportedly exhausted. She had taken the show through all the out of town tryouts, which are just brutal and incredibly demanding, and had been starring in it on Broadway for quite some time. After studying the score, I had the thought that perhaps it was even more demanding for her voice than it would be for mine, because she is a true soprano, and singing in the chest voice all the time is difficult for most sopranos.
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The financial success of the show rested on her slender shoulders and crystalline voice. The word on the street was that she was continuing the run because she was trying to keep going until the show turned a profit. In spite of her difficulty, she was thinking of the investors first.
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Daryl and I talked about my going for the part, and we decided that, in the SLIM possibility it should EVER come to pass, we’d figure out how to get ourselves and the dogs and cats to New York for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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I decided that the first thing I had to do was record myself singing some of the songs from the show. Once the tape was made, I sent it to our manager, and she played it for various industry people. She said the general concensus was that I would be great in the part and should go for it. Also, I’m tall and not big-busted (Julie had to be “squashed” in the breast area to look more like guy in her tuxedo) so, physically, I could pull off the “Victor” part. There didn’t appear to be a great deal of dancing for Victoria... a bit of soft shoe with Toddy..so I figured I could handle it (or fake it).
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My next step was to make an audition video of myself doing one of the scenes from the show. This turned out to be a big, expensive proposition, but the tape was terrific, and, in the end, was instrumental in my getting the part.
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One of the many problems facing me was the fact that I had NO connections in New York musical theatre. However, my manager had a colleague who worked for one of the biggest theatrical agencies in New York, and there was a possibility he could get my audition tape to the right people.
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Now remember, all the time I was trying to get this part, I had in mind that I would take over the role on Broadway. That meant moving to New York for the length of the run. I never thought beyond that possibility.
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As all the pieces started to fall into place, and I began to think I had a real shot at the part, word came that Raquel Welch had been chosen to take over for Julie on Broadway. I was too late, and probably didn’t have a big enough name anyway. I had no Broadway experience, and Raquel had appeared in a Broadway musical...WOMAN OF THE YEAR I believe it was... a few years back. I had a very hard time picturing Welch, who was no more than 5”4” tall, and very big busted, being believable as a man. When she was cast, I thought that was the end for me.
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Well, Raquel’s run lasted only a few weeks. Without Julie in the lead, VICTOR/VICTORIA closed on Broadway. The show just couldn’t make it without her. I doubt I could have kept it going much longer either, but I sure would love to have tried.
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Then came the possibility of doing the first National Tour of the show. I was pretty naive about how this was done, but I THOUGHT the show would play in large cities, like LA and Toronto, for two or three months at a time before moving to another place. Maybe Daryl and I and the pets could rent a house in each location if I got the part. By that time, I was like an out-of-control freight train, hurtling down the tracks without brakes. I WANTED that part. I KNEW I’d be good in it. I could deal with two or three months in each city. We’d work everything out so I could have this ONE chance to do a Broadway musical...even if it WAS on the road and not in New York.
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Finally, after meeting with the producers and tour company in New York, I found out what the tour would REALLY be like. It would involve a month of rehearsals in New York, and forty weeks on the road, changing cities every week for the most part...sometimes doing a “split” week....three days in one city...three days in another. All the while I would be doing eight shows a week. One on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and two on Saturday and Sunday. Monday we’d pack up, head to the airport, and move to the next city. I would be required to do television interviews on opening day in each city, and phone interviews throughout the week...most of them on Thursdays..to promote the show in the next city.
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If I had managed to stop the train for a while, and take stock of the ramifications of the decision I was about to make, I’m sure I would have turned and run in the opposite direction. But I just was SO close to what I had been working for... well, not EXACTLY what I had been working for.... I failed to heed the warning in my “gut”. NEVER ignore what your GUT is telling you! Even as old as I was at the time (57), and ALL the years I had been in the business, I made a huge mistake, and I, and many others, paid the price.
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I will continue the VICTOR/VICTORIA story in future columns. You know, I think it is going to take more than two columns to tell this story. Actually, as I am writing about it, I am starting to relive some of the emotional upheaval I went through. It is proving to be hard to put myself back in that place. There is SO much to tell, and I learned a BIG lesson about myself, and I learned it the hard way.
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I hope you are all having a joyous and peaceful holiday season. Until next time, Keep A “Song of Joy” Inside Your Heart.
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Moonlight & Magnolias / Arizona, Prod.

Prescott, AZ

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