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Turning Dreams into Reality

(Uncategorized) Permanent link

By Guest Blogger Shannon Ashley De Young, Fresno State

My day job is in the marketing world, but during my free time, I am a singer-songwriter.  I enjoy writing and performing country/rock music in venues around central California. I’ve always enjoyed sharing my creative, energetic and passionate personality. To have the ability to make someone feel an emotion, good or bad, by listening to my music is the ultimate accomplishment as an artist.

Recently, I had the honor of working with Hollywood Immersive, a company that partnered with Los Angeles’ top vocal coach, Steven Memel, and developed a program for up-and-coming singer-songwriter artists, called Music Immersive. A total of 15 artists were accepted from around the world, including me, the only person from California! We moved into a Hollywood Hills home for one week and worked tirelessly with mentors from the music industry, like producers, managers, songwriters, sound engineers, personal trainers, stylists/wardrobe artists, and social media managers to get better insight into the music industry. These mentors work with artists like Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Jason Mraz, Madonna, and more! We spent hours learning from each mentor with little to no time for rest—but that’s what the music industry is all about, so I relished every moment.

For four days, I worked on one original song. On the first day, I focused on lyrics with Robin Fredrick mentoring. Robin has written and produced hundreds of songs for television, music albums, musical theatre, and audio products. Later, Steven Memel gave instruction on how to show emotion while performing on stage. An intense and overpowering experience, I broke into tears—tears of realization. Steven said that many times he shows artists what their songs are about. While performing in a group with Steven— he stopped me—after every line. As he quizzed me on the meaning—realization dawned on me. As an artist I learned to be more aware of what I have written, to spend more time focusing on the lyrics, the story and the emotion in each song, because every song has a story at its heart.
After composing songs, we had the opportunity to perform them live at the Music Immersive Showcase at EastWest Recording Studios. EastWest Studios is where Frank Sinatra recorded, “My Way” and “Something Stupid,” and other performers like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, The Monkees and Elvis Presley recorded as well. It was an honor and fulfillment of a lifetime dream to perform one of my original songs on that very stage! If my experience had ended that night after the showcase, I would have been beyond content.

The professional band that helped us perform our songs learned each song in 15 minutes—on the day of our performance. The day after was spent in the recording studio. I recorded guitar and lead vocals for my original song, “Cheater” (which can be found on YouTube). A productive and exhilarating day - I couldn’t have done it without several trips to Starbucks!

Returning home from Hollywood, I took a few months to absorb the experience.  It’s not every day that you spend time with Maroon 5’s manager, Madonna’s social media manager, or one of Jason Mraz’ sound engineers in his own home, testing microphones, recording clips and learning straight from the music industry’s best. It gave me a taste of my future.

A lesson that I will never forget from this experience is this: “To accomplish your dreams or your goals you need to ask yourself, 1.What do I want? 2. Is it attainable? and 3. Am I willing to pay the price?” And my answer:  I know that I want to write, record and perform original songs. ROCK ON!

 Turning Dreams into Reality

Planning a Kappa Reunion: The Details

(Friendship, Sisterhood) Permanent link

Want to plan a Kappa reunion? Recently, more than 200 women of Rho Deuteron, Ohio Wesleyan, enjoyed a reunion. Planning was a team effort, and the organizers share these tips for your reunion.

Where to start? Begin a year (or even two!) before the reunion by locating members on the Kappa website, Facebook and emails to compile a list. Contact Membership Services at Fraternity Headquarters to assist with a list of members and contact information. Begin by getting in touch with one class or decade and build on it, getting referrals from known members. Consider purchasing a “Save the Date” ad in The Key and your college’s alumni magazine. Choose a date and venue, whether it is during Homecoming, at a resort or someone's home. It might even be possible to rent out the chapter house during the summer when school is not in session. Keep a spreadsheet of names and addresses. It can be saved in the chapter archives for future use.

Getting help: Ask your college alumni office to assign someone to help you get the date confirmed with the school and with help finding members and to be a general contact. Ask the school to add your date to its calendar and newsletters.

Contact the local alumnae association, house board and current chapter, all of whom can help plan an open house, select hotels, banquet rooms, etc. Collegiate members as well as local alumnae can help meet incoming flights and provide transportation.

Invitations: Send by email, Evite, paper invitations or any other route you choose. Start a Facebook group for your reunion.

Create a family tree:  A great icebreaker as participants arrive, track “families” of big and little sisters through Facebook and email. Susie Spitzer Kinsella tracked the families from the 1950s to present. She color-coded nametags so members would see family relationships.

Create a slide show: Ask alumnae for photos, perhaps grouping by decades. Sherri Liuzzo Greve collected Rho’s photos and put them in a video. She asked members to share a favorite photo and posted on Rho’s Facebook page how and where to submit the photos. She suggests collecting photos from your college, popular spots, buildings, student unions, sporting events, eateries, etc. Consider using music from the various decades as well as Kappa songs. The video can be shown at the event, and Rho chose to upload the video to Smugmug.com, along with photo albums from the weekend so that those not attending could see them.

Reunion ideas and essentials:

  • Name a Reunion Chairman to delegate tasks.
  • Appoint a Decorations Committee, a volunteer or committee to plan menus, a Registration Chairman and T-Shirt Chairman.
  • Secure a guest speaker for any dinner or banquet.
  • Pin 50- 65- and 75-year members.
  • Display composite photos and scrapbooks. (Collegians can help with this.)
  • Nametags: use old composite photos on the nametags—for an icebreaker. If creating a family tree, color-code the various “families” to show lineage.
  • Involve active members—plan a house tour, invite them to the banquet. (Follow chapter risk management policies and don't include active members in cocktail parties.)
  • Hold a fundraiser to benefit the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, a local philanthropy, or the chapter house.
  • Possible events include:
    • Friday evening welcome reception
    • Dinners that can be broken up by decades and held at several homes
    • Saturday night reunion dinner
    • Farewell breakfast on Sunday
  • Plan around scheduled events such as Homecoming, Greek Sing, a football game, etc.
  • Make sure to take pictures!
  • Reserve a block of rooms at a hotel and make transportation arrangements as needed.
  • Create a post-reunion letter or email for all alumnae, especially those who could not attend. Include links to any slide shows or pictures from the weekend.


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