It’s been three months since my last newsletter, and it FINALLY feels like summer is on the way! For me, Memorial Day is the beginning of the summer season with BBQs, planting gardens and warm weather outdoor activities. I always look forward to the few outdoor shows I perform for folks. It’s a completely different feeling than being indoors. One of the highlights for me is playing on the shore of Lake Ontario in Sackets Harbor during the month of August. I can’t wait!
An outdoor event that happened last month was my oldest son’s wedding. He and his fiance had planned an outdoor wedding in mid-April, which as you know can still be chilly, rainy, or even snowy. Well, as it turns out, on the day of the ceremony, it was 85 degrees and sunny. A perfect day. I even got a little sunburned. Our youngest daughter will have the next outdoor wedding this coming September, on the first day of Autumn. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate again.
As for music, I’m still learning all kinds of new songs. At this point, I probably have over 1000 songs in my repertoire. Every so often, I retire some for awhile, and bring others back, plus I usually learn at least 2-3 new songs every month. In March, I debuted a new program called “Songs of Spring” which featured music from the 1960s-70s. I also completely revamped my “Hollywood Songs” setlist to include several new tunes. Just this week I learned a new patriotic song which was written a few years ago for the 6th branch of the American Military, The Space Force. That will be debuting Memorial Day weekend.
I’m also working on setting up a home studio so I can make high quality digital recordings which will be available to anyone for free download. The studio is coming along, I hope to have it ready by July.
In the meantime, I hope to see you soon!
Although this weekend saw the return of snow and ice, spring is on the way. I’ve seen signs of it recently. Geese returning. Green shoots of flowers rising from the soil. Trees beginning to bud. And in my neighborhood, I saw a family bicycling.I am very much looking forward to longer and warmer days filled with sunshine.
Things have settled down for my family after the events of last year. Both of my parents are doing well in their respective care facilities. Our oldest son is getting married in April, and our youngest daughter is getting married in September. I am back to entertaining as often as I was before the pandemic began.
Musically, I have already added several new songs this year for my setlists. Everything from 20s jazz to 50s rock & roll, to classic love songs, and 70s country hits. The next project I have on my agenda is adding five brand new sets which will include everything from authentic cowboy songs (perfect for a western themed party); to jump, jive and swing music of the 40s; to the great vocalists of the 50s; to early American folk songs; to 60s love songs by American bands. This will bring my themed setlists to a total of 30 different programs, and a total of 600 different songs.
Another project that I hope to begin soon is to record some of these songs and release them online to a website like Bandcamp for free download. A little extra something for my fans.
In the meantime, I look forward to entertaining in person, and I’ll see you soon!
The holiday season officially begins today with Thanksgiving. It’s been quite the year for our family.
There were some bright spots amidst the difficulties that life threw our way. Of our six kids (26-34 years old), one celebrated their 7th anniversary this fall, and two others became engaged to their partners and are planning weddings next year. One of our kids will be buying their first house hopefully next month. Another of our kids started a new job where they met their current love interest.
The sadder news is that both of my parents who you may remember have dementia are now living in separate communities since the middle of August due to their differing cognitive and physical abilities. My father fell and his injuries were severe enough that he can no longer walk, and his dementia progressed due to the trauma. My mother is in an assisted living community and loving it, while my father is in a long term care facility where he has a lot of social interaction. I had originally hoped that they could live together, but it was not meant to be.
Regardless, I am thankful that I found places within 10 minutes of our home where they are being cared for. I am also thankful for our kids who have me during the transition and provided assistance emptying my parents house of 43 years.
I am also thankful that I am able to entertain and bring music to the folks in your community. The past few years were very difficult as you know. Music brightens my day and brings joy to those who I share the gift of music with.
Enjoy the holidays, and I hope to see you soon!
Can you believe it’s August already? If I didn’t have a calendar, I’d swear it was still late June.
I have been so busy, that time slipped away from me and I never had the chance to send a newsletter last month. Hopefully, you have taken advantage of the warm weather and sunshine to do some fun things this summer. My wife and I have had several outings with a few of our adult kids for the first time since 2019, now that everyone is vaccinated and Covid seem to be on the decline in our area.
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, my music schedule is almost full for the remainder of 2022, but I still want to keep in touch. Over the past 25 years, I feel that I’ve gotten to know many of you and the folks you take care of personally. As well, I am still learning new music every week and have added about 20 new songs to my repertoire so far this year.
One of the other things I have an interest in, is how music touches us in ways that nothing else can. I’ve read a few recent articles about this amazing phenomenon that I’d like to share with you.
Last, but not least, I want to share an awesome video made by Danielle Lesh. the activity director at Peregrine Senior Living on Onondaga Hill. I truly was touched by the images of seniors that she captured in this short film.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Welcome to another week of sunny CNY weather!
As I write this from the Florida Room in our home, I’ve got the air-conditioning on, and a ceiling fan lazily turning. This has been one of the warmest Junes that I can remember. What did people do before they had electricity in their homes? I do remember being in school before air conditioners were installed. It was sweltering.
My schedule is amazingly enough nearly full for the entire year now. Such a difference from the last two years where I might have 1-2 gigs a month. Now, it’s back to about 24 a month. It’s good to be playing music nearly every day again. And as always, I continue to learn some new songs.
Speaking of new songs, I participated in Make Music Day for the first time this year! It took place on the first day of summer. I did a live concert in front of Wildflowers Armory on the corner of E. Fayette and S. Salina, and also did a song exchange with a musical duo from Austraila. The live concert was a lot of fun, since there was a constant flow of pedestrians, cyclists and cars going by. I got a lot of positive energy when people would wave, smile and even do a little dancing. The song exchange was also fun. The Jazzuleles covered a song that my wife & I wrote about the great outdoors in NYS, and I covered a song that they had written about being by the ocean in the land down under. You can check out both videos below:
April in Allegany https://youtu.be/JUFVXKC6uiA
I Am Free https://youtu.be/SWZQf2HoPhY
Lastly, this week I will be celebrating 58 years of life, 43 years of playing guitar and 26 years of live performance. Yes, folks, they all started in June.
Have a great summer!
Is it summer yet? Sure feels like it! My wife and I took advantage of the 80+ degree weather this weekend to do a few outdoor activities. We also got a head start on our new raised garden beds. A Mother’s Day present from our kids.
With a lot of facilities once again opening their doors to live entertainment, I only have a few dates available for music during June-August. It’s been quite a change from when I might have 2-3 gigs a month in 2020 & 2021. So, I am now scheduling for Sept-Dec.
I’ve been learning all kinds of new songs lately. Everything from Al Jolson to Willie Nelson. Plus, I have four new setlists that I am working on for the autumn: Traditional American Folk Songs, Wild West Cowboy Songs, The Great Vocalists of the 50s, and Top 40 tunes from the 60s.
This month, I have an article and a video to share with you.
This is an interesting article on why music is important for children, but it applies to everyone: https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/why-music-education-is-essential-for-children/
If you didn’t see it, I was featured in the 55+ magazine last month. Along with being a musician, I am also the cook in our house. Here’s the article: https://www.cny55.com/columnists/blair-frodelius-syracuse/
Thanks and enjoy the rest of May!
What a week it’s been! Just last weekend, we had a blizzard with a foot of snow, high winds and bone-chilling temperatures. Then a few days ago, it suddenly was sunny, 70 degrees with the robins singing, and crocuses & snowdrops blooming! Hard to believe that winter is finally over, but technically it’s true. Let’s hope that we have no more snow until the week of Christmas.
Now that the number of Covid cases in Onondaga County is lower than it’s been in nearly two years, my wife and I are taking advantage of the safety to go out and enjoy things again. We’ve attended Hamilton at the Landmark Theater (an amazing show), an Irish music sing-a-long (my wife Kimberly plays bodhran and sat in with them for a set), The Spongebob Musical at F-M High (I was amazed at the professionalism), and going out to dinner by ourselves and with friends and family. I hope that you have been able to have some fun outings as well.
My family will be adding a new member next year, as our oldest son is now engaged! He seems to be following in my footsteps, as he proposed to his girlfriend after only 16 months. I did the same with Kimberly. For those of you who don’t know, I got married when I was only 20 (not legal to drink at my own wedding!). We will be celebrating our 37th anniversary next month.
Finally, I had a great time playing Irish music for folks this month, and will be doing some spring themed sets next month with songs about sunshine, rain, flowers and beautiful weather. I’m also going to be debuting a brand new set of 1960s Top Ten hits from The Monkees, The Beatles, The Turtles, The Association and many more!
I’m already booking gigs for the summer, so drop me a line if you’d like me to come and entertain if I’m not already on your calendar!
Thanks and I hope to see you soon!
I want to share some good news. Spring is exactly one month away! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of the snow, ice, wind and gray skies. It’s time for sunshine, birds singing and flowers blooming!
Since I last wrote, there have been several holidays. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday (now considered a holiday apparently), and this week is President’s Day. It seems like there’s a day off or reason to party every week! Another one that is rapidly approaching is Mardi Gras. This year, it takes place very early, on March 1st. So, after playing love songs from Feb 1-14th, I am now performing my set of songs from New Orleans and Louisiana. Along with jazz, dixieland, blues and country songs, there are plenty of hits, including top 40 songs by Fats Domino, The Dixie Cups, Hank Williams and Louis Armstrong. After an hour of playing these tunes, even I feel like I’ve been partying in NOLA.
In my last newsletter I shared that my wife broke her kneecap right before Christmas. Well, she is still recovering. It will be late June before things are completely healed. She is starting physical therapy this week, which if you’ve ever had, you know she’s not looking forward to it.
The rest of our family seems to be doing ok. At this point everyone is healthy and working. In other good news, my oldest and her husband who live outside of Seattle, just bought their first car. It got me thinking of when me and my wife bought our first car, brand new from a dealer. It cost $5,000. Good luck finding one that is falling apart and has 100,00+ miles on it for that kind of money today. In other car news, our youngest daughter’s car was hit by a driver crossing the lanes in a parking lot over a month ago. She’s ok, but the car has been in the shop ever since. Due to supply chain shortages, the dealer still can’t get the parts to repair her car. The earliest estimate is sometime in March. So, she’s had to rent a car in the meantime. Nothing is ever easy.
Getting back to music and entertaining, I’ve been encouraged by the number of places that are bringing in live entertainment again. I’m performing almost every day, Monday-Friday, and my calendar is filling up. If you’d like to schedule dates for April-December, please let me know. It’s a lot easier to book for the whole year if it’s convenient for you.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay warm, and I hope to see you soon!
Welcome to 2022!
It’s been a few months since my last newsletter, so we have some catching up to do.
My wife and I celebrated Thanksgiving in our home with family for the first time in several years. For most holidays, we often went to a friends’ house to celebrate, but sadly they moved to Ohio back in July. So, our relatively tiny house had a total of 15 people here in late November. If we had been trying to cook everything, it would have been a disaster. What did work for us however, was that I cooked the turkey and supplied the beverages, while every guest brought a side or dessert to pass. There was more than enough food for everyone, and several people got to take home leftovers.
My wife and I celebrated her 60th birthday on December 7th (a day of infamy as her father used to say). She had just had a disc replaced in her neck that had been causing her a lot of issues a few weeks prior, so we weren’t able to have a big party. But, I did buy her a Nintendo Switch and the game Animal Crossing as a birthday gift. She’s been playing it every day, ever since. Her surgery went well and she was feeling pretty good when she took a hard fall in our house a few days before Christmas and broke her left kneecap. So, now she is in a leg brace and walking with crutches. It never ends. At least we still had a quiet Christmas with our kids and their partners.
As for me, I have remained in perfect health and it’s a good thing because I am now taking care of my wife, plus both of my parents who have dementia, and I am back to playing gigs about 15 times a month. At this point my schedule is filled for January and February, but I am always looking to book the rest of the year.
For January, I’m playing a classic set of songs called “A Trip to Las Vegas”. Nearly 20 tunes by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bobby Darin. As one senior told me the other day, “These are the songs I remember! They bring back great memories!”
I love what I do.
Stay safe, stay warm, and I hope to see you soon!
It’s been a busy autumn for me, both with my family and musically. Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Last year, my wife and I cooked all of the traditional side dishes, and a friend of ours (who has sadly moved to Ohio) cooked a turkey and made the gravy. We got together and packed several Tupperware “care packages” of meals which I then distributed to my parents and our kids by driving around Central New York. By the time I got back home to eat my own Thanksgiving meal, it was late afternoon.
This year, my wife and I are inviting all six of our adult kids (and their significant others) to our house, along with some of their friends. It will be a chaotic scene with thirteen of us, but hopefully everything will go smoothly. I will stop over and visit my parents in the morning since they aren’t mobile any longer.
As for music, I’ve been playing about 3.5 gigs a week average since September 1st. That’s much better than it’s been since the pandemic began, but still only half of what I was doing prior to mid-March 2020. As it turns out, between taking care of everything for both of my parents (shopping, errands, doctor appointments, house cleaning, etc) my days are full. Still, I have managed to learn several new songs this fall, and am just getting my Christmas set list together. Each year I choose 20 songs from my list of nearly 100 to perform. This year I’ve picked songs that are rarely heard on the radio, but are classics nonetheless. I’m sure everyone will welcome holiday tunes that aren’t the same 20 that are played on the radio over and over.
Lastly, as I write this, I am recovering from my Covid booster, which I received yesterday. By Monday, I will be ready to hit the road again and bring my music to folks.
Take care, and I hope to see you soon!
Hello again, as we make our way towards Halloween!
It’s been a busy month for me since I last wrote. My wife and I have seen a few concerts (Los Lobos, Squeeze), attended a virtual concert by Symphoria!, spent the weekend in Saranac Lake, took a beer/wine tasting train trip on the Adirondack Railway, and attended two theater productions (Eureka Day, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory). Whew! Since we don’t get out much during the winter, we apparently decided to cram it all into the September & October.
But, it hasn’t all been fun and games for us. I had to have my first root canal (joy) with the following crown fitting, etc…; my wife will be having spinal surgery in a few weeks to hopefully fix her chronic neck pain & migraines; both of my parents went down a few points on their cognitive exams last month at their sixth month checkup; and even our dog had to go to the vet because he wasn’t eating for a few days (luckily he has since recovered his appetite).
In the midst of all of this, I have also played more musical performances in a 30 day period than I have since February of 2020. Hurray! It is so good to be back in front of a live audience. In the early days of the pandemic I recorded several Facebook live concerts along with YouTube videos of 1-3 songs for a few months. But, it just wasn’t the same. Now that I can see the smiling faces, tapping toes and hear the harmonizing voices of audience members again, I truly know that I still have the best job in the world!
I hope to see more of you in the months to come! Please let me know if you are scheduling any entertainment from now to eternity. 🙂
Well, as is typical, summer has gone by way too quickly, while Central New York winters always drag on and on. So, it’s already halfway through August, and I feel like the season should just be beginning, rather than winding down. But, I’ve been busy, having fun and being musical. My wife and I have taken advantage of our vaccinations to see some concerts, do some traveling and get together with friends and family. My wife even did a week of rustic tent camping with some friends this month. When I say rustic, I mean she set up a medieval era viking styled canvas tent and all of the food was cooked over an open fire pit.
As for me, I’ve been playing a few gigs every week while at the same time, revamping some of my set lists to bring back some old favorites, add a few new tunes, and retire some chestnuts that I’ve been playing for years.
As the world opens up to bring in entertainment once again, please get in touch. I’m already scheduling programs with some places for the rest of 2021. I hope that I will be at the top of your list one you have the go ahead to bring live music back.
As always, stay safe, stay healthy, and have a great rest of the summer!
Greetings from Out of the Box Studios!
That’s the name of the entertainment company I started with my wife nearly 20 years ago. We both are musicians and used to perform with a variety of bands. Everything from Renaissance dance music to 1940s swing. My wife went back to work full-time about 12 years ago, and the other band members eventually moved out of the area, so I am the last one still playing music on a regular basis.
Anyway, it has been great to get out and perform live concerts for folks again after being stuck in the house for well over a year. I’m currently playing about 3-4 gigs a week, and am scheduling with some facilities up until the end of the year. I’ve also booked some live outdoor shows at the Regional Market in August. Things really are starting to get back to “normal”.
Please let me know if you’d like to have me come and entertain at your facility. As always, I have a wide range of musically themed programs to entertain from the 1920s-1980s, along with Patriotic, Hawaiian and Christmas music.
Thanks again for your support, and I hope to see you soon!
Hard to believe that it’s already been over a month since I last emailed you. Where has the time gone? Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Father’s Day have already happened. And next week, it’s my birthday. At least this year we’ll be able to celebrate by going out somewhere.
As well, it continues to be non-stop for me taking care of my parents’ needs. In the last 30 days I’ve had a new furnace, water heater, central air conditioner, roof and driveway installed at their home. It finally appears that things are slowing down at last.
Musically, I’m managing to add some new songs to my repertoire and I’m playing at area facilities 1-2 times a week. It feels very good to “get back to work”. I always say that I finally have the best job in the world, and I’ve had many over the past 40+ years.
Speaking of entertainment, some recreation directors are scheduling me for dates through the rest of 2021, which I appreciate. If you are in a position to do so, please let me know. I am fully vaccinated and still take all precautions as required by each place I perform.
Thanks again for your support, and I hope to see you soon!
I’m so glad that summer is finally here! Wait, it’s still spring, isn’t it? We’ve certainly had our share of everything from snow to August-like temperatures these past few weeks. As they always say, if you don’t like the weather in Central New York, wait a day.
Now that COVID-19 fatalities have fallen to their lowest rate in 14 months, and evidence continues to grow that the U.S. is leaving coronavirus behind, I am feeling like life is getting back to “normal”. For the first time in over a year, my family has been able to celebrate birthdays in person. My youngest will be turning 25 this coming weekend.
I’ve also heard from many of you that you are opening your doors (or at least your outdoor spaces) to live entertainment again. I’ve had several bookings in May, and June is looking to be busy as well.
If you would like to schedule me to entertain your folks, please let me know. I am fully vaccinated, wear a mask at all times unless I am singing, have a plexiglass shield for my microphone, and all the equipment needed for a safe and socially distant concert.
As well, I continue to offer online concerts via Zoom, Facebook Live and Microsoft Teams.
I hope to hear from you soon!
It’s been a very busy month for me for a lot of reasons.
Since the pandemic, I’ve been the main source of transportation for my family when they have various medical appointments. In the first 15 days of April, I took family members to and from 8 appointments. On top of that, I am now fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
In other busyness, I’ve joined an online improvisational music ensemble and have contributed to several songs. It’s interesting to hear what other people do with a chord progression that I came up with.
Lastly, I have started to do live music again at area facilities. Sometimes I am outside (if the weather is nice), sometimes inside (where people are masked and socially distanced). In either case, I take precautions to make it a safe experience for everyone. I have a plexiglass shield for my microphone, and wear a mask at all times unless I am singing.
Let me know if you’d like to schedule a date this spring, I’m already booking into June!
Thanks again for your support!
Well, spring has definitely sprung. Here in Syracuse, the familiar signs are here: geese returning, robins hopping around our lawn, crocuses and snowdrops blooming, and today, rain. We even managed to get a few seeds and young plants in the soil in our backyard garden over the weekend.
My music performances have been picking up a bit over the last few months with shows including a concert of classic love songs from the 1930s-1950s in February, and an all-Irish music program in early March. This weekend I’ll be doing one of my most popular shows: Perennial Sing-a-long Favorites along with some fun Easter songs.
Please keep me in mind to play for your folks when you get the go ahead to bring in live entertainment. As well, I am able to do live video concerts via Zoom, Facebook Live or Microsoft Teams if you’d prefer.
Thanks again for your support over the years!
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