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A Very Berry Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year to Raspberries, Overdubs and Road Crew and their families!

The same to all of the Hogyas, Sharps and everyone on EC.com and Raspberries.net. May 2006 be a halcyon year of success and prosperity for Raspberries!

May EVERYONE'S special dreams come true!

smile --Love, Darlene

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Best wishes to everyone-The Band, Bernie, Kathy, Ken, Gene, The Crew, The Overdubs; And all the fans.

This will be her third appearance this week:

I watched part of the Rose Parade this morning, and I saw Country singer Leann Rimes being interviewed, before 9:00 A.M. PST, on ABC T.V. And apparently, she kicked-off The Rose Parade. (Think we could get The Raspberries there?) She had just performed at a New Year's Eve event in Orange County where Righteous Brother, Bill Medley is The Chairman Of The Board at The OC Pavillion. -At www.OCPavillion.com . And, wednesday evening, she will be singing The National Anthem at The Rose Bowl, before the start of the much anticipated football game between two of the most talented teams around. There is no doubt at all about the excitement this game is already bringing. Some say it's USC's best team ever.

Folk singer, Bob Dylan's song, "The Times-They Are A Changin'" played for Kaiser Permante Healthcare T.V. commercial on ABC, which had a float in the rainy parade.

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Happy New Years Eric. I wish you and your family the best healthy and happy New Year.

Happy New Year to all the Raspberries and their families and to all fans out there. We have had one fantastic year that will be hard to duplicate. What a great year!! Who knows what the next year will bring but I'm ready and willing. I had such a wonderful time meeting the Raspberries and all the fans. Thank you all for making this past year hard to beat. The most exciting year for me.

I'm hoping to see all of you this year.

June happy

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Speaking of Tournament of Roses Parade, I had the honor of marching in the 100th Anniversary as a member of the Strongsville High School Marching Mustangs playing saxophone my senior year. It was truly a mememorable trip and one I won't forget. A 5 mile plus march in sunny California, being out there for a week and celebrating the new year with all of my classmates was such wonderful fun. At the time, the grand marshal singled Strongsville out in his opening letter in the official program. Our community went above and beyond in welcoming Jack Biggar to Strongsville the previous summer and planned a nice weekend for him and his wife to be a part of our summer celebration. He mentioned that he enjoyed all the cities but it was Strongsville Ohio that he wouldn't forget. We were only the 6th band in the history of Ohio to go to Pasadena at the time. They put us in the primetime slot (the 18th total unit in the parade) and a good hour ahead of the University of Michigan band who was in the Rose Bowl that year.

Go Buckeyes! (I also went to OSU)


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Echoes of yesteryear. Imagine what it would have been like if the grand marshal spoke on a microphone, with a slight echo through the speakers: Ladys and gentlemen, we now present the Stongsville High School Marching Mustangs. The announcers must have said the school's name on T.V., though.

Tonight, Wednesday, January 4th, it looks like a band called Big and Rich will be playing, I guess at half-time. They are different from most Country bands, because they play rock, too. Their Bio says that they are fun to hear, and they like all kinds of music. They make people laugh and cry, sometimes. They are being heralded as a breath of fresh air in the music industry.

I had the priveledge of singing The National Anthem at The Anaheim Pond, in California, for an indoor soccer game, which is now defunct. I started to think about the famous singers who sang before and since then, like Barbra Streisand,Bette Midler, Rod Stewart and Paul McCartney. I went to a sheet music store to make sure I wasn't singing the wrong words. I got the oppurtunity through the soccer coach, when I met him one day. He just said, "See the secretary. She'll tell you what to do, and when to be there". Just like that. I brought my daughter and her cousin, and stopped by a local restaurant to give three more tickets away for the game. The other family came to the game. Everyone thought it was a joke, until they saw me on the field with the cheerleaders and both teams. I rehearsed once, before about two or three hundred people. Then, they sent someone to the dressing room later. When I came back out, there were almost 6,000 people. They put my name up, on some of the scoreboards. It was televised live, and I saw myself singing part of The Anthem, later that night on a local T.V. station that the coach and a player came to talk about the game.

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I was calmer during rehearsal, because I felt cooler. I wore a suit. People applauded and whistled, so I knew there was some effect in practice. I always rehearse as if it's the real thing. That's probably what they thought, too. As I was walking out to sing the second time, my daughter and her cousin decided to stop and to turn the corner behind me, out of my sight. So, I said,"Stay nearby". I was being as calm as I could, because I was about to sing. My mind was on the song now. I found out, later, that they stood behind the plexiglass. My daughter said, "You sounded good!"

I walk out, and they close the two gates(Same as the Ice-Hockey gates with boards and plexiglass so people can bounce off them safely). Now I'm on the turf. I look around and there was alot of security on the floor. There were alot of Sheriffs behind me, left and right. Now it's live. I see the teams. Some athletes are looking down and concentrating. -The Cheerleaders. I walk up to the microphone. Now, I'm ready to go. Everyone is still.. It was surreal, but fun. The "House lights" dim. And they shine some lights on The Flag. Now, they put alot more lights on me, and I know for sure, "I'm it!". They make it fancy, and all the lights above me look like they are 'rolling' towards me, from way high up, as they do a partial, or half-circle turn. I could see them in the corners of my eyes. This was new to me. Like planets at a tilt, partially pointing up but at a slant, then swiveling down. I could barely see anyone in the audience. Then, my name was announced. And The Song. The cameraman, to my surprise, was right next to me, on my left. I could reach him in two steps, it seemed. He moved around as I sang. The song was sung in the style of Frank Sinatra, because I figured hardly anyone did that. People say that I can sing his voice to a "T". Although I'm uncomfortable singing like someone else, it was what I had been learning at that time. It took me two years to bring my voice down to the baritone range, from first and second tenor, when I sang in a university choir. I really wanted everyone to remember that day.

Before all of that, I brought the song with me to the stadium, on sheet music. Everything I did before helped alot.-Three bands(Two different bands at one time). I went through the song. And each word. I was looking for interesting intonation. Changing that throughout the song. Holding some notes and words longer. Sometimes shorter, on purpose for effect. And to let the words give the audience a "word-picture". As if a phrase of a sentence, or each word, was going to hit them a certain way. I was telling a great story. I had three days to get ready. I've done solo singing, but never "The Anthem" before.

We got our seats, and I tell the other family, "I'll be back later to sing The National Anthem".

It was fun being in the dressing room. I could even hear the players and the coaches talking down the hall. The room had a shower for the shows, a sink, tables and chairs. They asked me,"Do you want a sofa?". I spent more time reading the song, thinking about it, and relaxing. The people who worked there were great, plus they gave us food vouchers for the snack stands. They invited me back. It would be fun to sing at an Ice-Hockey game.

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