2001-2002 "COURAGE & OPTIMISM"
2001 meant tragedy and despair for most of us. In a country seemingly safe from all outside evil, we all managed to feel the helplessness and helpfulness surrounding our world. I came to realize, in a new light, just how important we all are to each other and how beautiful and fragile our lives are. And, the importance of a healthy & safe family, and the need for having loved ones in our lives. So many have lost so much last year that I find it difficult to speak of business as usual and planning for the future.
However, the truth is that we must all go on in order to carry on with our own traditions and beliefs for our loved ones. I see how extremely fortunate we all are and how important music helps people overcome the tragedy and despair in their lives. I guess, more than ever, that is my own personal reason for being. And, I want you all to know that I will be there to cheer you up in 2002.
We will start with family. My family is very fortunate to have had a healthy & prosperous 2001. Whitney, Lindsey & Austin have all done extremely well in school, (end of school year and beginning of school year). They are all very talented and Barb & I are extremely proud of them. We are blessed!
Whitney, now 15, is holding a B average. I told her "Youll get cheaper car insurance with a B average". Although I can't take credit for her grades, I believe a little extra incentive never hurts. She gets her license in March already! Whitney received medals in soccer last year and has realized her own talent in the study of words. In a class called writers workshop she has accumulated over 1,000 extra credit points and it isnt even the end of the semester yet. She reads books faster than I can play a tune. Since I was never a reading ace, she must get this skill from her mother. She is also bussing tables on weekends at the North Shore Inn and talking about going to college in San Francisco. WHAT????
Lindsey earned a trip to Disney World in January for a science project that examined the intensities of light bulbs and deciphered the amount of light versus value in all of the major brands of bulbs. She is a fourteen year old genius. Last year she went to YMCA camp, Gulf Shores, and had a successful soccer career and is still very active in choir and confirmation classes. Her social life is still overflowing with friends and I have trouble keeping up with her.
Austin is still very athletic and full of energy. Ahhh, to be 9 years old again. Last fall he was one of three star players on his 1st place soccer team and is one of the fastest runners in his school. He is also doing well in school and loves his teacher this year. Weve had to deal with some of the normal boy situations at school like, "boys chasing girls and girls chasing boys", but thats just normal boy stuff. I dont know if hell continue playing his accordion as he is now into the "whats cool and whats not" stage of his life. At this point, we can only remain optimistic.
Barb continues to be very successful in her corporate position. She continually manages to go above and beyond the call of duty at work and at home. She is not the kind of woman that likes to sit around, "busy is her middle name getting things done is her game!" Between work, home and carting kids around she does not sit down much so, I do that for her. In fact, I enjoy watching the world go by around me, listening to the wind blow through the trees and watching the busyness of the town around me. She lets me do that and thats one of the reasons why I love her.
Ive been riding on my laurels a little lately. As most of you know, I have kept a busy performance schedule but have tried to make my travel schedule lighter. Ive enjoyed more time at home with my family, but found myself just as busy. Last year I began assembling a recording studio at home and have finally started work on new Meisner recordings. As is always my way, I have found more ways to get side tracked and have filled my plate with more projects than I can chew on at once. However, I will have something new to release this year.
On Monday April 30th, 2001 the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) held their annual awards banquet in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announced on May 1st, that I was voted "Favorite Polka Artist" by the WAMI members and fans. My thanks to all of you for your generous support. An update on "Chump Change". The multi award winning motion picture boasting a host of stars, and featuring, yours truly and my music, is on it's way to domestic distribution. Fresh off it's award winning appearance at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, "Chump Change" was acquired by Miramax Films. No announcement of a release date yet, but writer/ director Steve Burrows assures a nationwide release.
In October I had the opportunity to perform again in a new short film called "The Pick Up Polka". It is intended for release at the 2002 Wisconsin Film Festival. Chris Collins, (writer, director), has high hopes for this light hearted film and Im having a ball being blessed with these opportunities.
Finally, Im working on an agreement with Clear Songs of Manhattan, NY for the use of "Meisner Magic", an original composition, in a new motion picture called "Red Betsy" to be released in 2002. Jim Black of Clear Songs believes this movie to be the best independent film to come through his firm in two years. As always, watch my web page (www.stevemeisner.com) for more information and the latest Meisner news.
2002 will bring the return of the Steve Meisner Fan Club Dance February 16th to Whitewater, WI. We havent held this dance since 1992 but thanks to your requests "its back!" Im firmly optimistic that the future will bring peace and prosperity to us all, but if your ever in doubt listen to your favorite music and be inspired to overcome. Leonard Bernstein said, "This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, and more devotedly than ever before."