MH: Smitty, and as well as you’ve just spoken about it, it’s an opportunity again for people to come and enjoy just the “escape” from the routine 9 to 5 or for most of us the 24/7 who are DV advocates and really know that we’re still doing what we need to do, but we’re doing it from a different aspect. We still continue to advocate for violence to be eradicated and for people to know that we have the support, the Volunteers Women’s Act and other causes, but we have to do something.
Smitty: Yes, I love it. So I want to, first of all, before we start talking a little bit about the music, I just want to congratulate you both for the passion that you have for what you do and for coming together and doing such a wonderful thing. I can’t say enough about your efforts and your passion for what you do, and I know, Marilyn, you’re speaking for the organization, I think you’re a great spokesperson for that, and I tip my cap to everyone there at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and, Donna, for your passion for the music and as a social worker, you’re melding the two together and I think that’s a beautiful thing, and I’m just glad to be in association with you both.
DW/MH: Thank you, Smitty.
Smitty: So let’s talk a little bit about the cruise. Now, give me the dates for the cruise.
DW: Dates of the cruise, we leave November 2nd, which is a Thursday evening, and we come back that following Monday, which is November 6th, of this fall, so November 2nd through November 6th.
Smitty: Okay. Marilyn….
Smitty: How much are you familiar with this music, with jazz? I mean, is this something that you’ve listened to before or was this something that Donna basically introduced you to?
MH: (Laughs.) It’s impossible not to be entrenched in this whole jazz movement because I grew up in a town where jazz and blues were part of the norm, so, I mean, when we wanna mellow out, we turn on some jazz and we get some work done. When we just wanna get some things done, we turn on some jazz and we bring our stress level down so that we can actually sit back and just really appreciate how the music emanates through the radio, through the CD’s, and it’s just an opportunity for us to step away from everything that is so stressful in our lives and just appreciate fine music, not that other kinds of music are not good, but jazz just touches you in a different place.
Smitty: Yep, it’s therapeutic, isn’t it? (Both laughing.) So, if you were talking to everyone out there that were thinking about getting on this cruise, Marilyn, what would you say to them?
MH: Two things: we appreciate the opportunity to present the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to you, we would generously give of our time and we would appreciate the graciousness of you putting your money to a cause that’s so very, very, very important. I mean, how many opportunities do we get to be with such great musicians who say “This is important enough for me” for them to block out this time to support us, and hopefully we can get everyone to say “I don’t have the necessary time, but there are other things that I can do to help provide this format for education around domestic violence, such as being on a cruise that supports a great cause.”
Smitty: Yes indeed. Ms. Donna, what would you say to the fans that may be on the fence, not sure if they wanna go, or they may wanna do something different, or perhaps they’re not sure about the cruise? What would you say to them to convince them that this is where you wanna be on November 2nd?
DW: Smitty, I would say a couple things as well. First of all, this is a different cruise in some respects in that it’s shorter; it’s a five-day, four-night long weekend and its a benefit cruise. Secondly, the musicians that are going to be on this event….Chieli (Minucci), Special EFX, Kim Waters, Gerald Veasley, Jay Beckenstein of Spyro Gyra, Phil Perry, and Slow Train Soul and others….these are world class musicians. The music that they have produced over the years is just incredible.
Smitty: Yeah, baby!
DW: So we’re not skimping at all on the music, so we’ve got the great talent that will be on board plus it’s affordable.
DW: It’s very affordable, and last but not least, and we stress that a portion of the proceeds will go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Smitty: Now that’s cool.
DW: I think that’s a big thing for folks, you know. Money is going to the Coalition and we’re very excited to be able to even offer that because when we were brainstorming about this whole event, it was very important to us that we be able to give back to the community, whether it’s locally or nationally, so the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence was perfect. It was something where everything kept falling into place with the Coalition. I’m in Denver, their headquarters is located in Denver; I went to Philly, Marilyn was in Philly. Chieli was very helpful in the early planning stages. He was very instrumental in designing the line up. Things just kept falling in line for us and it was like, wow, this is going to be a great event for all of us.
MH: The organization does not take federal money. All of our money, really, all the money that we get is given by people who know how important it is to have a voice that is not attached to the politics of this country. So when we make statements, it’s the statement that most of our membership allows us to make or expects us to make. The money from the cruise will help support the organization to stay free of the politics that some of the organizations can’t in these trying times as this budget continues to shrink.
Smitty: I can truly appreciate that.
Smitty: Yeah, I totally agree with you. One of the things that I think about when it comes to the jazz cruises….and there’s a few out there now….one of the commonalities of these cruises that I think is just so great is that the fans truly benefit from this because they’ve seen their favorite musicians at a theater, at a festival in a park, in different event locations, but this one is truly unique in that now they get to get up close and personal with their favorite musicians, they can have dinner with them, they can have lunch, they can have a drink by the pool, they can walk along the top deck of the ship, they get to know them, the musicians get to know their fans. I think it creates such an intimate setting in that there’s this true bond that comes together with the musician and the fans that I don’t think has ever existed before. I’ve talked to many of the musicians that have been on these cruises and the one thing that they talk about so much is that now they have new friends that they e-mail all the time now, they have friends that they see at different shows, and there’s just this whole familiarity that wasn’t there before.
Now when they have a gig in Philly at the Keswick or One World Theatre in Austin, and they’re signing autographs after the show, now they’re hugging their fans, they’re talking to them on a more intimate basis because they’ve met on a cruise prior to that. Now you have a fan base that is truly a fan base that they know. It’s not just this fan from afar that they only know whenever they see them, you know, at a show and they sign the autograph and say “Hey, nice to see you again. Bye!” But now it’s a true fan base that these musicians have captured because now they’re up close and personal, and they find out what’s personal to them, what’s personal to the fans, and I think it’s a wonderful concept.