It's been a busy and rewarding year...can't complain! Lots of singing and opportunities to expand musical experiences. It doesn't get any better!

It feels so uneasy to be in the heat of the summer and also troubled about the fires in our area. I find that music is a balm for the struggles of the summer!

Lynn Keller tells her story to LA Jazz Scene. See text below or go to LAJazzScene.buzz September, 2018 edition.

 

 

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Lynn Keller Featured in Cover Story LA Jazz Scene Newsletter 

LA Jazz Scene: Tell me about your family, were they interested in music? Were you enthusiastic about music at a young age? 

Lynn Keller: Yes, the year I was born my Dad, Art Depew was the 1st trumpet player on the Lawrence Welk TV show. He was on the show for 8 years in my early childhood. I was on the Welk Christmas show at 13 months with my Sister, Mother and of course in my Dad’s arms. In the following few years, I went with Dad annually to a special show Welk filmed at Harrah’s. I remember standing in the wings listening to the music and of course I was fascinated by the famous bubble machine. The wonderful Lennon Sisters were teenagers. They were my babysitters and taught me their singing routines. I really hero-worshiped them and vowed at the time that I would be a singer when I grew up. 

Dad insisted that I take piano lessons which I did for 5 years and played piano in the school orchestra. I also sang in the church choir to practice reading music. At one point I was the youngest soloist in the choir. It was a lot of fun for me and I adored the sacred music just as much as I liked pop music. 

During my teenage years, I went every summer with Dad to Disneyland to hear the big bands and of course enjoy the park. He played with Tex Beneke at Carnation Plaza. It seems that I was listening carefully to many of the female singers, because I have good recollection of many of the swing standards. I often went to other venues with Dad, the Palladium, Elementary schools where he lead an orchestra playing “The History of Jazz.” He would sing and direct the big band. Later Dad conducted the Harry James Orchestra for 18 years. I was often in the audience listening. 

I worked a lot in College. During that time, I took classical singing lessons from an opera singer for 2 years. Then I took lessons from another teacher Margaret Rolfe. She had been a singer and manager of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. She taught me to sing standards. After college, I joined the CSUN Master chorale for 2 years. We did several classical performances. During these middle years, from about my 30’s to early 40’s I didn’t sing very much. In 2000, I quit my job to stay home with my 3 sons. Frankly, I got bored. I asked my Dad how to improve my singing skills. He recommended that I take lessons with Sue Raney which I have been doing ever since. I had no idea that I would accomplish as much as I have with my singing. I just kept putting one foot in front of other. 

Sue is a wonderful and supportive teacher. She is also a master singer so I have learned a tremendous amount about singing from her. On the side, I took classes – how to arrange a set list, how to talk to the audiences, basically honing my stand-up skills. My first paying job was singing at a funeral, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” I was really proud to be paid to sing. What a thrill after a few of these opportunities, I called myself a professional singer. It seemed to be an important milestone. 

Dad continued to encourage me along. He took me to big band rehearsals about 12 years ago and I sang with Woody James Big Band at Valley College. This became a habit I did every week and I’m still singing with band. I’m doing Dad’s arrangements and have accumulated a large library 

over 50 female vocals that I can perform. I have also sung with Pat Longo’s Hollywood Big Band, Larry Gillespie’s Big Band, and more recently with the Flight 584 Big Band under the direction of John Mitchell. I really enjoy the big band singing although it’s different than some of the other groups I perform with. 

I was the featured Vocalist for 4 years with the 9-piece Jazz Band, Off the Record. The band had a weekly show so I had to learn a lot of material and keep my chops up. During these last 8 years, I have rarely said “no” to a job. I figured that the more I worked the better, so I did a lot of shows. 

Dad was an alumni from the University of Auburn. For 4 years in a row we traveled to Alabama to perform in their annual “Auburn Knights” program. Dad or I would sing or we would do duets together with the big bands. This was an entire weekend. Each evening would have the alumni big bands from each decade since the music program began. It started with the 30’s, 40’s and went all the way up to the present band at the university. It was an amazing experience and so wonderful to hear the different sounds of each era. 

In 2015 Dad and I started to produce an album together, the title is “Notes From My Father.” It’s a combination of big band arrangements (several of them my Dad’s) and combo selections. This was an amazing experience and was a labor of love for the two of us. I am very grateful that we did this together! 

LA Jazz Scene: How and when did you join the Randy Van Horne Singers 

Lynn: I wanted to improve my sight-singing skills. I talked to Dad about my interest. He recommended that I join the Randy Van Horne Singers. I have been with the group for least 10 years. Randy’s original group was formed in the 1950’s. It was comprised of many of the best singers in Hollywood, to name a few, Marilyn King, Marnie Nixon and Gene Merlino. The group did album recordings and were featured on a number of TV shows (Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Mel Torme.) 

Around the year 2000, Randy started the group up again. He called-upon professional singers. This is the group I joined. They were all great sight readers. I remember being somewhat shy during rehearsals. The music was difficult to read and many of the singers were excellent. They were also helpful and encouraging. I stuck with it and became quite comfortable with the music and the arrangements. In the beginning, I sang only 1st soprano. Now I sing 1st and 2nd soprano to challenge myself to improve my reading skills. We have also added arrangements from the wonderful conductor Anita Kerr. I obtained her big band arrangements for “Agua de Beber,” and “String of Pearls,” from Woody James’ bands. Randy’s singers have done these arrangements 

with big band. This group does not sing in another language. However, just as a side note, I sing in Spanish and French. I learn songs in other languages if the situation warrants. I have sung in Italian, Turkish and Norwegian. 

In 2016, I was regularly featured with bands at Viva Rancho Cantina. I got the idea to do a “Randy” show at Viva. I developed the theme for the show and compiled the set list. The shows are a combination of Randy music and solo singing from the many wonderful members of the group. We have done 5-6 shows each year since. Each show features Randy’s music, the music of Anita Kerr and soloists who select music based on the theme of the show. Each show is unique. The shows have been playing to “standing room only” crowds. This is a great way for Randy’s group to collect fans and be seen. 

Alan Wilson conducts Randy’s singers. Franny McCartney is the treasurer. Ben Di Tosti and Marty Rosen accompany us on piano. They work tirelessly to help us put the programs together. I produce the shows at Viva Rancho Cantina. First I select a theme like “red, white and blues” for the 4th of July. I research songs and develop a possible song list for all the singers. I arrange the set lists deciding which of Randy’s songs will be done in the show. Then I build the rest of the show around the “Randy” songs we do. The soloists either select their own material or use my list as a resource. I book the room, develop the promotional materials and post the shows on social networks. I emcee the shows and work with the pianist to ensure that all the music is in order. I coordinate logistics like the sound engineer, the equipment for the job and put together material for fund-raising for each show. 

LA Jazz Scene: What about the Woody James Band? 

Lynn: Woody James is the conductor for his band on Friday afternoons at Viva. Ted Carmely fills in when Woody can’t make it. There are two featured singers for the band, myself and Dave Berges. Dave does the sound set-up and the band set-up. When a sub is required the members of the band are responsible for finding someone to take their place. This is a rehearsal band. The musicians have been there for some time so they know the drill. 

Dave or I will emcee the show. One really beneficial element is that Woody has established a practice of encouraging arrangers to try their material out with the band. This encourages arrangers to stay with the band and gives the band new material to play – which helps them stay interested in coming each week. 

LA Jazz Scene: What do I do to relax? 

Lynn: I do yoga to relax. It also builds my core strength to improve my singing. My husband and I like to travel. We often go to the Pasadena Ballroom Dancing Association to improve our dancing skills and enjoy the live music. 

I’d like to add that since I have been singing these last 18 years, it’s been an amazing experience. My personal motto is “do what you love and others will love what you do!” This is so true about 

singing. I enjoy the feeling of touching an audience with a song. It’s all about sharing the beauty of the lyrics and the music. Now, I can’t imagine my life without music. It’s like I’m totally alive when I’m on stage and doing what I was meant to do! https://lynnkellersmusic.com

One Thing I Know To Be True 

If you don't take time to relax and enjoy the things you love in life, your life will be reduced to stress and anxiety. Taking care of yourself and your loved ones means you have to take the time to stop and find your passion. This means something for your head...like reading or listening to music,.... something for your heart like being with the people how mean a lot of you ...and something for your spirit, like appreciating nature, your God or whatever spiritual things helps you transition from the mundane responsibilities of daily life. BE INSPIRED!

Grateful in Burbank! 

Many of you came out last evening for the show "Red, White and Blues, Two," our second annual show in celebration of the 4th of July! It was "standing room only" at the bar early in the evening! We honored American cities and states. A couple singers did long tongue-twisting lists of places in America! Hats off!  Others selected some wonderful songs featuring award winning songs about American cities. It was a delightful evening and an honor for me to produce and participate in it. For the folks who came to see the show we are grateful. For the singers who work tirelessly to get the show ready hugs and kisses and to our steadfast piano player, Marty Rosen -- your priceless!

Early 4th of July Celebration, June 25, 2018 

Another wonderful 4th of July celebration! Lynn Keller is hosting "Red White And Blues Two," showcasing the Randy Van Horne Singers, and great soloists singing some of our favorite songs for the season. We will  be featuring songs about great American cities and States. Imagine all the wonderful songs about New York alone..."Sunday in New York," "I'll Take Manhattan," not to mention "New York, New York." Now we move regionally to some songs featuring wonderful places in the South - "Georgia," and "Tennessee Waltz" and of course we won't forget our home state of California. Join us for an evening to wonderful song, laughter and reminiscence. June 25, 7-9:30, Viva Rancho Cantina, Burbank, No cover, free parking! 

It's Show Time! 

Java Jive, Cool Water, Days of Wine and Roses, Rum and Coca Cola -- just a sip of the variety of songs you will hear at the upcoming show "Drink to Life." It's been a gas picking songs and weaving them into a fun, frolicsome evening for the audience and most certainly for the singers. The work is intense, sometimes a bit taxing and most of the time immensely rewarding. Come see and hear the results. Join us for "Drink to Life!" A celebration of the many songs we love and the joy of music! April 30, 7-9:30 at Viva Rancho Cantina, 900 Riverside, Burbank. No cover - free parking 

Learning About Yourself 

In the last two years I have learned that I love to create and produce shows. It's one of those compulsive things the more you do it, the more you enjoy it. Like a composite of your lifelong learning experiences. Coordinating the music of others; developing show themes; sourcing the music; learning great new songs you've always wanted to sing; and most importantly combining it into a cohesive presentation with patter, laughter and lighthearted-ness! It's an entertainment sculpture worth doing! "Do what you love, and others will love what you do!" Kisses!!!!

Perspective 

It's been an arduous, frightening, in many ways challenging and joyous year! How can one year be all these things? I always think what our ancestors had to face when I feel especially worried or down-trodden. It helps to put things in perspective. Despite some of this reality checking, I still feel blessed in so many ways. Thank heavens for all the love that is around us every day that we don't acknowledge, but intuitively feel. Wishes for a wonderful coming holiday season! Be sure to CELEBRATE!

Music and Connections 

When I started singing, I learned a few things about networking that have been invaluable! One, meet as many musicians as you can. Be open to their ideas and even their "constructive criticism," there is often a kernel of important information you need to learn. Two, treasure the people who appreciate what you do. Reinforce them as they reinforce you in your progress. Three, always learn where people you respect are playing and go hear them whenever possible. This helps you learn about important venues and also shows support for the people you respect. Four, stay connected through your various ways of communicating with others. Keeping in touch allows you to support your own work and the progress of others. Five, always find something valuable or important to reinforce in other's performances. When you support others, you create a positive climate ...you never know when you might run into the person...besides it feels good! Much Love!!!

An Eventful Year So Far..... 

It's great to have an "eventful" year. When things continue to happen and build on each other, it gives you a feeling of forward momentum.

It seems that in the music business, you're only as good as your next opportunity. This means you have to continuously develop entertainment promotional leads, stretch your skills and be courageous! It's not for the faint at heart. Sometimes it's hard to have a thick skin. I find that the two traits, being optimistic and stubborn both pay off and help with maintaining equilibrium.

It's all worth it when you finally get on stage and have your moment to sing your heart out, convey your message and entertain others! It's a strong compulsion...one that cannot be ignored.

Love to All

 

Who Knew? 

One minute you know how things will unfold. The next moment, you're on the ground, making friends with the asphalt. That's just about how it happened this last weekend when I fractured my left ankle and right elbow. The embarrassment aside, it's been a learning experience. Fortunately, the fractures were mild which means -- you can move the joints, but "not too much." I'm right handed so I have to do nearly everything with my left hand. Things are a big squiggly on that front. I've had to reschedule some singing events and for now, pace myself. Oh well, important to take life one day at a time while continuing to remain energetic and optimistic. After this occurrence there have been more than a dozen people who have had mishaps. I've found that I'm not as bad off as some others I've heard about. The lesson seems to be move forward, continue to heal and expect the unexpected. Left-handed hugs for Spring! Lynn
Do What You Love & Others Will Love What You Do!”

— Lynn Keller, Words to Live By!

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Lynn Keller, Woody James Big Band

 —  —

Viva Rancho Cantina, 900 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA

Lynn Keller and Dave Berges are featured singers with Woody's band. It's a relaxing atmosphere on Friday afternoons. Great musical selections, wonderful singers, Margueritas...and watch the horses pass by too...!

Lynn Keller, Woody James Big Band

 —  —

Viva Rancho Cantina, 900 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA

Lynn Keller and Dave Berges are featured singers with Woody's band. It's a relaxing atmosphere on Friday afternoons. Great musical selections, wonderful singers, Margueritas...and watch the horses pass by too...!

Lynn Keller, Woody James Big Band

 —  —

Viva Rancho Cantina, 900 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA

Lynn Keller and Dave Berges are featured singers with Woody's band. It's a relaxing atmosphere on Friday afternoons. Great musical selections, wonderful singers, Margueritas...and watch the horses pass by too...!