Working with Dick Kaufmann has been one of the most dynamic, interesting experiences in 2009-2010. His 70th birthday celebration went so much further than a cupcake, light a waxen 70 and sing a quick tribute. Kaufmann’s big night was the culmination of a lifelong musical dream — and I was honored to be a central part of it with him.
The idea first dawned on Kaufmann upon winning a vocal contest on a cruise. While he had a few musical highlights as a young man, he had pursued a successful career in law. In retirement, Dick was free to pursue his dream — to recognize his 70th birthday with a first-rate debut record and concert featuring a tour of his favorite songs. The Northwest current, a Washington DC newspaper, published a great piece leading up to the concert.
The journey began with an introduction to Lee Musiker at NOLA Recording studios in New York. Musiker is the Emmy Award winning conductor and musical director for Tony Bennett and Barbara Cook. His masterful work can be heard in Kaufmann’s rendition of “Try to Remember” from Dick’s debut release, Just in Time.
[audio:http://www.ericstownsend.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/02-Try-To-Remember.mp3|titles=Try To Remember|artists=Dick Kaufmann]
© 2009 Dick Kaufmann. Performed with permission from Harry Fox Agency.
Kaufmann then connected with a series of specialists locally to help plan and execute the live concert. Jonathan G. Willen & associates, a leading Washington DC event management firm, was brought in to stage an event at The Atlas Performing Arts Center in the historic H Street corridor of Washington DC. chaise lounge, behind band leader Charlie Barnett and special guests like trumpeteer Tom Williams, was picked as the backing band. Don Wiggins was selected as vocal and stage coach. Scott Burgess and Lynn Joslin were hired to direct sound and lighting respectively. Judy Hanson was chosen for makeup and wardrobe. ESTMKTG was called upon to execute branding and marketing. My first effort was packaging artwork for the studio record.
ESTMKTG was tasked with capturing and packaging the concert experience for release as a live DVD. I turned to two key teammates — photographer April Sims and videographer Greg Berger. in addition to building out a video crew with Stephen Coghill and a live camera unit in August II Productions, it was my job to act as lead producer and director of the team on the night of the concert. Specifically, I coordinated with Willen on the program, prepped the camera team, chose the camera angles, and made sure all units were in place and documenting the process in its entirety.
Here’s an introductory piece we created that highlights the pre-concert festivities.
Dick Kaufmann performs “September Song” at the Atlas P.A.C. (Washington DC).
A few of the post-debut efforts that ESTMKTG is leading — 1) packaging the live concert as a DVD, 2) creating a publicity kit (both print and EPK versions), 3) creating a website with ecommerce and a blog, and 4) other promotional activities related to launching a new charity concert series. 5) producing a music video for a cover of the classic “Scotch and Soda.”