One of the unexpected benefits of managing a small business is the demand made of you to work outside your area of expertise in order to make the business viable. For me those opportunities came as the result of managing a couple of operating railroad museums, where the lack of staff to handle the advertising, public relations, event planning, guest relations, and fund raising duties placed me in the role of being a producer. My accountant training and experience left me ill-prepared to fulfill these responsibilities with any sense of self-confidence for doing so. However, I have to admit that I am grateful for the challenges which confronted me and the new opportunity this webpage provides for showcasing what was achieved in the course of my unconventional career.
The Gandy Dancer Festival began in 2007 as a one-time fund raising event. Those in attendance, as well as the volunteers who helped staff the event, enjoyed the experience so much that we felt compelled to keep it going. Current plans for the festival’s future can be accessed at https://gandydancerfestival.org. The purpose of this page, however, is to focus on the festival’s development during the ten years I was involved as a co-founder and producer. Our program showcased local, regional and nationally known bands and solo artists under the banner of Americana music, while offering family-themed activities to supplement the musical performances. Our guests could enjoy a day-long experience and all of it was free to them, except for the food and beverage concessions. To learn more about the festival’s first ten years, just follow this link to the Gandy Dancer Festival’s sub-page.
Steam and Steel: Songs of Railroad’s Golden Age is a music CD, which came about as a result of my participation with the Gandy Dancer Festival. A member of the Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society and amateur song writer, offered to donate his catalogue of original train songs if I could use them to create a CD as a fund raiser for Mid-Continent. I was skeptical of getting this done, but Laurie Lewis, a Grammy winning bluegrass artist and headliner for year two of the festival, agreed to arrange and record the songs with members of her band. I then commissioned original artwork from Genevieve Davis for use with our jacket design. All rights to the songs were donated to Mid-Continent with the sole stipulation that 100% of the sales proceeds be applied to the a restricted fund to benefit its steam locomotive restoration program. I received Executive Producer credit for this project, which means I had nothing to do with its creative aspects and everything to do with getting it funded and the expenses paid. The thank you for my services came in the way of this honorific title. Copies of the CD may still be purchased from Mid-Continent, while – as they say – supplies last.