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Millennium Music Conference Recap, Day One

February 14, 2009 - Jim Price

The 13th annual Millennium Music Conference is happening in the Harrisburg area this weekend.  I’ll continue to bring you updates from the conference through the course of the weekend.

The actual conference portion of the weekend started on Friday with the Trade Show and first day of business sessions at the Radisson.  Early in the day, WQXA 105.7 “The X” did their morning show broadcast directly from the Radisson as vendors were setting up for the arrival of the conference attendees. 

Traffic at the conference picked up as the day progressed and the business sessions neared.  At the Trade Show, Pennsylvania Musician Magazine sponsored an acoustic stage, where various bands and artists performed mini-sets to promote their official showcase performances later in the evening or weekend.  Among the artists who graced the acoustic stage this day were Harrisburg-based country artist Janie Womack, Reading-based singer/songwriter Valerie Nicole, Jim Horn of Harrisburg-based band Tripp McNeely, Harrisburg singer/songwriter Edwin Tichenor, Seattle-based singer/songwriter Jon Dillon Schumaker, New Jersey-based female rock trio Spyder Lylly, Virginia-based roots music performer Shane Cooley, Long Island-based band Gee Daley, New York-based singer/songwriter Avi Wisnia, Florida’s Muphin Chuckers, New England’s Ryan LaPerle, and Philadelphia singer/songwriter Andrea Nardello. 

I took in one seminar this day, “Pursuit of Passion: Creating a Creative Career.”  Hosted by New York City-based singer, songwriter, pianist and composer Cheryl Engelhardt, this seminar examined various aspects of a music-related career and how “thinking outside the box” can widen the range of possible career paths, options and means of earning a living through music.  Engelhardt stressed the importance of organization and working within a budget to keep things in control and from becoming overwhelming.  For working musicians, she also proposed other performance options outside the typical bar setting, including charity performances, house parties, sporting events and more.

In lieu of a keynote speaker this year, the first business day of the Millennium Music Conference closed with a special panel that has become one of the most popular of this event every year.  On the Radisson main stage, the “Smash or Trash” panel featured four music industry representatives: Ken Carson, operations manager of WQXA 105.7 “The X” and Citadel Broadcasting; producer David Ivory (Patti Labelle, Halestorm, Silvertide and more), George Cappellini of G&G Entertainment Consultants (and formerly of Geffen Records), and Bobbi Silver of Interscope Records.  This panel would listen as unidentified CDR recordings of various bands’ and musicians’ songs were played through the house speaker system, before offering their own critiques of the songs; either declaring them a potential “smash” hit they would want to promote, or relegating them to the “trash” heap as flawed creations with no chance of advancing further towards success.  Around twenty songs were analyzed; most were found to show at least some potential according to the panel, while a few were declared duds.  The critique session was interesting and insightful, illustrating what actual A&R people, radio programmers and producers look for when watching for that next hit single to cross their desks. 

This concluded the first full day of Millennium, with a full slate of evening music showcases throughout the Harrisburg area to follow.

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Cheryl Engelhardt, conducting the "Pursuit of Passion" panel at the Millennium Music Conference.


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