2004 was a great year for us at Face The Music, and as we look forward to the New Year, we would like to share some of the highlights from this last one:
1. Face The Music celebrated its 5th Anniversary! Face The Music was created in the spring of 1999, and our first event was in July 1999 with GE at their Crotenville, NY campus. We celebrated on December 4 on the World Yacht vessel Cabaret, with a party and a cruise around lower Manhattan (along with MetaSystem Consulting Group celebrating their 10th anniversary).
2. Face the Music at the Bank of America Leader Forum III – FTM teamed up with one of the world’s leading banks to be an integral part of their
Leader Forum series, designed and delivered by CDR International (a Mercer Delta Company) Events were held in Atlanta (2), Boston, Dallas and Marina del Rey. BAC proved to be enthusiastic and spirited blues performers!
3. CDR also brought in Face The Music for their leadership series with McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals. There were three high-juice
events in Philadelphia, including the board reporting out from their offsite as a talking blues. Valerie Corace, Director of Leadership Development for McNeal said, “Participants
raved about the activity and loved seeing each other as “human”. Any concerns I had about ‘would this work…and how will people feel about having to write and perform a song’ were completely gone after the first few minutes. It was a perfect complement to our program.”
4. Carol Scalzo, office manager and FTM team member extraordinaire, joined Face The Music in April. She immediately brought up the level of impeccability and professionalism to the job as the lynchpin of FTM.
5. Face The Music was featured in an interview on The Roundtable with Susan Arbetter and Selma Kaplan on WAMC, Northeast Public Radio with
more radio interviews being planned across the country in 2005. Paul was interviewed on The Business Shrink with Peter Morris, which airs on WRTN in New York and WBIG in Chicago. Both interviews included live performances of new and used business blues songs.
6. Pfizer passed Aventis Pharma (now Sanofi-Aventis) in 2004 as the all-time leader in Face The Music events as we did programs with
Consumer Health Care, OOH, and Global R & D.
brought FTM to the new Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago for their Bonus Outing, which featured vigorous performances in the city known for the blues. They also participated
in a Beyond The Blues program that got them identifying strategies and actions to make a positive impact on their blues.
8. Face The Music hits the sun and sand in Puerto Rico performing for the Bristol Myers Squibb Technical Operations Human Resources Global Team Meeting, on June 8-10, 2004. The session ended with an impromptu dance party.
9. Face The Music flew to Minneapolis and added some blues sugar to the Cargill “Growing Your Success” – Sweeteners North America Team Meeting. 160 of Cargill’s best gathered in a tent at the Oak Ridge Conference Center for a rousing blues party featuring 20, yes, 20, performing groups.
10. Blind Willy Nilly, aka Mitch Ditkoff, initiator and one of the founding partners of Face The Music, stepped down as a partner in 2004, citing multiple commitments and responsibilities in other areas of his life (see track 3 of the FTM CD–the Overcommitted Blues). Mitch’s inspiration and dedication are an integral part of what FTM has become, and we miss him. Mitch has promised to stay in the loop and keep the spirit of the blues alive.
11. We began the Face The Music Newsletter in 2004 and each quarter, FTM clients and friends are updated on the sights, sounds and activities of the company.
12. We want to honor our alliance partners, other companies that recognize the value of the FTM experience and bring us in to compliment & augment their work and events: CDR International, Executive Development Associates, Guttman Development Strategies, The Prouty Project, Five Star Productions, BI Media & Events, MetaSystem Consulting Group, Idea Champions, LeaderExchange and Innerwork Company as well as our training and consulting colleagues that have brought us in and referred us. Anyone interested in becoming an FTM alliance partner, please give us a call.
The facilitators from the Bank of America Leader Forum delivering their own version of “Honky Tonk Woman” in Atlanta.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun this teambuilding exercise project was for everyone. If not for FTM, our offsite would not have been a success.”
Janine Iofrida, Event Planner, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group
“Participants raved about the activity and loved seeing each other as “human”. Any concerns I had about “would this work…and how will people feel about having to write and perform a song” were completely gone after the first few minutes. It was a perfect complement to our program.”
Valerie A. Corace, Director, Leadership Development, McNeil Consumer and Specialty Pharmaceuticals
“It is worth mentioning that in addition to providing a great program, the FTM team was very easy to work with, flexible, and responsive to the needs of both senior leaders and participants. They customized the program to our needs and worked with us on all the set up details so we were sure things would go off without a hitch.”
Barbara Keen, Ph.D., Director, Organization Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb
““Face the Music was out of this world! What a way to get people out of their normal mindset. I loved it. It was a completely entertaining, creative way to blend entertainment with fun.”
Laura Whitteis, Field Program Manager, GE Appliances
“Best teambuilding I have participated in. Excellent in all respects.”
“As frightening as it appeared initially, this was a blast! Hats off to the conference team for such a creative idea. I really laughed hard at my colleagues and found it to be a relaxing and enjoyable exercise. Who would have thought that I could break the barrier between the department manager and me by working out the words to a Blues tune with him! It was great fun!”
Participants , Global Legal Counsel, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP
On October 22nd, Face The Music’s own Paul Kwiecinski, Ken McGloin and Amy Fradon (aka South Bend Slim, White Trash, and Reverend Screamin’ Sweet Pea) sat down with Susan Arbetter and Selma Kaplan of WAMC’s popular morning program, The Roundtable, heard in seven states throughout the Northeast.
FTM mixed it up with the hosts…and the outcome was improvisational and imaginative radio at its best! Susan opened the interview with a question focusing on the origin of Face The Music: What does it all mean? What do you do? and, How do you do it? South Bend Slim took the lead by explaining FTM’s desire to get clients “out of their heads”, and be creative. He went on to describe how companies such as General Electric, Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb have thought “out of the box” and written blues songs that helped them work through present day company issues.
Susan and Selma were intrigued with how Face The Music starts an interactive blues session…how they engage a client at a conference, teambuilding or leadership event, and have them proactively take part. Paul clarified that FTM works with their clients to “speak the truth” about what’s happening in their business through collaboration and teamwork. Whether it’s a merger, downsizing, employee turnover or whatever the issue, Face The Music encourages the participants to compose blues songs that honestly explain the situation with feeling and emotion. Amy, Paul and Ken then performed the FTM classic, “Call Me, Beep Me, Page Me”, to emphasize some of the stressors that many people experience today in the workplace.
Next, Paul and Amy introduced the most important contribution to Face The Music’s success for the last five years: the clients themselves. They highlighted a recent Bank of America event in Boston where a great participant vocal performance was delivered. Radio listeners heard, “BAC is My New Home”, performed by The Swinging Shifters.
Taking it to a personal level, the Face The Music folks next asked Susan and Selma what their blues are working at WAMC Radio. FTM reviewed one of the blues song templates that they use with companies in an interactive performance called, “Statesboro Blues.” Susan and Selma instinctively talked about their “blues” of having to go to bed early to be able to do their morning radio program, how they miss prime time television, how they receive nasty e-mails from listeners, how they don’t have a clothing allowance, and most importantly, that they are always asking for money to support WAMC as a public radio station. Selma took the lead and weaved all of these complaints into a hilarious ditty that even surprised both of them by how creative they could be on the spot.
Face The Music hopes to return to WAMC Radio in the near future with their own “Fund Drive” blues song, and is planning to appear on other radio programs throughout the country. We’ll keep you posted in our 2005 newsletters and on our FTM website, facethemusicblues.com.
What Face The Music’s musical director, Ken McGloin, looks for in the ideal Face The Music musician is “versatility and people skills.” And you couldn’t find a more stunning example of someone who combines a dazzling musical virtuosity with the ability to gently but surely coach non-musicians through a musical performance than McGloin. It’s as if he’s been preparing for this particular job his entire life.
“I was always into the blues,” says Ken. “One of the first things I learned, when my mom got me my first guitar when I was 12, were some Fred McDowell and Freddie King songs.”
Then it was “jazz, jazz, jazz” throughout high school and college (at the University of Miami’s excellent music department), and tutorials with jazz greats Dave Holland and John Abercrombie. Ken even studied classical guitar for five years and played in a band called White Boys on Swing which combined Django Reinhardt gypsy jazz with hip-hop…believe it or not.
And, if that’s still not enough musical diversity for you, Ken’s “hard-core alternative” band, Lunchmeat, played the mainstage at the 1994 Woodstock Festival and he wrote and performed the music for two of MTV’s most popular series, The Real World and Road Rules. Now, that’s “crazy” versatility.
A working musician since the age of 14, Ken notes that when he became the head of the Music Department of the Poughkeepsie (NY) Day School last year, it was “the first regular job I’ve ever had. I’ve always made my living playing music.” Naturally, a big part of his duties at PDS is teaching students how to write and perform original songs.
At Face The Music events, Ken is a masterful song coach who gets outstanding results. His secret? “I don’t do anything. I let them do it. I allow it to happen. They have to listen to others, and to themselves as well, and trust their own instincts. If that’s happening, I get out of the way.”
With versatility, of course.
What event, initiative or challenge do you have coming up that Face The Music can add value to?