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march 2011

the newsletter for Nuçi’s Space, a nonprofit musicians’ support/resource center

Connecting through Music


he evening “bedtime routine” at my household for our 2½ year old daughter consists of her helping to clean-up all of the toys flung around the house and gathering all of her stuffed animals and a blanket to put into the crib with her. However the final request of the night, at least for the past several months, has been for her mom and dad to sing “Wheels on the Bus” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Per her request, “Wheels on the Bus” is always first and sung by “Daddy.” I gained this distinct privilege by being “silly” and occasionally singing the song as each of her stuffed animals; Walter (her favorite fluffy, brown rabbit), Jean Luc (the slightly effeminate puppy from France) and Gator Big (a very long, skinny alligator from southern Louisiana). I’ll let your imagination determine how their singing voices may differ. Fortunately, my rendition of “Wheels” gets high marks in the form of giggling and proclamations to my wife, such as, “Daddy’s silly!” Just as we finish our clapping and cheers for “Wheels on the Bus,” our daughter quickly grabs her blanket, lays her head on the pillow and gently asks–“Mommy, Twinkle?” This is our queue to switch places near the head of the crib and for my wife to take the lead on singing “Twinkle.” The timbre of her voice is gentle, comforting and healing. She sings to her in the way a lullaby is intended to be sung. At the song’s conclusion, we simple say “Good night” and “We love you.” **Disclosure: The above scenario is my idealized version of our “bedtime routine.” I choose to ignore the more accurate version that includes her uncontrollable crying and mini-tantrums when she’s told that it is “night-night time.” My motivation for thinking about our routine came from reading Daniel Levitin’s book, “The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature.” Unfortunately it is impossible to fully explain the premise for Levitin’s work in this column. However, the following passage from the book’s introduction may help:

“The World in Six Songs explains, at least in part, the evolution of music and brains over tens of thousands of years and across the six inhabited continents. Music, I argue, is not simply a distraction or a pastime, but a core element of our identity as a species, an activity that paved the way for more complex behaviors such as language, large-scale cooperative undertakings, and the passing down of important information from one generation to the next. The book explains how we can better understand the role that music has played in our species by thinking about six kinds of songs. They are songs of friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion and love.” I am most intrigued by the role “comfort songs” play in our daily lives. It is widely known that a baby’s auditory system develops much faster than vision, recognizing the sound of their mother’s voice long before they can visually distinguish her from other adults. The use of ‘song’ strengthens this bond even more so. The repetition, rhythm and melody of ‘song’ add an element of predictability that speech alone tends to lack. Simply put, predictability can be comforting and soothing. Two types of “comfort songs” that are a little less obvious include music for the disenfranchised and sad music. For instance, when teenagers feel misunderstood, cut-off and isolated from the rest of us, they may find an important ally in a lyricist that has written about similar troubles. I can confirm that this was true for me as a “disaffected” youth and it is still true today when I listen to the songs our Camp Amped kids choose to play in our after-school program. Sometimes we all just want to know that we fit in somewhere and that all the things that we think and feel are normal. The other less obvious “comfort song” is sad music. At first blush, we may ask ourselves, “Why would anyone want to listen to sad music when they are sad?” Levitin’s research shows that prolactin, a tranquilizing hormone, is released when we’re sad. He states, “Sorrow does have a physiological purpose and it may be

nuçi’s space by

Bob Sleppy

an adaptive response, which is to help us conserve energy and reorient our priorities for the future after a traumatic event.” It is suggested that sad music allows us to “trick” our brain into releasing prolactin in response to the feelings induced by the music, and the prolactin then influences our mood in a positive way. The less scientific explanation of “Why would anyone want to listen to sad music when they are sad?” is quite simple. Those who are sad or suffer from clinical depression often feel completely isolated and misunderstood. Listening to “happy music” in this state of mind can be especially irritating, compounding those feelings of depression and isolation already present. The connection that a person may feel to a musician or lyricist may also help explain why talk therapy is vital in the treatment of depression. The connection found between two people, even when it’s just a stranger’s voice in a song, is an important first step towards feeling understood and getting better. Music plays a very important role in my life. I use the music and expressive genius of others to help guide my own mood and how I relate to the world. Despite the presence of all Levitin’s “Six Songs” in my life, I am most connected to “comfort music.” The soundtrack of my life is filled with songs that have helped to get me through some very difficult times as well as to celebrate my best moments. My hope is that our daughter will learn the power of “comfort music” from her parents. I may regret this wish as I hear angst-ridden, “I hate my parents” music blaring from her teenage bedroom. But I’ll be happy to know that at least the twentyyear-old boy with eyeliner and a fauxhawk singing the song make her feel a little better that day. As a back-up plan, while I listen to my wife singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to our daughter at bedtime, I’ll be thinking of how to pull off an angst-ridden rock song as a stuffed alligator, with a southern Louisiana accent. Fortunately, I have a few years to practice.

396 Oconee Street Athens, GA 30601 706.227.1515

Newsletter Contributors

Bob Sleppy Will Kiser Laura Ford Matt Hudgins Lesley Cobbs Photos

Pam Keener Desiree Grigsby Jason Thrasher Design & Layout

Larry Tenner

Widespread Panic Guitar Raffle Hugely Successful Nuçi Phillips

Memorial Foundation

Board of Directors

President: Stephanie Sharp Vice President: Matt Justus Treasurer: Robert L. Bachman, CPA Secretary: Rebecca Hood Linda V. Phillips Pierre Phillips Patterson Hood Dr. Bill Orr Sally Speed Benjamin Roberts III Ellie MacKnight David Barbe K.P. Devlin Nikki Boatwright Executive Director

Bob Sleppy Legal Counsel

Mike Lavender Jim Warnes

Widespread Panic was in Athens in mid-February to celebrate their 25th anniversary, playing 2-nights in their hometown at the Classic Center. While they were here the band donated an acoustic guitar to Nuçi’s Space, signed by all the members of the band. We sold raffle tickets to fans, giving one fan a chance to go home with the guitar. Gregory Gonzalez, a Widespread Panic fan from Springfield, Missouri was the lucky winner. Brown Cat, Panic’s management team, approached Nuçi’s Space

Recent Donors Ashley, Donna D. & Arthur B. Johnson Athens Ciné Athens Music Collective Athens-Oconee Junior Woman’s Club Babaliaros, Constantine & Fotini Baron, Richard & Maggie Bates, Hortense Bel-Jean Copy/Print Center Benson, Kristina Petti & Greg Berg, Kristen Bernstein, Alyssa Bilheimer, Chris & Hilary Blakeman, Doug Blaschak, Anita Boyles, James W. & Sandra Brown, Pete Bryan, Philip & Jane Canine, David Coenen, Dan T. & Sally Wyche Coggins, Kim Coulliard, Josh Demmin, Julia Dowling, Ed Downs, Bertis & Katherine Durrett, Donald & Karin Fitzgerald, Katherine & Steven Glazer, Judith Goetz, Theodore M. Harvey, David & Nancy McDuff Hinds, Killick Huszagh, Rick & Sandi I.A.T.S.E. Local 824 Jarrett, Diane & Seth Copeland JKC III Foundation Johnson, Bryce Jordan, Jeremiah Karchenes, Ruth Kim, Bo-Kyung Kiser, John & Miriam Koplan, Carol & Jeffrey Latona, John & Kay Laux, Peter & Joyce A. Lee, John Lester, David

Lines, Rand Lutz, Richard & Barbara Malik, Robert & Jennifer Martin, Dr.& Mrs. David Monroe, Doug Nettles, Victor Nicholson, Dr. Peter Orr, William Perez, Dr. & Mrs. A.R. Raque, David & Susan Lynn Todd Roberds, Thomas & Pamela Rose, II, Richard Rosenberger, Charles & Chandler Dine, Dr. Yssa Saad Sanders, Walter & Emily Saucier, Scott & Cindy Schools, David Sebok, Scott Sleppy, Janet Smith, Stacy Sommer, Marc Spalding, Margie Stacy, Mark Stephenson, F.J. & Sharon Tobias, Jeffrey Trandel, Gregory & Margaret Volo Trade Inc. Wagner, Etta Ware, Amy WUOG In Memory of April Bachtel Cooney, Mary Kelly & Mark Crawford, Jerry & Judy McKissick, John & Nancy Vasenden, N. Arvid & Melissa In Memory of Winship Carpenter Mr. & Mrs. Howell Kiser In Memory of Vic Chesnutt Barwick, Clark & Molly Bunnell, John Eubanks, Tony & Lara Mathes Hood, Patterson & Rebecca

with the signed Washburn acoustic guitar and the idea to raffle it off. Nuçi’s Space Executive Director Bob Sleppy, joined by Nuçi’s Space volunteers, set up in the lobby of the Classic Center on February 10th and 11th. As concert-goers poured into the sold-out venue, they purchased tickets–some tickets were sold online as well. When the final show had ended and it was time to draw a winner, the guitar raffle had raised $10,000 for the nonprofit mission of Nuçi’s Space. Thankyou so much to Brown Cat and Widespread Panic! In Memory of John Kim Coggins III Kim Coggins In Memory of Greg Garner Eric T. Johnson In Memory of Thomas Michael Gordon Bobbi Gordon In Memory of W. Lane Greene Nancy Greene In Memory of Elissa Hadley Theresa M. Stroud In Memory of Ted Hafer Chris Slay / Coastwise Consulting, Inc. Greene, Jessica L. Greene, Nancy Hourihan, Carrie Juras, Philip & Beth Gavrilles In Memory of Sims Hibbert Clark & Molly Barwick In Memory of Sherrill Lackey Don Roberts In Memory of Pete McKenna Ray and Breon Allen Family Fund In Memory of Jared Hill Bartley, Bud Dale, Patti Gilley, Jill Hall, Kirsten Harris, Darcie Johnston, Sam Mason, Kim O’Connor, Michael Sellers, Ron Stewart, Carmelita Raybourn, Susan Schmidt Family Scheffe, Charleen

Schmidt, Paige Silberstein, Sara South, A.L. & Coradell Schmidt, Judith Yelton, Michelle In Memory of Andrea Mara Orlen Belfiore, Doreva Buchwald, Laura Camp, Sarah Jackson, Dani Majid, Aneesa Skurai, Michi Stutz, Katie Lippa In Memory of Christopher M. Page Cathy Page In Memory of A. Nuçi Phillips Barstow, Janet Carlin, Drs. Richard & Enid Corish, Jr., Walter & Patty Greiner, Charlie & Anita In Memory of Bradley Robinson Phantasy Tour, LLC Robinson, David & Christine In Memory of Tony Staiano Franklin, Howard Kunzler, Brenda Zeeman, Robert In Memory of Stan Stephenson Alice Stephenson In Memory of Anthony Stirling John Stirling In Memory of Israel Tyree Leslie Tyree In Memory of Karl Unwala Lines, Rand In Memory of Matthew Worley Jackie Burson

Drive-By Truckers Begin Second Decade of Support for Nuçi’s Space W K by



show of the three, which sold out in a few weeks. This past January marked the 11th year that Athensbased rock band Drive-By Truckers has performed an Nuçi’s Space also hosts a pre-party before the fiannual benefit concert for Nuçi’s Space. The first show nal show every year, auctioning off signed Truckers took place here at Nuçi’s Space, when the band had two, memorabilia and artwork. This year we auctioned off donations from various local businesses, artists and independently produced albums under their belt. Two years later the Truckers performed for the first time in its photographers. Mike Cooley, guitarist/vocalist for DBT, donated a signed acoustic guitar entirety, their stirring concept album that he used on two of the Truckers’ “Southern Rock Opera” on our stage at the Space. Over the next few years albums and in various live shows the band’s profile grew, members and solo gigs. DBT drummer Brad moved on and they signed with a Morgan donated the drum head from his bass drum, decorated with a bigger record label. DBT began maklogo from the band’s last album “The ing appearances on late-night talk Big To-Do.” Wes Freed, the band’s shows (they even squeezed into the official logo/concert poster/album Billboard Top 40 with their album cover artist, donated an original copy “Brighter Than Creations’ Dark”). of the weekend’s poster. The painting Through all of the changes of the band, they’ve always been dedicated was encased in a handmade wooden supporting the mission of Nuçi’s frame built and painted by Freed. Fans came in from all over the Space – not only by raising money world for the weekend of shows. for our counseling assistance proNuçi’s Space awarded the first annual gram but by spreading the word Scott Baxendale performs at the Drive-By Truckers pre-party. Road Warrior Awards for the fans across the globe and taking us with who either flew the farthest or drove them everywhere they go. the farthest to be in Athens for the weekend. Tim and This year’s benefit, like each one before it, was bigger and better than the year before. The model for the week- Fiona Peacock were the runaway winners for flying in from SCOTLAND (for the second year in a row). Two end has been consistent: the Truckers play a three-night die-hard fans drove all-night from New York City to take stand at the 40 Watt, with the proceeds from one of the home the award for farthest distance driven. nights going to Nuçi’s Space. This year, it was the final

After Long Wait, Guitar Art Auction is set for April The idea for a musical instrument-inspired art show was first revealed nearly 4 years ago when The Gretsch Foundation awarded Nuçi’s Space 4 small acoustic guitars, 3 full-size acoustic guitars and a beginner-level drumset as part of a fundraising program called Guitar Art. The Gretsch Company, based in Savannah, GA, has been producing world-class drums and guitars since 1883. While maintaining an emphasis on by hand craftsmanship and its dedication to quality, Gretsch has kept its philanthropic commitment to the community as well. In 2002 the Gretsch Company started donating instruments to schools and organizations to help with their fundraising needs. Through this program, non-profit organizations receive used guitars and with the help of local artists turn them into beautiful and unique pieces that are then sold at auction. The long awaited Guitar Art Show and Auction will be held on Thursday, April 14th in the Rialto Room at the award-winning Hotel Indigo in downtown Athens. The event promises to be an unforgettable night, filled with great music and art. Hotel Indigo is offering special discounted room rates for attendees interested in staying the

night and soaking up the hotel’s world-class accommodations. Please check for further details. “Although it has taken us several years to get this show together, the collection of instruments and music memorabilia available for auction is very impressive,” says Executive Director, Bob Sleppy. In addition to the instruments donated by Gretsch, the auction will include other instruments donated by local musicians. Music memorabilia will include items autographed by the B-52’s, Kenny Rogers, Drive-By Truckers, Colt Ford, Green Day, R.E.M., Ben Mize (formerly of Counting Crows), Kris Kristofferson and Oscar winner, Jeff Bridges (from the film “Crazy Heart”). A highlight of the show will include a custom acoustic guitar, built by Athens-based luthier, Scott Baxendale and signed by Drive-By Truckers. (Featured Artists: Wilma Pittard, Lou Kregel, Chris Bilheimer, Chris Wyrick, Chris Gholson, John Gholson, Jamie Calkin, Wes Freed, Jason McFarland, Lamar Wood, Jeff Hannan and John Ahee.)

nuçi’s space Staff

Bob Sleppy Will Kiser Laura Ford Matt Hudgins Dan Nettles Chris Byron Paul Prae Lesley Cobbs High School Intern

Marisa Mustard Active Volunteers

Brooks, Carrie Cobbs, Lesley Curry, Katherine Grigsby, Desiree Keener, Pam Kegel, Joey Kokeza, Dunja Krafft, Cynthia Milligan, Nancy Morris, John Norris, Peter Patterson, Justin Prae, David Senn, Brantley Sims, Aaron Stojanovic, Dusko Washington, Kahja Wetli, Renee

2011: The Inaugural It’s no secret that the Athens music scene is much, much larger than what many people perceive it to be. Just because you don’t play in a band at a downtown venue every week or make the coveted music column in Flagpole on a regular basis doesn’t mean you’re not a part of what makes Athens’ music scene so special. This notion sparked the idea for the inaugural 2011 Athens Business Rocks, a benefit for Nuçi’s Space.

Judges winners: “Chapped Lips”, “Boy George Clinton”, “40 Cent” Fundraising winners: “The McCommunists”, “80# Cougar”, “The One-Hitters” Crowd Favorites: “Gears for Fears”, “What Up Dawg?”, “BotJam” 3rd Place Overall: Bel-Jean Copy/Print “80# Cougar” 2nd Place Overall: Volo “The One Hitters” 1st Place Overall: “Flagpole Magazine “The McCommunists”

ite was selected by how many fans they brought to the show and a (not-so-scientific) reading of the “applause-o-meter.” Lastly, fundraising was scored by giving 1 point for every dollar raised by each business/band. They were encouraged to ask friends, customers and fellow employees to donate online at or make contributions the night of the event by adding to the “bribe jars,” located in front of the judges. One band from each round was selected as the “SemiFinal Round Winner” and asked to return two week later, on February 19th, to complete against the other two semi-finalists. The talent level was incredible, and the amount of work everyone put into their show was more than we could’ve hoped for. Bands built props, put together video to be projected behind their performance, dressed up AND did a great job getThe McCommunists ting all their friends and co-workers to come out to the shows. Over 250 people showed up to see the Grand Finale on Feb. The fundamentals for the event were quite simple: employees of local 19th. The finalists were “The McCommunists” (Flagpole Magazine), “80 businesses would form a band that would compete against other busiPound Cougar” (Bel-Jean Copy/Print) and “The One-Hitters” (Volo). The nesses onstage at the world-famous 40 Watt Club. The ultimate goal was final scores were tight but Flagpole’s band–named for their “Great Leadto raise money for Nuçi’s Space while having as much fun as possible. 26 er” and Publisher Pete McCommons–came out on top, the 2011 Athens bands signed up and performances were broken up into 4 nights–3 semiBusiness Rocks Champion. final rounds during the first week of February and the Grand Finale on Thanks to our celebrity judges: Lisa Love, Parker Gispert, Julian February 19th. Dorio, David Barbe, DeWitt Burton, Brad Morgan, Patterson Hood, DanDuring each semi-final round, bands were asked to prepare 15 iel Peiken, Dottie Alexander and Davey Wrathgabar. minutes (3 cover songs) of music. The bands were evaluated in three areas; scores from “celebrity” judges, audience favorite and fundraising. The judges scores were based on three categories; Participating Bands: Showmanship, Creativity and Badassness. The audience favorSunshine Cycles “Gears for Fears” Flagpole Magazine “The McCommunists” Wisevest / White Systems / Classic Installations / AutoMax “The Nine G’s” Musicians Warehouse “Ed Magruder’s Last Minute All-Stars” Caledonia Lounge “Chapped Lips” Hot Breath Glass Studio / L Marie Adams Inc. / Ware Tutoring “Jailbait” The Red Zone “What Up Dawg?” D&D Heating & Air Conditioning “Static Pressure” Nuçi’s Space would like to offer a big thank you to Ed Thrasher Photography & Design “Brian Enotown Massacre” Magruder and Musician’s Warehouse for offering four Hendershot’s Coffee / Jittery Joes Tasting Room “Clusterphunk” Partner Software “Boy George Clinton” guitars to raffle at the Athens Business Rocks Grand Baxendale Guitar “The Fret Dressers” Finale on February 19. Selling $1 tickets both before Bel-Jean Copy/Print “80# Cougar” and during the shows, over $1,100 was raised to supTransmetropolitan “The Wilfred Brimley Extravaganza Family Band Project” port our nonprofit mission of helping local musicians and Epting Events “Pot Pie” fighting depression and suicide. Special thanks are also Mama’s Boy “Sweater Biscuits” in order to the Taylor, Martin, Fender and Great Divide The State Botanical Garden of Georgia “Botjam” companies for donating the guitars and to everyone who 40 Watt Club “40 Cent” bought a ticket (or twenty). Congratulations to our winTSAV “Punch List” ners John Watkins, Jim Kautz, Charlie Hartness, and Peach Mac “The Mac Daddy” Volo “The One Hitters” Juliet Easton!

Musician’s Warehouse Raffle Supports Nuçi’s Space

Nuçi’s Space Partners with Medical School The Medical College of Georgia and the University of Georgia have partnered to create a four-year medical education program in Athens to help alleviate a statewide shortage of physicians in Georgia. The first class of 40 students started their first semester of the program in August 2010. In addition to traditional coursework, MCG/UGA Medical Partnership is providing service-learning experiences for medical students that will fulfill learning objectives and provide service that meets a true community need. The medical partnership has partnered with five local nonprofit organizations through which students


will work during the coming year—Nuçi’s Space, Head Start, Athens Nurses Clinic, Athens Community Council on Aging, and

the UGA University Health Center. A group of 8 students and 2 faculty advisors have been working closely with Nuçi’s

aving taken the role of volunteer coordinator from Will this month I know I’ve got some pretty big boots to fill and I’m looking forward to learning the ropes. Though I’ve been a volunteer here at Nuçi’s Space for a couple of years and worked with volunteers previously, I was completely taken by surprise when I sent out my first shout out for “Help Needed.” The response was phenomenal! Within 2 hours I had to turn volunteers away and I could have filled the positions available 4 times over. And still the offers of help kept coming! Of course that isn’t always the case but for a first call, I was blown away. When I got home that night, before even “Hi Honey I’m home,” the words that came shouting out of my mouth were “Nuçi’s volunteers are phenomenal!” and I truly meant it. I met a few of our volunteers at the ‘Athens Business Rocks shows where they worked hard all night long doing a multitude of different jobs. From taking photographs to managing the stage, each gave their time and energy freely, either filling in where needed or utilizing their own skills and experience to the fullest. It was a great introduction to my new post and a lot of fun. We have a constantly updated calendar of events and appreciate all the assistance our volunteers can give, be it the occasional event or long-term involvement. If you would like to volunteer I’m available Tuesdays and Thursdays, so give me a call 706.227.1515

Space staff and mental health professionals since Fall semester 2010 to identify specific community issues related to depression in the creative community. The goal for students during Spring Semester 2011 will be to implement some strategies to address these issues. A presentation of their work will be made on May 2nd on the University of Georgia campus. (Medical Students: Ashley Austin, Brett Kodish, Kayla Koch, Rutvi Patel, Teddy Brandon, Travis Palmer, Saumya Dave and Daniel Spollen Faculty Coaches: Leslie Petch Lee, PhD. and Laurel B. Murrow, M.D., M.Sc.)

or come down and we’ll figure out how best to get you involved. You can also visit our website and fill in the volunteer application online; you will then be kept up to date with all event volunteer opportunities by email.

If you already volunteer I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all that you do. I look forward to meeting you and working with you soon! Cheers! Lesley

Çicago Loses Competition, Wins Hearts In a move that shocked and dismayed attending fans of the Athens Business Rocks semi-final on Wednesday, February 2nd, the Nuci’s Space band Çicago was disqualified from the competition when it was alleged that former Chicago frontman and noted superstar Peter Cetera had performed with the group. This would have violated the rule that participating bands not perform original material, as Cetera was the author of such tender hits as “If You Leave Me Now” and “You’re The Inspiration.” While utterances of terms such as “miscarriage of justice” and “kangaroo court” were bandied about the near-riotous crowd in the aftermath of this ugly announcement, this newsman would like to remind everyone that the point of this event was to have fun and raise funds for Nuci’s Space; a “FUNraiser,” if you will.

Upcoming Events at Nuçi’s Space April Thursday, 14th: Guitar Art Silent Auction @ Hotel Indigo, 5:30pm

May Sunday, 1st: Camp Amped After School Grand Finale @ Hendershots, 7:00pm For more details, visit


“Patt Dudgins”

At each of these aims Çicago succeeded in spades. Without speculating as to the accuracy of the accusations made against the band and at the risk of editorializing, I find it understandable that someone might have easily been convinced by the velvety-voiced falsetto stylings being emitted from onstage that the great Cetera himself was indeed present and performing at the 40 Watt Club. While they may not have been able to move on into the final round of competition of Athens Business Rocks, many witnesses left breathless by their performance might well be said to have “left their hearts in Çicago.” I for one can only hope that it won’t be “25 or 6 to 4” years before band members Bob Sleppy, Dan Nettles, Chris Byron, Will Kiser, Paul Prae, Joe McMullen, and especially singer Matt Hudgins grace the public stage again!


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right side glows the newsletter for nuçi’s space, a nonprofit musicians’ support/resource center

2011 March  

Nuci's Space Newsletter

2011 March  

Nuci's Space Newsletter