Friday, September 12, 2014

“Decades of Song”: Teresa Eggertsen Cooke returns to NYC’s Metropolitan Room singing popular tunes, crossing sands of time. Sat., Sept. 20th, 7 PM.

This show is dedicated to Teresa's dear departed friend Pete Barquin, who passed away from  ALS (Lou Gehrig ’s disease).  Any support to the ALS Association is welcome. Thank you.

When: Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:15 PM)
Ticket Price: $20.00 - $115.00

Back in April, 2014, April 23rd to be exact, Teresa Eggertsen Cooke made her New York City debut at the award winning Metropolitan Room. She sang a combination of tunes dating from Irving Berlin’s 1924 classic “What’ll I Do?” to Carol King’s pensive “It’s Too Late”. Both are standards from distant eras, crossing decades. When the venue asked Teresa back this coming fall, Teresa thought, “I’ll do this again. These are the songs I love, the songs my audience loves. When I see how happy my music makes people and the emotion that ensues, I am so humbled.”
And so, Decades of Song is coming to the Metropolitan Room, Saturday, September 20th at 7 PM.
And songs they are! “My Baby Just Cares for Me” penned in 1930 is one of the ditties Teresa will be singing. Another will be “Your Song” the very first hit from Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The songs will cross eras, moods and genres. From the 1920s, 1930s, 1960s, 1970s; up-tempo tunes and soft rock ballads and how they translate into a jazz motif, including “The Rose” and “Songs of Life” from Neil Diamond’s 1978 film “The Jazz Singer”. Teresa will include tunes written in the earliest days of popular song.
Teresa remembers her father singing these songs to her to her, and this is what taught her to appreciate
singing and performing. Possessing a versatile vocal range and piano skills, Teresa Eggertsen makes each and every song her own.Although new to New York City, Teresa is not new to performing. She currently resides with her family in Park City, Utah. She has been performing in Park City and in the surrounding area for many years. In 2013 she performed at the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago and The Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida. She began playing piano and singing at a very young age and continued for many years until she took a break to become an internationally ranked Mountain Bike racer. She then retired from racing in 2003 and came back to music. “It really is one of two of my FAVORITE things to do, the other is riding my mountain bike!”
And what about coming back to New York? Teresa says, “I can’t wait to come back! The Metropolitan Room took a chance on someone from Utah whom they had never met or seen perform. It has given me a lot of confidence. They were wonderful!”
Taking influences from jazz standards, to rock ballads spanning many decades, Teresa has created her own interpretive style. You will think she is wonderful, too. She will be performing the Metropolitan Room on Saturday, September 20th at 7:00 PM, and joined by Ben Lepley on trombone and Lou Vito, guitar.
The Metropolitan Room is located at 34 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010 (Source: Abbe Buck PR)
Teresa and I sat down a few days ago and we discussed the journey that has brought her to this point.

This blog is the result of that chat. 
When Teresa was about five, she was drawn to the piano.

A pre-school music teacher said to her mother, "You need to teach this young lady the piano. She has an amazing ear."

Teresa was just four; she didn't know.
Her mother found a music teacher for her and she learned to play piano by ear. She never learned how to read music till later in life.

She also loved to sing, so her parents(her dad was an amazing tenor and her mom played the piano), put both she and her sister in kid's choruses.
She was pretty much in a traveling chorus until she was in the ninth grade. They performed all over the West.
They performed mostly at church functions and events of that ilk. All this time, she continued to play piano, eventually learning to read music.
She hated reading music, preferring instead to just hearing it As she became a teenager, she desired to be Elton John and Carole King and add in Nancy Wilson for heart.
She wanted to be a rock star. She desired to be Pat Benatar. That is she how she evolved into this really versatile singer.
She thinks of herself primarily as a singer. In the past, she never really thought of herself as a great pianist.Part of her evolution included her learning to accompany herself.
Teresa eventually got a job in a restaurant playing and singing on weekends for tips. She sang every Friday and Saturday night. There is a story that has become part of Teresa's show.
There was a gentleman who used to come in and pay her $20.00 to play Send in The Clowns every Saturday night."That was probably one of the few tips I got." That song has remained  as part of her repertoire, not only because of this story, but it was also her dad's favorite song.
Send in the Clowns is a song written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 musical A Little Night Music, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night. It is a ballad from Act II in which the character Desirée reflects on the ironies and disappointments of her life.
Among other things, she looks back on an affair years earlier with the lawyer Fredrik. Meeting him after so long, she finds that he is now in an unconsummated marriage with a much younger woman. Desirée proposes marriage to rescue him from this situation, but he declines, citing his dedication to his bride.
Reacting to his rejection, Desirée sings this song. The song is later reprised as a coda after Fredrik's young wife runs away with his son, and Fredrik is finally free to accept Desirée's offer.
She has been performing this song since she was sixteen. From the restaurant gig, she was in a band in college, playing keyboard, percussion, and singing lead on back-up vocals.She did a few restaurant gigs and then she QUIT.
She then decided that she desired to be a professional cyclist. She gave up music and focused on athletics. She became a professional mountain bike racer.
She raced all over the world: World Cup, National Series, and she spent twelve years doing that. For about ten of those years, she didn't sing or played piano, hardly at all.
During that time, she met her now husband. He had no idea that she even had a music background.
About two years before she retired, she was trying to think of a new way to make money for the winter. There were some auditions opening up around Park City, Utah, where she lives, for piano players and so she thought, "Maybe that's a good idea. I could start doing that again." She started to audition and the first job she didn't get (for just a piano player). In all honesty, she doesn't think that her skills were quite polished at that time. The nest audition was for a singer/pianist. She told her husband that she was going to audition.
He said, "You're gonna do what!?!?!" He was floored that she was going to do this. She went and auditioned and got the job. That was how she got started again after the big hiatus. After getting the job, she decided she needed to practice and get a show together. She needed to learn more and more songs. Over the last ten years, from there, she has been doing local gigs and parties and weddings. She flies out for friend's weddings. She also does corporate functions in other cities. She had a daughter ten years ago so she's been very busy being a mom.
The last two years, Teresa decided she needed to do more.
She talked to friends in the music business. They said she should be a cabaret singer. It is what they do. It is what they like. Teresa cold called a lot of clubs last autumn. As a result, she booked The Metropolitan Room in New York City. Now, she's going back. She's very excited.
I asked Teresa what makes her happy and what makes her unhappy. Music makes her very happy. She is very addicted. It is like the best drug ever for her, all kinds of music. She is a closet "metal head". She loves metal and rock. The band Rush is one of her favorites. Her husband and she both love rock. She loves piano solos. She loves the sound of a piano. She loves children. They make her really happy.
Her husband makes her very happy. The sun makes her happy. She loves when the sun shines.
Rain makes her very sad and depressed.  Cruelty to animals really depresses her. Inhumanity to other people also makes her very unhappy. It wrenches her stomach. It really makes her unhappy. The day before this interview, she heard an interview on the radio in which They were discussing flying a lot of World War II veterans that were being flown out to a World War II memorial.
They had a 93 year old man telling his story of the Battle of the Bulge where Teresa's husband's grandfather actually died in that battle.
The gentleman being interviewed relayed a story of how they freed a concentration camp. Teresa was in tears in her car just listening to this tale of the inhumane treatment of people and how emotional he was in telling his story.
That kind of thing, Teresa cannot stomach it. She hates the way people are being treated in the Middle East. It just makes her incredibly sad.
I asked Teresa why she performs.
She gets lost in the music. It is meditation for her. It is pure "check out" time for her. Three hours can go by when she is performing without a break, it feels like twenty minutes.
The best part about performing for Teresa is when she feels the pleasure that the audience gets. It is very humbling when they get emotional or they feel something when she has resonated somehow.
As cliche as that sounds, it is the best. If that happens with one person, it is worth the whole experience.
As mentioned earlier, Teresa's dad had a wonderful tenor voice. She inherited his ability to remember lyrics and song and his ear.
His name was Max. You could say, "Max, do you remember this?", and he would say "Yes", and sing it
Max Eggertson
perfectly. He knew the words to every song Sinatra ever sang, Sam Cooke, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson. He loved Country. He would sing to her in the car when she was a kid on every road trip they ever did. He would sing Marty Robbins songs and he was hilarious. He would act them out while he was driving.
Also, as mentioned, Teresa's mom played the piano and was lovely at it.
Teresa's dad, sadly, passed on five years ago. Her mom is still with her.
 Teresa's daughter plays the piano. She also plays the baritone ukelele. That is the crux of her music lessons right now. It is a great vehicle to move towards the guitar when you're very small.

She is a very petite ten year old. Her piano teacher also teaches guitar and ukelele. It was her suggestion for her to take this path. She is awesome.
Like her mom, she prefers the ear to reading music. Teresa doesn't force her. She did tell her that she has to take music lessons of some kind. The instrument would be HER choice.
If Teresa was not on THIS trajectory, she would probably be a coach in some sport.

She still coaches kids on the side. She loves coaching kids as well as some adults, some sort of fitness trainer and/or a fitness coach.She does have a degree in exercise in sports science from the University of Utah. That is her background in education.
She can't imagine herself not being a musician, however.
Teresa is very excited to be returning to the Metropolitan Room. She is hoping that she gets some returnees. That would be really fun for her. She does know that a lot of her friends are attending. There will be some new songs from the last time.  
The Metropolitan Room really took a chance on Teresa last April when they booked her. She was told that they normally don't book out of town people Being so far away, how was she going to properly promote her show? She met the minimum amount of people to sell tickets to. Teresa's show went on and there were people who came that had never heard of her. They were very complementary and kind. That was the best part of the experience. That made it so much fun. The staff at The Metropolitan Room were so kind and supportive and great. Many new fans have said they would be back. It's the people that make these experiences, the fans, that make all the work worthwhile.
There is a flip side to all of the up moments. The biggest thing that drives Teresa, AND ME, up the wall are those booking people and club owners who don't even respond when you reach out to them.  A lot of artists feel that way. Most artists don't have enough money to hire someone to do all the legwork. It is sometimes hard to break in locally. Getting people to return phone calls is an uphill battle. Teresa takes that personally, which she knows she shouldn't. We all question, "What am I doing wrong?" We're not really sure why we're not getting a response from this local booking people. Getting those gigs makes it affordable to be able to fly around the country to perform in more well known venues like The Metropolitan Room in New York City or Washington DC or LA, etc. Again, it is very discouraging when you don't get a response.
Teresa believes the state of the arts is actually getting better. She has heard people say that being in this business, everyone ends up swimming with a lot of sharks. She believes that Rock music is making a comeback. She believes that we are, for the most part, lacking in the area of the singer/songwriter. There are, however, a few that are coming up. There are the iconic Carole Kings and James Taylors and Billy Joels. She can name a million of them. There aren't many of THOSE around anymore. There are a few that are coming up that are becoming popular.
What Teresa doesn't like about a lot of pop music is how fabricated it is. We have gone through a period of time in which there were a lot of singers who really couldn't sing. Technicians have gotten more adept at making them sound good. There is not much authenticity there. Teresa believes authenticity is coming back which is really good.
In addition to her own performing career, she volunteers at the ballet.  Three or four times a year, she sings and plays piano for Ballet West in Salt Lake City. Teresa's vocal coach is an opera singer. She goes to see  him perform and she takes her daughter to the opera. They both love opera as well as ballet. Teresa's daughter is also a dancer. Teresa takes her to concerts when she can. Her daughter wants to go to rock concerts, but Teresa says she is too young for that! "It's loud and it's late" but it's Teresa's thing. There is a song called Rock Show. The first time she heard that song, she said, "That is my anthem." That is her at the rock show in the front row, " knowing every line to every time"
After doing her show at The Metropolitan Room on the 20th, Teresa is hoping to put together a tour of new bookings in other cities such as Washington DC. The goal is to build up a little more national exposure. Other cities include Denver, Portland, Seattle, and LA.She is hoping to come back to The Metropolitan Room in
the Spring.
When I asked Teresa what her favorite song is to sing, she said she could go on for hours! As she starts to think about it, songs come at her in a rapid fashion. An Elton John song is part of her upcoming show. She has added this song to local gigs as well as well as the a fore mentioned Send in The Clowns. That is her tribute to her father.
The one lesson that Teresa has learned in this business above all others is to be true to yourself. "Just be yourself. If they like you, that's great! If they don't, that's OK as well." Do it because you love it. That's why Teresa does it.
What is Teresa's biggest vice? Coffee! She also loves red wine. Her greatest virtue is this compassion that goes on through her. She cries at Hallmark commercials.
She just watched Anna and the King and sobbed through the entire film. There is something about love and pets and families and having compassion. She thinks that is a good thing.
One of Teresa's favorite composers
What keeps her moving forward? She wouldn't do this if it wasn't fun. She can't imagine her life without music. As long as she is not away from her family for any extended period if time and as long as it is still flowing out of her like it is now, then that's good. Her family will not be with her this go round in New York. Her daughter is with a traveling soccer team and they have a game. The last time, she had a dance recital. Hopefully, in the spring!
Teresa plays every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend,  at The River Horse Restaurant on Main Street, in Park City, Utah, a four star restaurant. She has been there for ten years. They have been awesome to her. After returning, she has a wedding that she has booked to play. She also plays at a venue called The Snow Bird that she averages about once a month.
Teresa feels that she is a very good student, although she is bad at practicing.
Carole King: Another favorite composer
Sometimes, Teresa wishes she was younger and that she shouldn't have quit for ten years and that she should have kept going. That being said, the experiences that she has had make her a better cabaret entertainer. Those experiences make her more diverse. She has learned a lot. She has learned to become a better pianist. She has learned to become a better singer.
She has many favorite composers: Elton John, Carole King, Neil Diamond; all of those people are favorites. Teresa also likes many composers from the previous generation, anything from Rodgers and Hammerstein. The Sound of Music and The King and I and Oliver! ...all of those musicals that she watched as a kid, and the songs from The Wizard of Oz, John Denver. She doesn't know what it is about them except that these are the songs that she grew up with. They are a part of her. She remembers them all, the words and the melodies.
It's all about the melody for Teresa.
She could never turn it off.
Of course, in closing, Teresa would like to promote her show by saying, "Please come see my show!" But in reality, for Teresa Eggertsen Cooke, it has never been about making money or being famous. That's not what it has ever been about. It's about performing the music and being respectful to the songs she remakes and covers and sharing it the best way that she can. That's what it is all about for Teresa. I cannot wait for Teresa to share it with me next Saturday night! Please join me!
 
Thank to ALL mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
With grateful XOXOXs ,


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