As this year unfolded, it became very clear to me that my role in the
business of music is to compose and, when I'm ready, perform my music.
My path is changing. I'm at a crossroads in my life.
Last year's page ended with the tragedy of September 11, 2001. I feel the same way
now as I did then. This event changed our country's way of life forever.
What I didn't realize then is how much it changed...everything!
I see it everywhere. There is a lack of calm in peoples' faces and restlessness in their hearts.
Lives are frenzied with self-imposed schedules impossible to maintain. Instead of making
life simpler, modern technology only adds to the chaos. The "Communication and Information
Age" is rapidly aging us. No one is taking time to count their blessings. Prescription medication
usage is at an all-time high yet people are more tired, anxious, over-weight and stressed out now
than at any other time in our history. They are seeking peace and comfort from a world that is not
designed to give peace and comfort. The need for inner peace is getting stronger every day. I see
it in the books I read, the conversations I have and even in the television shows and films
that I watch. And yet, as strong as the quest is, very few will find it.
It's my way of giving people comfort. I want to contribute the only way I know how.
 In the coming year, I have decided that I will not perform nearly as much as in the past.
I want to work in the studio more, perfecting that craft and writing the best music of my life,
both vocal and instrumental. I want to focus on my thoughts and have them reflected in
my music. I have so many musical creations inside of me, crying to be recorded.
I know this is what I must do.
The world around me has also shown that my decision to not vigorously pursue
performing is the right one. Many venues are having difficulty sustaining their business.
Crowds are dwindling and budgets are being cut. It's a sign for me to concentrate elsewhere
for my income so I can focus on my dream. Music will always be what defines me.
*       *       *       *       * 
Now, on to the highlights of this year. Michael Kontras CD sales went very well in this,
the second year. My re-packaged Live CD sales are also doing well.
 Signing a CD is always fun. It means a lot to me when people ask for my autograph.
Having audience members join me on stage is always a treat.
This group of participants could really sing!
*       *       *       *       * 
I was invitied to a private showing of the film, "MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING"
in the spring. I haven't laughed this hard at a movie in a long time.
Here are some photos shot during the filming.
Thank you Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and especially Nia Vardalos
for making us laugh so hard this summer.
*       *       *       *       * 
This past summer, my Godmother & Godfather, Bill & Dee Fikaris, came up
during the July 4th Holiday. They came to two of my performances while they
were in town and had a great time! They live in Houston, Texas. They celebrated
their 50th Wedding Anniversary this year! Congratulations "Nona" & "Nono"!
*       *       *       *       *
 I had an opportunity to go to Pennsylvania on 3 different occassions this summer.
This photo was taken by my wife, Lonna, when we were at her family's cabin in
La Porte. Is there any doubt this is "God's Country"?. What a view!
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 In September, my son brought his one man show, "Adam & The Trinitrons"
to Columbus, Ohio for one big night.
It was an incredible evening. This is the show that brought the house down a
year ago at The Comedy Store in Hollywood.
He sold nearly 40 DVDs that night in between the two performances and
received a standing ovation for both shows.
I couldn't have been happier for him. He is a truly gifted creator, writer,
producer, actor and singer. (BTW - That IS him performing all the
characters, contrary to what some believe.)
*       *       *       *       *
 But I'll try. I had the incredible privilege of seeing Paul McCartney live when he performed his
2 hour and 40 minute concert at the Value City Arena in October. This five man band headed
by a 60 + year old Paul McCartney sounded unbelievable. No one is pickier than I am about
sound, vocals, instrumentation, accuracy of the music and overall performance. I don't have
enough words in my vocabulary to give all the compliments this show deserves. Not only did
McCartney sound and play beautifully, his band played the music perfectly. Their vocals were
second-to-none. It was great to see five musicians having so much fun playing music that crosses
so many generations. Only the original Beatles could have sounded as good. (Notice, I didn't say
"better", I said "as good".) If you closed your eyes, that's who you were listening to -
right down to the very last note. Nothing was missing musically or vocally. The arrangements
were excellent! Everybody in the band contributed so much to the total sound. They all switched
instruments (except the drummer) and their vocals were dead-on. Paul's vocal range is as
good as it was 40 years ago. The music brought tears to my eyes. The performance
was truly a blessing for all of us in the audience. So many great songs, and yet, in the time
they played, they barely scratched the surface of the list of great songs written by
Lennon-McCartney. Attending this concert is truly one of the highlights of my life.
*       *       *       *       *
 Thanks to eBay and some wonderful online buyers and sellers, I
was able to completely renovate my recording studio. 
Here are some of the people who made it happen:
 Allen Harvey drove from North Carolina to Ohio and back all in one day
just to buy my Altec Voice of The Theatre Speaker Cabinets. The usually
10 hour trip (one way) took nearly 14 hours due to engine trouble in the hills of
West Virginia. He said he had to get back that same day because he promised
his daughter he would be there for her birthday party. Thank You Allen!
 I dropped off my old Yamaha keyboard at a McDonalds in Toledo, Ohio
to Brian Skene. He was buying the keyboard for his daughter as a gift.
She wanted something that she could tie into her computer and compose.
Thank You Brian!  
I dropped off my Sunn Sentura II Amplifier to Scott Allen in Louisville,
Kentucky. He collects old guitar amps and this one was a nice addition to
his collection. He immediately plugged in his Les Paul and started jammin',
LOUDLY! I was then on my way to Nashville, Tennessee for my
next delivery. Thank You Scott!
This is Jimmy Nichols. He purchased "My Baby" - my Hammond B3 Organ
and Leslie Tone Cabinet.
But the story only begins there.
Jimmy is a Nashville studio session player who lived in Columbus many years ago. He
was in a band called "The Nichols", and before that, "The Silver Nichols". At that time,
I was in "Reflection". Both bands played many of the same clubs back then, in the 1970's.
Jimmy moved to Nashville shortly after that and became one of only about 10 good
session keyboardists in Nashville. When he saw my listing on eBay, he went to my website
and learned more about me. He then put the winning bid on the organ and we spoke over the
phone that night after the auction. When he realized that I knew who he was and he knew who
I was, the deal was sealed. He offered to pay me to deliver the organ and tone cabinet.
We set up a date and off I went, trailer in tow, with "My Baby" in it. My cousin Nick came along.
We stopped in Louisville and delivered my Sunn Amplifier to Scott Allen and then went on
to Nashville. Jimmy and his wife, Tonya, were very gracious, extending their hospitality to
us for a time when we first arrived. We then went to the home of David Malloy,
one of Nashville's top producers. Jimmy and David are building a "project studio" in David's
home, much like the one I've built in my home, and that's where Jimmy wanted the organ to go.
Here's where the story really gets interesting.
Back in 1971, I was on the Jesus Christ - Superstar tour as a sound and lighting technician.
The lead role in the play was being performed by a friend named Dane Donohue. Dane and I
worked together in Columbus for a time before the tour was formed. One evening in December,
we took a couple of days off from the tour and went to Nashville to meet with some record people.
After we were wined and dined, we went back to our hotel, the Vanderbilt Holiday Inn, to crash.
No sooner than we got in the room, someone knocked on the door. When we opened the door,
an assistant engineer at Jack Clements' Recording Studios was standing there.
He was 19 years old. He asked us if we wanted to go to the studio and lay down some tracks.
We certainly took him up on his offer!
That young man's name was David Malloy.
So here I am, over 30 years later, re-meeting David Malloy and Jimmy Nichols.
Life certainly has some interesting twists. David and I talked for a little while. I reminded him
of that night. I still have a copy of the tunes we recorded that night. He was shocked to say the
least and I offered to send him a copy.
There's more!
The following day, Jimmy invited Nick and me to come down to Sound Emporium Recording
Studios where he was doing a session. I had an eerie feeling about the studio. As I walked
around the facility, it felt as if I had been there before. When the session players were taking a
break, I asked the assistant engineer if the studio had ever been called anything else other than
"Sound Emporium". He said, "Yes. Back in the 70's it was owned by a record producer named
Jack Clements." I nearly passed out. It was in this very studio, 30 years ago, that our tour recorded
its version of Jesus Christ - Superstar and where Dane Donohue, David Malloy and I
recorded 2 songs on that December night in 1971.
BTW - David not only engineered the session, he played the drums as well.
(I'll be back down to see you soon.)
*       *       *       *       * 
This is the equipment I used to record the all-instrumental Michael Kontras CD that was
released in 2001. When I play the CD for other engineers, they can't believe it was done on
a 30-year-old 8 channel tape deck. (I'll take that as a compliment, thank you.) Other
recordings done with this equipment include all of the background tracks for my live
show "Songs You Grew Up With", Adam's first CD "Stronger Than Before", the
Renee Taylor Demo "Out Of Control", Smith 'N' Kontras' "It's About Time"
Cassette and over 60 other songs that were never released.
And now...
The Studio