It started with the whirlwind entrance into my new position as
Administrative Assistant at Unity Church of Christianity. In the Unity
structure, the Senior Minister is the Administrator, so what would be an
administrator in the corporate world, is called an Administrative Assistant
in Unity. Either way, I answer only to the CEO of the church, the Minister.
Since I was brought in after the church had gone a year without an
assistant, there was an incredible amount of work to do. I dug in,
came up for air once in a while, and the year seemed to
instantly become history.
There were many surprises throughout the year, but the biggest
was an addition to my job description as the Executive Producer
of our Internet Television Ministry, which launched in July. As of this
moment, I have started editing and completing the 34th show. It's called
"Yes, You Can!"
You may recognize the voice singing the theme song. Yeppers,
that would be me. I wrote the tune after the title was created,
recorded it, and had our Minister sing some of the background vocals.
I continue to head the Audio / Video Technology Team at the church.
We've attracted some very good, reliable people to run cameras
for the tapings on Sunday mornings. This
has allowed me to place my focus in other areas within
the Ministry, such as video editing and production.
Thanks to my son's vast experience with video editing, any questions
I had were quickly answered and I was able to move beyond my
comfort zone once again, and learn a new skill. Thank you, Adam.
 Here's the Intro. Here's the Outro.
One of my tunes from my 2001 CD, "Michael Kontras", was selected
to be the theme song for a state-wide TV program called,
"You Need To Hear It with Marv West." I wrote a theme song for the
show, but they liked "Just For Fun" instead. I am very flattered
to have had my music chosen.
The year brought sadness for our family. My mother, Viola, made
her transition from this earthly plain at approximately 4:30am on
July 14th. I do not wish to dwell on the medical issues
except to say that she started experiencing severe abdominal
pain on the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day Holiday
Weekend and passed seven weeks later.
Although she was not a member of our church, (she was Greek
Orthodox), she was visited by our Minister two different times and
many of the members of our Board of Trustees came to her
viewing. I was very thankful for their support.
My father seemed to hold up well through the process. I know how
much he loves her (still) and how he desperately misses her. They
weren't just husband and wife, they were best friends and great
on the dance floor together. Early in their marriage, they worked
at different jobs, and then later on, they worked side by side
for nearly 24 years in the restaurant business. Their life together was
unpredictable and routine; comedic and serious; fun to watch and be a part
of. I am blessed to have had such a wonderful woman be my mother.
I asked to give the eulogy, which (I found out) is not done during
a Greek Orthodox Memorial Service. I had to wait to speak at the
gathering that occured after the burial. Nothing I've ever done - TV, radio,
live performances, interviews - prepared me for this experience. It was
by far the most challenging public statement I have ever given.
My legs were shaking the entire time.
Adam, using the music of Nat King Cole in the background,
created a beautiful video of her life in pictures.
The Recording Studio was busy this past year. The most memorable
project was the recording of a CD for the Angels With Autism Foundation.
Some very talented young vocalists came together to create a great
collection of recordings as part of an annual fundraiser for AWA.
The highlight of all the sessions was the day that 10 young ladies,
ages 8 to 12, came in and recorded background harmonies
for the title track, "Angels Amoung Us." They were great!
You can listen to the tracks and, if you would like to contribute to AWA,
you can be linked to a website where you can purchase the CD.
The musical group FOG, that was formed in 2004 and played in
2005, is no longer in existence.
Late in the year, I began forming a new "rock" group that will
perform at our church. Our Minister has decided that it's
time to "crank it up" on Sunday mornings.
That's all I needed to hear! I've already found a drummer and
bassist, and we have many vocalists to choose from within the
congregation. We're still seeking a guitarist, and we're
confident one will join soon.
The music will be energetic and uplifting. We are working on some
popular music that has spiritual overtones as well as some contemporary
Christian music that will energize the Sunday Worship Services. All of my
experience putting musical groups together will certainly come in handy.
Some wonderful opportunities have presented themselves for my wife,
Lonna, my second-born son, Kenny, and my first-born son, Adam.
Lonna started with a Job Training Services Company back in December of
2005. This was a radical departure from the many years she spent in the
Insurance Industry and has been one of the best decisions she has
ever made - next to marrying me, of course. ;-) She loves her work
which is helping others with physical challenges to re-enter the workplace.
(It's called Vocational Rehabiltation.) This is her nitch. She has really
taken to the position and has gone way beyond the call to doing wonderful
things for the company. She has a high respect for her employer
and really enjoys her work environment. She has also become very
involved in the Youth & Family Ministry at church, creating the cirriculum,
working with the children to create Youth Sunday Services, etc. It's a
very critical position and she handles it well. She also works closely with
our Minister's daughter and together, they are co-directors of the YFM.
Kenny is now 17 years old! I haven't spoken much about him because
he was young and I wanted to make sure that I didn't "embarrass"
him during his "formative" years, with his peers.
My second-born has always had a passion for automobile mechanics
and restoration. He started working on cars with our neighbor when he
was 12 years old. He probably knows more about what's under the
hood than most of us learn in a lifetime. A year and a half ago, he
landed his first job at a very reputable 50-year- old, family-owned,
automobile repair shop in our neighborhood. He still has that job!
He's had 2 pay raises and the owner tells me that Kenny does a great
job. Kenny will get financial assistance from his employer for his
education and training to become ASE Certified, on all levels, if he stays
employed at the shop. He worked it out with his school to go to
work in the morning from 8:00am to 10:30am, then school from
12:00pm to 2:30pm (the program is called A.T.E.C.), and then back
to work from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. This is his schedule five days a week.
I certainly hope he continues to excel in this area. He is highly skilled and
intuitive when it comes to automobiles, even at 17 years of age.
What a year Adam has had!
Early in the year, he auditioned for "America's Got Talent" on NBC and
was told he was in. He then was told that he would have to wait for the second
round because there was no other act like his for him to compete against.
Then, he found out that he wasn't going to be called back. He was very
disappointed until he went to the first taping, and realized that this was not
the show for him. Rather than being a legitimate talent contest,
it turned out to be more like "The Gong Show."
During this time, his cartoon, "Let's Bomb Iran" gained world-wide
recognition on the web and ended up being featured on
"Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC. Adam was scheduled
to be interviewed live by Olbermann the next evening about the
parody video that shows George W. Bush and Dick Cheney playing
a game of "Risk" and George wondering what the next move
should be. Unfortunately, some big news story broke and Adam
got bumped from the line-up. The video certainly created a lot of
controversy. Many thought it was a pro-war video which it certainly is not!
Adam also created another great video about the Katrina disaster.
The song was featured on the Mother Jones Radio Network several
times during that period in our nation's history.
Then, the most amazing thing happened.
He found out from a friend here in Columbus, that CBS's "Early Show"
was starting a contest called "Living Room... Live!" The contest involved
amateur talent from all over the country, submitting their living room
videos to CBS with voting for the contestants being done strictly
on the internet. Adam entered a 2-minute clip of "Adam and the Egos"
(formerly, "Adam and the Trinitrons") and was featured as a contestant.
Many will remember his live performances of "Adam and The Trinitrons" in
L.A. at the Comedy Club and in Columbus, Ohio. (Because the name
might have caused some legal issues with the Sony Corporation,
he decided to change it to "Adam and The Egos" during the "America's
Got Talent" auditions.) The video was shown on The Early Show and
also on the CBS News website. He called everyone he knew around
the country and had them rig their computers to vote as many times as
possible. He won the first round but lost to a rock group in the second
round, that had approximately 17,000 "MySpace" web fans voting for them.
(They ultimately lost to a country singer who had nearly 75,000 "MySpace" fans!)
It wasn't over.
He received a call from the show's producer stating that the Vice President
of CBS News wanted him to come to New York to announce the winner of the
entire contest, live on The Early Show. (Shake head wildly, saying,"huh" and
then ask yourself, "Why would a second-round loser be asked to come to
New York to introduce the winner of the whole contest?") That's what Adam
was thinking. It didn't make sense.
Apparently, the V.P. of CBS News really liked Adam's creativity and Adam
was also the sentimentel favorite among many of the people at The Early
Show. However, since it was more of a popularity contest than a true talent
contest, the person with the most internet votes decided the outcome,
not a set of judges.
Adam, being the driven person that he is, was not about to let this
opportunity go by without presenting something to CBS. He brainstormed with
his manager and they decided that he should pitch the idea of having
"Adam and The Egos" host the next version of the contest, "Living Room... Live !"
Kids' Edition!. He met with the producers and they said to go ahead with the
pitch to the V.P. He did, the V.P. loved it, and Adam was contracted to
do 13 weekly 6 minute episodes of Adam and The Egos presenting the
contestants for "Living Room... Live!" Kids' Edition!, that would be promoted
on The Early Show every Monday morning. As a demonstration of his creativity
and video editing ability, Adam showed them this video as part of his pitch.
The video only took ten minutes to write and produce.
This opportunity has changed Adam's life in so many ways.
He will no doubt go on to bigger and better things.
As a father, words can't describe my feelings about his success. He has
certainly worked hard and stuck it out through lots of tough times.
Well, that was 2006. God only knows what 2007 will bring. I can't wait!
Thanks for taking the time to read this page.