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Local TV show that spotlights singer-songwriters wins award

Singer-songwriter Mike Laureanno of Providence, R.I., left, and  Mary Wheelan of Worthington performed for an April 8 filming of  the music show, "The Song," which is hosted and produced by Wheelan at Frontier Community Access Television Station in South Deerfield. The show was recently ranked  third place in the music and entertainment category by the Alliance for Community Media/ Northeast Region.
LAURA RODLEY

Singer-songwriter Mike Laureanno of Providence, R.I., left, and Mary Wheelan of Worthington performed for an April 8 filming of the music show, "The Song," which is hosted and produced by Wheelan at Frontier Community Access Television Station in South Deerfield. The show was recently ranked third place in the music and entertainment category by the Alliance for Community Media/ Northeast Region. LAURA RODLEY Purchase photo reprints »

“Playing solo is all glory or all hell,” Rhode Island singer-songwriter Mike Laureanno said. “There’s no one else to catch you, singing without a net.”

“I like a challenge,” he said, and there’s another benefit. He gets to appear on “The Song,” the community cable music show produced and hosted by longtime friend and singer-songwriter Mary Wheelan of Worthington. Laureanno’s performance, filmed April 8 by South Deerfield’s Frontier Community Access Television (FCAT), is due to be aired on FCAT and 11 other community television stations.

“The Song” was recently ranked third out of 130 shows in varying categories in the music-and-entertainment category of the 2013 Video Festival of the Alliance for Community Media/Northeast Region. Wheelan accepted the honor, granted to her and FCAT station manager Douglas Finn, at an award ceremony at the Methuen Memorial Music Hall April 13.

“It is the first time we applied for the award,” Finn said, “and the first time we’ve received an award.”

“Love the Way You Lie Music Video” by CCTV Inc., Concord Carlisle Community Television in Concord, won top honors, while “Shelley (the Facebook song)” by Amherst Media came in second in the music-and-entertainment category.

Wheelan met Laureanna while they were both living in Rhode Island, where Wheelan founded the Rhode Island Song Writers Association in 1995.

“It grew to be very big, with 150 members,” said Wheelan.

It was through her involvement with the association that she met Laureanno. Together they produced the CD “Our Invincible Summer,” as a center fundraiser, which includes Laureanno’s song, “In My Shoes,” which Wheelan describes as one of the best songs she has ever heard.

In 1998 Wheelan moved from Rhode Island to Worthington, where she wrote the book “Songwriting on a Shoestring.” She went on to create “The Song,” which celebrated its first anniversary in March and was recently picked up by Northampton’s community television station.

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Mail delivery changes

The U.S. Postal Service’s move this spring to consolidate its bulk mailing program into hubs that serve towns in a 10-mile radius means some organizations and businesses here and across the country must find alternative ways of delivering their products and information.

For the Worthington Council on Aging, which under the new system must use a bulk mailing center in Huntington, it means that this month the organization will stop sending its newsletter. The COA decided to drop the newsletter because the organization would have had to buy a $200 bulk mailing permit and have someone drive almost 10 miles each month to drop the newsletter mailing off in Huntington.

In the past, the newsletter has gone out to 275 people in a bulk mailing sent from the local post office in Worthington.

“We were very surprised,” Sandra Epperly, COA director, said of the bulk mail changes. Since many people do not have Internet access, the newsletter was the “only way, being in a small town, of getting important information out to people,” she said. The COA board is considering emailing the newsletter to those people who do have Internet access, and is exploring the possibility of establishing locations where residents can pick up copies, such as at the Worthington Health Center and library, she said.

•••

Spring festival

Local artists and craftspeople, sustainable businesses, nonprofits, vendors, volunteers, musicians, sponsors and children crafters, 12 and under, are sought by the Hilltown Community Development Corporation for their Seventh Annual Hilltown Spring Festival in June.

Last year the event was attended by some 2,000 people and offered a full day of music, children’s crafts and booth sales. The festival is slated for June 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds. New this year is an open mike stage. For registration forms, email sethi@hilltowncdc.org or call 296-4536, ext. 112. The deadline for reserving space is May 13.

Laura Rodley can be reached at lrodley.gazette@gmail.com.

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