Monday, June 28, 2010

Lamar Gaskins is a rising senior at the Duke Ellington School Of The Arts, located in Washington DC, where he studies classical music. He has been classically trained since the 9th grade and began private voice lessons at age 12. He plans on attending a music school for his undergraduate education and hopes to study voice performance at a conservatory or university music program such as San Francisco Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, California Institute for the Arts or Manhattan School of Music. He absolutely loves opera and can't wait to further expand on that career! The following is a short record of the first impressions he has from the Washington National Opera Institute for Young Singers!


I auditioned for Placido Domingo's Washington National Opera Institute for Young Singers in February and was recently accepted into the Institute which was so exciting! The Institute runs for three weeks at the American University, Katzen Arts Center in Washington DC (June 21-July 10). At the Institute we take a wide range of courses including Music Theory, Ear Training, Sight Singing, Opera History, various development workshops, Masterclasses, Drama, Movement, Opera Scenes, Chorus and sessions with our Vocal coaches/accompanists and Voice Instructors. It's an intense schedule but it's so exciting and worth it! Last Friday I had a masterclass with the wonderful Angela Mannino! This was my first week at the Institute and it was just such an eye opener, being able to work with amazing faculty and students who love the same thing you do is most definitely a rewarding experience! We were all recently assigned Italian Art songs and Opera Scenes to prepare for our big recitals which are coming up next week. I will be singing "Quando ti rivedro" by Stefano Donaudy for my Italian Arts song recital and I will be singing Guglielmo in the Cosi fan Tutte opera duet with Dorabella. I look forward to developing my confidence, musicianship skills, stage presence, voice, Italian diction and music theory before I leave the Opera Institute.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

TOI's first NYC Meet-Up

On Thursday June 24th, 2010 The Opera Insider hosted its first New York City Meet-up coupled with a fundraiser for Mercury Opera's production of Pagliacci on Coney Island in September. About 100 people showed up to the LES's new hotspot, Foundation Bar NYC on Essex Street and partied for four hours from 6-10pm. Drinks flowed freely, and we were so happy to see so many of our members from NYC make the trek down to the Lower East Side to lend their support.

The night started out with mingling and lots of signing up for mailing lists, raffles, silent auction items, and of course drinks from the bar, expertly run by the lovely Beena. Our first door prize, a box of salt water taffy from Coney Island was won by Tamara Cashour, a NYC vocal coach and also the Artistic Director of Opera Avant who I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago at the Opera America conference in Los Angeles.

Our other door prizes included two copies of Eric Salzman's book, The New Music Theatre, a T-shirt, and a 50/50 raffle which was won by a friend of one our singers, Laura Virella.

The teaser performance of a lover's duet and the first opera chart-topper "Vesti la giubba" was received well by everyone. Of course, how could it not be? The voices were just marvelous and we wish we could have heard more!! Here you see a few of the rising young stars serenading the guests:

Friends came in from all over the city and New Jersey and Pennsylvania for this event, and we are so grateful for the support you gave us. Mercury Opera's production will be an amazing experience, we are sure. The opera opens on September 1st and runs through the 11th. So please come on down and see them stage Pagliacci in a tent and set it on the Coney Island boardwalk. And if you haven't already don't forget to sign up to be a member of The Opera Insider so we can keep you up to date on our activities!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A plush rave from a hard pew

The latest in a series of articles by Meche Kroop, this one a review of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at Chelsea Opera in New York.


How many times can one see "Le Nozze de Figaro"? I for one never tire of Mozart's gracious melodic invention, his lovable and laughable characters, and his trenchant social observations. reach maximum delight one needs good singers and conducting as well as coherent direction. All these were present in the Chelsea Opera's recent production at St. Peter's Church in Chelsea. As compensation for the unforgiving pews we enjoyed the intimacy that only a small space can provide. It is always amazing how this small company gets things right so much of the time.

Music director Carmine Aufiero somehow managed to bring out lots of nuance and spirit in the small Chelsea Opera Chamber Orchestra without a sacrifice of texture. In this case, 13 was not an unlucky number. There was no problem overlooking a wayward horn. Just part of the texture.

The night I attended, the Count was magnificently sung by Peter Kendall Clark who created an amusingly arrogant and clueless husband. His lovely and bereft Countess was brought to life by Jessica Sandige. Rosa Betancourt was a winning Susanna and Robert Balonek was a clever devoted Figaro. Many giggles were provided by Brian DuBois as an ecclesiastical Don Basilio and the sourpuss Marcellina of Leonarda Priore, also one of the co-founders of the company.

The other co-founder of the company, Lynne Hayden-Findlay, served as Stage Director. If the reader, having read my earlier rants, is waiting for me to attack Ms. Hayden-Findlay for bringing the story into the 20th Century, you are waiting in vain. In this case, it worked out fine, with Figaro played as a butler and Susanna as a ladies'maid working for a glamorous "society" couple in what appeared to be a Hollywood "screwball comedy". Since I am not a fan of that particular genre nor terribly familiar with it, I cannot attest to this appellation. Let's just say the updating didn't detract from the music or the believability of the story. For this we are grateful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Rant continues...

This post was submitted to us in May, 2010 by Meche Kroop

Thrilling to this afternoon's broadcast of last autumn's Faust from Chicago Lyric Opera, I asked myself "What makes this such a beloved opera"? Duh, it's the TUNES! Can't anyone write tunes anymore? It seems like the academic branch of music approves the abstract, the inaccessible, the mind-numbingly boring. The critics fall all over themselves praising the new creations. Granted, some members of the audience seem to like these contemporary so-called operas, especially if they are tarted up with special multimedia effects. But for most of us, we avoid them like we avoid bedbugs, or we persuade ourselves to "give them a chance" and then walk out of the opera house stony-faced and glassy-eyed with no intention of ever seeing them again.

So, if most contemporary opera fails to sustain this precious art, what is the future of opera? Here is one opera-lover's opinion: American musical theater. On my way into the Metropolitan Opera House, I could not fail to notice the crowds thronging to see "South Pacific". They have been thronging all year, night after night. The history of the American musical is a glorious one and I fail to see the difference between that and what we call "opera" which happens in an opera house. Well, there is one difference and that is amplification. What if we took all these gloriously tuneful creations and presented them in a rather smaller house with good voices sufficient to carry without electronic assistance? New York City Opera has done a bit of this over the years but hasn't trusted the process and used amplification. I personally don't think we need big "names" to get people to see good music theater.

Some would argue with me that these are not operas. So, what IS an opera? It is a story accompanied by vocal music. It seems to me that Carmen had a bit of difficulty getting recognized as an opera because of the spoken dialogue. Are "Entfuhrung" and "Zauberflote" any lesser on that account? At the very least, American musicals, the good ones anyway, seem to do a great job using melodies (TUNES!) that stick in one's mind and swell in one's heart to enhance a story. I think not only of South Pacific but Oklahoma, Pacific Overtures, A Little Night Music, Candide, Carousel, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George....well, you get the the picture.

In my opinion, English is not a beautiful language to sing as Italian is. But it does lend itself very nicely to cleverness and humor. That is why the works of Gilbert and Sullivan are so cherished. They need full status in the operatic canon as well.

So, let's build a small opera house (something like Juilliard has) and bring in a large audience for an expanded notion of what opera is. It's all about entertainment isn't it? Mozart and Rossini didn't write for academia. They wrote for the public.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A rant from the Balcony Box - guest blog by Meche Kroop

A Rant from the Balcony Box

Some people have religion. Some have sports. I have opera. I take it seriously. I rarely miss one. I generally feel satisfied and sometimes I feel thrilled. Occasionally I feel angry and ripped off. It is not usual for me to complain about vocal imperfections or conducting. What irritates me the most is directorial "originality", i.e. the "concept" opera.

We read the anticipatory hype and the enthusiastic reviews in which critics try to convince us that they have witnessed something "artistic" and "relevant"; we sit through these misguided conceptual failures and then vow never to see them again. We have been "treated" to updatings of works of perfection from earlier epochs that now make no sense whatsoever, in the interest of "relevancy".

In "La Traviata", does it make any sense for a woman of the 21st century to be considered a "fallen woman"? Do Flora's friends need to wear black leather and snort cocaine for us to understand that they are wealthy degenerates? Does Violetta need to do cartwheels across cement boulders for us to relate to her? In "Tosca" do we need to see Scarpia being fellated to know that he is a tyranical scumbag? In "Don Giovanni", do we want to see the Don huddled on the floor of a church basement with the rest of the cast participating in what appears to be an AA meeting? Can we not be trusted to make the connections between other generations and our own?

I believe each opera was set in a time and place that had an authenticity of its own. By honoring this concept, instead of some hot-shot director's, we can arrive at an appreciation of another culture and another epoch AND we can learn that certain human qualities of nobility, greed, rage, betrayal and self-sacrifice transcend time and place. We are different in some respects but the same in others.

There are people in power who express fears that opera will become irrelevant, as in "museum piece". What on earth is wrong with that? We trek through the Metropolitan Museum awestruck by sculptures thousands of years old and paintings hundreds of years old. Does anyone propose ripping a Degas off the walls and replacing it with a more modern "concept" of a dancer? So, why do we need to update operas that represent their own time and place in history?

Down with whoever decided that opera is a director's medium. Let these directors go back to film where they can express their egos. Leave opera to the singers and the conductors-- with just enough direction to make the story dramatically valid! Let us honor the intentions of the composer and librettist to the maximum possible.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Benjamin Button

Benjamin Button? Not again, please! Wasn't it dreadful enough the first time around!

I have to confess I never did see the blockbuster movie with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, but I had heard enough bad reviews from friends that I was never tempted to go see it anyway. I was, however, intrigued when Eric Salzman, composer, author, arranger, and globe-trotting musician mentioned it to me over lunch the other day at Edgar's Cafe on the Upper West Side. Over panini and gazpacho he told me about his mentioned his involvement with a new opera called "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which was having its one and only New York performance that night at Symphony Space under the auspices of the Center for Contemporary Opera. I would have gone to the performance but already had plans that night, but Eric was kind enough to let me see the dress rehearsal. He cautioned me with a smile that I might be slightly surprised at what I was about to see. I didn't doubt him one bit.

Perplexed would absolutely be a good word to describe my initial reaction to the first two scenes (which was all I had time to see) Alert would be another. Nervous but curious would be some others. The piece calls for a relatively large cast (eight full cast members and several others who double as members of the orchestra) and a small chamber orchestra that sits on stage with the singers during the entire performance.

This opera is certainly full of the bleeps and blips that you would expect from quote-unquote "modern opera," but it is intimate and touching as well. The relationships seem awkward where they need to and make sense when they need to. I am sorry I had to cut out so soon after the start as I'm sure the rest would have been equally as thrilling.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 3 - Opera America conference

Dreams of hanging out by the pool with a nice cool lemonade vanished as I woke up to the third day of the Opera America conference. It's amazing how exhausting meeting people can be - in a good way, of course.

The day started out for me with a one-on-one meeting with Georgianna Paul, Opera Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Sadly scheduling had not gotten it quite right again so I had to wait around a bit, but the meeting was worth waiting for. Although The Opera Insider cannot at this time qualify for grants, she was very pleased to hear about our project and mentioned that of course it is always useful for her to know what's going on in the world, what's new and innovative, so that she can communicate that to her members. I then headed off to a Holistic Singer Training roundtable with Ann Baltz and several of her staff members from Opera Works, a two- or four-week intensive training for singers held yearly during the summer.

This was probably one of the most interesting sessions I attended during the entire conference. We had General Directors, Artistic Directors, Singers, Ex-Singers, and lots of university professors and staff who were interested in finding a way to prepare their students better for a career in music. It isn't only about sequential learning, they all said, it's about preparing a "whole" artist. A baritone who was on the panel noted that "our goal as artists is to encourage instinct," which I thought was one of the best and most inclusive statements I have ever heard. It is all about instinct, it's about what is already in us that we just have to learn to access. Afterwards I met a couple of very interesting people: Lisa Sylvester, a coach at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, and Tamara Cashour, a coach from NYC who also founded Opera Avant.

I then headed off to yet another General Session, this time about "The New and Unusual: Is it Opera?" On the panel were James Conlon (no introduction needed here for sure!), Stage Director Diane Paulus, Designer John Conklin, Long Beach Opera Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek and David Gockley of the San Francisco Opera. While the discussion strayed a bit from the intended topic, the main points were basically the same: opera is opera if that is what it was intended to be. Whether it's in a pool, a bar, a garage, or a huge international stage, opera is everywhere and can reach everyone. For James Conlon, the most important thing is getting to kids early, instilling in them an appreciation for the art form, and helping them come to grips with it before they can be taught to be intimidated by it.

I then attended a roundtable on "Maximizing resources in your Community," which focused largely on partnering with other arts institutions and organizations in one's hometown. The LA Ring Festival was a smash hit because of the partnerships they were able to secure, and I realized that this was actually a huge theme of the conference... and is slated to be one of the main topics for next year's conference in Boston. The Closing Session was inspiring as they always are. General Directors were celebrated for their contributions to their companies and those who had served either ten or twenty-five years were given plaques to commemorate their service. Diane Paulus gave a thrilling closing speech in which she remarked that the audience must feel "necessary" in today's world, something that we believe very sincerely at The Opera Insider. An identity for them is crucial, as they are a crucial part of the success of any artistic endeavor. We must not forget them in the race to secure funds and publicity.

All in all, a fab day and a great way to end a wonderful conference.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 2 - Opera America

Here's a little taste of LA - looking out on the plaza at the theater building from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The second day of the conference started out on an un-operatic note for me. My sister was graduating residency that morning and the ceremony was being live-streamed from Seattle. I set up to watch it, paying a whopping $10 for the internet only to realize that it wasn't going to work at all. But given that I was already going to be late to the first session, I decided to rest up a bit for the remaining event that day.

The first session I attended today was given by David McIntosh of DSMcIntosh. I remembered the guy from last year, and was so thrilled when I realized it was the same man who'd had me in stitches in Houston. He gave a phenomenal talk on "Finding a Better Business Model." To be honest none of the ideas were that new or really that innovative, but he presented them in such a way that you had to think again about whether you had actually been taking the best advantage of the products and customers you had at your fingertips. Of course "products" and "customers" (in most cases, this meant audience members of course) are not really relevant as such to our mission at The Opera Insider, but of course it all relates to us in that the "customers" we hope will be our members, engaging in discussion over the state of opera in America and around the world today.

The food at lunch was decidedly unappetizing but the company made up for it. The General Manager of Opera in the Heights, Bill Haase, whom I had met last year in his hometown of Houston, invited me to sit with him and we discussed some exciting projects he has up his sleeve with his company, specifically a project to integrate the East Side of town more into the operatic life of the city. With such a large hispanic community, he says it's just not possible to maintain an opera presence without making significant inroads into that cultural landscape. His answer? Zarzuela! It's upbeat, it's different, it's in a language that is familiar to this demographic, and it's not quite as intricate as opera is traditionally. I can't wait to see what he does with this idea and TOI will support him all the way!

A discussion with Placido Domingo followed lunch, and there is little to say about this man except that he is indeed the most gracious, the most passionate, the must devoted man we must have in opera today. Long-winded perhaps, but really all that he had to say was so on the mark, that even when he strayed utterly from the question that had been asked him, no one cared. He spoke about his beginnings in music with his parents who ran a small opera company in Mexico when he was a child, and spoke about the joys (and obstacles) of running an opera company. Huge applause of course followed his statement that although he thought he would retire after his most recent runs as Simon Boccanegra, he will in fact keep singing. And at 69 he is in the most amazing physical and vocal shape. Truly remarkable.

I tried to meet with Lee Abrahamian of the Metropolitan Opera's communications department today. We had tried unsuccessfully to contact her several times before the conference so I was excited to meet her in person and ask her some questions. Sadly she never showed up... so I ended up attending a Focus Session presented by Jan Hultin of the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Savonlinna, Finland. They have just launched a new and exciting project called "Opera by You 2012" (, which is an attempt to put together an opera with the input of audience members and industry professionals from around the world. No surprise here that I thought it was a pretty good idea!!!

That was the end of the day for me! Sadly the Anniversary Dinner and Reception was sold out (although at almost $100 a person, it was priced just slightly out of my range!) but I had much better plans anyway! My friend Courtney and I met over 15 years ago when we both attended a year-long Study Abroad program in Barcelona, Spain... I attended her wedding in 2004 and I haven't seen her since. Three babies later, she looks amazing, and is hoping for a fourth child. Makes opera look like a piece of cake!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 1 - Opera America conference

The first day of the conference started off with a marvelous keynote speech by composer and stage director Daniel Catan, originally from Mexico but now a U.S. citizen and a resident of Los Angeles. He remarked how, in their time, operas premiered in quick succession in various opera houses within the same country, even within a short distance of one another, and he wondered at the reasons why, even with all the technological advances we have on our side during this day and age, this does not seem possible today. Tosca, he noted, had toured the world within a year... why then could premieres from here in the U.S. theoretically not do the same?

After the opening address I attended a speech by an investment strategist at Wells Fargo Bank, an excellent speaker who had the audience practically rolling in the aisles with his dead-pan humor about the current (and future) economic situation. It's all relevant, so very relevant to opera today, and he specifically spoke about the trends that the economic downturn has had on donors (mainly individual donors), and what the future of patronage might look like. Not so great, to be honest. This was followed by the obligatory schmooze session over coffee, where I had the chance to peruse the various companies and organizations that had tables set out in the exhibit hall. Several publishers, lots of opera companies from around the world... very interesting.

A discussion with Achim Freyer, the controversial stage director (and co-lighting designer, interestingly enough) of the LA Opera Ring Cycle, followed. I wish I had been able to understand more of the discussion but between his broken English and his naturally quiet speaking voice, a lot was lost on me. Add to that the fact that I was sitting behind a very tall woman and therefore unable to read his lips, and I really didn't get much out of it sadly.

I had lunch with three very interesting people: the two ladies who run Opera on Tap (, a fantastic organization that now has chapters across the country and seeks to widen opera audiences by bringing the art form to them in unusual places. They are doing very well, indeed. Also present was Tim Ribchester, a musicologist, coach, conductor, and pianist from Philly (via Denver, Edinburgh, and London).

The evening finished with an absolutely unforgettable production of Wagner's Die Walkure at LA Opera. The singing was superb, probably some of the best I have ever heard, and you would not in a million years have guessed that the lead was being sung by someone almost 70 years of age. Domingo certainly does have longevity!!

I would write more about it if I could but I think that it will take me a few days to process. I'm on the "I love it" side of things. "You'll either love it, or you'll hate it," Marc Stern had said the night before, and it is absolutely obvious to me why he made this kind of statement. I was blown away though.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A little delayed... Day 0.5 Opera America conference Welcome Reception

You'd think that in all of downtown LA you'd pretty much be assured of wireless access... but that appears not to have been the case. And you can FORGET getting it for free. So I'm a bit late in posting these but better late than never, I suppose.

This is only my second Opera America conference, but I'm already a fan. This year is a lot bigger than last year, at least double or maybe even triple the number of attendees as last year in Houston. It's slightly harder to mingle in crowds that big, and of course you do have to deal with the odd clique: a huge group coming from an opera company across the country who already all know each other and aren't nearly as keen to start up a conversation with a stranger.

The day started off Wednesday, actually, with the welcome reception which took place at the LA Opera House on the 5th floor, in a beautiful room overlooking the main plaza. Everyone gathered around 6 pm, schmoozing began immediately of course (business cards flying about everywhere, perky attitudes, and strained necks to see who might be there that you recognized!), wine and champagne flowed freely, and oh yes, of course the indefatigable Placido Domingo showed up, too! He is "truly the artist who needs no introduction," Opera America CEO and President Marc Scorca said of him during his introductory words. Domingo, who has been in the opera world for about half a century now in various capacities encouraged all those present to use these days to "discuss" and come up with new ways of thinking and talking about opera, the ultimate art form. Marc Stern, Chairman and CEO of LA Opera noted that opera fans are the craziest bunch of fans ever... except the Lakers! We at The Opera Insider certainly believe, and hope, that to be true.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

See ya Seattle!

Wow - it sure doesn't feel like six days since I last wrote. I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people in the last couple days, both in Seattle and already here in LA after being here only about 12 hours!

I must say a very special thank you at this point to all the members of The Opera Insider. We've surpassed our goal of 500 before launch by quite a bit, and are still growing. Recently we added Colombia and Finland to our list of countries represented as well, which takes us to a whopping 28 countries. We are just a bit proud of that.

My last day in Seattle, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Eleanor Stallcop-Horrox, a spinto soprano living in Seattle. She's one of those people you meet and has you smiling for the entire time you're with her no matter what she's talking about. Here's a clip of her singing "Fruehling" from Strauss's "Four last songs" in Seattle on March 24th, 2010.

She hasn't had it easy over the years, but she's still singing her heart out, making her own opportunities, and has beautiful things to say about opera in general.

This morning in LA I met another fantastic woman in the opera world: stage director Stephanie Vlahos. She talked a lot about "concept operas," a topic that is of great interest to our readers, I know. "It cannot be done if not done organically," she said, which I thought was just exactly and precisely the right way to look at it. She is working hard to break through the traditional views that people have of opera and make it more relevant in a contemporary setting... but ONLY, she says, if the primary forces that drive the opera are ones that we can understand today. If the characters, the situations, the settings are applicable to concepts, conflicts, and situations we see on a day-to-day basis in our lives, then it will work to transport/transform these operas onto the modern-day stage.

She made an interesting observation as well about the predominance of males in the opera world, at least at the higher levels of management. I was happy to notice then, directly after I met with her, a focus session at the Opera America conference that is specifically for Women in Opera. Too bad you had to be invited specially... they never mentioned it as an option so I'll be very curious to hear what is discussed!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Banding together

I was truly amazed to see the reactions to the news of opera singer John Young's unfortunate battle with throat cancer. Without health insurance John was struggling to pay for his treatment. Friends of his - perhaps even strangers - banded together and put on a benefit recital last night, June 2nd, at Trinity Church in Manhattan. Sadly I could not attend, but I have no doubt that the place must have been packed as I continuously saw - on Facebook mostly but also emails from friends and friends of friends - postings about the concert, and information from people advocating for John, even asking people to donate if they could not attend.

I have no doubt this would have occurred in any other circle, but it is noteworthy I think that at the drop of a hat, singers will donate their talent, their livelihood, their all to support one another. Haiti. Chile. Breast Cancer. You name it... that's what we have: our voices, and we are prepared to use them for good pretty much anytime.

I think that is truly admirable, and we wish John Young a full and speedy recovery.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Projects, projects everywhere

The greatest part about having friends and family spread across the country is that it really allows us to take advantage of meeting people face to face. Phone and email are fine, of course, but in person is just way better.

Today I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with Emilie Elmore, Manager of Education & Community Programs at Opera Colorado, a position she's held for just five months. With a background in Visual Arts, Emilie is still getting her feet wet, so to speak, in the opera world, but it also gives her a unique perspective on creating new and innovative programs for children and young adults in the area.

Emilie is spearheading a fantastic new program called Generation OC, which will have its pilot program this season. It's set up to allow students not only to go behind the scenes but also to experience the inner workings of a non-profit arts organization. They'll be encouraged to participate in everything from creating a budget to writing a mini-grant, interviewing artists and staff, and working on marketing and publicity materials.

I am excited to see the relationship between The Opera Insider and Opera Colorado's Education Program develop in the years to come.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Finishing XHTML conversion

Yes, and for those of you who don't know what that means, I am with you... or at least I was until quite recently. Let me explain, in the technologically limited language I'm blessed to possess. It's what happens when the design of a website is complete and it gets turned into real, live website pages. Basically. It doesn't mean that these pages do anything or have functionality, but rather that someone has effectively breathed life into them and given them some dimension beyond just a two-dimensional design on paper. And that's where we are now with The Opera Insider. Just a few more pages to convert, and then it's onto functionality, you know, click here to Sign up, Click here to return to your profile, Click here to read our Terms of Use... all that jazz.

We can't wait for you all to see it, and to give us critiques and feedback. We're also so very close to 500 registered users... just 13 more to go, and we could sure use your help to get the word out to get us to that magic number. All those who register before our launch will receive a free one-year membership after the initial free trial period so you really can't lose!

Just visit our website here, and click on Join Us at the top, enter your information and that's it!