Alternative Enterprises

 E-mail Newsletter

Vol. 2   No. 1                                         Winter, 2009

Welcome to the next installment of the Alternative Enterprises E-mail Newsletter!  I sincerely apologize for the delay in getting this 2nd issue of the newsletter out.  We were really busy this past summer and fall!  There are many changes and an addition to the Alternative for 2009.  Please look for a sneak peek of these at the end of the newsletter.

I'd like to remind you all to visit our Links page on the website as I have been adding useful links all year with tools and info to help you in your musical endeavors.  Your feedback on the website and this newsletter is always welcome and appreciated, so let us know what you think!

We'll always have this newsletter available on the website, as well as links to previous editions.

If you are receiving this and are not an "opt-in" member of the Alternative newsletter email list, please visit our homepage (just click on the banner at the top) and sign up for updates and newsletters, issued as many times as I can, usually only once to three times a year.  Your email address is safe with us as we get spammed more than most, and will NOT share or sell your email!

What's been happening at the Alternative?

Nikki & Tammy

Nikki & Tammy have released their 11-song Gospel CD "I'd Rather Have Jesus" in April of 2008.  This is an interesting collection because it contains a combination of karaoke, accapella, guitar/vocal, and several where I did all the backing instruments.  All the songs are older popular traditional hymns such as "Amazing Grace", "How Great Thou Art", and "The Old Rugged Cross", as well as the title cut.


Tony Ansems

Tony Ansems Chairman and founder of Songwriters Of Wisconsin International (SOWI) recorded and released a 16-song Dutch Karaoke CD.  Yes, you read that right--He sings in Dutch!  He took top hit songs and re-wrote them to tell various stories in Dutch.  The CD is creating quite a "stir" in the Netherlands, where Tony is originally from.  Tony also released a 12-song Christmas karaoke CD in November for, and about his family, especially the grandchildren.  You can read more about Tony and SOWI at the all new SOWI website below (more on that later).

Gary DeBruin-Turn It Up!

Gary DeBruin finished his 2nd karaoke CD in July.  Gary was in several bands years ago but never recorded.  With my help and the help of a few other clients and associates we were able to collect some of the best karaoke tracks for rock we could find.  Like his 1st CD I got to add one instrument that was missing to one of the songs.  Gary can really reach the high notes and showcases it on several Journey tunes.  There have been rumblings about Gary re-entering the live music scene for one last Hurrah…stay tuned!.

Katelyn Van Handel recorded her first karaoke CD (10 songs) in August.  Katelyn is only 16 years old and kind of reminds us of LeAnn Rimes.  We wish her the best of luck with her singing career, and hope to record a 2nd CD this year.

Ricki Bellos a singer/songwriter and SOWI member from Door County recorded and released her 4th CD in September appropriately titled "Ricki 4".  Ricki plays acoustic guitar and sings, and plays electric piano on one of the songs.

Rosetti & Wiggley

Rosetti & Wigley released a 12-song tribute sampler CD in September showcasing their ability to do the old "Rat Pack" style 30's and 40's standards.  They have several other tribute shows such as "Elvis Presley" and a 50's-60's show.  They appear all over the Midwest doing the Hotel and Casino circuit.  They have been booked so much lately that we haven't been able to finish the full CD yet!  Eventually they plan to do a CD, or at least a sampler for all their tribute shows.  They are a two-man show with MIDI background tracks and Jim playing live guitar.

Pam Pamperin, Harpist

Early last year I had the rare opportunity to record TWO harpists in January.  One was Julie Meinke of Menasha, Wisconsin, who owns a Lyon and Healy electro-acoustic harp.  The other was Pamela Pamperin from Sacramento, California.  Pam came back in September and recorded 8 additional tunes.  She will be releasing both a Christmas CD and a "traditional" songs CD, except of course for the Metallica, Pink Floyd, Scorpions, and a rendition of "Margaritaville"!

  Julie Meinke

Julie finished and released her 20-song Christmas CD titled "Shepherds Had An Angel" in early December.  It is available for sale directly from her at her website below until next Holiday season when it will be back in the Christian book stores and music stores.  Email her from there and she will include free shipping.  The CD features both familiar Christmas carols and many that are not commonly heard or linked to the Christmas Holiday.

Harp Music For Memorable Events

The Bossy Vowel Game

This past fall I started on an interesting and different kind of project--a series of songs to aid children in learning reading concepts. Laurel Collins, an elementary reading teacher (and former music teacher) from Antigo, WI took traditional tunes and re-wrote the words to help children struggling with reading to learn the concepts through singing along to catchy melodies, using hand signals, and picture illustrations.  The products are eye-popping with color, and the songs have MY kids singing them!  The main product is really 4 books in one, a music CD, and picture illustration package.  I also just completed her website that she will be using to sell the products to homeschoolers looking for innovative and interactive new methods, as well as providing new tools for elementary teachers.  There will be many more products in the future and you can learn more about this interesting project at her website:

Songwriters Of Wisconsin International

I would like to take this opportunity once again to raise awareness of SOWI (Songwriters Of Wisconsin International).  If you are a songwriter, your $30 annual membership can provide many benefits. Song critique meetings are held on the last Thursday of the month (except November and December) at Sabre Lanes bowling alley in Menasha.  Founded in 1983 by chairman Tony Ansems, SOWI has expanded globally, with members in many different countries.  Tony celebrated the 25th anniversary of SOWI at the annual banquet and seminar in September and was presented with a plaque and a scrapbook.


The big news is that this summer I did a brand new website for SOWI.  It has garnered rave reviews from all, and features a uniform look, ease of navigation of 8 pages plus a new SOWI MySpace done by songwriter of the year, Kevin Van Pay.  Website design is becoming a big part of what I do here at the Alternative.  Please visit the Alternative Website Design page for more info.

The June, 2009 SOWI meeting will be held right here at the Alternative!  It doesn't cost anything to attend, so pencil in June 25th on your calendar.  Good music, fresh veggies and a great time.  Last year nearly 20 people attended.

You can find much more info on the contest, meetings, and SOWI in general at the SOWI website:

Songwriters of Wisconsin International

2009 Pricing and Policy Update

There have been a number of changes here at the Alternative for 2009, including written policies and some price increases.  Recording will now be at $40/hr. for all activities except recording multiple instruments at once (i.e. full band) will be at $45/hr.  Website design has also gone up (details are already posted on the Alternative Web Design page).  Consulting and lessons remain the same as 2008.  We are doing this less for the sake that our costs are going up (like everything), but more so because we have invested thousands in new gear in the last few years, and I am putting out a much higher quality product than 5 years ago, which was the last time we raised rates.  Also, the quality of the CD design and website design has soared over the last year.  This still puts us well under the rates offered by other professional services.

We will now be publishing pricing and policy sheets for all divisions of the Alternative.  This will help to insure that everyone understands the few policies we have.  The new policies and all the pricing rates will be posted to our new and improved website, which should be up by the end of February.  In the meantime, if you are interested in a service and the pricing/policy isn't posted yet, please call or email me.

The new website won't be a complete re-do, but rather a new drop-down menu navigation system as I will be adding 11 more pages and it already suffers from "too-many-button-itis" ;-).  There will be only 5 tabs at the top of all the pages, one for each unique area of the Alternative, and everything to do with that area will drop down below that tab.  This will simplify navigation greatly, and you will be able to get to any page from any other page, which you can't always do now.  The 5th tab will be all the pricing and policy sheets, so all of our services, prices, and policies will be published.

New Band Coaching Service

The Alternative is pleased to announce a new service under the private consulting heading--Alternative Band Coaching.  This rather unique addition to our Consulting division is hard to find elsewhere. With all my various experience with most aspects of the music industry, I believe I bring the full package to the table. If your band is struggling with issues of any kind, it is likely that I can help you to overcome them all.

Here is the preliminary list of ways I can help out bands:

  • PA Equipment Needs, Recommendations, and Selection (I’ll figure out what you need to buy or replace)
  • PA Hookup, Dial-in, and Operation (I’ll teach you and/or your soundman how to run your system)
  • Proper Stage Setup (For best sound and minimum feedback)
  • Proper Instrument Sound and Control (How to control your volume and sound)
  • Instrument Lessons (I teach most instruments, so if someone’s not playing a part right, I can help)
  • Band Politics (Not getting along?  Problem member?  No problem!)
  • Hierarchy (Although there doesn’t need to be a "leader", I will help you develop and agree on who does what)
  • Band Image and Promotion (Advice on how to best present yourselves, and how to promote the band)
  • Organization (A place for everything, and everything in it’s place!)
  • Professionalism (How to develop and maintain a professional attitude towards agents, venue owners, fans, and each other)
  • Much, Much More!

We are looking forward to a very exciting and busy 2009.  Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about the website, this newsletter, or anything else.


Patrick Leigh (Smolinski)       (715) 752-3085