Louise Mandrell Theater: Updates
I sent out messages to my friends that have worked with me and asked them if they would like me to post an update on what they are doing. These are the ones that responded:
Rick King [Conductor/Arranger/Keyboards]: Rick and his wife Rhonda own and operate Bluff Mountain Inn where Rick is also the professional photographer. He still finds time to arrange and play music. Rick has worked with me for more than 30 years and still when I do special projects, he's my first call. I am so proud of all of his accomplishments since I left East TN, but I steal him away every chance i get.
Pedro Tomas [Singer/Lead Dancer]: Pedro has been keeping busy as a Professor of Spanish at UT, an Adjunct Professor of Spanish at Walters State Community College, Coordinator of the Backbeat/The Premier Performing Troupe at Walter State Community College [Sevier Co. Campus], and some coordination for other projects at UT. He also works part-time at the WonderWorks gift shop. Pedro came to see me not long ago and it was great to catch up.
Jennifer Gustafsson [Singer/Dancer]: Jennifer still lives in Pigeon Forge where she is a real estate agent and enjoys keeping up with friends. It was not surprising that Jen went into real estate. Besides being talented, she's extremely smart.
Matt George | Michael Headla [Singer/Dancer]: When you work for a cruise line you don't get much time to come home, but Matt & Michael took the time to come see me on their last trip home a couple of months ago to catch up and they had a chance to fuss over Larkin.
Matt is a singer with Holland America Line. I had a chance to watch him perform on one of my cruises two years ago and he certainly steals the show.
Michael is a Cruise Director for Holland America Line.
Mike Sherman [Guitar]: Mike is playing guitar at Dollywood and does various recording, production, and performance gigs in the Knoxville and San Diego area. There was a large group of us that came from Nashville to East TN, but Mike came all the way from California and ended up loving it so much that he never left.
Jonas Weathers [Sax/Flute/Singer]: Jonas works full time for Wyndham Resorts where he is the Director of Quality Assurance and as the lead singer/saxophonist for a Nashville based group called "Soul Soup". Jonas also enjoys racing BMX with his two sons, Christian and Kadin, recently placing 4th at Nationals! I've known Jonas so long that I introduced him to his wife, Lisa, and it's a good thing that I did because now he's so busy that Lisa is the only way I can keep up with him.
Mike Swope [Drummer]: Mike is currently working with artist Michelle Murray. Michelle is very fortunate to have someone as talented as Mike in her group.
Jill Smith [Singer/Dancer]: Jill, now a mom to a 3 year old son named McCoy, is currently in three shows at the Smith Family Dinner Theater. She also serves as the State Director for the Tennessee Cinderella Scholarship Pageant and as the Director of Sevier County Fairest of the Fair Pageant. Jill and I met through her father who stood in an autograph line when she was little and got her an autograph on a dollar. I still keep up with Jill and her mom, dad, and family are doing great.
Doug Rinaldo [Sax/Flute]: Doug is still living in the Smoky Mountain area freelancing. For the last 5 years he has been a Representative for Lunsford's Musical Instruments in Knoxville, helping local school band programs with their musical needs. Doug was someone everyone enjoyed working with.
Trevor & Ashley Reddick :My bass player, Trevor Reddick, and singer/dancer Ashley Matthews were great people to work with and fell in love while working at our theater. Trevor and Ashley married in 2006 and now have 3 children ages 2, 4, & 6. They were a joy to be around as a couple and a blessing to watch as a family.
Trevor has continued to play shows in the area such as the Smoky Mountain Opry and Dollywood's Great American Country show, backing Grand Ole Opry stars and new radio artists. In 2006 he opened his own recording studio where he has worked for many artists including Dolly Parton, Aaron Tippin, and American Idol Finalist, Janelle Arthur.
Ashley has been the Choir Director for New Hope Church in Kodak, TN where she is now a worship leader. In 2008 she started a Contemporary Christian Music trio called Voice of Mercy. She travels with the group about twice a month singing and ministering in churches and at conferences all over the country.
Rusty Smith [Trumpet]:
In August Rusty will be headed back to school to finish up his Doctorate in trumpet at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. He recently accepted a position as a graduate assistant as well. In addition to still working as a freelance musician as well, he has a small studio of students that he teaches privately. We always referred to Rusty as Big Rusty. Most thought it was because of his build, but the truth is it was because of his big heart.
Triumphant Quartet: I will be seeing Triumphant October 2nd at the annual SGMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony/Singing News Fan Awards. I am honored and humbled to be receiving the James D. Vaughan "Impact Award"! While the Louise Mandrell Theater was in Pigeon Forge, it was incredible to see five extremely talented men come together to form Triumphant, a group that has been together for eleven years now.