Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale with Max Gomez at The Birchmere

22 02 2013

Thanks to my friend Nancy Dunham, a freelance writer, I got to photograph this concert at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on Tuesday night. I also got to meet Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale and Max Gomez after the show.

I must confess that I hadn’t heard of any of them before, so I wasn’t familiar with their music. The Birchmere was the first stop on the “Buddy and Jim Tour 2013,” which showcases Americana/country duets by these two singer/songwriter/music directors. Their band member include Fats Kaplin on pedal steel guitar and fiddle, Jay Weaver on bass (Weaver is also part of the contemporary Christian band, Big Daddy Weave), and Marco Giovino on drums. It was a really great show!

Buddy Miller is a producer for singers including Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Robert Plant. He is currently working with T Bone Burnett to produce the music in NBC’s Nashville. Jim Lauderdale is a Grammy-award-winning songwriter who has written hits for George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless and Shelby Lynne. He is the longtime host of the Americana Music Awards. Buddy and Jim are hosts of the Buddy & Jim Radio Show on Sirius XM Outlaw Channel 60.

The opening act was singer/songwriter Max Gomez, whose music was part folk/part rock and highly enjoyable. (I couldn’t get over how much he resembles Jimmy Fallon!) I told Nancy that I thought his voice was reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor and Harry Chapin all rolled into one, with bluesy raspy tones woven in to make it his entirely his own.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Hearing Loss Magazine, 2009 recap

1 01 2010

The first issue in 2010 of the Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), will arrive in member mailboxes in about a week. I design the bimonthly magazine and provide photography services as well. Reflecting back on 2009, we profiled Dr. Mark Ross, audiologist and regular contributing Hearing Loss Magazine author; Jennifer Cheng, an epidemiologist and competitive cyclist; Dr. Vinton Cerf, also known as the “Father of the Internet,” and his wife, Sigrid; Ret Cpt Mark Brogan and his wife, Sunny; and Deanne Bray, who stars in the NBC series, Heroes. These cover subjects are in the links below. To view the corresponding pdf links, click on the link, then on the same link again in the next window. The pdf should begin to download and open automatically.

January/February 2009: Dr. Mark Ross is an audiologist and recipient of HLAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008. Dr. Ross received his BA and MA from Brooklyn College in 1957 and 1958 and his PhD from Stanford University in 1962. He is a professor emeritus in audiology at the University of Connecticut, and has also worked as a clinical audiologist, a director of a school for the deaf and as director of research and training at the NY League for the Hard of Hearing. He is currently serving as a consultant to the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center at Gallaudet University. Ross is a regular contributor to Hearing Loss Magazine. His article in this issue, Revisiting the Perennial Question: What is the “Best” Hearing Aid?, is available for download here: BestHearingAid. Also in this issue, Dr. John Niparko and cochlear implant audiologist Courtney Carver‘s article, Successful Aging and Our Hearing, which can be downloaded here: NiparkoCarverFeature. (Dr. Niparko just happens to be my wonderful otolaryngologist, and the “model” in this feature is Fred Anzaldua, a family friend and HLAA member from San Antonio, Texas.) Cover photograph of Dr. Mark Ross © Cindy Dyer

March/April 2009: HLAA’s annual convention was held in Nashville, Tennessee, June 18-21, 2009. HLAA also celebrated its 30th birthday in 2009. Dr. Vinton Cerf, a “Father of the Internet,” was the Opening Session keynote speaker. Dr. Cerf was our cover feature for the May/June 2009 issue (see next entry). Nashville was a fantastic venue for the event! You can view the schedule of workshops, speakers, and social event for Convention 2009 here:  Convention2009Teaser. This issue also featured an excellent article titled, Why is Everyone So Mad? Getting a Grip on Hearing Loss. Author Sam Trychin is a lecturer at Penn State. Dr. Trychin conducts training programs, classes, and workshops for people who are hard of hearing, their families, and professionals who provide services to them. Trychin’s article can be downloaded here: WhyIsEveryoneSoMad

May/June 2009: In March 2009 I had the immense pleasure of meeting and photographing Dr. Vinton Cerf and his wife, Sigrid, for the cover and interview by HLAA member and freelance writer Barbara Chertok, who is a former speechreading and lipreading teacher as well as a bilateral cochlear implant recipient. Dr. Cerf is a hearing aid wearer and Sigrid is a binaural cochlear implant recipient. Dr. Cerf is currently vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google. (Sigrid’s otolaryngologist is also Dr. John Niparko, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland.) Learn more about Dr. Cerf and Sigrid in my May 10, 2009 posting here. Read Barbara Chertok’s interview with the Cerf’s here: DrVintonSigridCerf. This issue also included an article titled, Music, MP3 Players and Hearing Health, by Patricia M. Chute, an audiologist and dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. This article is a must-read for adults and parents of children who use MP3 players incessantly! Read Chute’s article here: MP3HearingHealth. Cover photograph of Vinton and Sigrid Cerf © Cindy Dyer

July/August 2009: Jennifer Cheng, a competitive cyclist and infectious diseases epidemiologist from Washington, D.C., was our cover subject and author of the article, Racing With (Not Through) My Hearing Loss, in this month’s issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. Jen was diagnosed with progressive sensorineural hearing loss at age 17 and wears a hearing aid. Born and raised in Seattle, she graduated from George Washington University with a Master of Public Health degree in International Health in 2005. She is a competitive road cyclist for Team CycleLife powered by Specialized, a promoter of women’s cycling and racing in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Cheng received the HLAA Outstanding Young Adult Award at HLAA’s Convention 2009 in Nashville. You can read Jennifer Cheng’s article in the link here: JenniferChengFeature. Also in this issue—an article by Dr. Mark Ross titled, Listening to Music Through Hearing Aids: The Music Program, available for download here: MusicThroughHearingAids Cover photograph of Jennifer Cheng © Cindy Dyer

September/October 2009: Ret Cpt Mark Brogan and his wife, Sunny, were profiled in an article by Barbara Kelley, editor of Hearing Loss Magazine. I had the immense honor of meeting and photographing Mark and Sunny in June during HLAA’s Convention 2009 in Nashville. Mark shared his story (along with scars and his amazing Purple Heart tattoo, courtesy of Miami Ink)—it was a humbling experience for me. Mark was also a guest speaker at Convention 2009. He was a United States Calvary Officer in A Troop, 4th Squadron 14th Calvary, 172 Stryker Brigade Combat team, deployed from Fort Wainwright, Alaska to Iraq to lead a platoon of infantry soldiers. A TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivor, Mark was wounded while on a foot patrol in the Al Anbar Province in Iraq, on April 11, 2006. In addition to the injuries to his skull and arm, his right eardrum was perforated and he has severe-to-profound hearing loss. He wears hearing aids in both ears. Mark was medically retired in 2007. He is a veterans’ advocate and a commander in the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 356 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Read about Mark’s incredible journey from intensive rehab to reconstructing his life, in his blog here. Read a downloadable pdf of Barbara Kelley’s feature article on Mark Brogan here: MarkBroganFeature Also in this issue—an investigative article by Dr. Mark Ross titled, “What About that Thing I Saw on TV that Helps You Hear Better? It’s only $14.99!” is available for download here: SoundAmpProducts Cover photograph of Mark and Sunny Brogan © Cindy Dyer

November/December 2009: Actress Deanne Bray was interviewed by Barbara Kelley, Hearing Loss Magazine editor, in an article titled, Deanne Bray: A Hearing Loss ‘Hero’. Bray was most recently known for her starring role in the PAX-TV series, Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye. The show was loosely based on the true experiences of Sue Thomas, a woman with a profound hearing loss, who worked for the FBI in 1978 doing undercover surveillance by reading lips. Deanne’s latest role is that of Emma, in the NBC hit series, Heroes. Deanne has a severe hearing loss (70 dB to 90 dB) and wears a hearing aid in her left ear. She reads lips to augment what sounds the hearing aid provides. She also uses sign language, assistive listening devices, and captioning to navigate her personal and professional life as an actress. She is married to Troy Kotsur, an actor who is Deaf. Troy was on the Lifetime series, Strong Medicine, and guest starred in Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye. He was also on a special Deaf themed episode (December 13, 2008) of CSI: NY, and an episode of Scrubs. They have a four-year-old daughter, Kyra Monique. Learn more about Deanne on her website here. Read Barbara Kelley’s interview with Deanne here: DeanneBrayInterview. Also in this issue—Author Nan Johnson describes her history of progressive hearing loss and her decision to seek a second implant, in her article: Going Bilateral with Cochlear Implants: A Personal Trip to “Stereophonic Hearing,” available for download here: GoingBilateralCochlear Cover photograph of Deanne Bray by Felicity Murphy.

Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, Costco membership, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.





A wounded warrior’s journey

3 09 2009

MarkSunnyCoverI borrowed the title for this post from (Ret.) Army Cpt. Mark Brogan’s blog. I had the immense honor of meeting and photographing Mark and his wife, Sunny, during the Hearing Loss Association of America‘s convention in Nashville in June. I found him (and Sunny as well) to be very candid, friendly, sweet and remarkably resilient. Mark shared his story (along with scars and his amazing Purple Heart tattoo, courtesy of Miami Ink)—it was a humbling experience for me. Mark was a guest speaker and the cover subject of our September 2009 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in my mailbox today. Mark just turned 29 on August 31. Happy belated birthday, Mark!

He was a United States Calvary Officer in A Troop, 4th Squadron 14th Calvary, 172 Stryker Brigade Combat team, deployed from Fort Wainwright, Alaska to Iraq to lead a platoon of infantry soldiers. A TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivor, Mark was wounded while on a foot patrol in the Al Anbar Province in Iraq, on April 11, 2006. In addition to the injuries to his skull and arm, his right eardrum was perforated and he has severe-to-profound hearing loss. He wears hearing aids in both ears. Here is his incredible journey from intensive rehab to reconstructing his life, excerpted from his blog:

4/14/2009

Alive Day

The 11th of April, a day of no meaning for most of the world sans a select few. Three years ago I was unknowingly about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. I don’t remember knowing what the actual date was. Dates begin to blur together after several months of daily operations with no weekends and set work days. They just become another number in an operations order letting you know when you’ve got to execute your mission.

MarkTatooI remember the cool crisp air and “moon dust” that swirled around our vehicles as we headed into the town for our mission that day. The horrors that my men were to witness that day were forever deleted from my memory. I would stay in a comatose state for the next 18 days. Somewhere in the hazy surreality, I began to slowly realize my new reality. That day would change my life forever. During a patrol I led my patrol on, a suicide bomber strapped with three mortars walked around a corner in a market. He killed one of my soldiers and injured two, including myself. I was terribly hurt. My soldiers thought there was no way anybody could have survived such a blast. My skull had been penetrated by shrapnel and my arm nearly severed. Later during my evacuation in Germany they would discover shrapnel in my spinal cord which they assumed would cause me to be a quadriplegic.

My wife was called with the worst of news. Come to Germany and make a decision, he is most likely not going to survive and if so he would be comatose for life, quadraplegic, lose his arm, etc. She firmly told them, “you bring him to me, then I will make the decision.” Once I arrived in D.C., she believed that I was going to be all right and I pulled through.

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You can read the rest of Mark’s post about his injuries here. Mark and Sunny recently participated in the Veterans Retreat Introduction to Aviation and Flight Training course. Read Mark’s entry for the “Heroes in Paradise Best Vacation in the World” contest here. Mark was medically retired in 2007. He is a veterans’ advocate and a commander in the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 356 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Read a downloadable pdf of Barbara Kelley’s feature article on Mark Brogan by clicking on the link below:
Mark Brogan Feature

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Cover girl Jennifer Cheng

17 07 2009

JenCheng CoverIn May I photographed Jennifer Cheng for the July/August 2009 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). We met at Founder’s Park in Alexandria on Mother’s Day (when we scheduled the shoot, we didn’t realize it would fall on that holiday—parking was scarce and we attracted a lot of curious onlookers during the shoot!). She’s not only the cover girl for this issue—she also wrote the feature article about living with hearing loss. Jennifer was diagnosed with progressive sensorineural hearing loss ten years ago at age 17 and wears a hearing aid. She is an infectious diseases epidemiologist for the United States Public Health Services. She graduated from George Washington University with a Master of Public Health degree in International Health in May 2005 and has since been working with the Division of Immigration Health Services.

Jen AwardShe was born and raised in Seattle where her family and childhood friends still reside. She is a competitive road cyclist for Team CycleLife powered by Specialized, a promoter of women’s cycling and racing in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Read more about Team CycleLife on their blog here. I caught up with Jen again during the recent HLAA Convention in Nashville, where she received the HLAA Outstanding Young Adult Award.

Patrick Holkins, who was the cover feature for the September/October 2008 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, presented the award to Jennifer on Sunday, June 21 in Nashville.

Patrick and Jennifer are both HLAA members and have worked in HLAA’s headquarters. In 2009 Patrick launched HearingLossNation, the social network for the young and hard of hearing. Jennifer participated in the National Capital Area Walk4Hearing event last year. This year’s honorary chair for the event is Washington Redskins starting safety Reed Doughty, who was our cover feature for the November/December 2008 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. I photographed Reed and his family earlier this summer and will post a few of those photos soon.

Jen Cheng PagesJennifer’s article is available for download in pdf format here: Jen Cheng Feature. Click on the link, then click on “Jen Cheng Feature” again and the pdf will open on screen.





Another night at the Opry

29 06 2009

During our behind-the-scenes tour at the Grand Ole Opry, our guide Jamie introduced us to the security guard at the entrance where the artists enter the building. She mentioned that no one gets past him without identification. There was a blonde-haired woman standing at the guard’s desk who looked remarkably like Rhonda Vincent to me, except she had blonde hair (Rhonda Vincent’s hair is naturally a very dark brown). In response to Jamie stating that “no one gets past the guard,” she looked over at us and said something like, “tell me about it. I had to show him I’m in the program guide to convince him who I was.” We all laughed. Barbara’s husband, Bill, who is a big Rhonda Vincent fan, linked arms with her and said something like, “Darlin, come with us,” or something to that effect. Funny thing is, he didn’t recognize her even then until we were at the end of the tour and we told him who she was! Hal Ketchum and his daughter, Sarah Rosie, walked right past Debbie and me backstage and since his hair wasn’t its usual gray, we thought he was a band member!

SIDEBAR: Jamie took us to the historic Studio A, where Hee Haw was filmed. I grew up watching Hee Haw and just had to go stand in the exact spot where the background haystacks would have been. I could just picture Buck Owens and Roy Clark doing their “I’m a pickin’…and I’m a grinnin'” spiel. It always impressed me that Roy Clark could play the banjo, guitar and the mandolin. Such talent! Mike Snider (who was on the roster this night) stars in Pickin’ & Grinnin’ with Mike Snider: A Grand Ole Comedy Revue, which debuted just a few days ago in Studio A (the television portion of the Grand Ole Opry).

FYI: In the photo with Alison Krauss holding a hymn book (9th photo down), that’s her (handsome!) brother, Viktor, accompanying her on acoustic bass.

I shot these photos from the second to the last row of the Opry. Yes, in the waaaay back. (In fact, I just read that there are 4,400 seats in the building. I’m pretty sure I was in seat # 4,399.) I shot with my Nikon D300 set on 1600 and higher, depending on the light fluctuations, and used my Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR lens, handheld (except when shooting vertically—then I used my sister’s handy shoulder as a prop—thanks, Deboo). The images aren’t too shabby from that far back (at least you know who the artist is in each one), although it would have been such a treat to be up front for optimum photography! I used this same lens when I shot the images from our first visit to the Opry in 2008 here. The Opry show was back in the Ryman Auditorium at the time and we had better seats to that show—I was shooting at no more than 800 ISO during that performance, so the images are a bit better.

I included the last photo of John Conlee’s dialogue during real-time captioning, a first for the Grand Ole Opry! It was great to be there during its debut and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) hopes they will implement it as a regular service. At the time I shot this photo, Conlee was introducing Sammy Johns, who wrote and recorded the 70s classic, Chevy Van.

Click on the individual names for their biography / websites / music video:

Jimmy Dickens
Jimmy C. Newman
Rhonda Vincent (Heartbreaker’s Alibi with Dolly Parton)
Mike Snider
Hal Ketchum
Point of Grace (I Wish)
John Conlee
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Jim Ed Brown
Sammy Johns
Opry Square Dancers
Vince Gill
Alison Krauss with The Whites

View Alison Krauss videos on AOL Music here. One of my favorite duets is this song, How’s the World Treating You, with Alison and my long-road-trip buddy, James Taylor.

THIS JUST IN: Thanks to Wes for the correct name of Hal Ketchum’s daughter, as well as some background info on Hal:

Hal Ketchum is one of the best, pure and natural singers of any genre of music. Had the pleasure to see him in concert about 50 times and have gotten to know him as well. Very down to earth guy. By the way Hal has one grown son and daughter by his first wife and three younger daughters Fanna Rose (Rosie), Ruby Joy and Sophia Grace by his current wife Gina. Ruby is the one that has been with him recently on stage at the Opry as well as other concerts. The daughter in your picture of Hal is Rosie. Just wanted to clear that up. By the way, great shots.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Abbie does it again!

27 06 2009

AbbieTshirtLeave it to Abbie Cranmer to create something this original! Abbie is a cochlear implant recipient, of course. Whatever else did you think she meant?

I met Abbie online last year when I was looking for younger people with hearing loss to profile for Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I stumbled onto her very entertaining and equally educational blog and just knew we had to profile her. She is now involved with HLAA and was the guest blogger for Convention 2009 last week in Nashville. You can read her recap of Convention 2009 here. It was great seeing you again, Abbie!

Abbie wrote for the magazine in the May/June 2008 issue. She came all the way from New Jersey to be photographed in my studio for the cover. See the final cover here and check out the glamour shots from the rest of the session here.

Download her full feature article here: http://www.cindydyer.com/BionicWoman.pdf

More convention photos to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Captioning: a first for the Grand Ole Opry

26 06 2009

One of the events at the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Convention 2009 was a night at the Grand Ole Opry, a radio show that began in 1925. Before the show, several of us were treated to a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, including the back entrance where the artists enter, the mailroom, the green room and historic Studio A—where the music variety show Hee Haw was filmed. At the end of the tour, we got to stand in the background on stage during the first performance by Little Jimmy Dickens and the Opry Square Dancers.

Although we weren’t allowed to shoot photographs during the tour, I saw a photo opportunity tailor-made for HLAA when the Grand Ole Opry’s vice president and general manager, Pete Fisher, was introduced to us by our tour guide, Jamie Hulet. For the first time in its 83-year history, the Grand Ole Opry would be real-time captioned. I saw an opportunity to get a shot with some of the people who got that ball rolling. We were granted permission to shoot, and Fisher called Jimmy Dickens over to join us. The Opry was treating that night’s show as “somewhat of an experiment” and may continue the use of captioning in the future.

Thanks to Karyn Menck of Tennessee Captioning and her team of CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) writers, the HLAA staff, and to the Grand Ole Opry management, we enjoyed the show with real-time captions. Associated Press picked up the story about the captioning and the news spread across the country. Read more about the use of captioning at the Grand Ole Opry and HLAA’s involvement in this article on www.tennessean.com.

On the entertainment roster that night were: Jimmy Dickens, Jimmy C. Newman, Vince Gill, Hal Ketchum, bluegrass vocalist Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Allison Krauss with The Whites, Point of Grace, Jim Ed Brown, bluegrass legends Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys, John Conlee, singer/songwriter Sammy Johns (who wrote Chevy Van, a hit in 1975), comedian and banjo champ Mike Snider (of Hee Haw fame), and the Opry Square Dancers.

My sister Debbie and I couldn’t get John Conlee’s 1980 hit song, Friday Night Blues, out of our heads after that night! We realized just how old we were when we remembered the words to that song and his 1983 hit, Common Man, which was also written by Sammy Johns.

Here’s a fact I didn’t know—if you’re inducted into the Opry Hall of Fame, you’re paid just $600 for your performance. If you’re not a member, you earn just $300. Clearly these artists do it for the love of the Opry and its history and their love of performing!

Kudos to Nancy Macklin, director of events for HLAA, for putting on a fantastic convention. I could hardly believe it when I learned this was her first time planning a convention—she was organized, professional and less stressed than any convention planner I’ve ever encountered—wonder what her secret is?

I’ll have more stories and photos to share from our evening at the Grand Ole Opry. See photos from our first visit to the Opry in 2008 on my blog posting here.

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Photo, from left: Brenda Battat, executive director of HLAA; Pete Fisher, vice president and general manager of the Grand Ole Opry; longtime performer and oldest living Grand Ole Opry member Jimmy Dickens (then and now); and Barbara Kelley, deputy executive director of HLAA and editor of the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine (which I design and produce for the organization). Barbara wrote in a recent press release, “It was fun to be a part of history, satisfying to have communication access, and rewarding to know that the work of our organization and others is paying off. Thanks to the Grand Ole Opry for looking forward. We hope it continues.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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