Sunday, May 6, 2012

Planning a Meet & Greet With Sweet Home Alabama's Paige Duke and Jeremiah James Korfe

The Task at Hand
Flyer courtesy of my son, a Senior Art Director

I began the work of coordinating a Meet & Greet with Sweet Home Alabama's Paige Duke and Jeremiah James Korfe in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota area, during my post finale interview with them. I had never coordinated an event of this nature. As each day brought a new set of experiences, I maneuvered the uncharted waters down this river of opportunity. It was a river that was crystal clear at times, and murky at others. The only thing I could count on, was that I would have to paddle fast and furious to keep my head above water.

So Many Venues, So Little Time

The first item on my checklist was to secure the ultimate locale. While I wanted to provide fans the opportunity to meet Paige and Jeremiah, I also needed to find a place that would showcase the amazing musical talent of Jeremiah James, of the band From Joyce. With a plethora of options in the Twin Cities for musicians and audiences alike, I had my work cut out for me. My iPhone and Google were BFF's to me in the days to come, spending endless hours with them in hand. As I met with CEO's and Managers of possible venues, so many questions would play in my mind...what is the flow of traffic, are the stage, lighting and sound boards a good match for a live acoustic set, is the ambiance of the venue aesthetically pleasing, would the environment be suitable for adults and children, was the owner/manager a good fit to help support and advertise the event, and last but not least, would they be willing to jump in the boat and paddle with me? 

The Perfect Match

Photo courtesy of Cityside Bar & Grill

The St. Paul Room
In looking for the perfect venue, I felt a connection with Paige Duke in her search to find love. The minute I walked into Cityside Bar & Grill in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, I knew in my heart it was "the one"! The band room had an intimate feeling, perfect for adults and families. The St. Paul room with it's cozy fireplace, was the ideal backdrop for Paige and Jeremiah to Meet & Greet their fans and take pictures. As I met with Susan, CEO of the restaurant, it became clear that our business relationship was meant to be. We successfully negotiated each and every detail to ensure we were both paddling together in the same direction. It was finally time to bring Paige and Jeremiah on board! 

The Band Room
Stage Lighting

A Goal Without a Date is Just a Dream

With the who, what and where solidified, the next item on my checklist was the when. For those of you that have followed Paige and Jeremiah's schedule since the show commenced, you understand that securing a date was no easy feat! To build on the momentum, I knew it would be optimum to have our Meet & Greet as close to the Finale as possible. But when you have three people as busy as we are, communication was an obstacle to overcome. Once we confirmed a date, the rest had to be easy sailing, right?

A Woman on a Mission...or Two

Logo courtesy of Jeremiah James Korfe
I had come to realize that my mission was two fold. Scheduling the Meet & Greet was the vessel that would drive my ultimate goal...getting Jeremiah's music on the radio. Just like Jeremiah knew in his gut that he and Paige were made for each other, I knew in my gut that I had to pursue getting media coverage for this event, with the ultimate goal of getting exposure for From Joyce music. When your instincts tell you to do something, ignore everything else and just go for it. It was full steam ahead, but not without maneuvering through the rapids...

Lessons Along the Way

There were many lessons I was meant to learn on this journey down the river. One of them appeared to be how to gracefully accept rejection. Each day I would contact Twin Cities newspapers, TV and radio stations via phone or email. Each day I waited for responses that never came. Which leads me to lesson two...patience is indeed a virtue.
Because I am successful in both my professional and personal life, I was not used to daily rejection. This experience challenged me to draw on my passion for perseverance. I needed to find a new outlet. With the knowledge that building personal relationships is the key to success, the murky waters became clear and I knew what I had to do. It was time to take this ship to the city and introduce Ms. Bee to the media world! 

Media, Sponsors & Ads, Oh My!

One advantage of face-to-face communication, is it allows people to see the excitement in your face and hear the passion in your voice. Doors start to open that were once closed tight. 
Seeing my excitement and passion for Paige and Jeremiah's love story, the doors of opportunity were bursting open! I had a commitment from BOB-FM 106.1 to have Paige and Jeremiah in the studio for the morning show with Chuck Knapp and Jon Engen. BOB FM would also rollout a radio advertising campaign, play "This Paige is You" on the air, and feature Jeremiah's From Joyce music on the Sunday Homegrown show. How sweet, the taste of success!   

Making the initial contacts and obtaining sponsors to fund advertising was a breeze. Enthusiasm was shared and promises were made to keep all parties in the loop. I saw this as a "team" effort, as I was investing in other people's money. I wanted to make sure every "t" was crossed and every "i" was dotted. Although coordinating this event was my total focus, it was a minor detail to others. My best intentions to effectively communicate progress were not appreciated and lines of communication were cut. This became a boulder in the river that blocked my forward progress.

Temporarily Shipwrecked

With the big day only a week away, I felt shipwrecked and alone on a deserted island. Those that I thought were with me on this journey had jumped ship. 

The Floodgates Open

On the balmy Sunday evening prior to our event, Benjamin Raye featured, "This Paige is You" on the Minnesota Homegrown show. They talked about Paige and Jeremiah on Sweet Home Alabama, Jeremiah's music with his band "From Joyce", and Jeremiah's life as a farmer from Clarissa, MN. It was the first time I heard Jeremiah James on the radio. I will never forget that feeling.

With only a few days to go, my phone started ringing and offers came in...offers of coverage from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages, Coon Rapids Herald and the Anoka County Shopper newspapers. 
They had heard Jeremiah on the radio and were responding to the media kits and voicemail messages I so diligently left. 

Shouts of Glee

Over the weekend, I designed a picture collage for Paige and Jeremiah to sign for fans at the Meet & Greet. Monday, on my way to pick up the prints, I heard the commercial advertising our event on the radio for the first time. Driving alone in my car, I screamed out loud. It was so exciting hearing my dream become a reality. All my efforts in coordinating this event were playing out during the rush hour drive home.

As I arrived at my destination, a message popped up on my phone. It was from Donny Love, executive producer of the Lori & Julia Show on myTalk 107.1. Lori & Julia wanted Paige and Jeremiah to come to the studio for an on-air interview at 3:35pm the day of our event! Still alone in my car, I screamed even louder. Yes, people did look my way, but seeing the complete joy on my face, they knew it was a shout of glee!

Having lived in the Twin Cities all my life and an avid listener of Lori & Julia, I knew this was a coveted offer, sought by many and obtained by few! The interview would be aired live during rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon. It doesn't get any better than this!

It is one victory that would be ours to share. The Lori and Julia Show had live online streaming and could be heard by fans all across the country. There is no limit to the number that could join us on this phase of the journey. Everybody all aboard!

Lifelines Along the Way

There are two people that kept me afloat during the three weeks of organizing this event.
The first one is my husband of 33 years, who patiently listened to a nightly recap of the ups and downs, many highs and a few lows that each leg of the journey brought. He occasionally threw me a lifeline when I needed it and celebrated daily triumphs with me.

The second one is a friend and confidante, Lilly from @bachspoilerfans. Even though she could not attend the event, her support was crucial in helping to orchestrate it. She heard every detail and conversation I had along the way and gracefully gave her support, love and guidance "behind the scenes".
Thank you both for sharing in my joy! What a wild and crazy ride!

Too Excited to Sleep

As the journey was coming to an end, I poured over my lists to ensure I had everything covered.  Without invitation, a detail or remembrance would wake me from my half-hearted attempt at slumber. A notebook and pen were on my nightstand for the frequent times I awoke in the middle of the night.

The eve of the Meet & Greet was here. I felt like a little child going to Disney World, too excited to sleep. Even with my alarm set, my eyes were drawn to the clock hourly, fearful I would oversleep. 

In just a few hours I would be riding the rapids with Paige and Jeremiah. I knew we would have the time of our lives, but the thought still lingered...would it go without a hitch?


  1. Bee,

    Thank you for the kind words! You are always so thoughtful.

    Your friendship means the world to me. You are my light when I feel in the dark. It has been such a joy getting to know you and I appreciate everything you have done for me. God brings people together for a reason. I feel so blessed to have you in my life!

    I love you,


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