Sep 032014

Posted in SmyrnaLife Magazine 2014 July/Aug Vol. 1 – Issue 4

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word hammy (adjective) means marked by exaggerated and usually self-conscious theatricality.  In June the Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach did just that; presented the 2014 Season Hammy Awards.  The event took place at the Sugar Mill Country Club. 2014 Hammy Awards NSB FLSix pm the doors opened; Barbara and Jim O’Connell greeted both men in tuxedos and women in various semi-formal outfits (from short dresses to pant suits). Once checked in, you were free to mingle; enjoy appetizers and join the line at the bar.

New to Florida and no idea what the heck the Hammy Awards were, I soon found out.

Barbara O’Connell told me she’s from South Florida (Hollywood) and loves it here. “We’ve been here about 3 years,” she says “we fell in love with the theatre. My husband’s the director and began in the fall. We’re just enjoying all the nice people. Good sense of humor, fun. If you’re not having fun you better not be doing this.”

Another couple told me this was their first Hammy Awards but the Little Theatre has been there for years and years. Now in their second building because they’ve enlarged it. It’s a community theatre and it has strong following.  “The last musical was my first one for the little theatre,” says another gentleman at the table. “I tell my friends I finally got to play the villain,” says a second guy who joined us.  “And he did a hell of a job,” commented the first guy.  “I wonder if the reason their doing the Hammy awards tonight,” asked the gentleman’s wife “is because the Tony awards are to2014 Hammy Awards NSB FLmorrow night.” She also told me tickets sell out fast.  The theatre is on 3rd avenue; a nice facility.  “The hurricanes in 2004 or 2005 came through and tore the place up really bad,” they said “it was perfect timing. The Little Theatre already planned to remodel. Between the insurance money and the money they already had for the construction we have a nice place for the community.”  Now in its 67th year, the Little Theatre is still strong.    They have six productions in the winter season (September to May) and one production in July.

At 6:30pm the buffet opened; table of salads, coffee and mini pastries, and a pasta station. In the background DJ Thom played a variety of tunes. A packed house, opening ceremonies started at 7:00pm to swear in the new board.  Karen Poulsen then presented the life membership award.    However, not before the new board (Paula, Steve, Noel, Al, Rick, and Tom) gave us the top ten reasons why.  “She describes herself as a multi-dimensional person, she loves learning,” says Karen Poulsen “I can say personally that she’s taught us a lot. Even though we can give many reasons why we nominated her for life membership, we’re going to give the top ten reasons.”

“10. She served on the board for 10 years.   9. She’s a real traveler but a Jersey girl at heart. 8. She’s been a member since 1998. 7. She’s given significant and substantial service in all seven categories to qualify as a life member; acting, directing, production, board member, special events, usher and lobby, and regularly attended membership 2014 Hammy Awards NSB FLmeetings.  6. She has directed six times including Wonderland Children’s Programs.  5. She’s been President of the Board for five years.  4. She’s an educational leader; VP for her two computer companies, college professor, high school teacher, and instructor for beginning acting. This woman cannot keep a real job.  3. Even on days when she’d rather be playing Mah Jong she’s at the Little Theatre with her husband taking out the trash.  2. She’s got more than a dozen acting credits to her name including everything from sexy senior to cemetery plug to one of the victims of an axe murderer in Defending Lizzie.  1. She got a hole in one when she joined the out team.”  Dear readers, the Little Theatre’s 2014 Life Membership Award went to Dr. Harriet Winokur. Dr. Winokur was present with an exquisite decorated glass bowl.

The ceremony opened with a parade of outfits from Karin and David Jenkins. Karin wore a strapless evening gown and David wore a black tuxedo. Next Karin began to walk us through what to expect for the evening; especially for us newcomers.   “First, a long time tradition,” says Karin “is to have a trophy girl or guy here to help present the awards. Tonight we’re very proud to announce we chose a trophy guy; John Walker.”  John Walker walked out in a long-tail black tuxedo.

To keep in tradition with the Tony Awards, David ran through the instructions quickly on how one receives their trophy.  “There’s a little acting involved,” he said “a little blocking, posing, and some impromptu speaking.” They announced the top five highest scored nominees in each category; cast and crew, running lights, actor playing a lead in a drama, comedy or musical.  There were fifty plus trophies and eight coveted piggy awards.  The piggy awards went to one lucky memorable winner from each of the seasons shows.  Five awards went to young Thespians.

2014 Hammy Awards NSB FLThe Little Theatre offers classes for 5 – 18 year olds under Wonderland Theatre. Their goal is to help young people develop: enthusiasm, confidence, self – esteem, and communication and social skills. And to participate in a real live stage experiences then perform before a live audience.

For more information about the Little Theatre go to or call their box office between 1:00pm and 4:00pm at 386-423-1246 Monday thru Friday.


Photos and Story by Robin G Coles

Sep 032014

Posted in SmyrnaLife Magazine 2014 July/Aug Vol. 1 – Issue 4

For Michigan born Richard (Dick) and Lillian Cuchetti, music is still a big way of life.  They’ve carved a brilliant niche right here in New Smyrna with it.  Prior to making their home in New Smyrna, the Cuchetti family spent 15 years on the road as singers; called The Conti Family Singers.   They met Danny Thomas, Lola Falana and other musicians while on stage for Cuchetti School of Music Recital New Smyrna FL 2014St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Danny Thomas took them on the road where the Cuchetti’s spent three seasons living in a Greyhound bus; similar to the old TV show Partridge Family.  Winters were in New Smyrna.  Today, their role is to pay it forward with their music to help gifted children.

Two hours before the recital began; Dick and I met at Cuchetti Family School of Music. As he talked about the past, the school, his students, and notably his family you could sense his passion.

“My daughter, Gina, was a scholarship winner to Berklee in Boston as a vocal major,” says Dick. “In fact she set the record for the most times doing the singer showcase at Berklee. My daughter Mary studied musical theatre at Cincinnati Conservatory.  It’s her recital tonight.  I’m going to be doing a trumpet duet with one of my students, Gerrit Bosma.  He’s All-State in all counties; an 8th grader going into the 9th. Another student, Amaya Stamm (6th grader) and I will be also doing a duet. Amaya plays the flute and has won a national flute competition. ”

“My wife Lillian has some students that are performing at this recital as well. The reason I do that is because so many of my kids are in high school,” Dick comments.  He also works with homeschooled children who don’t have band or chorus.   “That’s the part we play in the community,” says Dick. “A lot of children don’t have as much balance as you would find in schools with a marching band.  They also don’t get any concert music.”  Lillian and Dick did not grow up that way. They went to a gifted school in Detroit.  It’s totally different in New Smyrna with the choice of music.  “It’s sad how many of our students come to the studio culturally starved,” Dick says.

In May they had their first fund raiser at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Gina and her brother, Chris’, group performed. The money raised goes to the Indian River Institute for Creative Arts (IRICA); a non-profit setup by Dick Cuchetti.  The IRICA provides scholarships to both talented and gifted music students locally.  Both music and church directors help identify the children who qualify; for the Indian River program.  According to Dick, schools do not recognize the unusual talent of these kids. The high school lacks a chorus and musical theatre.  “So we really play a role,” says Dick “with gifted children who want to continue on.”

“We’re close to Stetson University,” says Dick “many of those first year players teach here.”  “Then again, our backgrounds are pretty extensive. Lillian was in the Michigan opera company. We try to do the Cuchetti School of Music Recital New Smyrna FL 2014best we can to fill in the gap and we really do. What I’m going to say to you right now is not because we’re such genius teachers or anything but it’s just that the other schools are not doing it. And that is our kids are winning the all county and the all state. When you win an all state and you’re in the all state band there’s 26 trumpet players from the entire state of Florida. You’re going up against Miami, Tampa; well Gerrit is one of those trumpet players at the middle school level. Now, how do you get somebody from a little town like this – it’s because we follow the instructions. They learn to do the scales like Lillian and I did in Detroit. They learn to do all this stuff. ”

Just before the recital began I had a chance to meet Dick’s 2 students and their mothers.  Gerrit Bosma and Amaya accredit Cuchetti School of Music in the many changes in their life; for the better.

It’s not only made me good at music,” Gerrit says “it also helps me have a better understanding in the world around me. Music makes you so much deeper of a person.  There’s so much to it and that ambulance driving by is no longer just a noise – it’s a pitch.”

“I’ve had great experience learning with Mr. Cuchetti,” says Amaya.  “I really enjoy playing duets with him. It’s nice being able to play with other achievers. Like the way he plays the trumpet. Mr. Cuchetti has taught me a lot about playing music with other people; different rhythms, time and key signatures. It’s been a real help. I just really enjoy my time here.”

One thing I learned during my visit is any child who wants to get involved in music should. It will give their life a whole new perspective.  “Music always helps clear the air,” agrees Gerrit and Amaya. I agree too.

Photos and Story by Robin G Coles

Apr 012013
I’d like to introduce you to one of the best top experts
in the marine industry today…
Rob Scanlon
Rob Scanlon is a certified marine surveyor, in business since 1986. He was the first marine surveyor in the U.S. to be recognized by both the National Marine Bankers Association and the Yacht Brokers Association of America.
We’ve also got two more amazing marine industry
experts today:
Alan Sorum
Alan Sorum is an unreformed harbormaster in Alaska. A member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Alan is also a featured boating writer on
Brian Hancock
Brian Hancock is arguably one of the most experienced offshore sailors in the U.S. He has logged over a quarter million offshore miles racing both fully crewed as well as solo. Brian has competed in three Whitbread Round the World Races. In 2007, Brian co-founded his around-the-world race, The Portimao Global Ocean Race. He’s authored seven books including his latest memoir: “Grabbing the World”.
Would you like to listen to these
insider interviews we did with Rob, Alan
and Brian TODAY for free?
You can.
That’s right, it’s free, 100% NO COST.
Because Rob, Alan and Brian are our
guest experts today for the…
“2010 Nautical Lifestyle Expert Series”
Simply go to this site:
(copy and paste the link into your browser)
Here’s Today’s 2010 Nautical Lifestyle Expert Series
Rob Scanlon
When:  Today (Tuesday)
Time:    10:00 AM (EST) – 1:00 PM (EST)
What:   “Credentials you should look for when hiring a surveyor”
How:     Click the link below:
Alan Sorum
When:    Today (Tuesday)
Time:      1:00 PM (EST) – 4:00 PM (EST)
What:      “Learn how pleasure boaters can now use the same equipment used by commercial boaters for search and rescues”
How:        Click the link below:
Brian Hancock
When:    Today (Tuesday)
Time:      4:00 PM (EST) – 7:00 PM (EST)
What:      “A different skillset on the seas distinguishes the professional sailor”
How:        Click the link below:
You’re gonna love it!
Apr 012013
Today, June 25th, is Day of the Seafarer. To celebrate and
honor the seafarers of the world, the IMO (International
Maritime Organization) has asked a few bloggers to write an
article about Seafarers.  The theme is to thank seafarers
and also to write about something that comes by sea and one
can’t live without.
My original article was going to be about the LNG tankers.
But, with the time constraints I went with a different
article.  Some could say, it’s a stretch for an item one
can’t live without. You decide:
P.S. If you have something you feel strongly about that
came by sea and you can’t live without, feel free to
comment on one of the following:
or at the end of the article itself
Apr 012013
By now your getting ready to head out to Maine for the Maine Boat Builder’s Boat Show in Portland. Once there, you’ll be all set-up and ready to meet all the attendees at the boat show. But, wouldn’t it be nice if they knew about you ahead of time, or more importantly, remember you after the show? Well, now they can!
My name is Robin G. Coles.  I’m an author, freelance writer, and owner of  I do mini recorded interviews of vendors, like you, at the boat show. These videos are two – five minutes in length. They’re easy to do, shameless plug videos.  They’re “shameless” because for two – five minutes you or someone you designate at the boat show gets to tell your business story. In fact, you can see a sample of my work on the New England Boat Show website. Just go to Highlights – Video/Photo Gallery – list of attendee videos. You’ll see exhibitors like: Landrigan, Prism Polish, New England Propeller, Dion Yacht Yard, The Navigator Club, Windpath Sailing, and The Map Guy. They [videos] have gotten lots of hits; businesses have reported back increased in new customers from it. One customer bought the license to use the last segment of his video in a promotion piece; for the boat show. And, I can do the same thing for you.
“Robin, I would like to thank you for the video clip you shot of me at the New England Boat Show. We have received many compliments about the video and believe it has helped our business. Thanks for helping to get the word out about Prism Polish.”  Jerry Baltes, Director of Sales & Marketing, Prism Polish
Here’s how it works:
— You or someone you designate at the boat show gets to tell your business story for 2 – 5 minutes. (Since this is a shameless plug video it needs to be natural. The purpose is to show your audience that you are human and relatable.)
— The videotaping is done at your booth; during a slow period at the show.
— Your video will be accessible the following day through Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
— You will be able to link to the video via your website, but you MUST purchase a license if you want to use the video in any of your promotions.
Here’s how to schedule your video:
— Call my cell phone or text me at 339-532-8334 and schedule your appointment for anytime Saturday, March 17th I’ll be there all day throughout the show.
— You could also email me at but I can’t always respond right away.
How much does it cost?
— One low price of $250.00 payable either by check, cash or purchase order.
— Package price of $350 for both the video and license if you buy them together at the boat show.
— Additional $150.00 if you decide you’d like to buy the license later on to use in all your multimedia (public relations).
See you at the show!
Apr 012013

Our second annual Online Nautical Holiday Shopping event begins November 15, 2012.

Last year we ran our first event, some businesses did well, and some did so-so. The ones that did the best actually supported the cross promotional event.

And for some great news, our buyers have asked if we were going to run the event again this year. How’s that for exciting news?

To help make this year’s event even more successful, I’m hosting a webinar series called:

5 Killer Steps to a Profitable Holiday Season that You Built!

One of the great things about this webinar series is that we will be working with your products in mind and doing the necessary work involved in having a successful online holiday event.

Click below for the full details.


Apr 012013
Our first annual Online Nautical Holiday Shopping Event has
officially started.
(copy and paste the link above into a new browser tab
to open)
Check out our special deals for this weekend:
— Apriori Beauty Gift Cards – $25 gift cards for $20
— Apriori Beauty Products – buy 4 for the price of 3
— 30% off both print and/or ebook copy of Boating Secrets:
127 Top Tips to Help You Buy and/or Enjoy Your Boat
plus shipping upgrade to Priority shipping (at regular
shipping price)
Other specials include:
50% off holiday cards, photographs, aprons, playing cards,
tote bag, magnets, photo key and luggage tags, coasters,
mugs, mahogany desk organizer, puzzle boxes, tiles, mouse
pad, keepsake box, prints in lustre/glossy/metallic/giclee
watercolor/giclee canvas/thin wraps/metal print
It’s easy to participate, just start at the home page and
It’s easy to participate, just start at the home page and
— click on an item’s photograph you’d like purchase
— click on the item’s name highlighted under the
You’ll be brought to the item’s page where you can get the
specifics for this event.
You’ll also be able to easily navigate to other items from
every page by using the full menu of other participating
businesses below the fold (bottom of the page) for your
The event will be running until Thursday, December 20th at
midnight EST.
By-the-way, just because it has started already, doesn’t
mean it’s too late to contribute, either. Give me a call
339-532-8334 or shoot me an email (via reply) and let me
know what you’d like to offer.
As always, feel free to pass this along to other boaters
who may benefit from this event.
Best regards,