Don Middlebrook
Don Middlebrook

Key West High School Band Project - Gypsy Wisdom

Press Release

To:  Paradise/The Citizen

From:   Wendy Tucker


A tropical rock music man and members of the Key West High School band, choir and video/TV team will trade gifts Wednesday evening, Oct. 29, outdoors at the Casa Marina during a kickoff open concert for the annual Parrotheads “Meeting of the Minds” here in Key West.

The gifting on the resort beach stage will be about “The Key West Connection,” a CD by singer/musician Don Middlebrook that features the KWHS band and choir in their own song, “Gypsy Wisdom.”

As a surprise to him, Middlebrook, while enroute here from Michigan on his annual “trop rock” tour, learned that KWHS students have produced a new video featuring their song, and will present their gift to him on stage the 29th.

Before that, Middlebrook had planned to present a $1,500 check that represents proceeds so far from “Key West Connection” CD sales, and was hoping students could be present.  Instead, Middlebrook said he’s learned that members of the faculty and students will accept the check after a “musical march” in front of the Parrotheads and friends at the Casa Marina.  His concert is scheduled 6-8 p.m. on the beach stage with other musicians following.

Middlebrook also said he learned that as Parrotheads head into their 23rd Annual "Meeting of the Minds" at Key West, the KWHS video project will already be up on YouTube, and featured there worldwide before, during, and after the days Parrotheads are here.

The students’ song, “Gypsy Wisdom,” features the KWHS Band and Choir and their own lyrics, including:

“We don’t sing about rum;

“No we’re way too young.

  “But we sing with our hearts,

“And we sing with our souls,

“With style and grace; Conch, let it go!”

The singer/musician/songwriter has been coming to Key West for more than 20 years, and made a commitment with release of the CD created with students last year to provide a share of the proceeds on a continuing basis.  The idea for the CD developed when he met a KWHS graduate pursuing a video career at the time she was presented with the Captain Tony Days Life Scholarship, and he also met and was impressed by Ed Smith, head of the school’s video/TV production program. 

Creative “Key West Connection” efforts on the CD were also reflected with lyrics contributions from Lorian Hemingway, writer and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway whose short story competition awards are held here annually during Hemingway Days, and the album cover contributed by artist  Wyland, whose Key West gallery on Duval Street is well-known.

Smith and his students at Key West High School are extra-busy right now also because student Andy Matroci has been scheduled to screen his short film, “A Skate Life,” at the prestigious All-
American High School Film Festival in mid-town Manhattan Oct. 25.  Fundraising efforts are still ongoing to help students and teacher attendance, and for information on how to help call 305-293-1549, ext. 54401.

Middlebrook also wrote “Goodbye to Captain Tony,” which was produced in the CD “Beach Bar Serenade,” and used as the Captain Tony Days theme in 2012.  All his CD’s will be available at his performances around Key West.

Middlebrook’s island schedule includes:

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m., Pincher’s Crab Shack

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Meeting of the Minds, Casa Marina

Thursday, Oct. 30, 4:30-7:30 p.m., Hyatt Key West

Thursday, Oct. 30, 9:30-10 p.m., Island Dogs-Songwriter’s Island Radio Showcase

Friday, Oct. 31, 6:00-10 p.m., Conch Republic Seafood Co.

Saturday, Nov. 1, 1:00-5:00, Conch Republic Seafood Co.

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 12:00-4:00, Pincher’s Crab Shack




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