Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Music · Off to the Big Apple: Robert Abate...
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Off to the Big Apple: Robert Abate Band

Kelsey Lauer - August 3rd, 2009
Off to the Big Apple

TC musician debuts at music festival in New York City

By Kelsey Lauer 8/3/09

After more than 40 years of playing music at locales across the
Midwest, Traverse City musician Robert Abate has experience with just
about every type of gig.
“I started playing guitar at the age of eight. I turned pro at 18, and I’m
58 now,” Abate says. “I started playing guitar because in 1958 my parents
told me I was going to take music lessons, and I could pick anything
except the drums. I narrowed it down to the guitar—because of Elvis—or the
trumpet, and in the end the guitar won out.”
But the professional guitarist/singer/composer will be exploring a new
venue, as the eight-piece Robert Abate Band will travel to New York City
to play some of his own works in The Charlie Parker Festival at A
Gathering of the Tribes Gallery on Aug. 15.
“The plan is, we’re driving to New York on Thursday. We’re rehearsing
during the day that Friday, and we’re playing in a New York club that
night,” he says. “On Saturday, we’re playing the show, and we’re going to
try to hustle up something for Sunday. On Monday, we load everything up
and drive in one fell swoop back to Traverse City.”
Band members include Abate on guitar and vocals; his daughter Elatia on
vocals; Mike Hunter and Billy Gauthier of TC and Richard South of Dallas
on trombone; Mitchell Ronk of TC on bass trombone; Ahbay Santos of San
Diego on guitar; David Egeler of Elk Rapids on bass; Peter Murphy of TCas
the trap drummer; and a yet-to-be-hired percussionist.

“It’s going to be jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues and funk styles,” Abate
says. “We’re doing 12 tunes for the show. I’ve written 10 of them.”
Of the 10 tunes, two of them were written especially for the New York show
and have never been performed before.
“As grandiose as it sounds, it’s going to be a world premiere. The (first)
tune is a funk tune. My wife heard it and said, ‘That sounds like the
devil’s tune,’” he says.
“I don’t know about that, but it’s a powerful tune,” he says, adding that
his song, “Make Me Feel,” starts out like a classical composition and ends
with a funk beat. Another song was written with Abate’s daughter Elatia
in mind, who will be singing with the band at the Charlie Parker Festival.
“Those two (new) tunes that we’re going to be playing in New York, one I
wrote specifically for her to sing,” he says. “It was kind of funny; as I
was writing it—I know her voice and all that—I could hear her singing it.”

Without his daughter’s New York connections, there is no way that the gig
would have happened, according to Abate.
“So, my daughter runs around in the art scene in New York; she has a
Brazilian recording studio a block from her house and she speaks
Portuguese and is in Europe and Brazil all the time. She knows those guys,
and they own a club in New York,” he says. “The farthest I’ve ever played
from Detroit was Chicago, and in this trip, going to NY, it’s like a big
feather in my cap because it solidifies at least my own opinion of myself
being a national player, as opposed to being a local guy.”
Abate hopes that some other connections might allow him to realize his
lifelong dream of playing on a European stage.
“Even more importantly, she knows a group of Turkish people who own a club
in New York, but aside from that, they book music through Europe,” Abate
says. “I certainly am going to try (to meet with them); we’re going to try
to have them there to hear our show. And the funny thing about Americans
playing in Europe is that we’re much bigger over there than we are over

At the age of 15, Abate — who was born in Kansas — moved to Detroit with
his military family. It was here that he really learned how to play music.
“That’s where I turned pro and that’s where I really learned how to play,”
he says. “I quit college after my third year of college because I wasn’t
really learning how to play, and I started studying with various people in
Detroit, like Howard Lucas and Marcus Belgrave.”
Besides his work with the guitar, Abate has also branched out into
theatrical musical productions.
“I had a musical theatrical production company going for eight years in
Detroit. It was called Jacara Production Company. I produced an original
ballet that I wrote the score for,” he says. “I’ve written a musical that
got performed in Detroit. I have six CDs out; I write music all the time.
I’ve studied music my whole life.”
Abate also says that he feels the need to pass on all of the musical
skills that he has learned on to the next generation. It’s something that
he’s been successful at.
“Before I came up here, I had my own guitar school downstate, and I wish I
could really have that up here. We had big shows with kids, with bass
players and amplifiers and PA systems and microphones,” he says.
“My kids all went to state for the battle of the bands; they made CDs. I
think I should teach music because it was passed on to me, and it’s kind
of my responsibility to pass it on to other people (and) just to have the
whole thing continue.”
He has even had some students take on paid gigs at a surprisingly young age.
“The summer before I moved up here, (I was working with some kids) who
were 13 years old, and they were playing some jobs in the Detroit area. It
was really a cool thing, because they would just feel so good.”

Currently, Abate teaches guitar lessons at Marshall Music in Traverse
City, but he says that his success with students downstate “hasn’t
happened up here yet.”
“I tried at Marshall. I had three boys for a while who were rehearsing and
that kind of thing, but it fell apart because of the schedules of the
kids,” he says. “They don’t have the commitment to music that I do. Maybe
it isn’t even the kids; it’s the parents who want them in so many things.
(Music) takes a certain amount of commitment.”

E-mail robabate@charter.net for more information; visit www.youtube.com
and search for “Robert Abate” to hear various tunes from a live
performance at Poppycock’s on Front Street in Traverse City recorded in
early 2009.

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