Meet The Pitch Week XI Finalists
Linda Balliro, The Art and Craft of Being a Singer
The Art and Craft of Being a Singer is a ground-breaking book that provides detailed insights on how to think like a singer and develop intuition, while providing the same training used by Grammy winners, Broadway stars, and opera singers for the past 60 years.
Vocal instructor and coach Linda Balliro, Associate Professor of Voice at Berklee College of Music in Boston, has been training singers across the globe for over 15 years. Her students regularly appear in opera, musical theater, rock, pop, R&B, and jazz in the US, Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia.
After graduating with a degree in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory in Boston, Linda moved to Europe to study at the Kodaly Institute of Music in Kecskemet, Hungary. Later, she moved to Vienna, Austria, performing in concert, church, and opera, including touring with the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra. She taught at the Vienna Conservatory in the musical theater department from 2003 to 2006. Upon returning to the US in 2007, Linda began teaching privately in Boston and has maintained an active private studio alongside her teaching at the college. Her private clients include nationally touring artists, local performers in rock and musical theater, teens, and young opera singers.
Laura Del Gaudio, Not Morticia: Memoir of the First Girl Undertaker at the Core of Brooklyn
Funeral director was the last profession in the world Laura Del Gaudio was cut out to do. She loves life and lively things and has been called “Sunshine” her entire life. Everything is interesting to her especially peoples’ stories: they are in her life’s blood.
However, coming home at 18 after a night of vigorous intoxication and feeling no pain, Laura Del Gaudio got hit with this news from her mother: “Your father (after having had a stroke, leaving him paralyzed on his right side) is losing his funeral home and is saving up sleeping pills to commit suicide. He’s also refusing me to touch them.” In a somewhat old school Italian family, the father always had the last word.
Her mother, looking at her with frantic pleading eyes, said, “Our friend Al suggested if you went into the business, it would give him incentive to live.” So, between being as sharp as a marble from overindulging that night, and the guilt that she would be making a conscious choice to allow her father to kill himself, Laura reasoned she would always have a license in her back pocket. And, by the time she was 21, she was one of the first few female funeral directors pretty much on the East Coast. The year she graduated there were six of them known as “Gentlemen.”
She has a grown son named Robert. He is a miracle of an answered prayer.
Jennifer Pendragon, The Last Stand
In The Last Stand, it is 1897 and Jezebel O’Shaughnessy lives in Santa Fe with dangerous magical abilities inherited from her father. Jezebel’s magic has always hurt her — from its uncontrollable nature when she was as a child, to its dangerous repercussions as an adult. Avoiding it has been her main goal ever since her ghostly father explained it to her. But then her best friend is shot, and her fiancé comes down with a deathly illness. Once she decides to put the people she cares about before herself, the rest falls into place…or does it?
Jennifer Pendragon has been writing since she was five. Her first book made liberal use of googly eyes and glitter glue. In addition to her fiction, she freelances for several websites, where she reviews comic books, theorizes about feminism in classic Disney rides, and reports on superhero movie news. The Last Stand is the first in her collection of magical historical fiction.
Jennifer is a New England native who can’t turn down a fresh bagel or a slice of thin crust pizza. She has three sisters, two cats, and a husband she met when they were eleven.
Angelique Pesce, American Pastime
American Pastime is a cautionary tale similar to It’s a Wonderful Life about a writer, Adam Weakley, who could sacrifice everything for the American Dream. God narrates on Adam’s baseball field of life … rounding first, second, and third, then heading for home … we watch Adam’s life, past, present, and future, unfold, similar to A Christmas Carol. God and Adam constantly revisit the ephemeral questions, “Why are we here?” “What is love?” The book pays homage to the writer’s process finding a strong beginning, middle, and ending. A writer creates much in the same way God does. Angelique Pesce is the right author for American Pastime because of her unique compassion for the people in America and her commitment to studying the basis for her book, including religion, ethics, literature, government, gender studies, the systems by which we educate our citizens, and the use of science to eliminate world oppression ideologies rather than allowing discovery to add to them, and believing in these studies as a root to understanding world peace and a future world government.
Satish Prabasi, Fragments: An Asian Traveler’s Memoir
Fragments: An Asian Traveler’s Memoir is a vivid and humorous account of the events that took Satish Prabasi from his birth in a remote village in the mountain Kingdom of Nepal in the 1940s, to newly independent India, resurgent Europe, and the aspirations of the emerging nations of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Few people have traveled between feudal South Asian society and the international intellectual scene on multiple continents in one lifetime. Satish participated in the powerful moral anti-war protests of the 1960s and 1970s, and through the prism of an activist academic, he saw first-hand its impact on Europe, Asia, Latin America, and of course the United States.
In his later years, he saw the “audacity of hope” crumble into half-literate tweets foreshadowing the end of U.S. leadership in the world. He has experienced the equivalent of two centuries of transformation in one life time: the bewildering trend of accumulation of wealth and power in a few tiny hands leading to a massive cleavage of humanity to once again a feudal division of modern-day lords and peasants. However, Satish remains hopeful.
His varied working life has included time as an activist academic, a United Nations staff member, and an unsuccessful entrepreneur. Satish now lives in New York with his wife, where he enjoys the company of his two grandchildren, and delights in browsing in the city’s many libraries.
Ehris Urban and Velya Jancz-Urban, How to Survive a Brazilian Betrayal
Motivated by a 14-year friendship with a charismatic Brazilian, the Urban family moves from Connecticut to rural Brazil, where they will run a dairy farm and open an English school. One night, they are served by a uniformed maid at a dinner party. The next night, they’re guests of a farm family, eating the omnipresent rice and beans in a primitive dirt-floor kitchen amidst swooping bats — and, as the honored guests, must eat first because there are only enough plates and forks for four.
Ehris Urban, owner of Grounded Holistic Wellness, believes, “If you’re grounded, you can navigate even the bumpiest roads in peace.” Ehris is a master herbalist and holistic nutritionist, and graduate of the New England School of Homeopathy. Additionally, Ehris is a Flower Essence Therapy practitioner. Ehris enjoys beekeeping, tending her organic vegetable and herb gardens, and working in her apothecary. As Grounded Goodwife, Ehris and her mom, Velya, teach a variety of historical/herbal workshops and presentations.
Velya Jancz-Urban lives her life by the adage, “There is no growth without change.” Moving into a 1770 farmhouse ignited Velya’s interest in the colonial era. She became obsessed with colonial women and created an entertainingly informative presentation, The Not-So-Good Life of the Colonial Goodwife. Velya owns How Cool Is That?! (Hands-On Science & History), and believes that hands-on learning is for everyone. She has been married for 35 years and is the mother of two grown children. She has a few too many rescue dogs and cats, is happiest with a fresh stack of library books, loves thrift shops, and is passionate about alternative medicine.