By HAL ALPIAR
Just ‘cuz a few shingles gone missin’
or there’s some snow on your roof,
don’t mean you ain’t got no
fire in the fireplace!
—Tennessee Ernie Ford
Here’s some true-to-life motivation from
69 year-old Valerie Connelly, creator of
the world-premièring, Broadway-bound
FEARLESS! The Golden Love Musical
“I’ve been writing, arranging, composing, and performing music since my first piano lesson at age four. Now, I’ve just finally finished FEARLESS! —my third musical. It took thirty years. It features 37 on-stage characters singing and dancing two dozen songs, plus a 24-piece orchestra with two pianos. I feel young all over again.
“What exactly does that mean, feeling young all over again? Well, it doesn’t mean all over my skin! Wrinkles have a way, you know . . . what I mean is that I am happy doing what I’ve always loved most to do: music! And romance often follows feeling young. In fact, a pivotal song in FEARLESS! is titled: Love Is All There Is.”
Connelly admits it’s sometimes tempting, but insists she hasn’t had a facelift, tummy-tuck, jumped into the Fountain of Youth, or done anything special to carry her youthfulness into her senior years. In fact, she’s overcome major spine surgery and even childhood deafness. Instead, she says, “It’s all about having and keeping a positive attitude.” She maintains two mindsets that drive her success:
- Staying focused on the energetic lifestyle in her experience that makes her most happy
- Being determined to make every waking moment the best it can be in order to “make a
genuine difference on earth.”
FEARLESS! is a 2016 “happening today” stage musical. It caters to what Connelly describes as “two contemporary-music-starved generations” (Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers) who she says have “lost their music identity.” Oldies-but-goodies music, she notes is “great for a while, but lacks the freshness and promise of life in today’s unbalanced world. Think about it,” she adds, “there’s no such thing as new music that addresses the concerns and dreams of those of us who are 40-100 years old!”
“We’ve become more enthralled with hand-held devices
than we are with hand-held hands,” Connelly exclaims.
Connelly is the mother of two Gen-X daughters and “Grammie” of two cherished grandchildren, a seven year-old boy and a one year-old girl.
“My music and this show focus on making the most of time, the sometimes conflicting pursuit of careers, the delicate balance in raising a family, and—in the end —about love.
“FEARLESS! is a double love story—unexpected love ignited between two seniors who’d all but given up the possibility, and love re-ignited between a 40-something daughter and her husband sidetracked by career pursuit struggles and raising pre-teen twins. All face the reality that their lives together hold greater meaning than the sources of friction that push them apart, and the ultimate need to be FEARLESS!”
The FEARLESS! World Première performances on July 7, 8, 9, 10 and 14, 15, 16, 17 will take place at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center in the historic “Old Town” section of Cookeville, TN, an hour East of Nashville and 8-9 minutes from U.S. Rt. 40. Show proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, to Cookeville Tennessee’s nationally-acclaimed nonprofit Bryan Symphony Orchestra, and a Rotary Club-designated charity.
In creating the lyrics, orchestration and script for FEARLESS! Connelly drew inspiration for her intensely poignant and laugh-out-loud “story songs” from diverse life experiences—others as well as her own. These include 25 overlap years performing as a classically-trained pianist/ vocalist/composer and teaching high school French (plus leading annual student study trips to Paris), being a lifetime rescue-dog-lover, and a married and divorced business owner. Her company, Nightengale Media, has published over 200 books, including six of Connelly’s own—and, of course, many of her music and script creations as well.
A member of ASCAP (since 1987), Women In Film and Television, and the Nashville Composer’s Association, Connelly is also actively involved in supporting numerous nonprofit-based programs and organizations including the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce.
For FEARLESS! details (including auditions), and all the fully-orchestrated songs solo-performed by Connelly… be sure to visit www.FEARLESStheMusical.com. An inspiring behind-the-scenes video interview explains “The Creation of FEARLESS!” The video is easily accessed by clicking on the FEARLESS! heart logo at the top of this article. # # #
[The writer of this article will be 75 in April. He is a national book award winning author of eight books, and over 2500 published articles and blog posts. With an MBA in marketing and manage-ment, and an almost-MA in human behavior, he posts regularly at www.BusinessWorks.US on business, entrepreneurship, marketing, public relations, and on personal and professional development. Available at 931.854.0474, Hal Alpiar is the Business Director for FEARLESS!]
What a great success story … perseverance pays off! The interview and Val’s life history really helped understand the songs.
The music is absolutely first class and we are looking forward to seeing the play.
Such nice comments, John. Thank you so much. Valerie and I both look forward to seeing you and Jan again. You won’t be the only ones crossing State lines . . . we’ve heard so far from people planning to travel here for FEARLESS from 15 different States — points as far as Seattle, San Diego, Boston, and Miami! And PBS-TV will video the entire performance.
Besides seeing a truly great musical nestled in historic Cookeville (just two minutes from Tennessee Tech University’s beautiful campus), visitors get a choice of 18 hotels, 147 restaurants, close to pristine wooded waterfalls and caverns, and an hour drive to “Music City” Nashville! Bring your best eyes and ears, and be prepared to laugh, tear-up, toe-tap, and let your heart go thumpity-thump! See you in July! Best to all – Hal