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Notes From the Road

Hello. Below is a journal of sorts about the events that took place between July 2006 and January 2007. After that, the web tool I was using to post such chronicles failed us, so I began to include this kind of info in the monthly email newsletters. By the time I had the capabilities to post a Tour Diary again, it seemed obsolete, especially when we began the online version of the newsletter in August, 2007, followed by the Orleans Blog. Still, I leave this journal here for any who might be interested to read it and, since you're reading this, that must be YOU! Welcome to a seldom-traveled part of our world. Please turn off the lights on the way out. :-)
                Lance Hoppen



Toronto, SASS and plastic buckets!                   January 26th, 2007

Welcome to 2007!

The year has started with a big bang at the big bash fundraiser gig for SASS (School Alliance of Student Songwriters). This Toronto, Canada-based organization is doing important and wonderful work, having created a platform for teenagers to explore and develop their talents of expression through songwriting and musical performance.

The brainchild of teacher/singer-songwriter Artemis Chartier, SASS has grown in the last 5 years from an idea into a templated curriculum adopted on a volunteer basis by mentor-teachers in over 50 Canadian schools, touching the lives of over 1000 kids. Some of these kids, who were highly "at risk", are now flourishing; not just staying in school, but doing extremely well, thanks to finding themselves through the art and disciplines of songwriting.

Early on, Artemis enlisted the help of Co-Founder Dale Russell, former guitarist for the Canadian mega-stars, The Guess Who (and a good bud of mine). At this point, Dale has donated something like 6000 hours of time, recording the works of the SASS participants and performing at live workshops.

The show took place in the beautiful Markham Theatre, in that northeastern suburb of Toronto. Nearly all of the 500+ seats were taken, by young and older alike. The "opening acts" were the SASS students themselves --- a 1/2 dozen representatives, of a diverse but uniformly excellent nature --- backed by a house band that included Dale, Artemis and their local pro buddies. In a word, they were great! (we weren't bad, either :-)

On the evening prior to the show, a VIP dinner was hosted by long-time and major SASS supporter, local businessman Byron Nelson and his wife, Diane. Many thanks go to Byron for, without his help, the show (and maybe SASS itself) would not have been possible. Anyway, after dinner, we were to do a short, semi-unplugged kind of set for the 3 dozen guests. A small PA, a couple of acoustic guitars, my bass, Lane's little keyboard and ... what? No one brought the hand percussion for Charlie?

Not to be left out, veteran of all manner of gig circumstances and pro that he is, Mr. Morgan interfaced with the kitchen staff and came up with a makeshift drum kit --- two plastic ice buckets and some kitchen utensils, including a ladle, which became the "bass drum" beater. He topped the kit off with a pair of maracas that had been given to him by a friend that evening. In the middle of "Love Takes Time" where the song returns to the "head" (intro), Charlie threw the ladle in the air to grab the maracas, making the transition and eliciting a shout of amazement from the small but mighty crowd!
Topped off by an impromptu rendition of Fly's "Mall Cop" (you had to be there :-), the evening was a totally fun succcess and paved the way for the equally successful big gig the next night, netting SASS a few thousand to continue its work.

Please check out SASS at
www.sasscanada.net , contribute if you will and contact me at orleansworld@yahoo.com if you wish to ask questions and/or become more involved.





The Band Plays On: "Orleans" Cheers Co-Founder John Hall's Congressional Victory; Continues on its Rare "Work in Progress" Path  (November 30th, 2006)

Orlando, FL (
PRWEB) November 21, 2006 -- One of the founding members of the American band Orleans was recently elected to United States Congress (N.Y.-19). John Hall will soon be serving his state and country in Washington DC starting in January. The band has agreed they will forge on, including Mr. Hall in select future shows while continuing with returning Orleans member Dennis "Fly" Amero. Orleans - with both Hall and Amero - will soon release its first live concert DVD. The group will continue to play shows to promote the new studio album, "Dancin' In The Moonlight."

Few popular music groups have been performing and recording with their original members for decades. Even fewer can claim that it has been a vehicle for a future United States Congressman. Orleans, best known for the 1970s hits "Still the One," "Dance With Me" and "Love Takes Time" has done both.

Formed in Woodstock, NY in 1972 by John Hall, brothers Lance and Larry Hoppen and the late Wells Kelly, Orleans quickly engaged itself in socio-political issues, playing to support 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern and at women's rights benefits and the like in between regular gigs. Backstage, conversations amongst the band members were as likely to center on the environment, Viet Nam or Watergate as anything else.

Adding to each other's strengths, John was the most prolific songwriter while Larry Hoppen supplied the lead voice for the radio hits. However, several album tracks featured Hall singing on the subjects of oil dependency (Cold Spell), Nixon's administration (It All Comes Back), etc. --- "issue" songs the entire group was proud to put forth.

After Orleans established national radio popularity, Hall left in 1977 to pursue a solo career. Orleans (Hoppens and Kelly) continued to tour and record; Hall became immersed in the anti-nuclear power movement. He helped raise funds and awareness through MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), which organized 1979's Madison Square Garden "No Nukes' concerts, producing a hit album featuring music megastars such as Bruce Springsteen, the Doobie Bros., Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor and Carly Simon. Hall's song "Power" became the anthem for the movement.

After Wells Kelly's untimely death in 1984, a memorial gig reunited the Hoppens with Hall. Larry Hoppen confides, "It was with that turning point and the perspective it brought that we started to refer to our Orleans project as a perpetual 'work in progress.'" The subsequent album, recorded in Nashville, features appearances by Chet Atkins, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Bela Fleck and other Country Music legends. It includes the Hall song "Lady Liberty," which celebrates America's melting pot history and New York's famous symbol of it.
Since 1990, Orleans - John, Lance and Larry - has released three more studio CDs and two others recorded live, while continuing to perform for progressive candidates like Gov. Jerry Brown and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY, 26th). They appeared at "Woodstock' 94," toured with Fleetwood Mac, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benetar and on their own, here and in Japan.

When John announced to Larry and Lance in late 2005 that he intended to run for Congress, all three made contingency plans: Orleans would play shows with Hall as schedules allowed while simultaneously reintegrating Dennis "Fly' Amero, who had played guitar with Orleans when John went solo earlier on. Hall got busy campaigning while the revamped Orleans toured and, this past July, sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park.

Most recently, the band filmed its first-ever live concert DVD. Due out in early 2007, it features an expanded band including both John and Fly, performing much of Orleans' musical legacy from its three and a half decades.

Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne - both of whom Orleans shared the stage with often during the 1970s - as well as many other music stars strongly and publicly supported Hall's congressional bid. As evidenced by his victory, music in general and Orleans in particular have been fertile ground on which to nurture a grassroots political campaign.

Now that Hall will be a U.S. Representative (D-NY, 19th) first and foremost, he and the Hoppens agree that, on the rare occasions when it is possible, all three Orleans co-founders will still gladly reunite. In January 2007, Hall will be sworn into office while Orleans will be playing a fundraising show in Toronto for S.A.S.S, a unique organization that helps develop young Canadian students' songwriting and performance abilities.

To mark its 35th anniversary, in February the band will play in St. Thomas, VI. The show is aptly called "Dancin' in the Moonlight," which is both the title track from Orleans' latest CD and a song on which Larry Hoppen played guitar for the original 1969 recording. Ironically, the promoter of the concert in St Thomas is also the former owner of that very recording studio, which happens to be the place where Larry and John first met!

Orleans, including Hall, will appear on PBS' "My Music" concert series in 2007 (filmed in May 2006) as the journey continues.




A SEPTEMBER to REMEMBER                                             October 9th, 2006

WOW! Where did all that time go? Two weeks since the latest Orleans gig and still no commentary? Well, we'll fix that right now! To pick up where we left off ...

The gig with Felix's Rascals at Belleayre Mt., NY was tainted by cold rain and high winds ... and we were playing in a big outdoor tent! But that didn't stop the stalwart NY mountaineering crowd from braving it. The tent still filled up with several hundred music lovers, all determined to have a good time regardless of Mother Nature's curve balls. Thanks for coming out! (for those keeping track, this was a John gig)

A few days prior we had gotten a call for a last-minute show the following weekend. Always willing to pick up dates from others' cancellations, we arrived at the street fair in Danbury, CT on Saturday, the 9th. Deja Vu! This was the same venue/event we had played several years earlier ... right down to the dressing room at the nearby restaurant. Good food and another good time was had by all. (scorekeepers --- this was a Fly gig)

Saturday the 16th found us at another street fair ... this one in Red Hook, NY. The most notable thing about this show was the line-up --- John, Larry, myself and Peter O'Brien on drums. This quartet had played countless gigs from 1988 to 2002, but I don't think we had played even one since about that time ... and, as much as we really appreciate having Lane and Charley Morgan as mainstays these days, it was really great to reconnect with Peter. He still kicks butt! Thanks go to Peter's friend and drum student, Matt Donahoe, who was the contact and organizer for this gig ... and the instigator of the reunion.

Switching gears, but still in the spirit of last minute opportunities for musical fun -

With little more than a week's notice, a call come in from WPLJ in New York City. Those of us who grew up in NY know that this is THE big Classic Rock station and has always been a giant in the NY market. Their request? ... could Larry put together an RPM show for DJ Rocky Allen's 20th year Anniversary party, to be broadcast live from The Hard Rock Cafe' in Times Square? Hmmmm....

(For those who didn't read the inaugural Orleans Newsletter (sent 9/30), you can find out all about RPM (Rock & Pop Masters) at
www.RPMConcerts.com .

Well, OF COURSE! So, with the able help of manager Andy Broady, the cast of characters was assembled, arrangements made, and death-defying feats of co-ordination co-ordinated ... resulting in a truly memorable afternoon for all involved:

Orleans (in it's entirety, with Fly this time), Robbie Dupree, Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Peter Rivera (Rare Earth), John Cafferty & "Tunes" (Beaver Brown Band) ... not to mention the appearances of Donny Osmond (yep, you read that right!), Dennis Deyoung (Styx), Constantine (American Idol) and an onstage interview with Phil Collins. Actually, if you go to Fly's site
(www.FlyAmero.com ), he comments on the experience and links to the Rocky Allen site, where you can link to the various artists' sites. Have at it!

As if just for the sake of contrast, the next night found us (Larry, Lane, Fly and me, sans drummer Charley) doing a scaled-down fundraiser show for the Animal Rescue League in Narragansett, RI. Very intimate and held at the extremely upscale Dunes Club, right on the seashore. Nice! Thanks to Ruth for bringing us there.

Finally, we finished off this touring season by flying to Denver, Co and being driven to Ft. Collins by a very friendly volunteer gentleman named Mike. In fact, all the people connected to the "Come Hell or High Water" Red Cross fundraiser show, to benefit the victims of Katrina, went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

Once again, this was an attractive fundraiser crowd (I fell in love from the stage :-), all committed in their own personal ways to raising money for the cause. Signed guitars, special vacation packages, even a high-end golf cart were just some of the items donated by the local and national community to be auctioned off. Special thanks goes to Steve Manshel (formerly of Firefall and the author of the "Come Hell or High Water" anthemic theme song) for endless effort in helping to organize the event and getting us there.

Once home, we've all stayed busy with our various offshoot projects and gigs. Larry topped us all by going to Paris --- France, not Kentucky --- as a member of Robbie Dupree's band
(http://www.robbiedupree.com ).

Meanwhile, I performed a benefit concert here in Nashville with long-time friends Kathie Baillie and her husband, Michael Bonagura (best known as Baillie & The Boys ---
http://www.baillieandtheboys.com ) If you go to the Photos page, you might stumble across a picture of yours truly. Other in-town Nashville shows and sessions fill in the blanks for me, and I'm really looking forward to the first of two shows as the subbing singing bassist in Felix Cavaliere's Rascals (www.FelixCavalieresRascals.com ), this coming Saturday, Oct. 14th, in Lewisburg, TN.

Charley Morgan is off with master guitarist, John Jorgensen. Lane Hoppen is back to being the most sought-after keyboardist in Orlando, FL. Fly Amero is playing locally near Boston. As for John Hall, having won a landslide victory in the primary, he is extremely busy being a very serious contender for the US Congressional seat in the 19th District of NY. Follow his progress at
www.JohnHallForCongress.com .

To finish off this diary entry ---

We are currently working on sending the special links to our list members so that they can benefit from FREE music downloads and special offer pricing. Another week or two, at the outside for completion of that piece of the puzzle. Then we'll be revamping every page of this website for the better.

Meanwhile, post-production work is underway to turn the raw concert and interview footage into a first-class Orleans Live DVD. Stay tuned for more on that.

If you have NOT yet signed up for our mailing list, what are you waiting for? It's painless and you can always get off it if you wish. Just go to the top of this page and enter the little bit of info we need in order to stay in touch with you. OK?

'Til next time,
Lance Hoppen (on behalf of all of Orleans)




AUGUST in the NORTHEAST                                              September 1st, 2006

I'm writing this from what used to be my house in Woodstock, NY, on a day off just prior to the last show of this run ... and what a week it's been!

If you will read the post from 8/17, you'll see that we were at that point still gearing up for the big DVD shoot in Pittsfield. Things I forgot to mention about that:

1) We performed as "the Orleans Big Band", numbering a full 8 on stage. Not only were the staples of Larry, Lance, Lane and Charlie present, we had both John and Fly on guitars. In addition, we managed to import Charley Dechant on sax (from the Hall & Oates band) and Manuel Quintana on percussion. (Manuel has been playing with Larry and Robbie Dupree when they do their duo dates.)

Special thanks goes not only to Charley and Manuel, but also to Jon Pousette-Dart and Artie Traum for their own terrific performances. Performing "Amnesia" as Jon's backup band was a particular kick for us!

Everyone did a stellar job, as the packed-house audience would no doubt attest. The show itself lasted about 2 1/2 hours, including a few false starts and time-outs to change into dry shirts (it was a 3-shirt night for many of us :-), but I didn't see anyone leave before the end ... so I guess they were enjoying themselves!

2) It was great to see many of our old fans there, but special mention goes to the attendance of Sherman Kelly. Sherm is the brother of our late, great original drummer +, Wells Kelly, and the writer of "Dancin' in the Moonlight". Larry and Sherman recorded the very first version of the song in 1969, before Sherman's band, King Harvest, had the hit on it in '73 ... but that's a long story in and of itself. My intent here is not to tell that story, but to let Sherman (and you) know just how great it was to see him again!

In addition to the concert footage, we were all interviewed on camera separately (kinda like crime suspects?), including Sherman. I can't wait to see the others' versions of the same story(s) I told. Hmmmm....

According to John Marsden, who recorded and will edit/produce the DVD event, we managed to capture all we went hunting for. Post-production will take awhile (maybe a couple of months?), but we'll be sure to let you know about the DVD release date as soon as we can figure that out.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one week, the next night found us at the Fairfield Theater Stage One, an intimate and very cool 200-seat room ... a lot like your living room, only bigger. Thanks to Sam, the owner/manager, for bringing us in for such a good time.

Our night off was spent at the Steely Dan/Michael McDonald show at the Tweeter Center (GreatWoods) near Boston. These guys are just stupidly good! What can you say about excellence of that calibre? ... other than, "You wish YOU were there!"

The fun continued as we rolled into Foxwoods Casino for a 2-nighter in their theater. Attendance was nearly twice what they normally expect for these mid-week shows, so even Casino Management had a good time! Thanks to the Foxwoods tech staff for making this a piece-of-cake experience.

That brings me up to date. Now, tomorrow we will be at the Belleayre Mt. Ski Resort in Highmount, NY, for a Labor Day weekend outdoor show with Felix Caviliere (The Rascals). We play at 9; Felix is on at 10. But you can get all these details and more about upcoming shows by visiting the Touring page.

September will also be a very busy month for gigs, including a late-arrival just added for next Saturday, the 9th, at a festival in Danbury, CT. Please check back often for updates ...

... and we hope to see YOU somewhere down the road!




DVD SHOOT COMING UP AUGUST 25th              August 17th, 2006

This is BIG news! ... and BIG FUN!

On Friday, August 25th (that's next week), Orleans will be performing in Pittsfield, Mass at First United Methodist Church (a wonderful venue, I hear). This is a muti-faceted gig that you really don't want to miss if you can possibly make it.

1) First of all, the proceeds for the show will benefit The Jimmy Fund for cancer victims and their families.

2) Secondly, we will be doing a full-blown, top-notch, 4-camera video shoot, the purpose of which is the production and release of our first-ever DVD!

3) Opening the show (and joining us later) will be both Artie Traum (long-time friend and Woodstock neighbor) and Jon Pousette-Dart, also a long-time freind and home-state favorite son.

4) Because of all of the above, we will be playing an exceptionally long show --- about 2 hours+ of Orleans favorites. We want to be sure to capture the entire essential musical "book" of Orleans tunes for the DVD!

The last time anything like this happened was in 1990 at The Bearsville Theatre. That 2-night weekend was recorded and became the Orleans Live Volumes 1 & 2 CDs. But that was just audio --- it's 2006 and this is DVD-land now!

You can bet that, with all those cameras and tape machines running, we will ALL be intent on doing our absolute best performance ever! Kinda makes you wanna be there, don't it?

You can get all the details by visiting the Touring page here on the site, as well as info on the string of dates that follow this show ... 5 gigs in 9 days. Hey ... that's almost a real tour!

We hope to see you all at one or more of these shows ... or somewhere else down the road.



NEW ENGLAND in JULY                                        July 31st, 2006

Greetings, ya'll

(see what living in Nashville for the last 17 years can do to a New Yorker's speech patterns?).

Still, you can't take the northeast out of the boy. It has been SO much fun playing back in the old Orleans stomping grounds this past month. ALL the dates have had their unique highspots and it was great to see so many older and new fans come out.

Ridgefield Playhouse, CT --- a packed house in a beautiful theatre setting started it all off on July 14th, followed by ...

The Lowell, MA Summer Concert Series --- about 1,000 people outside in the park on the 15th. This town has gone to great lengths to bring entertainment to its locals. Everybody wins there!

The Von Trapp Family Lodge Concert Series, Stowe VT --- The hills truly were alive with The Sound of Music in this gorgeous setting on the property of the famous musical family.

Just this past Thursday (July 26th) we played at Outerland (formerly Carly Simon's "Hot Tin Roof" club) on Martha's Vineyard, MA. The ferry rides and the beach atmosphere added to the total enjoyment of this return to the Vineyard experience.

That was prelude to the big Boston weekend. On Friday night ... well, let me have Lane tell you about that.

From Lane:

Hello, friends. Orleans had the honor of singing the national anthem at the Red Sox-Angels game at Fenway Park this past Friday, July 28th. Even though my allegiance is to the New York Yankees, I can honestly say that it was one of the most thrilling experiences I've ever had in my entire life.

(end Lane)

To see the unedited homestyle video of this event by our friend, John Higgins, please go to the Fenway link from our Home page or visit http://siteboy.net/orleans/anthem.html
(you'll need a hi-speed connection for this to work. Sorry)

(Check out www.siteboy.net for services John might be able to offer you.)

Last, but certainly not least, we played The Hatch Shell at The Esplanade in Boston ... right by the Charles River ... opening to one of our heroes: Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals! Felix, like us Hoppens, is a Long Island boy, and The Rascals had a HUGE influence on our musical upbringing. Apparently, this might have been just the first of many gigs to come with Felix.

The Hatch was also the site of a legendary Orleans gig in 1977, when we opened to Heart. The park, which is equipped to handle about 50,000, was overrun by 175,000 fans! Yikes!

There is an arial photo of that gig in the book, "Life on the Road", by Dinky Dawson (page 322). Dinky, a very colorful character who had mixed the likes of Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, etc was our front-of-house sound engineer at the time.

Whoa! I just reread the whole chapter on US ... takes me back bigtime!

OK. Before this becomes War and Peace, it's time to sign off. Be watching for our first-ever newsletter in your inbox any day now ... and for special gifts and offers for YOU ... our much-appreciated fans!