Listen Up!

In May, “06880” highlighted the life of Mike Joseph.

After a long career as a  recording engineer, record producer and club designer — he collaborated in Nat King Cole’s Hollywood studio with Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Blue Cheer and others — the 1971 Staples High School graduate built a production studio in his Kansas City home. He digitizes vintage analog tapes: concerts, weddings, lectures. And — of course — old music recordings.

Most readers thought “that’s interesting” (or “who cares?”).

Jane Nordli Jessep said, “Wow! I wonder what he can do with my tapes?”

Jane Nordli, back in the day.

For decades, a dozen old reel-to-reel tapes had sat in the 1965 Staples grad’s cabinet.

Years ago, she tried to turn them into CDs. She was told they were all gummed up, unplayable — forget it.

One of the tapes was from her days as a Manhattan School of Music student. “My singing career was very spotty,” she says. “So this meant a lot to me. And it was really a fantastic performance by the entire cast.”

Wondering if she really could revisit the past, she emailed Joseph. He said he might be able to help. He told her how to pack up the tapes, and where to send them.

Mike listened to everything. Some had old family moments, from Jane’s childhood. Another came from her senior year at Staples High School, singing folk songs with then-boyfriend Steve Emmett. (“And generally being silly, young and foolish!” she adds.)

Joseph worked his magic on those tapes — including the conservatory one. He converted them all into great CDs.

Listening to the “new” recording of her 1976 Manhattan School of Music performance of Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene,” Jane says, “I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was, vocally and dramatically.” Several cast members, she notes, went on to important performing careers.

“Thank you for sharing Mike’s story,” Jane says. “Your post ended up generating a wonderful, unexpected delight in one of your reader’s lives.”

“06880”‘s tagline is “where Westport meets the world.” Maybe it should be “the soundtrack of Westport’s life.”

Jane Nordli in “Street Scene,” one of the recordings Mike Joseph resurrected for her.

10 responses to “Listen Up!

  1. Life is all about connections, and here is where so many wonderful ones like this happen. – Chris Woods

  2. What a nice thing to read. Dan, once again you’ve been able to connect the dots and help her relive some fond memories. I’m sure many of us have memories tucked away. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend !

  3. Jane – Beautiful voice, beautiful person – and STILL beautiful!

  4. Great story 🇺🇸

  5. Ditto on what Tom wrote.

  6. Great story Jane! Stirred up lots of memories
    Hats off to Dan

  7. Jane,
    Great to see the photos and learn a bit about your life after Staples. Warm regards

  8. Nice story, Jane –from another Staples 65 grad.

  9. Thank you, Jane… and Dan, of course! Great that I could help recover those fond memories. Those tapes revealed so much talent. Happy to help anyone else who wants to ‘save their past.’ – Mike

  10. Nancy Powers Conklin

    What a great story. All are happy with the results which is terrific!

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