Tag Archives: Jane Nordli Jessep

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.

Food For Thought — Part 2

Alert — and very insightful — “06880” reader Jane Nordli Jessep sends along these thoughts:

As I write this I know many  fellow Westporters are still without power, warmth and light. Even those of us lucky to have only an interruption of electricity experienced a sense of dislocation. It’s unimaginable what others here and throughout our region are dealing with, losing homes and loved ones.

One’s heart is touched by the sense of loss everywhere. And one is inspired by the efforts of members of our community who are in the thick of things helping others. The young woman who organized rooms originally reserved for runners in the NY Marathon for the displaced in New York.

The fellow who is collecting goods for those hit hardest in Staten Island and New Jersey.

The neighbors who reached out a helping hand to neighbors they know only superficially. The people who opened their homes to friends in the dark and cold. The firefighters and police who have been on the job relentlessly. It all makes one feel so grateful.

I also feel a huge sense of gratitude to the town crew and the CL&P workers, including the hundreds from out of state who are here.

Many crews from out of state drove long hours to get here. This one is from New Hampshire.

Anyone who drove around in the aftermath of this storm must have experienced the sense that I did when I saw some of the devastation. It seemed impossible to imagine the clean up could happen in less than 2 weeks, if not more. The tangles and jumbles of trees, wires and downed utility poles on so many streets were truly beyond words.

Yet here I am this bright Sunday after 5 days without power writing this, with a heart full of appreciation and gratitude. I’m not sure who to thank, and I doubt any of those workers will read this message. Yet I know many “thank yous” are in order.

One is reminded that despite some of our foibles as a town, we are at heart a community that can be generous, kind, compassionate and helpful.

NOTE:  Like Jane, many people have asked how to thank everyone who has helped in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I’m not sure; click “Comments” if you know (or have someone to thank). Of course, a gift card to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts for utility workers — and anyone else you can think of — can’t hurt.