Jim Whittemore - President
After a high school rock and roll band entry into musical performance, Jim Whittemore finished college only to stumble into the trades in carpentry. Having put his musical involvements aside for about 30 years, Jim had the opportunity to blow the dust off his playing abilities and jam weekly with guitarist Burt Teague and percussionist Rob Fried.
With Rob’s increasing health problems, someone thought to host a benefit gig shortly before Rob's demise to POEMS Syndrome, a rare blood disorder that damages the nerves and affects many other parts of the body.
Raising the money in advance of need was Jim's motivation for founding the Southern New England Musicians Fund, Inc., with a goal of providing "Benefits For Those Without Benefits". Jim led the effort to gain non-profit charity status for the organization and in October of 2014, Musicians Lifeline, Inc. was formed.
Gail Reiner - Secretary
Gail Reinerʼs involvement in the arts is lifelong. As a teenage student of Martha Graham Modern Dance to a professional career in the non-profit sector, to raising two children who are artists (her art bookmaker/designer/artist/printer/antique book seller daughter opened Society Wolf, a “curious” boutique, and her drummer/recording engineer/ producer/videographer son lives in Brooklyn) to helping run her familyʼs 86 year old business while creating her line of fashion jewelry, Gailʼs life is constantly touching upon the arts.
Gail remembers, “When Rob Fried became so ill and we started to learn about POEMS Syndrome, it was too late. We had raised some money, but we realized the need was ongoing and this one-shot deal was not enough. Thatʼs when we started the Southern New England Musicians Fund. Amazing shows and we started really helping people.”
Gail adds, “I am proud to be part of this group. Musicians Lifeline, Inc. stands ready to really make a more meaningful impact in helping musicians, who give so much of themselves to their audiences and usually get paid much less than you would think considering their value to the venue and the lasting memories created by their musical genius.”
Pam Broderick - Treasurer
Pamela Broderick is a graduate of Smith College with more than 20 years of experience in corporate management, executive/professional recruiting and sales in the Greater Hartford region. She is an avid music fan and was an integral part of the Southern New England Musicians Fund.
John Colby - Director
For the last 20 years, Colby Music has been a leading producer in the field of sports music. John Colby has created theme and background music for virtually every sporting event. Best known as the composer of ESPN's "Sportscenter Theme," John has written hundreds of TV themes. As ESPN's music director (1984-1992) he shaped the sound of the world's largest cable network. He has been music director/band leader for the ESPY award show since its inception. Other credits include the Player's Choice Awards, NASCAR's Banquet, Indy 500, and ESPN's College Basketball Award shows, Nascar Night in Hollywood.
Not limited to sports, John received a Grammy for the soundtrack of Ken Burns' "Civil War." He composed and produced the music for 2 academy award documentary film nominees: Ken Burns "The Brooklyn Bridge" and Florentine Films' "The Garden of Eden." He wrote the music for the acclaimed documentary "NASCAR - The Fifty." John has toured, played keyboards and produced 2 albums for saxophonist Clarence Clemons. He has performed with: Ray Charles, Jamie Foxx, Bill Murray, Toni Bennett, Willie Nelson, Delbert McCinton, Duane Eddy, Grand Master Flash, Ben E. King, Dionne Warwick and many others. He performs on keyboards alongside his wife, singer Bev Rohlehr, with their band "The Colbys."
Rob Gottfried - Director
Rob Gottfried is a nationally recognized Children’s Motivational Educator known to thousands of kids as ROB THE DRUMMER. Rob performs his highly acclaimed ANTI- BULLYING, Anti-DRUG, High Self-Esteem “BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE” Concert nationally and worldwide! Additionally, as a Personal Percussion Instructor Rob inspires students of ALL ages!
Honored to be a Winning contender in Carmine Appice’s “Best Rock Drummer of the United States” competition in LA, Rob has also recorded on Arista Records with renowned Organist, the late Larry Young, played at The Village Gate, and rocked Carnegie Hall for the Newport Jazz Festival. Rob has filled the percussion chair with guitarist extraordinaire, Jeff Pevar, and rocks the drums for lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, Desiree' Bassett, in her band “THE TIME MACHINE.” Currently, Rob is playing with the great Funk-Dance Band, AVENUE GROOVE...and ROXY PERRY, New York Blues Queen.
Tim McDonald - Director
Tim McDonald is the Director of Affiliate Marketing for GrooveWorx Trailers, a company which produces music to complement, enhance, and elevate the messaging for feature film and media advertising. Originally from Worcester, MA, Tim spent decades working in LA and San Francisco as a performer, writer and jingles singer. Now living in New England, this stellar player is another parts-master, known for his agile guitar work and his powerhouse vocals.
Tim started gigging professionally at 13 years old, and played extensively throughout New England as a teenager. After high school, Tim moved to San Francisco where he was the singer/lead guitarist for the Charles Biscuit Band, one of San Francisco's biggest bands of the seventies. Then, it was on to LA, where he became a studio player/singer for live performance, TV and film. He now lives in CT, where he is part of the Kortchmar-McDonald band, as well as a busy local musician playing solo, band, and studio dates in the community.
Christine Ohlman - Director
Christine Ohlman,known as "The Beehive Queen" teased her blonde hair into a beehive in honor of Ronnie Spector and never looked back, picking up a guitar and forging a career as a songwriter in the process. This queen of blue-eyed rock n’ soul grew up loving the sweetness of a Memphis horn line and the raunch of an electric guitar riff. Ohlman tours relentlessly with her band Rebel Montez, torching clubs up and down the Eastern Seaboard in support of her recordings: Strip, The Hard Way, Radio Queen, Wicked Time, 2008 career retrospective Re-Hive, The Deep End, 2011 concert DVD Live Hive, and 2019's The Grown-Up Thing.
She’s the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band and in 2017 was inducted into the National Blues Hall of Fame of American Heritage International. Ohlman’s legendary voice and stage presence have been featured in the PBS series "Music City Roots" with Bonnie Bramlett, Sarah Potenza and the McCrary Sisters; on SNL's 40th Anniversary telecast (pulled onstage by Jimmy Fallon at the after-party concert at the Plaza Hotel, she tore the roof off with the B52s as her backup vocalists); the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Concert in Cleveland (filmed by HBO); the Carnegie Hall tribute to the Rolling Stones; the 2015 WC Handy Festival's Grand Marshall and co-billed with iconic guitarist Travis Wammack; Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary bash at The Garden (with George Harrison, Chrissie Hynde, and others); the 2013 Obama Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C.
Kat Sarracco - Director
Kat Sarracco majored in music and made her living as a musician. Eventually, she returned to college and earned a computer engineering degree, but always stayed involved with the music industry by applying her technology skills as a production support professional.
In 2006, Kat founded Neko-Productions as a website design business which focused on music oriented social networking, marketing, photography and e-Mail campaigns. Kat was asked by artist management to promote local shows for touring artists and in 2010, concert promotion, fundraising and event production became a part of Neko-Productions. Via her popular "Sunday Jazz Series" concerts, Kat met Jim Whittemore and became involved with the Southern New England Musicians Fund.