PARROT PRESS

Check out Page 110!  Thanks to Laura Kolnoski for this great article!  
Unknown
Jimmy and the Parrots wrote a beautiful anthem to commemorate the SS United States . The Conservancy would like to personally thank Jimmy Maraventano and his band.

Additionally a personal thank you to Manager Mary Beth Rotella for providing the lyrics which follow.

SYMBOL OF AMERICA
Words and Music by Jimmy Maraventano
Copyright 2010

She floats as only she can
Proud and majestic is she
Colors of grandeur none can compare
Could you picture her on the high sea

Kings and queens were the guests of her time
Persons of fortune and fame
Can you recall the time it was
When the whole word would utter her name

She’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

Flagship of our nation
The strongest and fastest to date
We cannot stand by we will not accept
That this is to be her fate

Her contours split the horizon
Defying the endless tides
Though faded and rusting you’ll see right through
Her beauty her grace and her prime

But now broken, alone, no place to call home
She sits and wait patiently
To ride the waves, fly her flags
Fulfill her destiny

She’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

Flagship of our nation
The strongest and fastest to date
We cannot stand by we will not accept
That this is to be her fate

For fifty odd years she continues to fight
The ravages of the sea
Time will win out as it always does
Fade into history

Now is the time is to hear her call
Let’s end these years of neglect
A second chance to serve again
She deserves at least that much respect

For she’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

A symbol of America
Her namesake the United States
Let’s do this for our country
Before it is too late.

A symbol of America.
 
Christmas in the Caribbean ~ Reading-style!
by Laura Kolnoski

The weather outside was frightful, but inside, it could not have been more delightful when tropical songbird Nadirah Shakoor joined Jimmy and the Parrots to deliver a stellar holiday concert in West Reading, PA on December 5.

Shakoor, known primarily for her melodious back-up singing with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, wowed the crowd with a wide variety of songs - from Buffett and holiday favorites, to rock classics, Jimmy and the Parrots originals, and selections from her own recordings. Sponsored by the Berks County Parrot Head Club of PA, the annual concert raised funds for the Berks County Crime Alert Program, fulfilling Jimmy’s Buffett’s directive for all Parrot Head Clubs to “party with a purpose.”

The flash snowstorm outside served as a seasonal counterpoint to the hot action inside the large Scottish Rite Cathedral, which began with a catered Meet & Greet between club members and the performers. Earlier in the day, Shakoor rehearsed with Jimmy and the Parrots for their first ever appearance together, graciously talking to and signing autographs for those lucky enough to bear witness.

Nadirah met the boys in the band in November, at “Floridays”, the annual Meeting of the Minds International Parrot Head Convention in Key West; brought together by Denny Lorah, president and founder of the Berks County Parrot Heads. Everyone bonded over lunch, with Nadirah quickly deciding that Jimmy and the Parrots are a band she could, and wanted to work with.

“After initially hearing that Nadirah was performing with us, I must say I was a bit nervous,” said Jimmy Maraventano, the groups’ founder and leader. “Performing with the likes of, what’s his name, oh yeah - Jimmy Buffett standing next to her, then me standing next to her, can be somewhat disconcerting. I have, in a more informal setting, played a tune with Peter Mayer and Doyle Grisham, which come to think of it was also nerve-wracking.”

“I was fearful, as performers of her status can, I guess, have certain requirements, but Nadirah, from the first minute to the last acted like someone I knew for 20 years,” Jimmy continued. “It could not have been more comfortable. Whatever suggestions, songs, whatever, were met with a ‘sure let’s try it’ attitude. I would perform with her anyplace, anytime.”

The night of music began with a smash performance by Plenty Problems, a steel-band ensemble of high school students from the Southern Delaware School of the Arts. Winners of a gold medal a the 2009 Panorama Caribbean Music Festival in Virginia Beach, the young performers turned out a lengthy set worthy of seasoned professionals, to the delight and wild applause of the audience. The enthusiastic young musicians have played at over 300 events and parades in the U.S., as well as in Trinidad.

The instant Jimmy and the Parrots took the stage, audience members sprung from their seats and hit the make-shift dance floor in front of the first row; many staying on their feet, singing and partying throughout the show. Nadirah wowed the crowd, not only with her angelic, soulful and lilting voice, but also with her effervescent personality and up close and personal warmth toward the crowd of close to 1,000 revelers. At one point, she left the stage, dancing and singing her way through the cheering, appreciative audience. Nothing warms a winter night like the sultry sounds of the Caribbean!

Like all concerts involving Jimmy Buffett music, everyone sang along and danced to the music from start to finish. Always the showman, Jimmy “Mara” brought kids and audience members up to join in a few tunes, including “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

“Ours is a family Christmas show and Jimmy and the Parrots are a perfect fit,” said Denny Lorah. “They have become our adopted band and always put on a great show. I’m so glad we were able to put them together with Nadirah for a night none of us will ever forget.” The show went so well, Lorah said, that a repeat has already been scheduled for December 4, 2010, with Nadirah agreeing to again perform with New Jersey’s favorite Jimmy Buffett cover and party band.

After the show, members and friends adjourned to a local pub where they took over the second floor for an impromptu performance by Jimmy and the Parrots, who were graciously joined by Nadirah once more for a fun and friendly medley of original Jimmy and the Parrot songs, Buffett favorites, and a few tunes from Nadirah’s own CDs.

“Of all the things about the show and how successful it was, the best thing was Jimmy’s face,” Denny Lorah said afterward. “He looked like a kid on Christmas morning who got everything he wanted.”

Lorah said the promise of another stellar show next December to raise money for charity has the Berks County Parrot Head Club looking for major sponsors to come on board. “We want to promote this show all year,” Denny said. Sponsors at the 2009 show included local businesses and the Berks County Police Chiefs Association, many of whom were in attendance. Established in 2002, the Berks County Parrot Heads supports a variety of charitable organizations and assists in community and environmental concerns.

Nadirah Shakoor posted the following on her Facebook page after the show: "I love the Berks County Parrot Head Club! The 'Christmas in the Caribbean' concert was so much fun…from the cocktail party to the after party jam session that lasted ‘til almost 2am. What an exceptional group of people; obviously a tight-knit family that enjoys and respects one another."

“Parrotheads, per se, are just regular working people who in some cases get a short break to let their hair down,” Jimmy Maraventano said. “I have met so many wonderful, generous people who are always so complimentary and helpful. They have these events with the dual purpose of having a great time, but more importantly donating considerable sums of money to many wonderful causes. It is so uplifting to see that people really do care about the concerns of others and spend a tremendous amount of time putting these events together.”

“Jimmy Buffett has the most amazing fan base that I have not seen since the Beatles in the 60s, Jimmy continued. “I cannot think of any performer who gets the party going like Jimmy Buffett, his insanely amazing band, and maybe most importantly, his fans. Thanks to these great folks and Jimmy Buffett, we get to have a great time and make a few bucks to boot!”

Next up for the Berks County Parrot Head Club is their annual Cabin Fever Show on January 31, 2010. For more information on that event and this great organization, visit www.berkscountyphc.org. A Google search of Nadirah Shakoor offers a number of opportunities to hear, download and purchase her music, including her Myspace page at www.myspace.com/nadirahshakoor.

If you can’t get to the Caribbean, the next best thing is a hot night of cool music with Jimmy and the Parrots, any time of year!

Laura Kolnoski is a professional reporter and columnist based in New Jersey.