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, working with museums in the tourism industry such as Old Sturbridge Village, South Street Seaport Museum & Marketplace, and MOMA in NYC.
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.”
Gailʼs life is constantly touching upon the arts while helping run her familyʼs 86 year old business and creating her line of fashion jewelry. She has raised 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 works for ThriftVintageFashion.com)
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 (a/k/a "The Beehive Queen" for her mile-high platinum-blonde hairdo) is the current, long-time vocalist with NBC's Saturday Night Live Band—and the one of the undisputed queens of American rock n’ soul— whose sixth critically-acclaimed CD with Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez, "The Deep End," was honored on numerous national end-of-year Top Ten lists.
Born in the Bronx, this Connecticut queen is as deeply embedded in the southern music scenes in Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Nashville, and she is in New York's—she counts them all as true artistic homes. Her live shows are legendary for their fiery musicianship and superb storytelling. Ohlman is an inductee to the National Blues Hall of Fame of American Heritage, International. She appears in “Bonnie Blue,” the 2022 documentary on the late, great bluesman James Cotton. Her voice graces Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” (in a guest-vocal turn with the Rolling Stones on their classic cut “Out of Time”). Ohlman landed the Top Female Americana Vocalist honors on The Alternate Root's International Readers' Poll (she shares top slots with Paul Thorn, The Mavericks, and Rodney Crowell). She is fresh from emceeing the star-studded 2022 Celebration of Life for iconic girl group star Ronnie Spector, as well as from appearances onstage in NYC with Bonnie Raitt, Keb Mo, Trombone Shorty, Jon Batiste and Paul Shaffer; at the Paris Conservatory and the Royal Academy at Ghent with The Sessions Panel; on the SNL 40th Anniversary broadcast and Post-Broadcast concert at the Plaza Hotel; "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon;” multiple appearances on the soundtrack for the HBO series “Vinyl,” including a duet with Elvis Costello; the Carnegie Hall Tribute To The Rolling Stones; the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Concert in Cleveland (HBO) and The WC Handy Festival in Muscle Shoals, where she’s been the special guest of the Blind Boys Of Alabama and led an All-Star Shoals tributes that included Bonnie Bramlett, Candi Staton, and other Southern soul greats. Her numerous studio and live collaborations encompass Grammy-nominated recordings with Charlie Musselwhite; "Evenings of Duets" with the late Mac Rebennack (Dr. John); Dion, Ian Hunter, Marshall Crenshaw and the late Levon Helm (all of whom guested on “The Deep End”); a longtime, continuing onstage collaboration with legendary NRBQ guitarist Big Al Anderson; plus appearances with Al Green, Steve Miller, Smokey Robinson, Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, and the late George Harrison. With JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic, she leads the “Down On The Bayou” New Orleans Jazz and Heritage benefits for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic. She guests on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and legendary Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham's "The ALO Orchestra Sings The Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 2,” named “Coolest Record Of The Year” by SIRIUS/XM’s "Little Steven’s Underground Garage."
Ohlman is a noted musicologist and record collector who was one of the original contributing editors to the All Music Guide. Mixing a fiery brand of rootsy Americana with an old-school soul music flavor, she serves up a style that's been dubbed by SIRIUS/XM's Dave Marsh "Contemporary Rock R&B.” Her six critically-acclaimed CDs will be joined in 2023’s by the upcoming “The Grown-Up Thing.”
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.