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What’s in a name?

Brad Walrod and Maureen Neville were amongst the crowd toasting Doug Rogers and the Backseat Drivers at the Callicoon Brewing Company.

February 5, 2014

Every great once in a while William Shakespeare comes to mind, and the past week was no exception. Those famous words, “what’s in a name,” were originally spoken by the lovely Juliet, but have been heard around the world countless times since then. Often, a simple name can conjure up vivid emotions, which in turn, evoke sentiment recalling special times—past, present, or future. At the risk of being called a “name dropper,” I’ve already made plans to sit down this summer with some of country’s biggest stars, and last Friday I took my seat with Paul Ciliberto and Michelle Semerano ( in Bethel, NY ( to welcome fans to the box office opening salvo with the 2014 M&M Auto Group Country Megaticket, featuring Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert. I had the pleasure of drawing a name from the hat, and Kiamesha Lake’s Ira Rudick was the lucky recipient of a complimentary pair of lawn tickets for M&M’s series. Excitement? You bet.

Dharma ( and I schmoozed with folks streaming in to be the first on line to take advantage of the pre-sale, and I had an opportunity to chat with Bethel Woods Museum Director Wade Lawrence and site interpreter Duke Devlin. While Duke played with the pooch, Lawrence took time out of his busy schedule to give us a preview of “America Meets the Beatles”—a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America, featuring the images captured by LIFE photographer Bill Eppridge. “While the magazine published a few photos,” Lawrence explained, “Bill snapped hundreds, many of which have never been seen until now.” Clearly excited about the upcoming exhibit (April 5 through August 17), Wade’s enthusiasm was contagious, and I know that I’m not alone in anticipating this “Fab Four” retrospective.

When I hear the name Allyson Whitney, powerful words resonate: strength, courage, heroic and inspirational among them. On Saturday, Dharma and I joined a packed house in Monticello ( with the board of directors, ( supporters, friends and family as plans for the 2014 calendar and annual 5k run (May 10) were laid out by Gabrielle Scott Ingber and Barbara Strong.