Florida Orchestra Concertmaster Jeffrey Multer

On a Cultural Exchange – Making Music in Havana

Going to Havana recently was far removed from a vacation scenario in the tropics for Jeffrey Multer. As the concertmaster of The Florida Orchestra (TFO), the visit was part of TFO’s on-going, multi-year cultural exchange with some of Cuba’s major musical and cultural institutions, which included being the violin soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (NSOC) in Havana’s Teatro Nacional de Cuba this past Mother’s Day on May 12.

The idea of traveling to exotic locations is standard fare for professional musicians, but the music always comes first. You may be surrounded by monuments, historic buildings, expansive plazas and other sights, but the main sight for Jeff Multer was his sheet music stretched out in front of him in his room at the Hotel Presidente, that is when he was not in rehearsals at the concert hall. In the U.S., it’s practice, practice, practice and in Cuba it’s “practicar, practicar, practicar.”

In rehearsals, Jeff showed a wonderful blend of leadership and a shared sense of comradery and love of the music with his Cuban colleagues. It also provided a chance to renew acquaintances with some musicians who had come to Tampa last fall and meet others for the first time. Everyone worked well together reflecting the positive collaborative spirit that has grown out of the cultural exchange program, all of which resulted in a wonderful concert that week.

With Jeff leading the orchestra from the concertmaster chair, the first half of the concert exuded a mixture of charm and lively turns of phrase in a lovely set of chamber orchestra gems: Handel’s “Entrance of the Queen of Sheba” from Solomon; Bartók’s Rumanian Folk Dances and Bach’s Suite No.3. On the second half of the program, under the baton of Music Director Enrique Pérez Mesa, Jeff soared on his violin throughout the bold Romantic passages and the hauntingly rhapsodic moods of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, resulting in an enthusiastic standing ovation from seasoned concertgoers, music students and others from all walks of Cuban life.

Leaving the “culture” of the concert hall to walk the streets of Havana, one is struck by other cultural riches. Havana is a giant treasure trove great of architectural styles, stretching back in time to churches and monasteries of colonial Spain and zig-zagging through time toward the present.  Each century gifted city neighborhoods with a staggering diversity of structures adorned with all manner of columns, staircases, balconies, window adornments, stained glass, intricate wrought iron work, animal and floral sculptures, fountains and more. Although faded, peeling, cracked and in various stages of disrepair, the city is one giant museum of yesteryears’ charm and beauty, albeit punctuated by renovated architectural gems peeking out the past as if to declare that Havana will one day reclaim its title as the “Paris of the Caribbean.”

Don Shepherd… Taking Every Day a Day at a Time

Lisa Nunez Shorts | ImagoModo Photography

Don Shepherd

Don Shepherd is a professional Photographer and Videographer located here in the Tampa Bay area. He has been fortunate to find what he loves to do in capturing and securing history and memories all while following his passion for the last six years.

Don didn’t initially choose this line of work. The funny thing is his photography and videography business chose him!  Don’s friend, business partner and Future NFL Hall of Famer, Derrick Brooks chose Don.  It’s a long story that Don would love to share with our readers sometime, but let’s just say Derrick saw his talent and hired him to work personally for him and The Tampa Bay Storm. Don also volunteers for his Derrick Brooks Charities events, both public and private providing photography and video.

Don’s primary company’s focus is to always provide affordable and complete media coverage for all of his clients, no matter how big or small. With so many great photographers not only in the Tampa Bay area but all over the country, Don has been able to create a niche market for himself. “I have been told that I am able to see and capture moments that most would overlook.  I prefer to keep it simple and clean with a little twist of flair!”

Don lives in the moment and in the day, not liking to think too much about what will happen five or ten years down the road. “I take every day, a day at a time.  I am thankful for yesterday and I look forward to tomorrow, but I will make the most of this day!”

Although Tampa Bay is home for Don and his family, he has been very fortunate to work all over the world! His versatile flying privileges have allowed him to book photo shoots in Dublin, Ireland or shoot a football game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, making him one of the most flexible, easy going dual purpose (photos/video) film guys in the world!

When Don is not working, he volunteers his time to many local charities in the Tampa Bay area, some of which include: Derrick Brooks Charities, Hands Across The Bay, Bacchus Charities, Children’s Cancer Center, Florida Boxing Hall of Fame and the University of South Florida.

We asked Don, “What is one of the most memorable work related experiences that stands out for you?” “I have to say that I have quite a few, but two of my most memorable experiences include when I received a call from a client while I was shooting a football game and was asked if I could be at the airport Marriott to shoot a PSA for Danny Glover. This was a great experience to meet such a legendary actor.  The other and probably the most honoring was when Derrick Brooks called me to shoot his retirement speech.  He could have called any of his contacts from ESPN or any local station, but he called me.  What an honor!”

Don’s favorite part of his business knows that not only is he doing what he loves, but that he can create and make people smile with what he captures.

Family life and hobbies are also a big part of Don’s life and something he cherishes beyond words. As a father of four boys and one princess, he stays extremely busy attending their games, events and activities. And you can probably guess he always has a camera in hand. Coming soon, Don will be on the other side of the camera! Don was selected to play a part in the feature film “Catching Junior Tate” which is being filmed locally by 2DB Productions’ Karl and Rhonda Wilson.

Three words that Don feels best describe him are: BEST VIDEOGRAPHER ON THE PLANET! He also told us he owes all of his success to everyone who has ever doubted him, he thanks you!

To reach Don Shepherd, call 813.352.4651 or email Don at info@xopixo.com 

How Healthy Are Your Countertops?

Gene McDonald - Photo: Lisa Sibley

Gene McDonald - Photo: Lisa Sibley

Do you really know? When was the last time your granite was sealed? It may be shining, but what is making it shine? Are you willing to prepare a sandwich on your countertop for your children not knowing what that shiny liquid is?

If your fabricator tells you to seal your tops every six months or year, have some fun and test the fabricator. Say you only visit this home once a year. Do you really have to schedule a granite sealer every year you visit Florida? At this point, the fabricator will now start back peddling words realizing that it is a lame statement. Just demand a premium penetrating sealer, tested for 10-15 years. The sealer actually ‘Penetrates” the open cracks and grains in the granite. You may also want to ask if this sealer protects from all stains or just certain types of stains. Stains may happen, let’s talk about stains.

I will share with you some quick tips that may remove most stone stains. NEVER try to wipe out a stain that you know is already in the stone. Wiping it may just push this unwanted visitor deeper into your stone. We need a poultice which is a thick powder mix. Let’s try to figure out the cause. Is the stain near a coffee maker or near the stove? Were you putting on makeup while making breakfast for the kids? Get some talc powder, or even ground your kids chalk into a powder. For an oil based stain, mix the powder with baking soda and water, apply to stain and wait until it dries for 24 hours. What we’re doing is absorbing the stain. If the stain is organic like coffee or wine, mix in peroxide. For ink, use bleach for lighter stones, and Acetone for darker stones in the powder mix.

Is it ok to put Hot pots on granite? Let’s define OK. This statement is how many fabricators are able to close the Deal. If your fabricator says you can, will they warranty a stain underneath the hot pot area? Here are some points to think about. Our Florida homes are cool; our tops tend to match the room temperature. We then lay a pot of boiling water on the top, imagine one drop of soy sauce under that pot, you just created a hot stain machine. The pot’s diameter is now a concentrated heat circle, breaking down the last strands of the sealers integrity. Ok, now that we literally burned off the sealer in that area, what about milk and oil spills in that area? You may even prepare meats there; do you wonder where all those liquids and chicken juices are going? Maybe just maybe they are going into your top? Remember wiping an unsealed top only compounds the stains. Moisture in that exposed area with another hot pot also may boil the moisture in the stone forcing to expand the grains of the granite, which can result in cracks. Ask questions and remember health before beauty. We all deserve Healthy Countertops in Tampa Bay.

Gene McDonald, aka “The Counter Top Rock Star” is the President of Refresh Interiors Design.com. To schedule an appointment or Visit his showroom, visit www.ReFreshInteriorsDesign.com or Call 727.527.0206.

Panache People to Know – Patrick Shane Pendley

Patrick Shane Pendley

Panache: Why did you choose this business or line of work?
Shane: I don’t think anyone chooses to be an artist. Its more like it chooses you though being able to share what I see and feel is exciting and haunting all at the same time.

Panache: What is your primary role or duty in your company?
Shane: Keeping a healthy balance between artist, business owner and my family is a task within it self but I thrive on constantly being engaged in everything I do.

Panache: What sets you apart from your competition?
Shane: I learned a long time ago…if one constantly wonders what everyone else is doing or saying they can fall short of their own true potential of being an individual. I guess I don’t look at it as competition. I want to compliment the industry with the work I create.

Patrick Shane Pendley - PaintingPanache: What would you be doing now if it weren’t for your business, taking money out of the equation?
Shane: I have not a clue… a connoisseur of sort or living in the mountains as a happy ski bum. Who knows, I just know I am happy where my life currently resides.

Panache: What do you do for fun?
Shane: I could give the typical…I love to cook and pop corks (I do) but I am a sucker for family fun… or any social event I am usually all in, so sign me up, even for a local 5K run.

Panache:Who or what is most important to you, personally or professionally?
Shane: My wife, daughter, family, integrity, good living’ and my boots…

Panache:A little secret about you that would shock those who don’t know you!
Shane: I am a marketing coach to many and just finished my first book…The Boot, the Heart and the Feather “the heartbeat to any business”

Panache:What are your personal and professional mottos?
Shane: “If you don’t have room in your living room for ART, don’t become friends with an ARTIST.” Kidding, I believe, if you want to be great, make others around you even greater…

Panache:When you were five, what was your dream to be when you grew up?
Shane: A fireman or a baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds

Panache: Have you achieved all or most of your dreams thus far?
Shane: I don’t even know how to begin to answer that… Yes, I just need deeper roots. But honestly, I tend not to do things that don’t interest me, so I believe I’m on the right path.

Patrick Shane Pendley, born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1971. Originally from Dayton, Ohio he has lived in the Tampa Bay area for the past 10 years with his wife and daughter. He received a BFA from Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida (2000). His artwork is included in many public and private collections across the country. Mr. Pendley currently resides and works in the Tampa Bay area as an artist represented by Michael Murphy Gallery, as well as an entrepreneurial business owner of a Florida based marketing company. Please visit www.ShanePendley.com for more information.


Gene McDonald – Green Interior Artist Extraordinaire

Gene McDonald - Photo: Lisa Sibley

Gene McDonald - Photo: Lisa Sibley

PV: Why did you choose this business or line of work?
Gene: I love art and woodworking, especially fixing things.

PV: What is your primary role or duty in your company?
Gene: ALL phases, mainly project management and researching design trends.

PV:  What sets you apart from your competition?
Gene:  I personalize kitchens, baths and furniture. While many sell the most popular, I tend to attract those who want something which is not as popular. Recycled Glass, precious stone slab, and Paperstone; My own blend of Crystal top that customers can put whatever they want into the tops as well as backlight.

PV: What would you be doing now if it weren’t for your business, taking money out of the equation?
Gene: Helping people who need a chance in life, I don’t like to give hungry people fish too much; I’m one of those who would rather teach them how to fish.

PV: What do you do for fun?
Gene: WORK and Dance!

Gene McDonald - IslandPV:  Who or what is most important to you, personally or professionally?
Gene: Personally it is my mom who passed away too young of Leukemia. I can actually feel my heart swell up as if she says, Keep doing the next right thing. She always told me to be kind, but not a doormat and make as many friends as possible (she would have loved Facebook). Professionally I want to always be able to give back, many of my heroes in Tampa Bay give back. They welcomed me to help out even though I did not have much money, I was able to offer my hands, my smile, my countertop scraps, and my shop to help inspire the Children of CASA, Boys and Girls Clubs and countless others. It feels like my Mom swells up my heart when I am around these people…It’s my own personal awesomistic feeling. I love life like crazy!

Gene McDonald - IslandPV:  A little secret about you that would shock those who don’t know you!
Gene: I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t do Drugs, I don’t smoke Cigarettes and I love Hardcore Thrash Punk rock as well as Motown music. People always think I am on something because I enjoy wherever I am at. They spend big money on booze to act like me…LOL

PV: What are your personal and professional mottos?
Gene: Personal~ you cannot make a plant grow by pulling on it! Professional~ you cannot discover new oceans unless you have courage to lose sight of the shore.

PV: When you were five, what was your dream to be when you grew up?
Gene: Bruce Lee and a cartoonist

PV: Have you achieved all or most of your dreams thus far?
Gene: Yes, I am so glad I didn’t sign a contract because I achieved that dream 5 years ago. I am also grateful for all the friends and business I got. I feel that if my life doesn’t get any better than it is right now. I am ok with that. But I am Gene, Gene the dancing machine. Life is getting better by the minute…

About the President

Gene McDonald, President of Refresh Interiors Inc., is an active member of the Tampa Bay U.S. Green Building Council Chapter, the Florida Green Building Coalition, and the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA). As a countertop fabricator specializing in green products, McDonald has worked on many LEED-certified projects in the area. He has recently earned Master Fabricator status from Vetrazzo Recycled Glass Surfaces, a status reserved for fabricators who have fabricated 50 Vetrazzo jobs that have demonstrated superior craftsmanship. Since then McDonald has quadrupled that number! He also won the International Surface Design Expo’s Best Commercial Application Award in 2006 for his illuminated cobalt glass bar. In 2009, he won the Best Green Residential Kitchen award. He also won Best Green Small Application for his recycled paper toilet seat that glows in the dark. His top employee Hugh Simon won the Best Green Kitchen in 2010 and Best Design in Green Application in 2011. The newest edition of the Refresh Family, to lead the cabinet division is Chris Kessler. Master Cabinetmaker. Gene McDonald has spoken at The National Association of Home Builders and numerous Green Expos from Orlando to Las Vegas. Gene McDonald is proud to be what some call a Green Interior Artist. He shares his green projects with the world to smash the misconception that green design is bland and boring. His very own creation called Crystal Top was used in the upcoming film Step Up 4 from Touchstone Pictures.

Panache People to Know – Tampa Artist – Taylor Ikin

Taylor Ikin

Taylor Ikin

PV: Why did you choose this business or line of work?
Taylor: I did not choose it…it embraced me. Looking for friends while living on an island in the Caribbean, I joined a group of painters. And so my life began.

PV: What is your primary role or duty in your company?
Taylor: As an artist, I am a one man band. I am a studio of one.

PV: What sets you apart from your competition?
Taylor: : I am known as an environmentalist with a paint brush. I try to educate, inform and encourage the viewer to preserve for the future.

PV:  What would you be doing now if it weren’t for your business, taking money out of the equation?
Taylor: Painting and teaching art are my job and my pleasure. I would not change a thing.

PV: What do you do for fun?
Taylor: Anything that has to do with people, especially relating to the arts, a party and travel!

PV: Who or what is most important to you, personally or professionally?
Taylor: My family, friends and doggie Abby are most important, followed by doing the best work I can. My long term relationship with Nuance Galleries in Tampa has also given me the much appreciated personal and professional support.

PV: A little secret about you that would shock those who don’t know you!
Taylor: My full name is Anna Robinson Taylor Newton (Gray) Ikin!

Taylor Ikin - PaintingPV: What are your personal and professional mottos?
Taylor: “Defer not to tomorrow to be wise, for tomorrow’s sun may never rise!” unknown

PV: When you were five, what was your dream to be when you grew up?
Taylor: My dream was to have horses and especially show jumpers.

PV: Have you achieved all or most of your dreams thus far?
Taylor: Yes. I had a horse; I have enjoyed painting all over the world, including 18 years in Antigua. I teach workshops and lecture around the country and the class I teach at the Dunedin Fine arts Center is a total joy. The public recognition of my work is the icing on the cake.

Taylor Ikin is widely known for her work on YUPO, a synthetic tree free surface. Her environmentally sensitive images have been exhibited in Museums throughout the South as well as Florida house in Washington DC. Her unique approach and joy in making art are the frequent topic of articles in multiple art magazines, books and the local press, and can be enjoyed through her DVD, Dancing With YUPO. She has taught regionally, nationally, and in the Caribbean as well as 15 years at the Gulf Coast Museum of Art and recently the Beach Art Center. Ikin now teaches at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center in Dunedin, FL.

She has served on the Boards of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County and was the President and a Board Member of the Florida Watercolor Society for a total of 16 years.
Ikin is currently on the Board of the Gasparilla Festival of Arts, the Education Committee of the Tampa Museum of Art and the Restoration Committee of the Tampa Theater. She was awarded Signature Membership in the Florida Watercolor Society as well as the Suncoast Watercolor Society and is an award winning member of the Florida Artist Group. In 2012 her work was juried into the National Water, www.TaylorIkin.com

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