Official Web Site of Gretchen Christopher, BMI Million Airs Songwriter, Solo Artist, Dancer/Choreographer and The Fleetwoods' Founder














BLOG, 2010, 2009, 2008
 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004




Register as a friend of Gretchen Christopher at

Register as a friend of The Fleetwoods at

A Note from Gretchen:

This Calendar reflects some of the fun parts of making my life and living in the Arts, as both a Generative Artist and a Performing Artist, and occasionally 
nourishing my soul as a member of a family or that larger family, the Audience.
In a very few instances, I have listed an event to which I have been invited but may not be present; yet I want to extend the invitation to you, to support the Arts, the Entertainers, and those for whom I am sentimental. This may be as simple as acknowledging, and celebrating in our hearts, the birth dates of some very special people.
  With love to share, 
 Gretchen Christopher

"2009 Blog updates courtesy of Darrell French"
Send comments and questions to,

2007 was the year of completion for

 her premier autobiographical solo CD, years in the making.

Gretchen's greatest holiday gift?  Learning that hers is among the year's 
Wed, 1/28/09
Happy Birthday, SONJA CHRISTOPHER, sister of Gretchen, and first SURVIVOR voted off the island. 
(See article and photos, 1/16/08.)
Sat, 2/14/09
Happy Valentine's Day
& BIRTHDAY  to "Heart " and "Clever Bastards"  Co-Founder and Birthday Boy, ROGER FISHER.
Mon, 2/16/09

Happy Birthday, Broadcaster JOHN HENDRICKS

Click on Photo to Enlarge 
Thurs, 2/19/09
JON "BOWZER" BAUMAN of SHA NA NA and GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER of THE FLEETWOODS testify on behalf of TRUTH IN MUSIC ADVERTISING, Senate Bill  SB 5284, at Senate Hearing Room 4, Cherberg Bldg, State Capital, Olympia, WA.
Fri, 2/20/09
Pisces Birthday
of Original Fleetwood, BARBARA LIANE ELLIS (I phoned, played piano and sang "Happy Birthday" to Barbara on her message machine).
Mon, 2/23/09
Pisces Birthday
remembrance of Fleetwood Gretchen's Co-Songwriter, LEE J. JACKSON, 1936-1999.  Hear his fine lyrics on "Autumn Gold", "What Good Is Pride (When You're Dying Inside)" & "Standing At My Window" on GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16), at .
Tue, 2/24/09
Pisces Birthday
of Replacement Fleetwood, GENE HOWARD.
Thurs, 2/26/09
Pisces Birthday
of Fleetwood Gretchen's Son, CHRISTOPHER MATZEN
Fri, 2/27/09
Pisces Birthday remembrance
of Fleetwood Gretchen's Dance Partner, DANIEL SCHWARTZ (Feb 27, 1922 - Feb 23,
Gretchen's favorite dance partner, Daniel Schwartz, suffered a stroke on the weekend of 2/17/07.  Dan died peacefully
Feb 23, 2007, with his family at his side, just four days before his 85th birthday. 
 Dan is remembered forever and acknowledged
in the Album Notes of Gretchen's Sweet Sixteen and the following:
Sat, 2/28/09
Pisces Birthday
of Fellow Singer-Songwriter, SANDY ST. JOHN - and fond remembrances of her husband, Dick St. John (1940 - 2003), singing partner, hit songwriter and (with Dee Phelps) co-founding member of Dick 'n' Dee Dee.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Pisces goddess LILLIAN, Grammy Gretchen's 4th "Grammy Award". (:o)

Sun, 3/1/09
Gretchen and Vos celebrate her non-birthday with a rare day of leisure for "just the two of us":  Brunch out, Treasure Chest hunting, two Academy Award nominated films, Dinner out, and relaxing in front of the fire at the lake house.
Wed, 3/4/09
Pisces Birthday
of former Disc Jockey, RALPH KOAL.
Wed, 3/11/09
109th anniversary of the birth of  Gretchen's father IAN CHRISTOPHER (3/11/1900-1997) - a great influence on her music and selections from her autobiographical musical soundtrack, GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16), which include flute and cello, two of the instruments he played in his 33 years with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra.
Fri, 3/13/09
Pisces Birthday
of Replacement Fleetwood, Cute Cousin KAREN CONE from Connecticut
Wed, 3/17/09
St. Paddy's Day Rehearsal of Gretchen's song "WRITE DOWN: A Capital View For Every One"  to be performed at Isthmus Park Forum in support of ESSB 5800. Gretchen Christopher, Elsa Dorian, Donna Pallo-Perez, Olivia         

 Click on Icon to download
      Free Adobe Reader

 (Click here to print or download lyrics)

Fri, 3/20/09
PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET:  BROADWAY FESTIVAL: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Carousel (The Dance), West Side Story Suite, Take Five - More or Less. McCaw Hall, Seattle, WA.
Sat, 3/21/09
OLYMPIA ISTHMUS PARK FORUM, opened with music of JANE CANFIELD (piano/composer/lyricist) "A VIEW FOR ALL" and GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER (lead vocals/composer/lyricist) "WRITE DOWN: A VIEW FOR EVERYONE" and Canfield's "ISTHMUS BLUES", with chorus, including ELSA DORIAN, DONNA PALLO-PEREZ, OLIVIA HART and others. Panelists: WASHINGTON SENATOR KAREN FRASER (Sponsor of the ISTHMUS BILL, ESSB 5800, now passed the Senate and on to the House), OLYMPIA MAYOR DOUG MAH, and GERALD REILLY, CHAIRMAN of the ISTHMUS PARK ASSOCIATION.  (At Lunch following, Gretchen gave her new lyrics to Sen. Karen Fraser. 
Wed, 3/25/09
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES' hearing of ISTHMUS BILL, ESSB 5800, Room 8, O'Brien Bldg. GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER felt fortunate to be called upon to testified for ESSB 5800, after FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE RALPH MUNRO, and the Bill's sponsor SENATOR KAREN FRASER, and others; not to mention hundred who packed the halls and signed in, to document their support, at the Capital, Olympia WA.
JAZZ DANCE WITH GRETCHEN, 10:30AM, Westside Athletic Club, Olympia, WA.
Sat, 3/28/09
FREE DEMO DANCE CLASS:  Jazz Dance with Gretchen, for one hour, noon 
this Saturday, March 28 at Westside Athletic Club, 1212 Black Lake 
Blvd., W. Olympia.  Instant face lift (your smiles), as you experience 
fun and fitness, choreography and core training that keeps men and 
women feeling youthful and exhilarated. Class to be offered regularly 
at 10:30AM, Wednesdays, free to Club members, including 2-week free 
trial membership for non-members.  Membership Special, 6 months for 
$199, includes all facilities. For more information, monthly rates or 
drop-in fees for non-members, call (360) 754-8686 or visit
Sun, 4/12/09
Actress, Director, Musician, Arts Activist HELEN CHRISTOPHER Honored, six years ago today as Recipient of 2003 Salute to the Arts Award, "for your numerous and outstanding contributions to the Arts in the South Sound Area."

Capital city official for over a quarter century, former Olympia City Manager ELDON MARSHALL wrote on 3/28/03 in a personal note of congratulations to Helen Christopher (who had been the only woman appointed to serve on The Mayor's Committee of the '60's), "I just want to express my thanks for your leadership in achieving the 'Performing Arts Center' for our community. If not for your efforts and persistence I doubt that we would have it today."  Helen Christopher chaired the Auditorium Committee and decades of volunteer work to make a reality the auditorium which would be known as The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, of which Marshall wrote, "You are the 'mother' of the Auditorium."

Six years later, Eldon Marshall again spoke of her accomplishments at the celebration of her life which ended Friday, September 19, 2008. Helen Christopher died but left the capital city multiple legacies to enrich the lives of all who survive.  See TRIBUTES.
4PM April 16 was truly "Sweet 16" as the TRUTH IN MUSIC ADVERTISING ACT was SIGNED INTO LAW by GOVERNOR CHRIS GREGOIRE with GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER, a witness, at her side. GRETCHEN OF THE FLEETWOODS had testified to the Senate in 2008; then, again, in 2009, when she and JON "BOWZER" BAUMAN OF SHA NA NA both testified.  THE BILL PASSED THE SENATE AND HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY.  
After the signing, Christopher thanked the governor and said, "I'm Gretchen Christopher of The Fleetwoods.  The Original," and grinned. 
Governor Gregoire was amazed, "Really? The Fleetwoods!"  "The Fleetwoods, really?" 
Christopher presented Gregoire with a signed copy of GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN, "in celebration of Truth in Music Advertising becoming law," Christopher said, "I hope you can take 45 minutes to relax and listen to the music and read the history." The Governor appeared eager to do so.  

Click on Photo to Enlarge 

4:30PM WASHINGTON STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES visited by GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER who spoke with and sent notes to some REPRESENTATIVES to encourage their support of the Isthmus Bill, sponsored by Senator Karen Fraser to save one of the most beautiful Capitol Campus views in the nation: from Washington's Capitol Campus, across Capitol Lake to the Isthmus, down Budd Inlet to the Olympic Mountains, for which our capital city was named.
5:15PM VIDEO TAPED INTERVIEW of GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER by CHARLIE KIRRY, regarding memories of DON RICH (Don E. Ulrich, OHS class of 1959).   May 11, 2009, Don will be posthumously inducted into the OLYMPIA HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI HALL OF FAME, into which THE FLEETWOODS were inducted in 2005.  
DON RICH was the fiddle-playing, lead guitarist and harmony-singing sidekick of BUCK OWENS, from 1960 until 1974, just a month before his 33rd birthday, when Don died in a motorcycle accident, effectively ending the Buckaroos, of which he was band leader, and the career of BUCK OWENS who, years later, said, "He was like a brother, a son and a best friend. Something I never said before, maybe I couldn't, but I think my music life ended when he did. Oh yeah, I carried on and I existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightning and thunder is gone forever."
Sun, Apr 19, 2009
Finally got some flowers planted.  Entertained Piano Player David Burns and two of his friends, Nan and Nic, plus Fleetwoods Replacement Elsa Dorian and her son, Chase, who went kayaking with the piano player's personal trainer, and returned for pot luck dinner, a seal following them closely, nudging the boat, playing with them. 
 A seal used to follow my husband and me, when we'd sail on Henderson Inlet, in the Seventies, but this it the closest I'd seen one come.  It reminded me of the whales that played with our 27 foot sailboat when my husband and children and I sailed from Olympia to our beach place on Oakland Bay in Shelton. And the whale that appeared in front of this house at 7PM on the 4th of July, several years ago.  I felt the whale's appearance was an enchanting gift and that he knew how much I appreciated him.  
Now this amazing seal was frolicking around Chase's and Nan's kayaks, before they joined us for dinner on the deck overlooking the bay.  It was so beautiful!  
Played David the CD of  GRETCHEN'S SUITE 16 before dinner, and we ran though a couple of the numbers on piano, after dinner.  At my request, David played "Bring Him Home" from LES MISERABLE, and I sang it as a soprano.  Fun!  What freedom I have, now!  He's leaving tomorrow, driving back to L.A., taking a copy of my SUITE 16 to producer David __________, and has offered to come back to accompany me on a concert to benefit the Isthmus, hopefully, to turn it into a park, if wonderful Senator Karen Fraser can get her legislation through.
Mon, Apr 20, 2009
MALE RED FOX: There's a red fox I've been seeing at close range and speaking to without his running away.  He reappeared today, on my deck, when I was outside planting more flowers in planters there.  I spoke to him, and he came close.  He was within about 8 feet of me.  I think he was hungry.  He looked very beautiful and healthy, with dark bright eyes that looked into mine.  I  call him Foxy.  
I got him a piece of cooked salmon from my fridge and placed it on a large saucer, put it on the deck and leaned over it, hands on my knees, inviting him to eat. He was tempted but would come close, then veer away.  So, thinking my leaning toward him might appear too aggressive, I sat down on a chair, with the saucer just four inches from my foot.  He came and ate from it, carried off the piece of salmon.  I was thrilled.  A bit later, he came back, salmon still in his mouth, wanting to get the last morsel that had stuck to the plate, but he couldn't manage both pieces, so left.  Later when I was sitting on the deck railing, overlooking the bay, he came back by my door again and, by licking and gnawing, managed to get the last morsel that was stuck to the plate.  What big teeth he had!
So now I have a "pet" fox, though I don't know that I'll ever be able to actually pet him.  We shall see.
Tues, April 21, 2009
FEMALE RED FOX:  I had lunch with a fox today.  But it wasn't Foxy.  I was sitting on the railing of the deck, overlooking the bay, eating my lunch of salad with cooked salmon, when a red fox trotted right up on the deck and past me, within about 6 feet, seemingly not seeing me.  I spoke and the fox turned and came closer.  I'd taken detailed note of Foxy's markings (the pattern of the white, under the neck), the day before, and this was not Foxy.  
It was a female, judging from the nipples on her underside, and she was smaller, with warm golden brown eyes looking into mine, rather than the dark eyes of Foxy.  But she was a red fox, too; so I named her Rosey.  Did I dare offer her a piece of salmon from my bare hand?  I did, and she ate it without hurting me.  I ate some then offered her another piece from the flat of my hand.  She ate about five pieces, between my own bites, probably having more than I did, and then she seemed as if she might almost try to eat out of my bowl, but it was nearly out of salmon, so I tentatively offered Rosey a crouton.  She ate it, and another, and another, between my bites of lettuce.  
There was one small sliver of salmon left, and I wondered if she could lick it from my hand without hurting me.  She did.  Just as gentle and accurate as the peacocks used to be when they'd eat out of my hand.  I've missed them.  It's lovely to have a new friend. Rosey.  I looked for her in the evening when I had the same menu for dinner.  She didn't come, so I saved the last piece of salmon, just in case she shows up later.  

Life is good.  Between the passage of the TRUTH IN MUSIC ADVERTISING, new found piano player, good friends, family, and newfound pet foxes, I feel very blessed.
Wed, April 22, 2009
Every day is jam packed from about 6AM to midnight, but today is a particularly highly scheduled: 
10:30-11:30AM DANCE WITH GRETCHEN, teaching and rehearsing my students at Westside Athletic Club, to dance in the PROCESSION OF THE SPECIES, Saturday.  
12:15PM LUNCH with group regarding booking THE FLEETWOODS to perform.  
3:15PM Pick up my first born Granddaughter TESSA NOEL, from school, to spend the night, while her family is in Portland, OR.  Maybe we'll see a fox!
5:30PM DINNER together, with TESSA & VOS.
6:30PM Take TESSA to HELMERS to play with cousins KAMIEL & LILLI, while we dance.
7-8:30PM ARGENTINE TANGO class with VOS.
9PM Tessa to bed, to get a good night's sleep before arising at 7AM for breakfast before I take her to school, Friday. 
Sat, April 25, 2009
PROCESSION OF THE SPECIES and POT LUCK at Matzens', before and after PROCESSION, with all of our families and friends parading in pigs hats (made by Kimari) and wings, "When Pigs Fly" (:o)   The children, all in pink, were so beautiful!  My Chris and three other men pulled the children on a float.  I wore the outfit Tessa had found for me:  pink mesh tights and black jacket with pink inserts (over black leotard with long sleeved thermal shirt underneath to keep warm) and beige character shoes/ 2-1/2" heels.   Periodically, KIMARI HELMER, ELSA DORIAN and AMANDA SUE RUDISILL  joined me in dancing the Los Angeles Hustle for our 45 minute PROCESSION.  
Surprise: when we arrived at Matzens to party, GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16) was playing on sound system, inside and out!  It was followed by a series of Broadway Musical sound tracks (appropriately).  
Kimari said she was proud of me, "the hottest mom in the Procession.  I'd thought my costume would be the best, but yours is even better."  Other young women said I was "hot", and Vos said I was the best looking one there, so that was fun!  We'll see how the photos turn out. (:o)  Well, after seeing the photos, nothing looked as wonderful as real life (not even photos of the incredible camellias , practically bowed to the ground by the weight of their generous blooms - the most I've ever seen, all this after 1/4 of the budded bush being broken off by the weight of snow a few months ago!)
Sun, 4/26/09
Happy Birthday
, dear brother! JAMES CHRISTOPHER, Great Grand Master Laser Sailracing Champion of the United States, repeatedly since 2001. Congratulations, again and again!
Tues, 4/28/2009
FEMALE (lighter) RED FOX
"Godly Fox" (that was a lovely typo :o)  I actually named her "Goldy Fox" - 

It had been a full seven days since I'd seen one of the foxes, and my heart longed for them each day.  Then at night as Vos and I ate a late dinner of salmon, inside at the dining room table, he saw something on the deck.  "Is it a fox?" I asked hopefully.  Yes, it was! I took some cooked salmon scraps, opened the sliding glass door, knelt and offered the salmon on the flattened palm of my hand.  This fox was more skittish than either of the other two; more wiry and lighter in color, but the first that I had met with after dusk.  Again and again, he ate pieces of cooked salmon from my hand, perhaps a dozen of them in all.
I do feel the appearance of these foxes, trusting me and eating from my hand, is a "Godly" or Goodly gesture or sign: letting me know that these wild creatures sense goodness and that they can trust me.  Such a blessing and validation, after deeply hurtful actions by those I've believed in and regarded as a brother, sister, etc., who betrayed all that trust and the integrity with which i erroneously credited them.  Sadly, they literally and figuratively bit the hand that fed them.
Wed, 4/29/09
Birthday, remembrance of JOSIE WILSON (April 29, 1915 - January 18, 2007), Blue Horizon Records Label Founder, original Producer of The Ventures' music and Mother of The Ventures' Co-Founder Don Wilson, who were last year inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, declared The Ventures Day, by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire.  Congratulations, Josie; that sunshine must be you, beaming! (:o).
Fri, May 1, 2009
E.C. SWING DANCE WITH GRETCHEN (assisted by Vos).  DATE NIGHT, 7PM, Five Fridays in May. For more info, phone 360 754-8686, Westside Athletic Club, Olympia, WA
 Sat, 5/2/2009
BIRTHDAY of GOLDY MCJOHN, former keyboard player of Sparrow, Steppenwolf, Humble Pie.
Mon, 5/3/2009
Happy Birthday, ELLIE O'SHEA FRONEY (talented, lifelong friend, "since before we were born;" sounding board and ongoing champion for Gretchen's SWEET SIXTEEN)!
Tues, May 5, 2009
I've been undergoing intense pain with what turned out to be 
Hospital, Olympia, WA, on Cinco de Mayo.  For good luck, I asked the 
anesthesiologist to play my album SUITE 16 throughout the nearly hour 
long surgery, which they did.  Perfect.
Wed, May 6, 2009
Terribly cold.  Darling daughter KIMARI visited, brought lovely 
flowers from her garden.  Made sure nurse knew I needed warmth.  I 
appeared to have allergic reaction to antibiotic at point of insertion 
of IV (itchy arm with red streaks).

ELSA DORIAN visited briefly, her bright face peaking in the doorway.  
My son CHRISTOPHER and daughter in law GINA MATZEN arrived, bearing 
fragrant Lilacs from their garden, just before I was released from 

VOS drove me to the HELMERS' where KIMARI fixed us lunch, KAMIEL and 
LILLI showered us with affection, being very gentle with me, as 
forewarned.  I'd had no sleep last night, and Vos had only slept about 
3 hours before returning from Shelton to Hospital in Olympia; so we 
each fell asleep on the huge sectional sofa and ended up staying for 
dinner with family.  Such a nurturing environment.  Then to pharmacy 
for pain pills and home for what promised to be a really good night's 
sleep, with Vos staying to look after me, and Kimari offering to do so 
at her place, if he couldn't.
Thurs, May 7, 2009
After our shopping to fill prescription for pain medicine and buy 
planting soil, VOS began PLANTING FLOWERS I'd been buying over the 
past month (and am now not supposed to exert to dig and plant).  He 
asked that I point out exactly where I wanted them, starting with the 
Calla Lilies.  I wanted the creation of a Guest Garden, a profusion 
bright Impatiens and other shade-loving plants on the hillside outside 
the window of the Peacock Room, where guests stay.  Lovely!

I felt amazingly good, so would bend over and dead-head the spent 
blossoms of other plants, while Vos planted the new ones.

That night, I felt up to fixing a simple salmon dinner.
Fri, May 8, 2009
Guess I over-did, with all that bending to dead-head flowers (putting 
pressure on the area of surgery); for I didn't feel as well, today, as 
I did yesterday.  Perhaps the residual of the pain pill I'd taken 
Wednesday before nap (and another when my groin seized up after being 
too long on my feet, waiting in lines for prescription) gave me a 
false sense of well-being.  I'll take no more pain pills; then I'll be 
aware of what my body is actually going through and I'll be less 
likely to over-do.
Fri, May 8, 2009
E.C. SWING DANCE WITH GRETCHEN (assisted by Vos).  DATE NIGHT, 7PM, Five Fridays in May. For more info, phone 360 754-8686, Westside Athletic Club, Olympia, WA
Sun, May 10, 2009
MOTHER'S DAY was my first hosting of a social gathering, since surgery 
(5 days ago).  Though others were reluctant for me to exert myself, I 
insisted that it would mean so much to me to have mother's day at my 
place, giving Kimari and Gina the day off, in honor of their current 
active mothering.  We celebrated with my wonderful family, who took 
all responsibility for food, while Vos and I prepared my home to 
receive them.  (It was more of a challenge than usual, since the 
living room was in disarray, our having unloaded recordings from all 
the shelves, in order to install a flat screen TV and free up the 
space in front of the fireplace - a long held vision made reality!)

I had purchased many flowering plants over the past month, and, over 
the past two and a half days, Vos did the digging and planting of 
them, and all the lifting, as I'm not to lift more than 10 pounds for 
this first week or two.  He also gave me $20 to buy whatever plants I 
wanted for Mother's Day (though I'm not his mother :o), and I added 
seven bright and beautiful Geraniums to the collection, which Vos 
planted in the six huge new pots I'd previously purchased and he 
filled with bags of potting soil, which I couldn't lift.

We had a lovely family gathering with dinner on the deck overlooking 
the bay, this special day.  Nine adults and six children:  I 
especially wanted to honor my daughter Kimari and daughter-in-law 
Gina, who are the real working mothers in the family, raising little 
people (my grandchildren) who are, currently, from nearly four years 
(Gray Matzen will be, on June 23, joining his cousin Lilli Helmer who 
turned four on February 28, the day before my birthday, when I have 
one).  Tessa Matzen, who turned eight on Christmas, is the eldest, 
with "twin cousins" Kamiel Helmer and Avery Matzen, in between, having 
turned six on September 23.

The latter three requested my album be played, and specifically the 
song "Write Down", so they could dance to it.  Great fun!  (I have 
photos of a similar performance on Easter at Vos's.)  I realized and 
told them how delightful that they especially appreciate that song, 
since Nana (Mom) had preferred I not record that song, and I'd 
revamped it in hopes of making it pleasing to her, in spite of the 
challenge.  Now, the children request it, each time we're together!

Gray and Lilli ("thick as thieves") asked to play with the Barbie (and 
Ken) dolls (in addition to Gray's pirates and castle), and all the 
children requested dress-ups for the finale of our lovely gathering.

This was our first Mother's Day without Mom/Nana, as Kimari 
acknowledged and was teary eyed, missing her.  Kimari herself came in 
on crutches, having spent the morning at St. Peter's Hospital ER.  
Last night, she and Elsa Dorian had been having a great time 
performing the dance moves they'd learned in my class (Jazz Dance with 
Gretchen at Westside Athletic Club).  Kimari went to leap (not a move 
I'd taught them) and her achilles/calf muscle separated.  Omigosh, 
poor thing!  She will be on crutches for a week or more, with her calf 
wrapped for two weeks, and unable to run for a month or two (having 
already run three marathons).

Kimari is the heart of family entertaining, and I so wanted her and 
Gina and their families to be here, though her husband Chris suggested 
canceling the gathering, when Kimari was injured.  Instead, she had 
her vision realized:  sitting on the sunny deck with family, playing 
cards, which I joined in and found fun. (I seldom indulge in "games", 
life being crammed with plenty of "real" challenges.)

Chris Matzen had walked the kids down to the beach, while Chris Helmer 
finished cooking the delectable pork, Kimari had prepared, with cousin 
Renee Matzen's assistance.

Cousin-in-law Alison Matzen had made a wonderful curried rice salad 
with green olives and other yummy flavors.  Her husband Greg Matzen 
was in the field at Fort Lewis, and they've just purchased a home to 
be near us family, during Greg's next two years in Iraq.  Their 
daughter Audrey was our youngest family member and will be 21 months, 
May 17, as I recall.

In honor of the mothers (and the wounded), Chris Matzen and Chris 
Helmer did the clean-up, assisted by my brother Bill (who'd brought 
and cooked two pounds of fresh spring asparagus).

Gina had baked Nana's favorite cookies ("Treasure Bars"), and they 
were fabulous!  A perfect ending to a delightful day.  Kimari was 
ready to get home and  get her leg up, get into jammies and retire 
early.  Her Chris will get up at 4AM, the children will have school.  
I clipped a flower sprig from the loaded camellia bush and gave it to 
Lilli - and, to Kamiel, a whole branch of the flowers, which represent 
her name.  (Last month I'd given Lilli a potted Easter Lily with 11 
lily blooms, as her namesake).

Vos and I waved goodbye and congratulated ourselves on having hosted 
this day, which he "can't believe we did."  There is nothing so dear 
to me as family.
Sun 5/10/09
Wedding Anniversary of 
N.W. Concert Producer DAVID HARRIS & GLENNA GIBSON.  (I enjoyed writing and singing special lyrics for your wedding!)

(emerging Screenwriter
whose award winning screenplay includes two songs from
Gretchen's SUITE 16)!
(Victoria MacDonald & Elsa Dorian)
Click on photo to enlarge
Mon, May 11, 2009

Mon, May 11, 2009
which Don Rich will be honored posthumously, joining Recording 
Artists, The Fleetwoods, Radio Announcer and KGY Station Manager Dick 
Pust, and Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander, among others.  I do 
hope to be there, my first public celebration (non-family) since 
surgery six days ago.

Mom attended with me, not last year (which I missed), but in 2005 when 
I flew back from recording in Dallas/Fort Worth to be inducted (the 
only Fleetwood in attendance) - and the following year, 2006, when 
Winnie Olson was inducted (a contemporary of Mom's) and we had the 
pleasure of hearing her speak at length (an aspect that was not a part 
of the ceremony when I was inducted and accepted for The Fleetwoods).

Oh, I just Googled and confirmed that tonight is the night of the 
inductions, and Jenijoy LaBelle will be among them!  I am so glad!  
Jenijoy, first female professor at Cal Tech, came up from California, 
last year, and wanted to attend my CD Signing - and did attend Mom's 
98th birthday celebration at Kimari's.  Mom was so touched to see 

Well, I've indulged in recalling the details of Mother's Day and 
sharing them with you; for a day unrecorded is a day slipped away, as 
if it never happened.  To record our life (and its little treasures) 
is, I believe, one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
Fri, May 15, 2009
E.C. SWING DANCE WITH GRETCHEN (assisted by Vos).  DATE NIGHT, 7PM, Five Fridays in May. For more info, phone 360 754-8686, Westside Athletic Club, Olympia, WA ~ CANCELLED due to surgery.  Not to dance for at least 6 weeks.
Fri, May 22, 2009
After my medical phone consultation, Vos drove us to Mason County 
where we joined family, camping at Jarrell Cove State Park.  In the 
late 1930's and early '40's, my father (Norwegian - "Ivan the 
Terrible") and his buddies, Jess Rosenberg and Ralph O'Neil, used to 
sail to Jarrell's Cove on Dad's launch, The Holiday, for their 
"Melting Pot Cruises".  The log of their adventures was a delight to 
read as we were growing up.  Now three more generations are enjoying 
the same lovely cove in Puget Sound.  Vos and I day camped with my 
kids, grandkids, their cousins and friends, and while they slept in 
tents or on boats or campers, Vos and I retreated to the comforts of 
his home on a little lake that made it a second home for this Pisces.  
Kimari, now off crutches (I'd baby sat, Monday, while she went to 
doctor and took her first steps without crutches), was calf-wrapped 
and hobbling but did not let that stop her from being our camp site 
director, chief cook and bottle-washer, not to mention full-time 
mother and party planner for Thursday night through Memorial Day 
Monday morning.  Besides her best friend from grade school days, Toni 
Terhan and her two sons, from Federal Way, there were Chris's best 
friend Guy and bride Melissa (and her huge Mastiff, Lilly) from 
Portland, OR, and another half a dozen friends, plus family from 
hundreds of miles, including (my niece) Chris and Kimari's cousin 
Renee Matzen (and her Lab-mix dog, Flower, who loved to play with 
Helmers' Lab-mix, Star), Chris's nephew Jessie Helmer and girlfriend, 
Grandpa Rich Matzen, most of the clan!  It was fun to see two of the loves 
of my life conversing and enjoying themselves. What a lovely Memorial 
Day weekend.
Fri, May 22, 2009
E.C. SWING DANCE WITH GRETCHEN (assisted by Vos).  DATE NIGHT, 7PM, Five Fridays in May. For more info, phone 360 754-8686, Westside Athletic Club, Olympia, WA ~ CANCELLED due to surgery.  Not to dance for at least 6 weeks.
Sat 5/23/09
Happy Birthday, adorable ELSA DORIAN (Fleetwoods Replacement), Olympia, WA
Fri, May 27, 2009
E.C. SWING DANCE WITH GRETCHEN (assisted by Vos).  DATE NIGHT, 7PM, Five Fridays in May. For more info, phone 360 754-8686, Westside Athletic Club, Olympia, WA ~ CANCELLED due to surgery.
Sat, 5/30/09
In memory of the Birthday of P. STERLING RADCLIFFE, May 30, 1929 - January 18, 2007.
CoSongwriter of Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything".
Songwriter and Producer of "City of the Angels",  recorded by Gretchen Christopher. 
Click on photo to enlarge          
(Photo courtesy Deborah Page, )
Wed, 6/24/09
The Fleetwoods' Producer &  Dolphin/Dolton Records President, born 87 years ago this day, and who, seven years ago, June 15th, passed away. He may be gone, but the beautiful, ground-breaking, now-classic music he produced lives on. We love you Bob!      (See TRIBUTES)
Sat, 6/27/09
In remembrance of
LENORE O'CONNOR SEVERSON and our final musical celebration of her life,  "Encore for Lenore."
Fri, 7/6/09
"Amanda Sue Rudisill"

July 6, 2009 4:36:59 PM PDT

To: "Gretchen Christopher

Subject: Thank You

Dearest Gretchen,

Mike and I wanted to thank you for once again including us in your invitation to a wonderful party.  What a terrific day it was, from Kimari's warm hug greeting us, to the beauty of the fireworks up and down Budd Inlet. As always we so enjoyed Vos's conversation--so intelligent and perceptive, we always learn something interesting from him and love to exchange ideas.  Jimmy's talents on the piano were just amazing, as were so many of the people who joined in with various songs.

The food and loveliness of the environment could not have been better.  Gretchen, there are three moments that I will especially will cherish when I remember this particular 4th.  First, as always, I loved our doing the Hustle together on your deck (I was so pleased with myself that I remembered it and actually "nailed" that tricky cross-over step).  Second, a real highlight for the day, your birthday greeting to Chuck, so beautifully sung, so moving and filled with love and grace, your voice tender and soaring with feeling.  (My only regret for the day is that you did not sing more.)

And finally, and it may seem like such a little thing to you--I was standing on your deck chatting with sweet Gina.  We were looking out into the bay as Chris returned with the boat, turning it about with a roar and then coasting skillfully into the docking area.  The boat was filled with laughing children, screaming their delight with the ride.  At least 5 of them were on the boats bow, securely seated with legs wrapped around the vertical struts, hands tightly holding onto the railing, or those who were brave enough, waving excitedly to the dock-bound adults with the thrill of it all.  Gina counted 9 kids: I said, "Oh I thought he left with 10." She looked surprised, and we both had to laugh at the image before us--all bare legs, tossled hair and smiles.  Oh, my dear Gretchen, what an incredibly beautiful moment, a mental snapshot of a boat ride that these children will remember all of their lives, as I can remember lovingly the picnics we had in Youns Woods, back in my Pennsylvania Hometown with all my family so many. many years ago.

These are precious and blessed moments, these seconds of time when family and friends come together for such communion, truly sacred fun.  And you have such a great family, each one of who you can be proud, each one of whom shines with the love they have received, and thus, they will not only give the love back, but also, they will send the love along for generations to come--your family.

Thank you for all the beauty and wonder.  Much love,  Amanda and Mike
Sat, 7/4/09
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA! and Gretchen's "Guardian Angel" CHUCK DREYER!  Fabulous FRIENDS & FAMILY FOURTH AT THE FIRS, featuring boating, music, food, friends (36), and fireworks all around the bay! 
Mon, 7/27/09
VOS & GRETCHEN'S 53RD ANNIVERSARY of the day we met, and he'll once again take me for a boat ride on the bay! (:o)
Tue, 7/28/09
53RD ANNIVERSARY of VOS & Gretchen's
(Sweet Sixteen!) First Date! 
Fri, 7/31/09
Happy 4th Wedding Anniversary
to Gretchen's nephew (former Special Effects Artist for George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic on Twister; Star Wars: Episode 1,The Phantom Menace), DAN SHUMAKER and his bride TONI NAYLOR. Together, they've earned their Master of Theology degrees.  Dan now teaches Graphic Arts full time at the San Francisco Art Institute University in San Francisco.  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY,
Tue, 8/4/09
Birthday of GINA
(daughter-in-law of The Fleetwoods' Founder).
Wed, 8/5/09
Ninth wedding anniversary of GINA and CHRISTOPHER MATZEN, (Gretchen's son),
Wed, 9/23/09
BIRTHDAY OF "TWIN" COUSINS, Kamiel & Avery, born the very same morning -- September 23, 2002 -- to "Grammy" Gretchen's daughter and son (and their spouses : )
VOCAL COACHING, Individual or Vocal Group, by appointment, call Gold Cup Music (360) 866-7866.
Sat, 10/24/09
30-40 zombies take action in Thrill The World at Heritage Park in Olympia WA.
@5:30PM.  This is part of an annual event that is synchronized with other zombies from around the world.  Gretchen says" It was fun being among the 30-40 zombies taking action in Thrill The World at Heritage Park in Olympia, WA.  In the background, across the lake, is our beautiful Capitol, the unobstructed view which thousands of us have been working to preserve.  Copy and paste link to watch   .
Sun, 10/25/09
Mon, 11/2/09
Happy Birthday to Fleetwoods Replacement John Worsley.
Hear his Flute Echos recordings at
Tue, 11/10/09
Happy Birthday, shimmery
KIMARI, darling daughter of Grammy Gretchen. You are such a blessing!
Fri, 11/27/09
Happy Thanksgiving!
So much to be thankful for: including reunions with family, former in-laws, now friends! Love is forever, it just takes different forms! Eight children and 18 adults (all 35 of us family) gathered at Chris and Gina Matzen's for the most enjoyable Thanksgiving in my memory!  Thank you, one and all.  You were so in my thoughts, next day, I wanted to call and invite you to brunch on the bay, but realized Vos and I had too much decorating to do, getting ready for Parade of Lights, and, happily, we'd see you all at Kimari and Chris Helmer's the following day.  Love you so much!
Sat, 11/28/09
an Original Fleetwood. We who are left to carry on appreciate your contribution to the original sound and especially your unforgettable "Umn Dooby Doo, Dom Dom" back-up, which Fleetwoods founder Gretchen arranged in counterpoint to include you in the song, "Come Softly To Me," and musical history!
Mon, 11/30/09
Hear Gretchen Christopher read her Poem for DICK CLARK 
(Click Here)

November 30th! Another year older?
Don't be "Mr. Blue"
Dick Clark, you're loved the whole world over.
These greetings attest it's true.

How many teens might have lost their way
Had Bandstand not been born?
"Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day,"
All of us would mourn.

Another man spinning hits in your place
May help them climb the roster,
But millions of us who know your face
Say, "He's The Great Imposter."

"Outside My Window," you may "Runaround"
Or retreat to your Caribbean pleasures.
Wherever you go, good wishes abound;
You're one of our national treasures.

"Goodnight My Love," you're "The Last One To Know"
"You Mean Everything To Me"
Since the first time we Fleetwoods were on your show
And sang "Come Softly To Me."

Some feel each birthday's a "Tragedy"
("Graduation's Here" and gone)
But with you, dear Dick, we're eternally young;
The music plays on and on!
 by Gretchen Christopher copyright 1992, All Rights Reserved -
Wed, 12/2/09 & Sat, 12/5/09

Party, Potluck & Jam at The Firs on Budd Inlet

Good Grief, I can't believe it's nearly here:
THE PARADE OF LIGHTS, again this year:

Wednesday & Saturday, December 2nd & 5th
The week after Thanksgiving (I'm almost miffed,
it's come so quickly), here's my late invitation
To join us again for this great celebration!

Arrive before Six, when boats leave the Landing
And parade past my house, as we're on the deck, standing
"Round the flaming fire pit, while lighted ships sail by:
Then back to cozy eats and drinks, pianos and fireplace inside:

My prize-winning Chili & Salad for all:
Whatever you bring will add to the ball.
And speaking of dancing, we can, if you like,
And sing and make music (acoustic this night).

If you miss them at first, the boats parade by again
(About 8PM ?), so join us and you can catch them, then!

Holiday Hugs and Good Spirits to Share,
Friends & Family of Gretchen (hope you'll all be there!)

Searching for a special gift with which you can't go wrong?
A Billboard Critic describes this as
"A stunning suite of 16 songs."

Available that night,
signed by the artist (guess who :o)
CDs (and maybe Calendars) for whomever you choose!

Wed, 12/16/09
Hear GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER interviewed on the LEGENDARY ARTIST SERIES by KELLY WATTS, CLASS REUNION, on KRIM-FM (click on live link, here, and scroll down to Gretchen) or
Mon, 12/21/09
Fri, 12/25/09
Happy Ninth Birthday, TESSA NOEL
("Grammy" Gretchen's very first Grammy Award! :o)

  Wishing EVERYONE Warm & Wonder-filled Holidays blessed with Health & Happiness and a New Year of Working & Playing together in Peace & Harmony, throughout the World!

Thurs, 12/31/09
New Year's Eve,
SWING DANCING is our focus! Vos and I are double dating with another singer (local) and his girlfriend who is driving up from Lake Oswego, Oregon, as we speak.  Hope she doesn't encounter snow.  (She did!) Together, we three will drive another 30 miles to meet Vos at a Sheraton fraternal club where there's a live band, prime rib dinner, champagne toasts at 9PM for East Coast and midnight for West Coast, welcoming in the New Year (twice!).  I "pray" that the weather will be no worse than the rains we've been having and that traffic will be light (as opposed to going toward Seattle).

I don't usually like to see anyone travel on New Year's Eve, but the best sounding local big band dance was sold out, and I've been curious about this one in Vos's neck of the woods.  I'm so glad that my son, daughter and spouses will be walking to a party in their neighborhood.  That's good sense and fun and puts their Mama's heart at ease.

A lovely New Year's Eve and 2010 to all our friends, fans, and especially to you, Webmaster Darrell, and all your family.

With affection and great appreciation of all you do for all of us - The Fleetwoods, Gretchen Christopher, Gold Cup Music, and the fans.

Happy New Year!

Order autographed SWEET SIXTEEN! (SUITE 16) CD here 

Order autographed "Mr. BLUE" CD here!


Return to top of page

Treble clef image courtesy of Lisabeth's Music Images at

web site hit counter

Free Web Statistics