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Club Rhapsody: Meeting Point for Live Music Fans

By: Jena Maddalino

Date Posted: 2000-01-15

Importing famous bands and booking talented performance artists, that respond to the demands of an increasingly eclectic audience have been the leading leitmotifs for R. Dureil Farnell since he became the MCCS Entertainment Director. Within the short time that he has been working for MCCS, he has brought in some big name groups, like Allure and Boys II Men, and managed to launch a unique Saturday night sensation of Jazzy sounds and R&B - Club Rhapsody -- at the Club Chesty located on Camp Foster.

Dureil Farnell is no stranger to the entertainment industry. His resume includes owning his own entertainment business around the San Francisco area for eight years known as the Rhapsody Productions. That is the name he decided to use for the popular club on Camp Foster. Farnell is also no stranger to Japan, nor to military life; he was born in Tokyo, Japan while his father was serving in the military.

Leaving San Francisco was a positive move for Farnell. He knew that he would someday return to Japan and bring his experiences with him. He says his start was a little difficult at first, but getting his foot past the door was the most important thing. "I started out working in marketing because I wasn't able to get a job in entertainment" recalls Farnell. That very marketing job put him in the position of finding out what the military population wanted, in terms of music and entertainment. "I was able to see what people really wanted - a variety of entertainment."

And a variety of entertainment is what they got. Besides the obvious "big name" bands, he has also booked some less known ones based in Tokyo and Okinawa. The Fumio Karashima Jazz Trio, Ultimate Satisfaction, and Pieces of Dream are just some of the many artists that have played at Club Rhapsody since its opening in May of 1999. "Club Rhapsody is one piece of the puzzle," says Farnell, referring to his future goal of offering a larger variety of musical performances to his audience.

Club Rhapsody was opened to appeal to the 30-something crowd, offering a traditional style of easy listening music that transcends race or ethnicity. According to Farnell, Jazz is not only diverse, but also has a wide spectrum of listeners, adding to the popularity of the Club.

Rhapsody has also gained notoriety among the local residents. As a public relations concept, Farnell wanted the club to be open to local residents as well as the military. "It was a way to build a bridge to the outside community." More recently, it has been difficult for the club to maintain a list of local nationals who want to see the shows. Many times, some visitors have been refused access to the club by the base guards, due to some minor confusion. Farnell is currently seeking a better system of list maintenance, which still leaves base security measures intact.

One of the more difficult aspects of Farnell's position is booking quality bands for Club Rhapsody. "Trust is very important to the entertainment industry and it is necessary to build strong relationships with the artists so they will want to return," says Farnell. His most important mission for the club is to maintain a high standard that keeps the people coming again and again.

Looking into the future, Farnell continues to strive for ways to improve Club Rhapsody. Bringing back popular artists like Mark Whitfield and Bitasika, and having only live bands on stage, are part of his plan. He also wants to start an alternative live house to offer the younger market a taste of Rock and Hip-Hop. As he waits for his budget to be approved for the new fiscal year, which begins February 1st, he can only speculate about what MCCS Entertainment will offer for the year 2000. The one thing he is definite about is that he will continue to book quality artists.

After a short closure for the holidays, Club Rhapsody will reopen this Saturday, January 15th featuring Sax player Yasuaki Morita; on the 22nd, Ultimate Satisfaction will perform; and on the 29th, the Machu Trio will finish out the month.

Club Rhapsody is located on Camp Foster at the Club Chesty and is open every Saturday night. For more information about the club please call 645-9171.

Note: Club Rhapsody recently experienced a data base crash and lost its mailing list. If you were on the mailing list before, or if you would like to be added, please send your name and address to MCCS Entertainment Branch, MCB Camp S.D. Butler, Unit 35023, FPO AP 96373-5023 or email farnellr@mwr.mcbbutler.usmc.mil.

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