Happiness Initiative #1

People often ask me why I spend so many hours volunteering at the me&thee coffeehouse.  It is a labor of love — it’s a love that often gives back so much more than I give.  Not only do I love presenting shows by what I call our “tried and true” musicians who have played at our venue many times over the years but also by artists who are brand new to our area.  There is a vast wealth of musical talent in the world and we pride ourselves in the fact that we present the best of the best. So many fantastic artists have had memorable shows on our stage and ours is an impressive legacy dating back to 1970.

What I’ve come to discover over time is that the happiness that is so palpable during our shows is there because of the great energy radiating from our audience members.  I’ve had many inspiring and transformative conversations with patrons when I’ve asked them why they came all the way to Marblehead for a show.  I’ve observed that many of our showgoers come to the concerts with a purpose that is so much more than just sitting there to watch a show; they’ve come to pay homage to a musician who has made an impact on their lives.  Some come to say “thank you” and they know that they’ll have that opportunity in an up close and personal place like the me&thee.  Some want to get that special autograph on an old LP that they have treasured for years.  Some want to just be present in an intimate space and let the music wash over them and to relive a memory or create a new one.

I’ve decided to tell you about some of the extraordinary individuals who come to our shows. I’m starting an Initiative to make as many people happy as I possibly can—and If I can help make a dream of yours come true at the me&thee, please tell me about it.  Everyone has a story and this is one such story

Thank you to Stefanie Smolinsky for telling her Happiness Initiative story.


John and I met during a tumultuous time in our lives.  We were both going through terrible divorces and found ourselves suddenly single – each of us trying to raise a young family alone.  Although as fate, karma, luck and any other positive life energy I can think of would have…a few days before Christmas in 2013, our lonely days ended.

John and I had a fast and furious courtship.  In fact, on our first date we decided to have “linner” together.  We went out for lunch but then couldn’t bear to separate and ended up staying through dinner.  It was during this date that we started talking about musical interests and influences and he introduced me to the magic of Sean Rowe.  I instantly loved Sean’s soulful voice and hearing it always takes me back to my first date with John when I hear it.

Fast forward 2 years and listening to Sean’s albums over and over and over again.  It was the summer of 2015 and John and I were listening to Sean on Spotify.  He had released an EP called, “Her Songs” and that’s when we heard Sean’s version of “By Your Side.”  It made perfect sense…the fact that it was Sean and the lyrics…I burst into tears and John and I quickly agreed that this was our wedding song! Long story long…we discovered that Sean was playing at Me & Thee the night before our wedding….our good luck continues!  But here is where the story gets REALLY good.

John and I decided to plan our rehearsal dinner around Sean playing that night.  So we quickly scoffed up 15 tickets for our friends and family to join us.  I logged on to the Me & Thee website and purchased the tickets I needed and was surprised to almost instantly get an email from Kathy Sands-Boehmer at Me & Thee asking me if there was some kind of mistake.  Kathy explained that they don’t typically have people buy so many tickets at once. I explained to her that it was no mistake but that our family and friends were in town to celebrate our wedding and that we were treating them to this special night with Sean.  I also shared that we were huge fans and had selected his song as our wedding song.  It was kismet. Kathy immediately wrote me back and asked what she could do to make our night even more special.  I really couldn’t believe my luck… what are the chances that Sean would be playing, a few miles from our home, the night before our wedding?? On top of it all, I have someone at Me & Thee that actually cares about our experience and wants to make it all that much more special.  I answered her by saying that it would be great if we could get our party as close to the front as possible but that I understand if she is unable to accommodate us.  Just being there would be enough.

Fast forward again to the night of the show.  Absolutely everything that Kathy did for us exceeded my expectations.  Not only were we front and center…we could literally reach out and touch Sean….but she hung congratulatory banners, welcomed our family and friends….but best of all…shared our story with Sean.  He dedicated “By Your Side” to John and me and also wished us luck and love for our wedding the next day.  The icing on the cake was that we got to meet him after the show, take pictures with him, and he signed our 10 year old daughters’ guitar!

stef and john with guitar for blog

I can’t thank Kathy and the whole Me & Thee crew enough.  Our journey turned into a dream come true.  Kathy was truly instrumental in making our wedding weekend amazing. Thank you Kathy for all that you did for us. You played a part in our happily ever after…


You can watch Sean sing “By Your Side” for the happy couple here.

So……now do you get why I’m so thrilled with playing a small part in making people happy at our shows?  I never tire of telling people that there is something oh-so-special within the four walls of the me&thee.  I’ve heard it from so many musicians and patrons that it’s kind of become our mantra:  Magic happens at the me&thee.  Come and see for yourself and if you’ve got a special request that I can help you with, be in touch! If you’re a musician who can testify about the Marblehead magic, you’re welcome to submit your story too.  Let the good times continue!


One comment

  1. I loved being at the Me & Thee that night and experiencing the delight that Stefanie and John felt as Sean sang their song and throughout the evening with their family and friends. There were smiles all around the room! 🙂

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