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Anna Flowers Named Florida Pen Woman of the Year, 2015
ANNA FLOWERS has always been a leader and role model for the Cape Canaveral Pen Women branch as she serves with energy, honor and distinction. She has dedicated countless hours above and beyond her duties which have included president, vice president, historian and lecturer, donating her time and expertise teaching about writing crime at past branch fund raisers. She presently serves as an advisor to the 2015 board. She was also the keynote speaker for the 2015 Florida Pen Women Conference.
In late 2014, the branch recognized the need to replenish our scholarship reserve. As we brainstormed at our first fall meeting, Carol Jose, former branch co-president with Anna Flowers, suggested a fundraiser similar to the successful musical Anna had written, directed, and produced at her community center.
With her usual enthusiasm, energy and organizational skills, Anna rallied the community and its management for a “luncheon theater” production of the musical “Unforgettable Songs from the Silver Screen,” featuring seven signature songs from memorable old films sung live by actors in costume, impersonating the stars, with narration by an Orson Wells impersonator. Two hundred people attended the luncheon which also featured a silent auction with baskets and art donated by Cape Canaveral Pen Women.
All proceeds were donated to the Cape Canaveral Pen Women. Ultimately the branch collected $2000, doubling the scholarship fund which assists and recognizes worthy students each year, rotating through Arts, Letters and Music.
While many Pen Women volunteered with the fundraiser, Anna deserves high praise, gratitude and recognition for her talents as writer, director, producer, and unwavering supporter of the Cape Canaveral Pen Women, the Florida State Pen Women and the NLAPW. She exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Pen Woman!
When JoAnna O’Keefe’s poem “America at the Crossroads” won second place in the 2012 – 2013 Letters competition, fans urged her to put the poem to music, and she set out to do just that. The song first appeared at the 2014 Veteran’s day celebration at Westminster Woods, Jacksonville with the poem read and put to song by pianist and Ft. Lauderdale Pen Woman Gail Smith. It was an instant success, but JoAnna recognized the need for an arrangement produced in a studio with quality sound and recording equipment.
With the help of her “poetry in motion" team, JoAnna found a Nashville connected music producer, Tony Smith of Magic Lamp Studio. Tony was enthusiastic about the project and suggested pastor and gospel singer Chris Finlayson, who has toured with Lee Greenwood, to arrange and record the song as a single. Meanwhile JoAnna’s granddaughter, a graphic designer, created a cover for the CD, a stunning visual version of the poem centered down the middle of the page with red, white and blue abstract brush strokes.
Next JoAnna created a marketing strategy to get the song out to the public, starting with her many contacts in Brevard County. By December 2014, the song was garnering attention and acclaim. On Dec. 10, it debuted at The Women’s Center Guild Holiday Brunch; on Dec. 13, it played at the Cape Canaveral Pen Women’s Christmas party and again on February 13, 2015 for 200 attendees at the Cape Canaveral branch’s scholarship luncheon at the Indian River Colony Club. By March 2015 JoAnna had an impressive list of places for the song to be played on the radio and at least three dozen celebrations where JoAnna was often the keynote speaker. On July 4, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra performed the world premiere of the orchestral version of “America at the Crossroads,” presented by singer Chris Finlayson in Cocoa, Florida.
The song is now available worldwide on iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby, but no grass grows under JoAnna’s feet. She is already at work on an entire album with music producer/arranger Tony Smith. “JoAnna O’Keefe Poems to Song” is due for release later in 2015.
Anna(left) accepts the prestigious award from Florida Pen Woman President Aminta Konowicz.
JoAnna O’Keefe Receives Florida Pen Women’s Individual Achievement Award 2015
Penguin Jack O’Keefe is unabashedly proud of wife JoAnna who won the Florida Pen Women’s Individual Achievement Award.
This loving photo was taken immediately after JoAnna was presented with her award at the Sunday brunch in Orlando, Florida.