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Making A Difference, May 9, 2020

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Making A Difference
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with Melissa Clark and guests Alex Shumaker and Ami Dolenz

Making A Difference with Melissa Clark and guests Alex Shumaker, a 14 year old drummer extraordinaire and Ami Dolenz​, artist and actress

Melissa Clark spends time with Alex Shumaker, a young talented drummer that plays drums to The Outfield Lose your love tonight. Later he plays to Journey's Separate Ways and finally to Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi and then interviews Ami during the second part of the interview

YouTube Video Link:

Guest, Alex Shumaker

Guest Name
Alex Shumaker
Guest Occupation
Guest Biography

Alex Shumaker was born May 16, 2006, he resides in Punxsutawney, PA.

Alex was interested in Classic Rock bands such as Journey, Foreigner, Reo Speed Wagon and Styx since age 4.

While most 5 years were headed to the Toy section at Walmart Alex would ask to go to “look” at the CD’s. On February 10, 2012 while browsing the CD’s Alex found a DVD of the band Journey with their new lead singer Arnel. Alex became fixated on drummer Deen Castronovo, he went and got an exercise ball and put it in front of the TV and grabbed some kitchen utensils for his make shift drum set. He watched the video over and over again and broke every kitchen utensil his parents had so when his dad came home from work he cut a pair of plastic coat hangers for him to use.

That evening Alex’s mom posted a picture of his drum “kit” on Facebook with the heading “you gotta do what you gotta do when your parents won’t buy you a drum set!” The phone soon rang and it was Alex’s Nana wanting to speak with him. His parents weren’t all that thrilled when he started screaming “Nana and Papa are buying me a real drum set on Saturday”. Alex received that little drum kit and played it for hours on end, at least 3-4 hours a day watching the Journey DVD over and over trying copy Deen’s every move.

Every time Alex went to Walmart he got a CD. One day another DVD appeared, this time it was the band Foreigner with then drummer Brian Tichy. Alex became obsessed with Tichy’s theatrics of stick throwing/bouncing.

After a few months of playing Alex’s parents enrolled him in drum lessons once a week with teacher Brian Rowan with whom he is still under the instruction of.

To date along with Castronovo and Tichy the most influential drummers for Alex have been: Todd Sucherman of Styx, Brian Hitt of Reo Speedwagon, Chris Fraizer of Foreigner, Peter Criss of Kiss, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, Neil Peart of Rush, Sean Fuller of Florida Georgia Line and Rich Redmond of Jason Aldean, Lucky Lerner of the Circle Jerks, Glen Sobel of Alice Cooper, and Troy Luccketta of Tesla to mention a few.

Guest, Ami Dolenz

Guest Name
Ami Dolenz
Guest Category
Guest Occupation
Guest Biography

Ami was born January 8, 1969 at 7:05 am, in Burbank California. Her parents brought her home the next day. Micky's mother, Janelle Scott, was there to help the new parents.

When Ami was five months old, Samantha took her to England. Samantha was still a British subject - but Ami was an American citizen, so she had her own passport. Samantha and Ami stayed in England for nearly a month, then returned to California. Ami's grandparents, Lesley and Phyllis Slater, returned with them.

Ami was an active baby. She crawled at seven months, and was running by ten months. Samantha had to put bells on her shoes, so she could find her!

Ami's grandparents adored her, and were a great help to her parents. Lesley and Micky were always building something. Phyllis help Samantha with her shop "One of a Kind." They had planned to buy a house, but Micky insisted they stay with them.

Ami lived with her parents and grandparents in their converted mountain lodge home in Laurel Canyon until 1975. Ami's parents separated at that time, and Ami moved to a large town house with her mother and grandparents. They lived there for a year, then moved to Acapulco, Mexico, where they lived for four years. Ami's grandfather passed away while they were living in Mexico. She was 12 at the time. Micky was visiting them when it happened, so he was able to comfort his daughter during this sad time.

In 1980, Ami, her mother and grandmother moved back to their townhouse. Ami attended a private school nearby, and made lots of friends, many of them remain her friends today.

Ami visited her dad each summer in England, where he was living with his second wife and their babies. ( Ami has three younger sisters: Charlotte, Emily, and Georgia). Ami usually brought a friend with her. Micky arranged his work schedule around Ami's visits, so they could spend as much time together as possible.

When Ami was 15, she told her parents she needed to have a lunch date - all three of them together - because she had something very important to discuss with them. They didn't know what to expect!

During lunch, Ami announced that she had decided to become an actress. Her parents were not thrilled. It can be a very hard life, with lots of rejection. Micky told Ami that she would have to do it on her own. Her parents agreed that if she could get an agent, she could give it a try.

Her parents arranged for Ami to talk about acting with a friend of theirs, who was in the business. The friend spent two hours with Ami, talking to her about how difficult it is to get an agent, how hard it is just to get an appointment, and how many she would have to see, with no guarantee she would be signed-up by anyone. Ami left with a list of agents to contact.

She prepared her monologue, She had been working on this in her acting classes at school. She called the first agent on the list, and was granted an interview.

Samantha took Ami to the appointment, thinking this would probably be the end of it. Ami went in to meet the agent, and preformed her monologue. She came out five minutes later, saying, "He needs to talk to you, Mom. He wants me!". From that moment on, Ami's life would never be the same.

Ami's agent taped her performing her monologue, and submitted it to "Junior Star Search." There were over 1,000 tapes submitted, and Ami's was one of the very few accepted for the competition. Ami won the competition, and went on to win in the junior actress division for the year. This helped launch her career.

Ami's early acting days were spent as a guest star on many sitcoms, such as: Growing pains, saved by the bell, and Murder She Wrote. She had a feature role on General Hospital when she was only 17. At that time she made a decision she now regrets - she dropped out of high school. She wanted to focus on her career, and there are many pages of dialog to memorize for a soap character. (She is now working with a tutor to complete her high school education. She recommends staying in school rather than finishing up later, it is much easier to do it while you are there!). It was like she was on General Hospital that she landed her first major role - "She's Out of Control."

She was also a co-star in many other films, including: "Can't buy me love", "Faith", Rescue Me", and several horror films, such as: "Children of the night", Ticks", Witchboard II", and Pumpkinhead II". On the lighter side, is "Stepmonster", a very cute movie about a kid that is sure his stepmother is a monster.

"Miracle Beach" is the movie most often mentioned by her fans as their favorite. She still has the genie costume from the movie.

Making A Difference

Show Host

Introducing ‘Making a Difference’ with Melissa Clark, a new show that shares the compelling stories and voices of well known AND everyday people who change the world in big and small ways. Enjoy our guests, call in, or just listen to be inspired.

Please join us every Saturday 2pm EST with our special guests or listen to our recast

Join me in exploring ‘making a difference’…an open conversation and live dialogue with guests, and you our listeners , who have experienced—and embraced—both the demands and benefits of positive change. The stories are real, the people authentic and the outcomes memorable. We can all find a way to make a difference! We invite you to hear, participate, and share in the journey.

As the poet David Whyte wrote: Sometimes everything has to be inscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. 

Making a Difference with Melissa Clark.

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