#019 – Stephen Tedeschi: On Performing Arts, Being Italian, and the Joy of Christmas

My guest today is Stephen Tedeschi. Stephen is another artist in my world, and we’ve shared many a stage together with him at the helm of numerous dramatic arts performances, which, of course, we talk about here.

“Man, if kids could just find who they are at a young age and stick with it…What a difference!”

~Stephen Tedeschi

He’s very much Italian, and his fantastic family is always nearby. You’ll even hear some of them in the background a time or two enjoying life together, and this will give you an accurate glimpse into a typical Tedeschi family day.

As always, we feature a Non-Profit Spotlight selected by our guest. Two actually.

Stick around to the end where we have a special holiday presentation for you. Stephen is very much a fan of the Christmas season, and we’ve got a special surprise for you. Two surprises. Hint…one of those is The Magnificat spoken in Hebrew.

Unique content you’ll only find right here on Collected Clan.



  • 0:02:21 Why the dramatic arts?
  • 0:08:19 Stage show history
  • 0:10:39 Our creative paths crossing
  • 0:12:30 Sewing, tailoring, and costume making
  • 0:15:55 Gaining a son-in-law
  • 0:21:06 The Arts Place and performing arts appreciation
  • 0:24:48 How Stephen inspired my father/son relationship
  • 0:29:22 About The Arts Place
  • 0:34:24 Stephen’s Italian heritage
  • 0:36:37 Coffee talk
  • 0:44:03 Life the Italian way
  • 0:47:17 Origin of the Americano
  • 0:48:37 Non-Profit Spotlights: Rejoice School of Ballet and Narrow Gate Foundation
  • 0:51:19 Countdown to Christmas
  • 0:54:01 A Tedeschi Family Christmas
  • 1:00:21 The Spirit of Christmas
  • 1:03:57 A Carpenter Family Christmas
  • 1:05:33 Closing remarks
  • 1:07:01 BONUS The Christmas story
  • 1:12:07 BONUS The Magnificat spoken in Hebrew


Learn more about Stephen Tedeschi at these links and social media outlets.
Official Website | Instagram | Facebook


Here’s some additional photos, videos, and a playlist mentioned in this episode.

Stephen’s first espresso cup, given to him at age 2 by his Italian grandfather.

Stephen Tedeschi in custom costume he created






Stephen and his wife Miriam run a non-profit called The Arts Place where they provide budding and established artists with a safe, unique environment where skilled mentors and responsible administrators help them develop and cultivate their God-given talents and projects in various areas of the arts. He discusses their mission and purpose at 0:29:22.

At 44:03 as part of our conversation about life the Italian way, I mentioned a scene from the Eat Pray Love motion picture. Here’s that scene:

Spin some holiday cheer as we collectively long for extending peace on earth and goodwill beyond the month of December.



This episode’s Non-Profit Spotlight segment features two organizations that Stephen Tedeschi supports through his direct experience with them.

Rejoice School of Ballet offers one of the only available, affordable after-school arts programs in East Nashville for children from low income families. The positive environment offered by Rejoice results in increased self-esteem, valuing teamwork, and an improved respect for self and others. The study of ballet teaches children how to move with poise and grace, instills discipline, and sets standards of excellence. Rejoice provides children and their familes with tools for successful living.

Narrow Gate Foundation offers a transformative experience for young men ages 18-25. Lodge participants live and work together while pursuing biblical training, personal discipleship, challenging adventures, and new life skills. During their 6-8 month stay, young men pause from the distractions of daily life to discover who Jesus says they are and their calling for the future.


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#010 – John J. Thompson: Musician, Author, Troubadour

Though we met less than 10 years ago, John J. Thompson and I share a rather parallel life that was exciting to explore in this conversation about our shared Central Illinois roots and about signing his own adoption papers, how forgiveness is actually connected to understanding, the unique community that was Cornerstone Festival, his book called Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass Market World, and so much more.

If you enjoyed this, subscribe and share with your friends, go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, search for Collected Clan and subscribe. Ratings and reviews also help with spreading the word about these conversations. Cheers.



  • 0:02:02 Our parallel life
  • 0:12:10 Living in and out of hiding with a con-man father
  • 0:15:28 The making of a con-man father
  • 0:17:59 The forgiveness process
  • 0:21:52 Counting native Nashvillians
  • 0:22:43 Moving to Music City
  • 0:23:48 The beginnings of a music library
  • 0:26:35 Tales from the late great Cornerstone Festival
  • 0:31:43 The rise and fall of True Tunes
  • 0:35:54 “I’m cool with Africa, just don’t send me to Nashville”
  • 0:44:42 Grand ideals dashed upon the rocks
  • 0:53:43 About Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate book
  • 1:07:38 John‘s upcoming projects
  • 1:08:17 Deep admiration for Phil Keaggy
  • 1:10:03 Non-Profit Spotlight: Compassion International
  • 01:10:18 How to connect with John online


For more conversations in this series, follow Collected Clan at these online destinations:


Learn more about John at these links to read his thought-provoking writings
Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Hear his original music recorded as The Wayside, with his wife and musical partner Michelle Thompason, at ReverbNation.

Download a free chapter of John J. Thompson’s book called Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass Market World at this link or by clicking the cover below.

Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate book by John J. Thompson book cover

Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate book by John J. Thompson







John selected Compassion International for this episode’s Non-Profit Spotlight. John and his wife Michelle have sponsored several children around the world over years, helping provide an opportunity to attend or stay in school, access to medical care which often saves lives, nourishing food, mentoring and a safe environment through a local church, and opportunities to hear the good news that John writes about.

Please watch this video to learn more about the great work done by Compassion International and consider sponsoring a child today. Give a child hope for the future and for all eternity.



#008 – Ginger Eldridge: Mother, Survivor, Honorer

In this episode, I reconnect with Ginger Eldridge, someone I’ve known for nearly the entire 26 years I’ve lived in Nashville. To date, she and I have the longest history together of any guest.

We talk about …

  • music business life in Nashville
  • the impact we both experienced knowing the late great Landy Gardner
  • getting to second base with Dolly Parton
  • doing life with an out ex-spouse
  • and so much more

She’s a Mother. She’s a Survivor. And she’s an Honorer. Listen, you’ll see.

Big thank you to everyone who has subscribed and left a rating/review like this one about episode #6 with painter/songwriter Elizabeth Foster … “Loved this conversation! Was like I was sitting on the porch swing with you two.”

“Loved this conversation! Was like I was sitting on the porch swing with you two.”

That much sums up with this show is all about. Everyday people having a conversation, telling stories of their lives, and learning new things about each other. More than an interview … it’s a conversation. Two sided; not just one. And in the social media age when most people have resorted to talking AT each other, this is an opportunity to talk WITH each other.

Like this episode with Ginger Eldridge … we go light we go deep then we go light then we go deep again then light again as we cover a lot of memory ground in this conversation.

For more conversations in this series, go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, search for Collected Clan and subscribe. Ratings and reviews also help with spreading the word about these conversations.

Let’s get social at official Collected Clan profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter too. Thank you.



  • 0:02:14 College survival and Nashville arrival
  • 0:09:16 Experiences in Christ Church Choir
  • 0:13:10 Getting to 2nd base with Dolly Parton
  • 0:21:14 Career on Music Row
  • 0:27:10 Discarding stuff and heavy memories
  • 0:31:30 The legacy of Landy Gardner
  • 0:39:52 Coffee the Italian way
  • 0:44:28 The legacy of Landy Gardner, part two
  • 0:48:02 Adulting with an out ex-spouse
  • 0:54:54 Stairway To Heaven
  • :59:48 Non-Profit Spotlight: Alive Hospice
  • 1:01:04 Celebrity bucket list introductions
  • 1:08:40 Importance of divorced parents staying close by for the kids
  • 1:13:16 Doing life with an out ex-spouse
  • 1:39:24 My shocking musical confession


For more conversations in this series, follow Collected Clan at these online destinations:


Connect with Ginger directly on Twitter. All others are set to private.


Photos and videos of topics we discussed are shown here for your viewing pleasure. Additional info and time stamps from the episode are listed in the captions.

Ginger Eldridge and her daughter Amanda, photographed at a special moment described at XXXXX

Ginger Eldridge singing with Christ Church Choir. Photo courtesy of Ginger Eldridge.

Ginger Eldridge (on Left in camouflage) singing “Eagle When She Flies” with Dolly Parton on 1991 CMA Awards show mentioned at 0:16:04. Photo courtesy of Ginger Eldridge.

This magical music moment with Dolly Parton singing “He’s Alive” backed by Christ Church Choir that Ginger mentioned at 0:12:58.

fashion photos in front of CD wall

A few favorite photos with the CD wall mentioned at 0:25:21. Photos by Gregory Byerline.

“Gotta Go Through” by Christine Dente discussed at 0:29:57 and 1:38:35

Ginger Eldridge with music celebrities she’s met over the years. Top…Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Dolly Parton. Middle Left…Billy Ray Cyrus. Middle Right…Don Henley. Lower Left…Mary Chapin Carpenter. Lower Right…Neil Diamond. Photos courtesy of Ginger Eldridge.

Landy Gardner Memorial Service. Video starts midway through the memorial service when his daughters Dionne & Lauren share their eulogies as discussed in this episode at 0:31:33. The entire memorial service is also worth watching and hearing.

Because it’s hard to *only* talk about this epic performance, mentioned at 0:55:47, one really needs to see and hear it too. Enjoy.

And because a conversation with me that includes music will likely include allusions to songs or lyrics because, in fact, the song remembers when indeed. Hear at 1:39:02.

An essential play for Tom Petty fans, or those of us who have yet to jump on the Petty train (as I mentioned at 1:42:46).


Through her direct experience in the final days of her brother’s life, Ginger Eldridge has selected Alive Hospice for this episode’s Non-Profit Spotlight.

Alive Hospice provides compassionate end-of-life care, palliative care, bereavement support and community education while serving more than 3,600 patients and their families annually (more than 430 daily) and provides grief support services for nearly 600 adults and children in Middle Tennessee in addition to training for tomorrow’s caregivers and education for the community at large.

As the only not-for-profit, community-based hospice in Middle Tennessee, Alive Hospice never turns anyone away, regardless of ability to pay, insurance status, race, religion, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about Alive Hospice by visiting their official website, follow this great organization on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and consider how you can donate or volunteer to support this great organization.