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Music Across the Generations

Ron Bourdages
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Ron Bourdages, Executive Director - Extended Bio

Ron was born and raised in Plainwell, Michigan, a beautiful, small town on M-89, 12 miles north of Kalamazoo, which still retains its beauty and charm to this day.  Typical of the times, his father who was a trained and experienced opera and light opera singer and entertainer, worked in an automotive related factory to support the family.  By the time he was 4 years old, thanks to his father's training, Ron could sing in 3 different languages, and began performing in public, an activity which continues to this day. 

Ron went to elementary school in Plainwell, including 3rd Grade at a one room country school house.  He attended Jr. High at St. Margaret's Catholic School in Otsego.  He went to High School in Plainwell, where he was made a member of the National Honor Society his junior year, and became president of the student council his senior year.  He was on the track team and won his letter his senior year as a pole vaulter.  He also played cornet in the high school band. 

Ron attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  His sophomore year he formed a band which played for fraternity and sorority parties as well as all campus mixers, and around the entire state.  This band allowed him to pay his way through college, while providing a rich history of memorable experiences. 

After college he lived for a year on the beach in San Diego, but soon moved to Nashville where he was a featured performer at Opryland USA.  While in Nashville he made records, and learned the craft of working in the recording studio.  He also toured extensively as a solo performer, as well as working for Admiral and Carnival cruise lines, sailing in the Caribbean and up and down the coast of California and Mexico.  Taking a break from the music business, he attended the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California where he became a Graduate Gemologist, learning skills he continues to use to this day.  In Nashville he met and married the multi-talented Randi Bourdages.  They began working together on music projects right away, and continue to do so today.  Randi is very much an important part of what helps keep the Music Club afloat. She makes enormous contributions with her organizational skills and her understanding of what it takes to present a quality event. 

Ron and Randi first moved to Birmingham when Randi was transferred with her job at BellSouth.  He immediately became involved in the local music scene, starting his band, City Lights, and performing in local community theatre productions.  He also had a theatrical/musical group which performed for children in hospitals and camps.

Ron worked for the Birmingham Music Club as Executive Assistant for Cherie Woods, the venerable and storied Executive Director.  While there, he noticed that many of the shows the artists presented for children were not actually geared toward children.  This inspired him to create and produce the Maestro series of Young People's Concerts, which were first performed at the Alabama Theatre in 1996-97.  This series has now become a major presentation of the Birmingham Music Club.  

He and Randi moved several times (see Randi Bourdages bio for details).   He worked as an extra in Hollywood for two years, which included a regular gig as a photographer on West Wing.  He also attended acting school at The Loft, which is the same school attended by Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Nicholas Cage, Meg Ryan, and many other well known Hollywood actors and actresses.  His stay in California also included working as a gemologist in San Diego, and as manager of the major jewelry stores Black Pearl Gallery and Poe Rava in Lake Tahoe.  He also taught the diamond grading course for a year at the Gemological Institute of America which had moved to Carlsbad, California by that time, and was a favorite instructor of the students from all over the world, who attended there. 

Eventually, he and Randi returned to Birmingham.  Now, besides being Executive Director of the Music Club, Ron is currently a real estate broker with gkhouses.com, and at the time of this writing is currently the #1 agent in Birmingham for number of transactions.  He specializes in investment properties and multi-family.  He also works with Barton-Clay Jewelers as a gemologist, where he does all the appraisals.  He continues to be a part of the children’s productions at the Alys Stephens Center, and he was voted one of the best vocalists in Birmingham by Birmingham Magazine. 

Ron puts his experiences negotiating real estate deals, as a manager of retail stores, as a teacher, and as a musical theatre performer and producer to good use with the Birmingham Music Club.  He has placed the Music Club in turnaround since becoming Executive Director in 2011.  He has returned it to a position of financial health, and is rapidly building back the Birmingham Music Club brand.  He and his team are working to return the Birmingham Music Club to its honored place in the community as the oldest cultural arts group in the area, and its position as an important contributor to the cultural quality of life in Birmingham.

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Randi Bourdages
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Randi Sharp Bourdages, Administrative and Production Assistant

 

Randi Bourdages has a background in Dance, Music, Education, Engineering, and Theatre.  It helps to have an eclectic background when volunteering for the Birmingham Music Club….

 

Randi Sharp grew up in a musical family in Memphis, where her passion was dance, and then in Nashville, where her passion became music.  She played clarinet and saxophone in marching, concert, jazz, and pep bands from 5th grade through college.  In college at Peabody/Vanderbilt, she switched majors from Music to Math, but not before learning valuable music-teaching skills that are of value to this day.

 

With a B.S. in Math, she first worked in Educational Research, and then became an Engineer and Manager for BellSouth/AT&T.  Her continued involvement with music in Nashville led to crossing paths with the talented Ron Bourdages, whom she is pleased to have married.

 

In 1988, Randi was transferred from Nashville to BellSouth’s Headquarters, here in Birmingham.  When Ron asked their Realtor if Birmingham had a Bohemian side of town, they were quickly directed to Southside, where they immediately got involved with the local music, theatre, and dance communities, and started making new life-long friends.

 

During this time, in addition to being an Engineer and Manager at BellSouth, Randi taught Appalachian Clogging and Sunday School.  She also directed church Christmas plays that incorporated all ages, from babies to adults.  This is where she honed her skills in thinking ahead to manage the unexpected, which serves her well in her work with the Birmingham Music Club.

 

In 1996, Randi left BellSouth, and entered University of Alabama-Birmingham, in pursuit of a second Bachelor’s, in Musical Theatre.  Here she made even more new lifelong friends, and had the time of her life, both onstage and backstage at Town &  Gown Theatre.  This experience culminated in a professional Stage Management Internship with South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, California.  So she and Ron sold their lovely house in Southside, packed up, and moved to Southern California.

 

After five years of adventures in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Lake Tahoe, Ron and Randi returned to the city they had come to consider home, Birmingham.  They re-connected with their friends, and have made many new ones, besides.

 

Randi immediately resumed directing Christmas plays and working backstage in Community Theatre.  She worked at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, and then at Samford University, for several years each, but now she is pleased to continue doing work that is close to her heart as a semi-retired, full-time, eclectic volunteer for the Birmingham Music Club!

 

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