An old friend from the music world shares some hard news

I got one of those emails on Sunday that makes you …

Well …

I got one of those emails Sunday that makes you think about life, and its ups and downs and the people that you meet and the ways that your paths cross and how relationships grow and how you can cherish friends and the ways that roads twist and patterns shift and too much time goes past but you never really stop cherishing these people, you know.

I got one of those emails on Sunday that brought tears to my eyes.

My friend Donna Colton was telling me that she was recovering from an operation she had a few days ago.

And this latest operation is just the latest in a string of events that started when her doctor found a lump on her head during an examination in October. The word cancer is involved. Before reading Donna’s email Sunday, I had no idea of any of this. And so the sadness came. I called over my dear wife Karen, and she shared in the worry and sorrow and, eventually, hope for good news from here on in.

The two photographs above, I lifted from Donna’s gofundme campaign page, of which she gave me permission to link here. The talented Syracuse singer, songwriter and guitarist — and wife to bassist and musical partner Sam Patterelli and manager of the Every Body Bras store in Manlius and friendly face at so many gigs around Central New York over more than three decades — explains her situation there, and why she could use some help. Cutting to the chase, she and Sam had to take $12,500 out of their pocket after insurance last year. My hope is that if you can spare something, you’ll click that highlighted hyperlink above.

I met Donna near the start of my 21-year stint as the music and entertainment reporter at the big daily, when I wrote a feature story about Double Down, a band that included the voices of she and her cousin, Sharon Allen. I went on to see, oh, a hundred performances of Donna and her solo act thereafter, and of her new band, The Troublemakers, which included Sam. I cheered hard when Donna was inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Fame. Donna and Sam invited Karen and I to an intimate house concert they were playing. Sam’s day job as a FedEx delivery man included The Post-Standard, and we’d always be chatting out front, the three of us. Of course I invited Donna and Sam in to play an original song for my Music Notes Performance video series, and they chose a good one titled “Evil & Mean.” When I was assigned to pick a local act for an original piece of music to accompany the site’s big graduation package, I asked Donna and Sam if they’d do it. For free. And they agreed.

That’s more than 20 years of friendship, phone calls, emails, music talk, life talk. Yeah, the business side was derailed somewhat when I got laid off by the big daily, but the feelings …

I got one of those emails Sunday …

Here’s the link to Donna Colton and Sam Patterelli’s video for their graduation special song “Ready for the World Wide.”

Here’s a YouTube clip of Donna Colton singing with her cousin, Sharon Allen.

Update: Good news came in to me later today. The Central New York music community is throwing a DonnaPalooza, at 2 p.m. March 1 at The Westcott Theater. Here’s the link with information, thanks to Liz Nowak, chair of the Sammys.

Also, Donna reported back to me that “I forgot to mention that Sam and I did a SubRosa Sessions Concert in June last year that we’ll be releasing as a live record. We also did video of the show and we’re putting that together with Vasili’s World Video out of Rochester. Vasili has also been coming out to film the Respect Show and the Salt City Waltz, so we’ll have those clips on the DVD as well.”

What do you think of the song “Ready for the World Wide” by Donna and Sam? What do you think of the rendition of “Angel from Montgomery” by Donna and Sharon? Do you have and wishes to send Donna and Sam?

47 thoughts on “An old friend from the music world shares some hard news

  1. I’m sorry your friend is having to fight this battle – sending prayers and good thoughts!! I listened to the video, LOVE this song already & her version is just beautiful, really love her voice ❀
    Though financially, I'm pretty tight, I am going to see if there's some of her songs, like this one, on iTunes . . . I can afford a buck or 2 πŸ™‚


  2. Oh Mark, I’m so sorry that your dear friend is going through this. 😦 She is quite lucky to have friends like you and Mrs. B. I’ll be saying a prayer for her and her family and so that she is rid of this financial burden. Off to click on all the links. xo


  3. I will send a positive brain wave out and include Donna’s family and health in my prayers tonight. I am on a limited budget, sometimes have to ‘batten down my hatches,’ or I would probably give my last nickle and shirt away. I have been blessed with friends who hand out to me, including a $50 movie card for the local theater. I treated my friend once and my grandkids twice, still have leftover money to share. Too bad you and Karen aren’t closer, we could go to the movies ‘on me!’ Hugs sent your way for being such a kind and thoughtful man and friend. One I am proud to know!


  4. Mark, I just finished reading your post about Donna Colton. There is something strange going on with the Like and Comment part of the post. It just keeps flashing and I can’t like it or leave a comment. I’m not sure if other people are viewing it this way or not. I am sorry to hear about your friend. 😦



  5. You are a kind and thoughtful friend. We take so much for granted. I had a friend…you know, one of those people you see every few months to catch up, but you always know they are there for you…she died suddenly. Or so it seemed. She had been suffering for two years and I had no clue. Such a shame that I could not be there for her the way she had always been for me.


  6. Mark, I would love to donate. Yet in all fairness to my family I am not able to. Much was spent on airfare for me to get to my Dad’s service, and I also paid for his obituary, as you well know, is not cheap. So, for this month and next, we must watch our spending. I will pray however, that your friend recovers and is back to singing soon. With Love, Amy


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