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Trish Lester: Press & Reviews

Hi! You’re tuned to the Momz Rock the House Show, and I am your host Janeane. On this week’s show, Trish Lester is in the house. She went from a corporate career to a music career that led her to landing one of her songs on NPR's Car Talk Show and others getting airplay in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Bio of Trish
Trish Lester is an award-winning local singer/songwriter from Santa Clarita, California, whose heartwarming pop/folk style and truly original songs leave listeners laughing, crying and humming along. The title track from her CD, PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE, was picked up for STAIRWAY TO HEAPDOM, a National Public Radio compilation album produced in 2009 by the “Car Talk” show (www.CarTalk.com) and is now playing across the nation on NPR.

Her tribute to troops and veterans, “Thank a Soldier,” is shared on a half-dozen patriotic Websites, and several of her other songs are receiving airplay in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Trish also sings with a trio, “Women on the Move,” a group that draws on generations of womanly whimsy and wisdom to musically explore the challenges of life. You can find Trish on the Web at www.TrishLester.com.

Touching hearts with harmony

Music: Women on the Move Trio will appear Saturday at OutWest

By Michelle Sathe, Assistant Features Editor

It starts with a few guitar chords, then the percussion moves in and is iced with layer upon layer of gorgeous harmony, as Joan Enguita, Trish Lester and Linda Geleris, also known as Women on the Move Trio, launch into the folksy tune "Walk a Mile."

"We might not be the same, but we're not so different you and I, we only have this moment, to see eye to eye," Enguita sang in her clear, warm voice as Geleris strummed her mandolin and Lester kept the beat with a tambourine.

Seeing eye-to-eye is just one of the band's messages. With songs ranging from tributes to American soldiers to ending domestic violence to taking a moment to reconnect with friends, the trio is making their mark in the music world with increased exposure on the internet and concert tours that have taken them as far as Portland, Oregon.

The Women on the Move Trio will play at downtown Newhall's OutWest retail store 7 p.m. Saturday.

"Trish came here during one of our Art Walk events and handed me a CD. I listened and it was fantastic," said OutWest owner Bobbi Bell. "Then I saw them at (U.S. Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon's, R-Santa Clarita) Women's Conference and I was amazed. The audience wept and laughed. Their music really touches hearts."

Formed in 2007 after appearing on the Enguita-produced Women on the Move compilation CD "Beautiful" - which featured 15 female singer-songwriters performing their own music - the trio performs their own songs, with a few Joni Mitchell classics mixed in.

"We're all individual artists who have been playing solo shows for years, but once we got acquainted and became available to work together, we realized we really liked the sound," said Lester.

"It's so nice to have back-ups. I hate to perform alone anymore," Enguita said.

All of the Women on the Move Trio discovered a passion for song as children, but followed very different paths to reach their musical destiny.

Geleris called herself a songwriter at heart who started at 14 or 15 years old, but who didn't delve fully into her talent until after the birth of her third child, who is now 15.

"I decided then to take the gifts that were given me and move forward with music, whatever that looked like," Geleris said.

The Glendora resident started by pouring her feelings into song lyrics and arrangements, followed by networking with other musicians to learn the ins and outs of getting her work heard. During her first networking mission, she made friendships that ultimately led to her original song "Call Me Crazy" being featured in the 1997 Columbia Tri-Star film "Implicated."

Since then, Geleris, a former high school teacher, has released two CDs, including her latest "If I Only Had a Minute," as well as founded a songwriters networking website called SongNet.com.

Lester described herself as a mostly self-taught musician who started playing the piano at age 4. As a teenager she studied folk guitar from Bud Dashiell, half of the 1960s folk duo Bud & Travis, and at 22, began her performing career in front of hundreds of soldiers as part of a trio that played in Korea during her stint in the United States Army.

Once she returned to civilian life, Lester's path changed course. "My mom told me, ‘Don't be a starving artist.' So I got a series of regular jobs, got married, and had kids," Lester said. "But the music was always with me."

So much so that she gave up a three-decade career in public relations after several relatives died in the course of a year.

"I was financially and emotionally drained. I thought, ‘Who am I?' I felt like God had put me here to be a musician," Lester said.

She began collecting song lyrics, then learning the arrangements. Soon enough, Lester was writing original songs and put out her first CD "Plymouth Belvedere" in 2007. The title track was picked up for a National Public Radio "Car Talk" compilation album in 2009.

Enguita grew up as a self-described military brat who first picked up a guitar when her family was stationed in Madrid, Spain.

She settled on a 1-acre property in Lancaster in 1983 and worked as a Social Security employee until taking an early retirement in 2003, which allowed her to focus full-time on her music career.

Songs from Enguita's 2005 "Two Suitcases" CD have aired nationally and in Europe, and she won a $2,500 prize in the "Music from Home" competition by Ritter Ranch. Enguita also created her own label, Red Coyote Records, and was the producer on the "Beautiful" CD, which has been an Editor's Pick at the independent music website CDBaby.com for more than two years.

Women on the Move Trio is working on their debut CD, scheduled for release in late 2010 or early 2011. Works by each individual artist are available for purchase online through iTunes or ReverbNation.com, and their CDs are carried at retail locations like OutWest.

It may not be the traditional method for musical stardom, i.e., a manager, a label and a recording contract, but that's just fine with these artists.

"The way the business works today is absolutely in our favor. We have control of our work and can pick the cream of the crop of all our songs to showcase," Enguita said.

Meanwhile, they are cutting their chops on the road, with performances as varied as McKeon's first Women's Conference held at the College of the Canyons campus on Feb. 13.

The event had an audience in the hundreds.

They also played to a battered women's shelter in Oregon in March.

The band is committed to helping victims of domestic violence, inspired by the plight of Enguita's sister, who fled an abusive relationship with her two children. Enguita's "Heading to the Shore" was written in her honor.

"We want to bring awareness to women that they can have a better life," she said. "I'm really proud of my sister, that she improved not just her own life, but the life of her kids."

All three women play guitar in the band and take turns on percussion.

Geleris recently learned the mandolin and the dulcimer, the latter in honor of Joni Mitchell, and has been viewing the artist playing the instrument on YouTube for direction.

"I watched Mitchell's hands, how she does her tuning on each song. It's really enabled me to improve," Geleris said.

For some shows, they break out a big African drum, or djembe.

"They're always something rhythmic going on," Lester said.

"Yeah, we're really good at shaking," Geleris said with a laugh.

Women on the Move Trio, 7 p.m. Saturday, $15 suggested donation, refreshments provided, OutWest, 24265 Main St., Newhall. (661) 255-7087. For more information on the band visit www.WomenontheMoveTrio.com or become a fan on www.ReverbNation.com/WomenontheMove.

The lyrics to Trish Lester’s song, How Do We Go On?, are so poignant today. Has your life has been turned upside down by the external storms of nature or the economy? Have internal battles with health or spirit worn you out? Then this song has been written for you. The first time I heard it I wept, for it spoke to the very nature of our personal life. Yet, through all the tragedy she reminds us to "keep weavin' our hope into the dawn.”

Like all great artists, Trish Lester gets to your heart quickly and will move you from tears to laughter and back again.

Trish popped into OutWest during one of our street's Art Walks and introduced herself. A local singer/songwriter, right here in our backyard, I was embarrassed to say I wasn't familiar with her music. She dropped off her CD ["PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE"], we chatted for a few minutes, and she departed. What she left behind is pure magic.

Each track on this CD is a gem. Stories that will make you weep, like I'm Drifting and Your Special Gift and ones that will make you chortle and chuckle like It's Just a Cookie, the title track Plymouth Belvedere and my personal favorite, The Christmas Letter. Others will make you think - consider her powerful Thank a Soldier, The World Changed Forever, and How Do We Go On?

Cover -- Santa Clarita Living magazine

That's Trish on the cover (with guitar), with Linda Geleris holding the djembe (drum) and Joan Enguita wearing red. Together they are now singing as a trio -- "Women on the Move."

Trish Lester on the Move –

This Chick Rocks

By Martha Michael

One Newhall-based musician is going places, and never ceases to bring others with her. Whether it’s providing music at important events, such as patriotic ceremonies, or giving free concerts and raising money to supply the needs of countless others, Trish Lester is making it happen – and this month we can all take part.

An Elite Member of GoGirlsMusic, Lester and several other musicians are inviting the public to a benefit concert on Friday, October 16 at Antioch Art Connection, at 24422 Chestnut Street in Newhall. Admission is free, and guests will hear family-friendly Americana, folk, country, pop and blues numbers from each of the Southland artists, from 7-10 p.m. Though the concert is not religious, Centre Pointe Church offered the use of its facility for the evening. The first 30 people in the door will receive a free compilation CD full of high-energy music from the GoGirlsMusic members.

GoGirls is the “oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians from ALL music genres,” according to the website, www.gogirlsmusic.com. Each year the nationwide charitable organization chooses which cause its dozen or so GoGirlsMusicFest concerts will support. This year it is maternity homes. Lester chose two in the Northern L.A. area: Sarah’s House in Simi Valley (www.Sarahshouse-online.org) and Angels Way in Canoga Park (www.angelswayhome.net). These organizations provide shelter, guidance and encouragement to homeless, single expectant mothers. While there is no admission fee, concert-goers are encouraged to bring items needed by the young women at these homes, such as disposable diapers, personal care items, baby clothes, etc.

Local businesses that wish to donate products or services for on-site opportunity drawings should contact Trish Lester, who is coordinating the event. They can call her at (661) 254-1242 or visit her website, www.TrishLester.com.

By Women & for Women

As October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Lester and the other two members of her musical group, “Women on the Move,” will perform songs from their CD, “Beautiful,” at a benefit event held at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Wednesday, October 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the “Honor Grove.”

There is no admission fee to the event, and parking at COC costs $1 for visitors. Other featured events include the Clothesline Project (www.clotheslineproject.org), a visual display that bears witness to violence against women, and the “EveryBODY is Beautiful” fashion show, as well as guest speakers. Donations of cosmetics and other personal care products, old cell phones, toys and linens will be accepted.

Women on the Move is a trio with members Trish Lester, Joan Enguita of Lancaster and Linda Geleris of Glendora, all strong songwriters and soloists. Electronic press kits for the group are available at www.sonicbids. com. More group details and song clips are available on www.RedCoyoteRecords.com. The group is planning a U.S. West Coast tour in March of 2010. Featured as an editor’s pick on CDBaby.com for more than a year, the group’s CD can be purchased on www.CDBaby.com.

The CD “contains mostly messages of love and support. A couple of the songs actually speak to the issue of domestic violence. But most are love and life and hope,” Lester says, and adds with a chuckle, “and chocolate.”

Her Personal Story

Trish Lester, who sings and plays guitar, grew up in the Los Angeles area, picking out songs on the piano as young as four. But her path to performance was long and winding.

After earning a degree in sociology from UCLA, Lester went to work in special services for the U.S. Army in South Korea. There she performed for and with the soldiers, the works of Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and John Denver, to name a few who inspired her. “That was a really meaningful time,” says Lester. “We flew all over South Korea to sing.”

There she met her husband Larry, who flew helicopters, and they later moved to the Central Coast, where the couple was involved with the Pacific Performing Arts. When they moved to Long Beach, Trish took a job at the YWCA as program director, and later began working in public relations, eventually opening her own business. Trish and Larry reared their kids in Newhall. Megan, who now lives in Huntington Beach, and Ryan, of Valencia, both went to Hart High School.

As if a shout out to the early days with the Army, Trish’s best known song is “Thank a Soldier,” which she says plays on five websites. One of them is www.dearamericanhero.com, and it can be heard on Youtube.com.

It wasn’t until Trish experienced the deaths of three family members in a short period of time that she picked up her guitar again and seriously pursued her music. “I started taking songwriting classes, meeting producers…and I put out my first CD in 2007,” she explains.

While “Beautiful” is a compilation album by and for women, “Plymouth Belvedere” is Trish’s debut CD. The title song was chosen to be featured on a National Public Radio (NPR) CD due out this month, called “Irreverent Car Songs.” It is an extension of NPR’s “Car Talk” radio show with “Click and Clack.”

While Trish’s inspiration for “Plymouth Belvedere” came from a Foster Farms chicken commercial, most of her songs have deeper meanings. Another song that Trish says is playing worldwide is “It’s Just a Cookie,” which she says refers to people’s need to step back from intense reactions and relax about things that are not as important as they seem.

“Some are purposefully written, like I may start by writing a letter to a friend, just to get the feelings out,” she explains. “Mostly it comes from life experience, life wisdom that I feel the need to share.”

###

 

Trish Lester's album, Plymouth Belvedere, is a delightful collection of mostly original Americana, country, and folk songs. Her lyrics are thoughtful and true-to-life, and she has a great sense of musicianship. "The Words Keep Coming Through" is a charming folk tune that looks back at a past love. "Plymouth Belvedere" will have you dancing. It is a whimsical, country song about a beat up old car. On "How Do We Go On," a song about picking up the pieces after life-changing situations, Trish is uplifting and hopeful. The humorous, "Waitin' for an Easy Way Out" is bluesy and rockin' with a get-down-and-boogie piano line. On the lovely ballad, "I'm Drifting," Ms. Lester shows us her impeccable talent for writing gorgeous melodies. "It's Just a Cookie" is a cute, Americana tune that is guaranteed to have you singing along, and the loving, heartfelt, "Your Special Gift," is a song about her brother. "Smith & Wesson" is a clever song about gun rights. Trish covers two songs on the album, "Yosemite" and "The Water is Wide."  Both are beautifully and richly arranged. "Thank a Soldier" and "The World Changed Forever," which is about 9/11, will both bring a tear to your eye and leave you feeling patriotic. The CD ends with "The Christmas Letter," a funny song about the family news one reads in a Christmas letter. Overall, very solid album!

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"Rusty, broken down, that car is killing my career," sings Trish Lester of her Daddy's beloved heap. We think getting played on Car Talk and appearing on this CD will likely do more damage in the long run, but we thank her for making the sacrifice. Every time we hear this song, it gets stuck in our head for days after — and that's a good thing. Trish lives in Santa Clarita, CA, and has been writing and performing music for years. Her first CD, Plymouth Belvedere, came out in 2007. We're not sure why it took so long — maybe she was waiting for the doors to fall off? www.trishlester.com

WOMEN on the MOVE (WoM) -- the acoustic power trio of singer/songwriters Joan Enguita, Linda Geleris and Trish Lester -- beautifully illustrated the axiom "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Each is both a strong songwriter and solo performer, but as Linda, Joan and Trish each took the spotlight in turn, the others provided back-up and harmony vocals that blended solo artist into mini-chorale.

Their vocal enhancements ranged from doo-wop accents to string-like smoothness, and when the trio united to sing as one voice in three-part harmony, the effect was magical; three distinct voices merged into one angelic blend. Add the variety of three individual songwriters whose mutual respect was evident, and the result was two sets of great entertainment.

(regarding Trish's song, "It's Just a Cookie")

“Listening to this song I had to rush to the kitchen and find a cookie. OK, truth is I found two.... This song should be a commercial for a cookie company - very unique, very good and a lovely voice to listen to.”

Rhon Scheuerman - RhonBob Promotions, Kodak, TN (Aug 20, 2009)
When you bring several genres together in a seamless blend, it can only mean one thing…that you’re driving a Plymouth Belvedere? Not exactly, but…it does mean that one fine collection of tunes can be found on Singer/Songwriter Trish Lester’s 2007 release titled Plymouth Belvedere! Trish definitely has her own unique and easygoing perspective on life, and shares it with her audience in a way that is a little bit country, a little bit folk and very much present day Americana that speaks from a place of love and experience!

Opening the album, we are warmed up with an acoustic number that gives a nod to the very important role that music itself plays in our world, and perfectly depicts just how strongly it can take hold if you let it! Also, we are introduced to the real star of this album, her Plymouth Belvedere that Trish just can’t seem to get rid of, no matter how it may "affect her image!" This unique blend of humor and music has been a sincere joy to discover, and we recommend taking a listen for yourself!

Trish does slow it down a little bit on “How Do We Go On?” and offers a harmonic(a) accompaniment to the real-life situations including struggle and perseverance, which are illustrated in lines such as We start again every day / Never giving up, though we may lose our way.

On a little less serious vibe, Trish shares a bluesy rock/country number called “Waitin’ for an Easy Way Out,” which is upbeat, easygoing and true for many people in this world. You’ve heard the spiel about ‘it’s always your decision to make your life what you want’ or ‘go to school, get a job, have 2.5 kids and a minivan,’ but this song is somewhat the anti-thesis to those prefab social expectations, and gives hope to those who are just sitting around waiting for good things to come!

As we float along through Plymouth Belvedere, Trish shares an amazingly intimate and gentle acoustic song titled, “I’m Drifting,” which reminisces of love gone by and welcomes the past into our present with open arms and an enlightened point of view. Trish’s slide guitar and angelic finger picking take this song to a level that is partly cinematic and wholly sweet & sincere!

Each song on Plymouth Belvedere is definitely worth mentioning in review, but we’d like to point out just one more that is a welcome departure from the traditional Holiday numbers that we are bombarded with each and every year, and this song is the last on the album, titled “The Christmas Letter.” Thank you for the bonus song and we can’t wait to hear more!

“Heartfelt American Folk music that speaks to your soul in a common tongue”
-- Brian Ball, Music Editor / Director of Music & Talent
Monday night at the Palmdale Playhouse (December 8, 20008) was beyond expectations. Stellar performance, knockout songs, sung with such unique voices and great harmonies. Trish Lester and her equally talented counterparts from “Women on the Move” -- Joan Enguita, Tracy Newman, Linda Geleris and Karen Hart -- blew away the audience!

These ladies have been raising funds for domestic violence shelters ever since their compilation CD, “Beautiful” (www.RedCoyoteRecords.com) was released last July. But their Christmas show -- what a special treat.

No matter how many times I’ve listened to Trish Lester’s phenomenal, handcrafted music, I love her work more and more. It was a special treat to hear her seasonal number, "The Christmas Letter." I could not stop laughing throughout the entire, tongue-in cheek song, especially with the other four ladies camping it up on stage. Lester and the group spread so much joy and happiness at the Palmdale Playhouse -- I wished they could have gone on for hours instead of just a 45-minute set. No one in the audience wanted the gals to get off stage after their spell-binding performance!
Adina Joy - Fan Base (Dec 9, 2008)
With a voice reminiscent of Judy Collins, Lester fits in perfectly with 70s singer-songwriters like Gordon Lightfoot and John Denver. Offering songs about ending relationships, thanking soldiers and food (my favorite topic), she covers a lot of ground with her capable band.

The title cut is about her fabulous car. She shows up at a country club, a funeral and a party, although it ruins her image. In the end she sells it for a Hummer. I don’t know any folk singers who could afford the gas but then, this song is done with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

"I’m Drifting" is a sad breakup song backed by strings, and "Your Special Gift" is a sweet song about her brother.

There are lighter tunes like "It’s Just a Cookie" – um yeah, they’re definitely health food - and "Waiting for An Easy Way Out." In the latter, she sings, "I can’t see my toes, can’t fit into my clothes, my bathroom scale and I have almost come to blows." Lots of folks can sure indentify with that.

"The Water is Wide" is pretty, with nice mandolin trills and smooth vocals.

At the end is "The Christmas Letter," about those dreary holiday tomes. It put a smile on my face although I was waiting for Junior to find the cure for cancer on his lunch hour. But hey, they learned to program their VCR, so it’s all good.
Singer Inspired by U.S. Veterans -- Trish Lester performs 'Thank a Soldier' at Veterans Day Ceremony

Trish Lester always loved singing. As a civil servant working in the Army, she occasionally sang for troops stationed in Korea. It was only natural that when she took up songwriting and singing in 2001, composing and performing a song dedicated to American military personnel would follow in a matter of time.
That time came in 2006, when she wrote “Thank a Soldier.” Inspired by Army veteran Charles Province’s poem called “It Is The Soldier,” Lester dedicated several years to researching the poem before writing her musical rendition.
Hearing of the poem on several occasions due to her military background, Lester performed extensive Internet research to discover its source. She initially thought the poem was written by an Army chaplain — Dennis O’Brien — but discovered it was incorrect reference. Digging a little bit further to verify the true author of the poem, she discovered that Chaplain O’Brien found the poem and sent it in to “Dear Abby.” Many mistakenly assumed he was author of the poem, and he died before anyone sought out more information about the author.
Lester, who found a version of the poem published with the George S. Patton, Jr., Historical Society, soon discovered that it was Province who wrote the poem. With the author issue resolved, the next big challenge was to choose which rites to include in her three-minute song. Yet, knowing what the theme of her song would be, the selection eventually became clear.
“The message of the song is that freedom isn’t free,” Lester said. “It’s important to remember, and to thank, members of the military for their service and sacrifice. It’s through their service that we remain free as a country.”
Spending a few days writing the song to drive this point home, “Thank a Soldier” was recorded in 2006, and is on her current CD that was released in May 2007. The CD — entitled “Plymouth Belvedere” — features two patriotic songs: “Thank a Soldier” and “The World Changed Forever,” a song with a hopeful message that was inspired by the events of Sept. 11.
“I felt it was time for a new patriotic song,” said Lester of her motivation to write the song. “There are a lot of songs on peace. But peace doesn’t come without price.”
Yet, peace definitely carried the day Sunday, when she performed “Thank a Soldier” at the Veterans Day ceremony at the Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall. Her performance evoked strong emotions from all who attended; soldiers and civilians alike thanked her for writing and performing the song.
The Newhall resident seemed destined to write this song. She is married to an Army helicopter pilot. The couple met while stationed at a missile base at Chun Chon in Korea — Larry serving as an officer, Trish a civil servant for the Army’s Special Services.
She joined the Army as a DAC — Department of Army Civilian. While in Korea during the Vietnam War, Lester created and executed several recreational programs for the GIs, including pool tournaments, special shows, movie viewings, and Vegas-style gambling.
“My experience in the military very much colored who I am,” added Lester, who almost dropped out of UCLA to join the Navy. Yet, she ended up completing college, and joined the Army right after graduation.
“It was wonderful experience for me because I had no rank,” she said.
While she still has her public relations and marketing business on the side, she intends to be a full-time songwriter. No doubt, she will always have the troops in the back of her mind, and she may very well write another song or two about those who served and will serve America.
In the meantime, for those who are currently abroad, Lester just has this to say: “We really appreciate your service and sacrifice.”
prohit@the-signal.com Copyright: The Signal
(Website link has expired)
Parimal M. Rohit, Signal Staff Writer - The Signal Newspaper (Nov 12, 2007)
TRISH LESTER -- The long road back to folk music
"Plymouth Belvedere. Yeah, a Plymouth Belvedere. Rusty, broken down, that car is killin' my career." So sings Trish Lester in the title song of her folk CD. But don't worry about her career. The humorous song is a work of fiction. In fact, a Plymouth Belvedere may have actually helped Lester by bringing that vintage automobile into the national consciousness again. If you remember, a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere was dug out of a muck-filled "time-capsule" in Tulsa several months back. It was big news around the country.
"When it was dug up, I got calls from people who said, 'I thought of your song,'" Lester said. "I got an invitation from a morning talk show in Tulsa - but it was last minute and we couldn't make it work."
In regard to "career," Lester is covered in several ways. Her music is just one, and it was actually re-discovered in recent years.
An SCV Base
Lester and family have lived in Newhall for more than 20 years. There she and her husband, Larry Lester, raised two children to adulthood. Larry Lester owns Lester Creative Incorporated. Headquartered on Ave. Crocker in Valencia, the company designs and builds large-scale shows and attractions for casinos and theme parks around the world. Are you familiar with Treasure Island in Las Vegas? Lester Creative ensures the hotel's pirate ship battle works perfectly. A quote from their Web site: "Due to the technical expertise of Lester Creative, this amazing theatrical experience has taken place more than 10,000 times to date."
Trish Lester helps her husband's company with public relations and marketing, and she has her own, separate, PR firm, Signature Communications. Her firm has served many clients around the country, from the Newhall County Water District and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, to IBM in Houston, to the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Orlando. She has been a member of the International Association of Business Communicators for more than 25 years.
The Long Musical Road
Trish Lester grew up in the Los Angeles area, attending University High School and graduating from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She said she started picking out tunes on the piano when she was four years old and has "perfect pitch." She took piano lessons for five years as a child, and can employ that perfect pitch to pick up songs without reading the music. "If I can hear the song, I can play it, pretty close," she said. "I can accompany anybody on Christmas carols."
Lester learned to play the ukulele and guitar on her own. "I taught myself to play guitar in high school," she said. She explained that she was always singing in glee clubs and choirs, but had no formal vocal training. "I was always singing around the camp fire," she said.
Folk was the popular music when Lester was in college, and she studied with Bud Dashiell, of the folk duo Bud and Travis. "He taught me a whole lot," she said.
After college, Lester went to work for the U.S. Army, as a civilian. She worked as a recreation program director at a military base in Korea. There she teamed up with two soldiers who were folk singers, and they performed at several military bases in that country. They were known as "Doug, John and Trish." Her partners eventually finished their time in the military and the trio-chapter of her life closed.
While in Korea, she met Larry Lester, who was a helicopter pilot. They both finished their stints in Korea at the same time and came back to the U.S. and got married.
Trish Lester got involved with musical theater at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. Calif. and then "just started doing other stuff" besides music. She had a series of jobs, including being a youth director at a YMCA in Long Beach. This is where she began to be interested in public relations. "I seem to be good at promoting programs - ad copy, press releases," she said.
After the YMCA, Lester worked for seven years at Saint Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, in PR and marketing. She then started her own PR firm. A year later, in 1986, the family moved to the SCV, and her firm moved with them. "I still do a lot of business in Long Beach," she said. She noted that any money earned from business outside the Santa Clarita Valley gets spent in the SCV. "I'm an importer of dollars to the SCV," she quipped.
During all this career-building and family-raising time, Lester's music was waiting for a chance to come back to her.
Pain and Rediscovery
Motivated by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Lester created her song "The World Changed Forever." But she "kind of put it aside" because of her busy career and because of personal losses and grief that filled the years 2002 and 2003. "My mother died. My brother died. My stepfather died." she said. She became so busy as the executor of her parents' estate that she had to give up her business for a time. "It was crazy," she said.
Then came the musical epiphany. "One day I literally woke up and said, 'Who is this woman?' I'd been living someone else's life," she said. "I basically started questioning myself. 'What am I doing. I need to be making music. It's why God put me here.'"
She said she was watching the folk-singer parody film, "A Mighty Wind," and really enjoyed the music. "I realized people still like folk music," she said.
Lester started downloading the lyrics for every folk song she could sing, and put ads in Folkworks Magazine and Craig's List, seeking to join with others who missed folk music. She started meeting with other musicians to sing and play. She wrote "Plymouth Belvedere" in 2004, and started writing other songs and taking classes in song writing. During one of these courses she wrote a song in tribute to her late brother, who was a flamenco guitarist and a very creative person. She entitled it "Your Special Gift."
When Lester met producer Travis Allen, she learned how easy it was to create an album of songs on CD these days. She works with studio musicians in Nashville - musicians she has never even met. They all do their parts separately, transport them back and forth electronically, and then it's all mixed in Nashville. "All this was not possible 20 years ago," she said.
The process of creating "Plymouth Belvedere" took about two years, and it had it's official CD release party at the Roast House in Saugus this year. While "folk" would fit it's musical offerings in general, the songs range from the humorous "Belvedere" to the patriotic "Thank a Soldier" to the heart-wrenching, yet uplifting "Your Special Gift."
Lester plays live venues whenever she can, such as Java Dave's or the 49er festival in Lake Hughes. "If anyone is going to hear my music, it's because I'm out there singing it and promoting it," she said. "Otherwise I'll die with a closet full of unopened CDs."
One of Lester's songs from the "Belvedere" CD, "How Do We Go on?" is also on a CD featuring 14 female artists and a mix of styles. That CD, "Beautiful," is a compilation of their songs, and Lester sings backup on some of them. "Fourteen women, 17 songs, one great cause," she said. A portion of the proceeds from the CD sales will go to women's shelters. "It's the latest wrinkle in my life," she said.
Other wrinkles include awards. Her song, "It's Just a Cookie," won honorable mention in the North Star Awards for Lyrical Excellence - a contest for songs that say something positive and encouraging about life.
Her upcoming play-dates include The Coffee Connection in Tarzana, Oct. 4; a radio "appearance" Oct. 6 on KCSN 88.5 FM; the Joyce Beers Community Center in San Diego Oct. 13; the Far West Folk Alliance Conference in Portland Nov. 2-4; and a concert in Pershing Square in Los Angeles on Dec. 11.
But even as Lester pursues her musical destiny, she won't neglect her public relations clients. After all, that's where her income is generated.
"Although I wanted to make music, I am now my own, biggest, non-paying PR client," she said.

JWalker@The-Signal.com Copyright:The Signal
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Jim Walker, Signal Features Editor (Photo by Bryan Kneiding) - The Signal Newspaper (Sep 23, 2007)
Entrepreneurs Part 5: Profiles
Sometimes we want to make a change in our life or career and the idea just has to percolate for a while before it’s ready to pour out. That’s what is happening to Trish Lester.
For full story, click link below

FAN MAIL

I've listened to more than half of your CD as I drove to work this morning, and I think it is fabulous. All the songs tell wonderful stories, and I think it can be listened to over and over and each time the listener will discover something new. Excellent work. I wish I had your talent. And I can't get the tune of "Plymouth Belvedere" out of my head!
Bill Spaniel, Valencia, CA (May 24, 2007)
You have a wonderful voice and some great pop hooks. The CD is a real showcase for your songwriting talent, in addition to being really fun to listen to. I especially love the cookie song.
Linda Hege, San Francisco, CA (Jun 12, 2007)
You sound amazing!!!!! Plymouth Belvedere is a mindblowing track, but I'm sure there are LOTS of them on the cd, keep it up with the production, it's great!
Leslie Shor, Virginia (Jun 3, 2007)
I stopped for just a moment to listen to you in Claremont last night. Your honesty and clarity of purpose in the two songs I heard came through. I play too, and like millions of folks out of the ‘60s, which of course you are too young to remember, have used music, mine and theirs, to heal. Thank you for being the doctor that was in the other night.
J. Palicki, Claremont, CA (Oct 7, 2006)
I love your vibe! Thank you so much for closing out our event. Jimm and I very much enjoyed your work. I've been humming "It's Just A Cookie" all week!
J. Capra, Santa Clarita, CA (Oct 2, 2006)
I listened to the songs on your website and really like them all, especially “The World Changed Forever” and “Your Special Gift” and “The Words Keep Coming Through.” You have a wonderful God-given talent.
D. Foster, Birmingham, AL (Jan 20, 2006)
Last Saturday you joined me on a long drive. A couple of times, since I was driving longer than you were singing. I loved your CD! The next day you joined me on a bike ride. In my head, that is. I replayed “Plymouth Belvedere” over and over.
P. Leven, Los Angeles, CA (Dec 12, 2005)
I just listened to your Christmas Letter song, which is so clever. And your voice is soooo beautiful.
F. Avnon, Tarzana, CA (Dec 8, 2005)
Thanks so much for sending your newest songs. You’re amazing---a songwriter AND a singer. Both talents are top-notch, just like everything you do---you’re so versatile. I especially liked “I’m Drifting.” Your voice is beautiful in this ballad, which is perfectly suited to you. I also loved the orchestration---pretty impressive.
S. Maricich, Seal Beach, CA (Sep 28, 2005)
I very much enjoyed your music and would love to hear more of your creations. Once in while, I am captivated by an individual, sometimes for unknown reasons and last night was one of those few times – when I met you and listened to your songs. Seems like there is a very genuine feeling goes into your songwriting, and it definitely comes across.
K. Wortman, Fairplay, CO (Aug 18, 2005)
I just loveeed I'M DRIFTING. It is beautiful. Since you are not, as yet, a bigtime recording artist....I wish that someone would pick up this song and make you a millionaire.
A. Carlin, Atascadero, CA (Aug 30, 2005)
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