About Composer Chandler Meeting Mentors – Marvin Hamlisch & Mina Kulber










Encounters of the Musical Kind

A Musical Giant  …  A Giant of a Man 

Marvin Hamlisch passed in 2012. What more can be said that hasn’t been written already (and so heartfelt). Nor what more can be written about what a great loss he was (and still is). But we will attempt to … for his memory is a Blessing.


Personally … on a professional note … (pardon the pun) … what composer doesn’t aspire to be … one iota as creative as Marvin Hamlisch was. But, it’s like those little Russian Matuska Dolls … sitting, staring from across the room. Near our beautiful .. 9 Ft  Concert Grand Piano … from the turn of the century … 1904. They like us … were waiting for Marvin to come and play. Many ask, “What’s a Matuska Doll?”  They are often called … “nesting dolls” … as in … a doll-within-a-doll-within-a-doll-within-a-doll”. They remind us … that it would take many lifetimes … for someone … anyone … to even become … a “Mini-Mini-Mini-Mini-Me of Marvin Hamlisch”!

Marvin-as-Mentor still inspires many to become like him. Hamlisch-the-Mensch. One learns more and more as one reads … those heartfelt comments posted on the late composer’s website. (To which we added our condolences … sending out prayers to his family).

Now about Marvin and Mina 

We shared a love of … all things-melodic … and … for all audiences who love melodic music. That included an audience of one … a little lady whom many called  “Aunt”… the late Mina Kulber. She was this … tiny-but-big-in-stature-teacher and a mentor-to-many. From the moment one met her … she “felt like family”. And that included Marvin, too. As for Mina … once introduced to him … she not only had the heart of Hamlisch … but … she also had his ear (so to speak). We know because Mina told us so.

Mina mentioned that … “Marvin would NOT forget ‘owing Dennis Chandler one’ … that promised jam session!” She shared that … she was going to set up “A Salon in Solon” … (named for the Cleveland suburb we reside in). She wanted him to hear “what Hamlisch hath wroth … more melodic music inspired by MENTOR MARVIN … he will love it!”. We were looking forward to that happening when sadly … Mina passed away. Her memory is a Blessing. 


Now so many gone. That begs a couple of questions. Why do we wait to do the things we must? Why do we wait to say the things we must? Well, it’s the good Lord’s Cyberspace (we believe). So as sung in an original song from the stage play “Just We Two” … “Maybe Someday” is today. Here we honor … Giant Hamlisch & Tiny Miz Mina. What Lights.

Thank you for the motivation, Mina. Thank you for the music, Marvin.


About the Program Pictured Above 

The PlayhouseSquare benefit program is from 1975. It was when Den was pleased and teased to be … “Marvin’s  ‘Opening Act”, (well, sort of).

Here is how it happened … “Dennis Chandler Band” was booked to play the Palace. Musician-Dennis took the gig upon my goating him with,  “Wow, relatives from your family tree … played the Palace. (I was referring to … “Max & Maddie Weill” a Vaudevillian Acrobatic Dance Duo!) Just think … you’ll get to tread the same boards”. 

Yes, Den did get to tread … albeit … dangerously so. Those boards onstage were flooring-of-another-kind. Meaning it was a haphazard-of-a-venue. Why do I say that? Recall most stages are sloped … these were, too. But way more wobbly. So the guitar stands did NOT stand … and amps almost rolled off the stage. Boy, did I have to change roles. As in … reprised-role-of-stagehand. I barely caught Den’s Bo Diddley guitar … before it could hit the stage, (so to speak). And I DO … mean “Bo’s guitar”. But his memory is a Blessing, too.  https://dennischandler.com/index.php/bo-diddley/

And the audience? In readying for a teardown … the auditorium seats were long gone. The attendees had to dance around. Literally … the bolts were still in the cement floor. BUT … it was the first big benefit there. It was the Pre-Concert Party. That’s how and where his “Dennis Chandler Band” got to play. That BIG benefit? It was “An Evening with Marvin Hamlisch”. Marvin often graciously gave of his time and talent. He came to Cleveland. He helped raise the first funds for the restoration of our great Palace Theatre. As for Volunteer-me? (BTW recruited by Ray C. Sheparson, of Blessed Memory). I was Witness to how Marvin and Dennis … almost got to “play the Palace” … together. 

Seriously, those times will never be again. Sadly, that music will never be again. But, we go on. We reach up standing on the shoulders of such Giants. May the Great Conductor Above … allow “Mentor Marvin” now “Angel Marvin” … to keep inspiring. Especially those of us still down here … writing and hoping to be … one iota … of a Hamlisch. What a Light.  

Signed, Liz Chandler  Web Writer aka Mrs. Dennis aka Archvist