Those attending the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast at BEA next Wednesday will be treated to a musical interlude as well as to speeches by master of ceremonies Sarah, Duchess of York and panelists Cory Doctorow, Mitali Perkins, and Richard Peck. Scheduled to provide an opening act is musical group 4TROOPS, a quartet of soldiers who have served on the front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan. The four musicians each performed while serving overseas, and now have now come together to sing on behalf of all troops, to honor their sacrifices, and to create awareness for their needs.
The group—which includes Former Cpt. Meredith Melcher, Former Sgt. Daniel Jens (a top-20 finalist on America’s Got Talent), Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Ron Henry, and Former Sgt. David Clemo—has appeared on national TV and has taped a concert special, “4TROOPS Live from the Intrepid” to air on PBS television in June. The musicians released a CD this month and will embark on a 60-city concert tour in September.
That same month, Newmarket Press will get into the act with its publication of 4TROOPS: The Mission Is Music. This compilation of color photos, personal stories of the musicians, and info about music in the military is written by Diana Landau.
“The book was totally serendipitous,” says Newmarket president and publisher Esther Margolis, who heard about the musical group and their upcoming CD and national tour while dining with friends last month. At the table was one of the group’s managers at DRW Entertainment, which partnered with Sony Masterworks, a division of Sony Music, on the 4TROOPS’s CD.
After viewing a clip of the concert that will air on PBS, Margolis proposed doing a book to coincide with the group’s tour. “Not only was I impressed by their music,” she says, “but by their bona fide purpose of being a testament to—and supporting—the military.”
The book came together with lightning speed. “The dinner was on a Saturday, and on Monday I sent Sony Music a package presenting Newmarket to them and within a few days we got the green light,” Margolis says. The author and a designer immediately set to work on the book, which is scheduled to ship in mid-August.
“Everyone involved in this project has been great—it’s really been quite a magical experience,” says Margolis. “The soldiers were wonderful to work with and were always incredibly punctual. They obviously know a lot about discipline.”