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December, 2015

Happy Holidays! As we near the end of 2015 it's time to reflect on the past year.

Megan just turned fourteen and has settled into her role as a full-fledged teenager. Eighth grade is going well with top marks and high spirits.

Theater, dance, and violin continue to take up most of her free time. During the summer she attended several drama-themes camps including one culminating in a performance of Twelfth Night. She also attended Suzuki violin camp where she worked with her first small ensemble.

This led to the formation of her own string quartet that meets weekly to sight read and learn new music. The quartet had its first public performance the week before Christmas at a local nursing home which was well received.

Megan continues to perform with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony's Baroque Orchestra and for their first concert of the season had the honor to be selected Concert Master.

Of course we can't forget two big changes; 2015 was the year of The Glasses and The Braces!

Laura continues to work for Digimarc as she has for many years. Her parents were able to visit us a half-dozen times this year and attend some of Megan's theater and musical performances and other milestones.

In June Mike's father and sister came out to attend the high school graduation of Megan's cousin Darwin Mendyke. Darwin was Valedictorian of his class, and is now a freshman at USC in Los Angeles. While in town they also watched cousin Emily's piano recital.

Mike keeps off the streets by tinkering with his online consulting and marketing business. He is thrilled to be coaching Megan's string quartet, and is thinking perhaps he should start his own. Until that happens he still finds opportunities to sing.

In September Mike got the chance to sing in his first-ever movie soundtrack recording. Professional session singer Eric Bradley, who sings with Mike in The Vantastix, recommended him for this session. Mike doesn't want to make a big deal online about this, but it doesn't take much "force" to get him to talk about it!

In December Dick Van Dyke celebrated his 90th birthday! The Vantastix spent the day with Dick at Disneyland, where they sang on a balcony overlooking New Orleans Square, watched Dick and his wife Arlene lead the Main Street Parade, and were treated to a five-star dinner by the chef and staff of the private Disney Club 33 restaurant.

A few days later The Vantastix appeared on the Conan O'Brian show and convinced Conan to sing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with them. They gave him a solo line "We'll turn everybody's head today!" and he was right on top of it with only five minutes of rehearsing!

Every year seems to top the one before with activities and adventures. We can't wait to see what 2016 brings. Love and best wishes to all of you for a Happy New Year!

Mike, Laura, and Megan