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Heroes of Extraordinary Means: Meet Thomas Cook & Peter Max

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Re-printed from Time Square Chronicles, February 21, 2013

Peter Max and Thomas Cook

Peter Max and Thomas Cook

Errol Rappaport insisted I meet Thomas Cook singer, songwriter, recording artist and performer. Tom has distinguished his career by performing for many charitable causes and was honored by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Carter. He has produced, directed and performed for national fundraising concerts for the Salvation Army, Cystic Fibrosis, The American Red Cross, the Race Against Drugs Campaign and many more, performing original compositions for His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, with a command performance for H.E. John Cardinal O’Connor in New York. Some of his production credits include the Emmys, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Special Olympics White House Christmas Special and the Academy Awards. T2C found out about his newest project and wanted to be the first to bring it to the public’s attention.

T2C: Tell me a little about the contest you became involved with to help Hurricane Sandy victims as well as artists.
Thomas Cook: A friend of mine, John Prince, who oversees “Dreamfire Interactive,” wanted to reach out to Hurricane Sandy victims and companies in the greater New York area. I am a part of the committee. I am helping to get judges, raising money and bringing together the Mayor’s office as well as the National Red Cross.

T2C: Have you always been involved in philanthropy?
TC: All my life. The first song I ever wrote was at fourteen, called “Bring Them Back,” about the missing kids on the milk cartons. I sent my song to Susan Davis who was the PR firm for The Center of Missing and Exploited Children, who invited me to Washington D.C. and the song was used at their events. My family instilled in us kids, “do for others…make a difference.”

T2C: You did an inspirational album called The Gift of Words and Music. How did that project come about?
TC: I woke up from a dream and it was crystal clear what I was supposed to do. At the time, I was opening for Engelbert Humperdinck and I was searching for that something else to do rather than end up as a performer in Las Vegas. There was a book on DVD called The Secret, that was a huge success and it was on “The Larry King Show.” I had written a theme song for Larry. The story is much longer, but I was invited by an organization called the “Transformational Leadership Council,” by Jack Canfield and I was invited to speak. I was the first non-author, and I told them my dream. The idea was that music should be involved with inspirational words, since music inspires. So, I used quotes that inspired the best selling writers of this movement and out of 110 quotes, I chose the best 14.

T2C: What is you favorite piece on the album and why?
TC: It’s not fair to ask. I have 14 people who are all wonderful. If I mention one, the rest would be hurt. What others tell me is their favorite is “Sing My Song,” which was quoted by Lisa Nichols

T2C: What other projects are you working on?
TC: It is constantly an ongoing journey. Right now, I am in New York to work with Royalty on something that will soon be announced.

T2C: What is your biggest inspiration?
TC: Knowing each night when I go to bed, before I close my eyes, I ask, have I changed somebody’s life, has someone changed mine and have I made a difference in the world.

T2C: How can others inspire?
TC: Many years ago, I was asked to come up with a campaign for the National Guard. It is that quote “Dream, Believe, Achieve.” I would like to end this with some of the lyrics for Lisa Nichols: “So I choose to give the world, the best of me possible.”

For more information go to www.thegiftofwordsandmusic.com Thomas would love to hear from you and hear your comments.

The Manhattan Perceived art competition is accepting artwork in the areas of paintings and photography which depict the resilience of New York City. The contest will then showcase the artistic works that capture the perceptions of various neighborhoods throughout Manhattan that have been impacted by, or are recovering from Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

The first prize receives $10,000 and additional 5 runners up will receive a Macbook Pro. All submissions will be sold at auction with 20% of the proceeds going to the submitting artist, and the remaining 80% will be donated to support the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief.

An inaugural event to kick-off of the Manhattan Perceived project will be held in the near future , but the deadline for the contest is June 10.

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