BOOT NEWT SING ALONG PAGE (1998-2009)
This is my first and oldest web site, launched December 10, 1998, just before then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich retired from Congress. I've written over 1,300 political song parodies since 1995, and just about every parody I've ever written is posted there. According to the bootnewt.hostingzero.com server log statistics, the site once had over 150,000 hits per month of web traffic from all over the world, including Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Romania, Japan, China, Singapore, just to name a few countries. But, free web site hosting eventually disappeared, and I retired from writing after 2009. Most of my parodies catalog is also posted at the Amiright.com song parodies web site: http://www.amiright.com/parody/authors/williamtong.shtml
BOOT NEWT SING ALONG BLOG (1998-2012)
During December 2002, I decided to start a web blog ("blog") so that I could write and post new song parodies more quickly, using the blog format. (The blog comes in handy for me when I finally get around to updating the main Boot Newt web site.)
BUNCH OF COCONUTS (2008-2016)
In March 2008, 6 former members (including myself) of Na Mele Aloha decided to start their own Hawaiian/tropical/island music group, choosing the name, A Bunch Of Coconuts. Following our June 24, 2008 concert debut at The Tiki Terrace, we were invited back to perform there once a month. We have performed at The Wishbone Restaurant several times, at retirement homes, Raging Waves Water Park, and even the Naperville Country Club. We have had a number of personnel changes since 2008, with one member retired, and two percussionists who played with us briefly. At full strength we were an 8 member band with 4 ukuleles, 12-string guitar, dobro/steel guitar, bass, and drums/percussion. In July 2010, we recorded our first studio album at Audio Recording Unlimited, located in the Wrigley Building in Chicago. The band dissolved in March of 2016.
The studio CD, "On A Coconut Island" was released in March 2011, and is sold through Amazon.com:
Over 100 of our songs from our live concerts are also posted on YouTube:
Miguel & Friends at Chicago Ukulele Cabaret (2013-2016)
On December 20, 2013, one of our YouTube videos at the Chicago Ukulele Cabaret was discovered by radio producer Jason Marck, who invited our trio to play a live radio debut on Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM, playing holiday music on The Morning Show with Tony Sarabia.
Miguel & Friends Radio Debut on WBEZ-FM (12-20-2013)
STEUBEN ALUMNI BAND (2011-present)
During 1996, after an 18-day government shutdown several months before, the annual celebration of Earth Day (April 22) at the EPA needed a morale-boosting dose of music. EPA musicians and singers got together and formed a number of bands. The EPA folk band, the first band I ever played in, has survived and was since renamed The Earth Tones; we've played an annual Earth Day concert every year since 1996.
The Earth Tones'
Debut Concert - April 22, 1996
Our video was even mentioned by Rachel
Maddow on her television show on MSNBC:
After a 3 year hiatus, The Earth Tones played for the annual EPA celebration of Earth Day on April 20, 2011. Here is the video of the entire 15-minute concert:
The Earth Tones'
15th Anniversary Concert - April 20, 2011
The Earth Tones
at the CFC Kickoff (9/28/11)
The Earth Tones
at the Combined Federal Campaign Kickoff (10/10/12)
More videos at YouTube:
CHANGE & FRIENDS (2003-2010)
While attending a local folk music festival during the summer of 2003, I met Ron and Marcy Novit, who were members of a folk/old time country band named Loose Change. They had recruited John Daugherty, a mandolin player, and they invited me to join their band to sing and play the autoharp. Doris Lee Dutton clog dances to some of the songs and provides harmony vocals. I've since added many other instruments to the line-up (all self-taught): 12-string guitar, 6-string guitar, tenor guitar, 4-string tenor banjo, baritone ukulele, banjo ukulele, strumstick, and washboard. The band, now called Loose Change & Friends, now has 7 members, and has played over 100 concerts at libraries, senior centers, music festivals, and other venues since September 2003 throughout the north/northwest Chicago suburbs, and as far away as Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At our web site, we have posted concert audio and video clips as well as historical information about the music and the instruments that we play, as well as our schedule of upcoming concerts. In August 2004, a cable TV documentary about our band was created with footage from the Mount Prospect Library, and broadcast by Mount Prospect TV. In February 2008, we were taped by Time-Warner Cable in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and our studio concert was shown on the air during March and April 2008. Here is a video clip from that TV show:
More videos at YouTube:
MELE ALOHA (2005-2007)
After playing ukulele and Hawaiian music for several years with my friends Earl Essig and Judy Maritato, who organized the Hawaiian Music Club at Oakton Community College, we got an opportunity to play a concert (performing as "Na Mele Aloha") on May 7, 2005 at an annual luau fundraising event for the Cherry Preschool. On June 19, 2005, we played at a picnic for a Filippino-American group at Henry Proesel Park in Lincolnwood, which included my friend Lee Mishkin on the electric bass. On May 13, 2006, and April 23, 3007, Na Mele Aloha was invited to play at the 2006 and 2007 annual luau organized by Northwestern University's Hawaii Club. Na Mele Aloha has since grown to include over a dozen players. In 2007, Na Mele Aloha performed 6 concerts at The Tiki Terrace, a Hawaiian restaurant located in Des Plaines, IL.
My solo recordings on guitar, autoharp, and tenor banjo are also posted at ezFolk (see link above).
TOUR OF CHINA - 10 CITIES IN 20 DAYS (1996)
In 1996, I took a trip to China with my father and two sisters. For me and my sisters, it was our first trip ever to China; for Dad, it was his first trip back since emigrating to the U.S. in 1946. We booked a 9 city guided tour that included, in chronological order: Shanghai, Wuxi, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Canton, and Hong Kong. We visited all those cities in just 17 days! At the end of the tour, we visited Dad's ancestral village in Taishan County, located in southern Guangdong province, on the west side of the Pearl River, and spent 3 days visiting our distant cousins and kinfolk. This was the only part of China where I could hold a conversation in the Taishan dialect of Chinese that I learned from my parents. This web site, with over 500 posted photos, has generated interest and e-mails from all over the world, and I've done many slide show lectures locally, and once in Washington, DC.
CHINESE & AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: A BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO CULTURES
During 2001, Oakton College asked me to develop a mini-course that dealt with Chinese culture. I came up with the idea to compare and contrast American and Chinese culture, using the classic work, "Americans & Chinese" by the late anthropologist, Prof. Francis Hsu, as the the reference. The mini-course didn't attract enough students to offer as a class, but I retained the materials to be presented as a seminar, which I've also presented many times, locally, most recently for the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. The Ethical Humanist Society posted a review of my 2004 presentation for them (click on their newsletter link and scroll about half-way down their web page).
ROOTS OF THE TONG AND YAN CLANS
In 1995, my father helped to organize a local chapter of the Tong-Yan Family Association, uniting those with the surname "Tong" (also spelled "Hong" or "Tang" depending upon which Chinese dialect was used to phoneticize the spelling), and "Yan" (also Yen, Yun, Gin, or Jin), an offshoot of the Tong family tree. For the benefit of my overseas-born Chinese cousins, I wrote an essay summarizing what my father told me about the historical roots of our family. The Tang surname dates back more than 3,000 years, to one of the earliest dynasties in China, the Shang. This web page has generated dozens of e-mails from other overseas Chinese from all over the world seeking their historical roots, including many possible cousins whom I've never met. I've even met my great-uncle Eugene Tong (originally from Boston), who visited Chicago with his wife during a 2006 cross-country motor tour from Seattle to Boston.
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN COUNCIL (FAPAC) PHOTO WEB SITES
From 1997 to 2002, while serving collateral duty as the Asian Pacific Special Emphasis Program Manager for U.S. EPA - Regio, 5, I was able to attend the national convention of the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC), an organization of federal government employees from all over the U.S. I made my mark as an avid "snapshot" photographer, and I created a seperate photo web page for each year that I attended the convention.
PACIFIC HERITAGE MONTH
Each year, during the month of May, the federal government celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. U.S. EPA - Region 5 has collaboratively held this celebration with one or more fellow agencies, including the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Dept. of Agriculture - Food & Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS), and/or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). I have created web sites commemorating these celebrations from the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.
This web site was set up for my earth science/geology students at Oakton Community College, where I teach part time 2 evenings per week. Most of my self-written lecture summaries, handouts, and lab sheets are posted here.
Being a self-taught musician, I've put together chord-lyric sheets for nearly 100 folk-pop songs, with chords, which can be used for sing alongs by musicians who play guitar, ukulele, autoharp, piano, etc. I deliberately left off the index page because it was too much trouble to update it every time I posted a new PDF lyric sheet.
My sister was a publicist and booking agent for independent folk musicians, representing the following artists: Sons of the Never Wrong, The Cages, Al Stewart, Joshua Kadison, Stephanie Corby, Annette Bjergfeldt, Kevin So, Adam Ezra, and Chris McKhool.
JEFF JUSTMAN (2005-present)
My good friend Jeff Justman, whom I met through the Lake County Folk Festival, is a prolific singer-songwriter and a fine performing musician. Jeff asked me to create and launch a web site for him.
ACOUSTIC MUSIC JAM - serving acoustic
musicians in the northwest suburbs for over 20 years
I also created a web page for the semi-monthly Acoustic Music Jam, which Jeff Justman hosts in Grayslake, IL