"It is often, people ask me where I get my inspiration. As for me, the pieces almost seem to write themselves. I think it must be then, that the source is divine, and while I play one instrument, I become, yet another."
A truly well-rounded individual and artist, Ms. Sweeten is a staunch environmentalist, animal activist and vegetarian. In addition to her Concert and Recording career, she is also a professional actress and singer with Actor's Equity Association. A trained Ballet Dancer and former Female Front to the Rock Band FALLOUT, she earned a degree in foreign languages from Smith College, (B.A. Cum Laude), studied in Paris and later at the Boston Conservatory. Ms. Sweeten is herself a Breast Cancer survivor and is involved with the Arts in Healthcare Initiative.
The Inspiration for
Orange Band Records was inspired by an article I happened upon, by Robert J. Waller, entitled My Name is Orange Band, concerning the last remaining Dusky Seaside Sparrow and his plight. Duskies were common once in the marshes of Merritt Island, Florida and also along the St. John's River. Someone thought Merritt Island should be flooded to deal with the mosquito problem at the Kennedy Space Center. The water rose and took their nests. Ultimately the St. John's River marshes were drained for the construction of highways. Pollution and pesticides did the rest. By 1979, only six duskies remained. Five were captured with no female to recover the species - the last sighted in 1975. The five duskies were brought to Disney World's Discovery Island to live out their remaining days. By March 31, 1986, only one little male, called Orange Band, was left. I would like to quote from the article.
"The last member of the rarest species known to us. He became blind in one eye, became old for a sparrow, and yet he persisted as if he knew his sole task was to sustain the bloodline as long as possible. I wondered if he felt sorrow or excruciating panic at the thought of his oneness. On June 18, 1987, a Washington Post headline said "Goodby Dusky Seaside Sparrow." Orange Band, blind in one eye, old and alone, was gone.
But the day Orange Band died there was a faint sound out there in the universe, hardly noticeable unless you were expecting it and listening. It was a small cry, the last one, that arched upward from a cage in Florida. If you were listening closely though, you could hear it. "I am zero". Extinct. The sound of the word is like the single blow of a hammer on cold steel. And, each day, the hammer falls again as another species becomes extinct due to human activity.
But we press on. With highways and toxic waste and all-terrain vehicles and acid rain and pesticides and the straightening of pretty creeks to gain an extra acre or two on which to grow surplus crops. In the name of progress and something called "development", we press on, though we seem reluctant to define exactly what it is we seek. That definition, you see, likely is too frightening to contemplate, for the answer along our present course might be nothing other than "more".
And each day, the hammer falls again. And, each day, another small cry arches upward, slowly and forever, it arches upward. And sometimes I sit with my back against a granite ledge near a river in a distant twilight-colored blue, and say, "I am Orange Band." (Reprinted by permission of Warner Books, Inc. from, OLD SONGS IN A NEW CAFÉ by Robert James Waller Copyright 1995 by Robert James Waller. All rights reserved.)
The decision to use the name Orange Band is not only in remembrance of the last little Dusky Seaside Sparrow, but is also a testimonial tribute to the fight we must wage to preserve our blessed Mother Earth and all her creatures, before we, too, utter a final cry: Extinct.