Maestro: Songteller of Savannah Valley by Rick Fessler, Stacie Fessler
What's it About?Retirement can be a blessing or a curse — it depends on how you look at it.
Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Mark Victor Hansen launched the release of six novels about residents of Savannah Valley, an upscale retirement community outside Savannah, Georgia.
Hansen wants the Savannah Valley series “to reflect the enormous possibilities” for people over 50. The characters celebrate a lifetime of experiences and the blessing of new beginnings.
In Maestro: Songteller of Savannah Valley (Mark Victor Hansen Library), authors Rick Fessler, an accomplished entrepreneur, and Stacie Fessler, a successful real estate agent, want readers to realize there’s beauty in a person’s second act. It’s a time when people can choose to pursue what brings them joy.
The book’s authors’ real-life history, discoveries and accomplishments inspire the story. Many of the characters in Maestro symbolize challenges the Fesslers have experienced. The protagonist, Goddard Sampson, is reminiscent of one of Rick Fessler’s mentors, Tom Hill, who was a conductor. At 86, Tom still proves daily “that you are never too old to live a life of purpose.”
TIME TO RELAX AND REFLECT?
Goddard moves from Los Angeles to the penthouse in the upscale Savannah Flats condos to begin his retirement, a time to “relax, reflect and relish the time one has left.” His passion for music led him to a world-famous career as a maestro, then a movie soundtrack composer and director. But since his wife’s passing the year before, he’s come to terms with the fact that it is time to step back.
After moving in and dubiously accepting his new goal of relaxation, a welcoming committee visits him — of course, they know he is the Goddard Sampson. Sydney, Linda and Maureen are also residents in Savannah Flats. The last thing he wants is a visit from his neighbors, but he can’t just turn them away. When the ladies tell Goddard they’re rehearsing for a musical performance, the announcement sparks his interest. Not wanting to be rude, he decides he can postpone the solitary reflection he thought he wanted. And his curiosity has gotten the better of him.
AN UNEXPECTED JOY
The community chorus needs some work, but hearing them sing gives Goddard happiness. The next morning, he awakens with a newfound purpose — to assist his new friends with their chorale. Goddard soon becomes intimately involved with the performance and the lives of his new neighbors. And the bond he’s formed with the reticent Maureen has become stronger, reinforcing the importance of being part of a community.
Goddard’s true talent is to inspire excellence in others, “to achieve what they didn’t believe possible.” That’s what maestros do with their orchestra — give its members “hope and possibility.”
As the Fesslers note in the epilogue, “the only way to ensure we as a society are successful, and produce an award-winning concerto of life, is to lift those that may not believe they are good enough.” Through our words and actions, show those we encounter throughout our day that they’re still vital. The Fesslers challenge readers to “make an impact in people’s lives.”
Maestro is a story that reminds us we’re still relevant in our later years. Even in a more relaxed stage, life is what we make it. Just like Chicken Soup for the Soul, this feel-good book of positive affirmation is a reminder that we can inspire others at any time in our lives, and we can always create additional narratives, regardless of our age.
Every day is a gift to be treasured, along with all the small things in life that bring us joy.
About Rick Fessler:
Rick Fessler is first a father to two beautiful daughters and a husband to an amazing wife. During his lifetime, he’s been an accomplished entrepreneur, owning numerous companies — often at the same time. As a leader, he defines his team’s success or failure in terms of the moral principles that are the bedrock on which he’s built his organizations — gratitude, openness and kindness.
Fessler is the Founder and CEO of CH&M Holdings, an umbrella over a group of faith-based, family-focused organizations. VIDL, however, is his heart’s passion. It’s a reminder that “You’re Vital” and encourages people to “Be Vital” to those around them. What began as a great idea for an everyday consumer product (a water bottle) evolved into a movement to foster human connections and to remind the world that each individual is vital — absolutely important, essential and treasured.