Marjorie Kurtz, Normand Kurtz, Steven Kurtz, with Max Kurtz at bottom… THE KURTZ FAMILY…BOUND BY MORE THAN BLOOD…BOUND BY THE LOVE OF MUSIC!

This is not just a tribute to the the late Steven Kurtz but to three generations of The Kurtz Family, The late Manny Kurtz a/k/a Mann Curtis the grandfather who wrote songs like ”Let It Be Me”, “Aname Core”, and ” I’m Gonna’ Live Til I Die”, Normand Kurtz, the father who was directly involved in the careers of David Bowie, Tommy James, Rupert Holmes, The Jets, Lena Horne, and producer of the “MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD” on Broadway.

Steven Kurtz, the grandson, met Christina Aguilera when she was seventeen, and instantly recognized her talent.  As her manager, he developed and personally invested in her demo recordings.   He also negotiated Aguilera’s contract with BMG that led to her self-titled debut that sold 12 million copies worldwide.  Driven by a passion for the music, he helped facilitate Aguilera’s rise into a multi-platinum, Grammy winning worldwide pop sensation.

Sadly, Steven Kurtz, Esq., President of Marquee Management passed away on December 27, 2010

Steve Kurtz was 48-years-old and he’s survived by his wife Alison, two children Max and Leo, sister Susie and his parents Normand and Marjorie Kurtz.

Although I never met him Steve has had a profound effect on my life as anyone I’ve known. His passing has reunited me with his father Normand Kurtz, a former mentor and my friend for over forty years. His passing also reminded me of his late Grandfather, Mann Curtis one of my songwriting heroes.

I met Mann back in 1973 when I went to New York for my grandmother’s funeral and although I only spent about 20 minutes with him he said something to me that has resonated everyday of my life since then! I told Mann that I stopped being a songwriter when I started plugging songs for Warner Brothers Music, but I was feeling compelled to write again due to my Grandmother’s passing. He looked at me, smiled and said, “You never stop being a songwriter.”

In preparing this article, I asked Normand what were some of his son Stevens’ best qualities and he said it was his ability to encourage and inspire. A trait obviously passed on from generation to generation, then he gave me a letter that Steven wrote shortly before he passed away to the Cubs, a little league team that he coached.

“Dear Cubs,

“The sun was bright and the breeze mild as the Yorkville Cubs met for their final practice and game of the season. With Josh and his parents always the first to arrive for practice, the diamond soon filled with the familiar light blue uniforms of our favorite boys and girl of autumn.  As usual Coach Tom began batting practice working on level bats, squared stances and stepping toward the plate. “Ole Grandpa Bob” a late postseason coaching addition worked diligently with the infielders. The Cubs appeared ready to knock the opposing Astros into orbit.

Before the game started, the coaching staff had prepared a special private award ceremony for the players, unique to the Yorkville Cub franchise -the award of the official nickname. With only Cub personnel and immediate family present, each of the players received their official nickname based on their style of play all season.

1.        MAX “THE WALKING MAN” KURTZ
2.        DAVID
“MR. STEADY” MELLGARD
3.        BENJI
“THE TOY CANNON” WEINSTEIN
4.        JACK
“MR. CLUTCH” ZELIGER
5.        TAYLOR
“REGGIE” ROBERTS
6.        MARCO
“JOE MAUER” ZEMBO-PALZER
7.        HARRY
“GENTLEMAN HARRY”  HOLZER
8.        JOSHUA
“MR. ENTHUSIASM” NEMSER-SHUR
9.        ROSCOE
“THE THINKING MAN” ELINGS-HAYNIE
10.        JONATHAN
“BRAVE HEART” DIAMOND
11.        CARYSSA
“MISS NO SWEAT” PAGAN
12.        SCOTT
“THE INTIMIDATOR” FRIEDMAN
13.        ZACK
“QUIET ATTACK” BURLANT

After the ceremony, the Cubs moved into their dugout and then onto the field as the visiting Astros came to the plate. With hard throwing Scott unavailable, the Astros pecked away at theCubs staff scoring 1, 2, or 3 runs in each inning but one.  Taylor did a great job in his first long relief appearance holding the Astros to 3 runs over 3 innings. Marco also did an admirable job in emergency relief.  But the Cubs were 10 runs back by their final at bat.

The Cub defense was highlighted by a number of great plays by the infield tandem of “Mr. Steady” and “Ms. No Sweat”.  David made a fabulous back hand stab near the base at third and fired a one hopper to Harry who made a tremendous scoop at first. Everyone at the field knew the runner was out easily (except the umpire). In her two innings at second base, Caryssa simply did not let a ball get by her, as she knocked down three grounders and with “no sweat” made three strong accurate throws to first to record three outs.

As the heart attack Cubs season drew toward and end, the Cubs faced their final at bat with a daunting task -down by 10 runs. But, demonstrating that the power of team and spirit cannot be discounted, the light blue cavalry mounted a legendary rally.

Caryssa took her place at the plate and calmly drew a lead-off walk. The Walking Man followed suit as Max drew his league record 16th base on balls. David then hit a sharp grounder that turned into a fielder’s choice, nipping Caryssa at third.

Marco then confidently strode to the plate. With two ducks on the pond, “Joe Mauer” took a first pitch strike and then swung at the next pitch, rolling the ball through the infield. Max took off like a rabbit towards third. Coach Richard began the windmill and with Max’s arms pumping, he cut the corner at third. Max was two thirds to the plate when the Astro fielder whipped the ball towards home. The Astro catcher received the ball moments before Max arrived home. In a surprise move, the Walking Man jumped over the catcher’s glove, touching home plate. The umpire signaled SAFE and the Cubs were on the board.

Next up, was Mr. Clutch. Jack, on a 3-2 pitch dug his heals in and attacked the ball just enough to score David from third. Then, Taylor, like his namesake Reggie, swaggered to the plate with cool sunglasses firmly in place. Carefully selecting when to swing on seven pitches, Taylor worked an all important walk to load the bases.

Gentleman Harry ambled to the plate, surveying the scene and with his new straight ahead batting stance, practiced and ready, Harry swung at the first pitch, scoring Jack from third. After Josh, was called out by the umpire on a questionable low and outside pitch, Benji came to the plate with his wooden howitzer quietly cocked at his shoulder. On the second pitch, the Toy Canon blasted a single, Taylor rushed around third and scored, and Harry racing behind him scored the 6th Cub run on a pop-up slide.

Picture the scene, having come into the last of the last up by 10 runs, the rowdy Astros bench was now silenced by the Never Say Die Cubs 6 run rally. The brave boys in blue needed one more base runner to put the tying run at the plate.  The Cubs dugout was abuzz.

It was up to the Thinking Man, Roscoe Elings-Haynie. All season long, Roscoe conjured schemes on how to help his team win and in his previous at bat had flustered, confused, and utterly flabbergasted the opposing team with his bunting stance. In a tense final at bat, in which the Thinking Man matched his wits against the brawn of the 5 foot 6 inch 130 lb Houston hurler, Roscoe worked the count to 3-2. The Astros bench was as silent as if it was floating in deep space. Rowdy Cubs fans shouted for their team. Cubs players, each with their rally cap inside out, as a team, quietly, then more loudly, screamed in unison, “THINK, THINK, THINK.”

Roscoe stepped out of the box, turned to his cheering bench and caught a glance of his batting coach and proud father, Coach Tom. They smiled at each other and the Thinking Man stepped back to the dish. Jonathan Brave Heart Diamond ready on deck, The huge Astro pitcher rocked back on the mound and flung a fastball that looked to be low and just a bit outside. The Thinking Man calculated his chances and chose to hold his swing. Unfortunately, the man in the dark blue umpire uniform  did not agree with the young boy in light blue at the plate. And that is where the glorious Yorkville Cub season ended. Til the end, a team small of stature, but always with lots of heart, having given it their all on a small diamond on a small island in a great big city.

The Coaches would like to once again thank the parents for their never-ending support, the enthusiasm they showed the team and the respect you gave us as coaches.  The two of us have coached many teams together now and clearly know how important the parents are to our goals.  As for the Cubs players, we are truly thankful for what an excellent bunch of young people we had the opportunity to work with this season.

Facing our own concerns as coaches as we moved up the player age ladder, we were blown away by the maturity and positive energy that our older players brought to the team and were equally impressed with the focus and determination of the younger players.  We hope that everyone feel at least a little more knowledgeable about a game we love, a little more confident about their baseball playing skills, and that they will carry with them as many fond memories of the Fall 2010 Yorkville Cubs as we will.

As you all head off to the warmth of holidays in the cold of winter, we remind you to consider the slightly paraphrased words of an American president, Teddy Roosevelt, known to have thrown a baseball around Central Park and who entered many arenas in which some he triumphed some he failed:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the boy on the sideline who points out how the strong player stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the boy and girl who is actually on the field, whose face is covered by dust and sweat and grass, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no success without error or shortcoming; the credit goes to the boy and girl who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause known as a team; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who neither knew the joy of victory nor pain of defeat.”

(Theodore Roosevelt Sorbonne 1910)


We wish all the players and families a tremendous off-season and look forward to crossing paths on the baseball diamond and elsewhere in the future.

GO CUBS!

Steven Kurtz R.I.P. ROCK IN PERPETUITY

Respectfully, Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

The Kurtz family is establishing an endowment fund in Steve’s name at Dartmouth College, the school that Steve and Normand Kurtz attended. The fund will be dedicated to Steve’s passion for the joy of creating music by providing support for under-graduates studying in Dartmouth’s innovative Department of Music. For those interested in contributing to this endowment, please contact Normand Kurtz, NKurtz1@gmail.com

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne- http://artiewayne.com/book.html

HERE’S THE STORY OF MY MEETING MANN CURTIS AND THE EFFECT IT HAD ON ME https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2009/05/23/let-it-be-me-the-ultimate-love-song/

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

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