MIAMI HERALD: Group donates keyboards, amplifiers to Bay Harbor K-8 music students

By Christina Mayo

Music can heal and help people everywhere.

The creative minds behind South Florida-based 1308 Productions hosted an inspirational party for the music class at Ruth K. Broad/Bay Harbor K-8 Center at which they also donated keyboards and amplifiers to the school

The group used the opportunity to recognize the school’s music educator, Onil Rodriguez, and his devoted and talented students.

“The students showed great interest in continuing with their music education in high school, and keeping music as a part of their lives in the future,” Allison Novack, co-founder of 1308 Productions, said in email.

Novack spoke to the class about “the importance of music education, public service and reaching out to people in need everywhere.” She also told the music students about 1308’s support of youth music, live performances, scholarships and programs.

The students enthusiastically responded, she said, with “many questions, keen attention and appreciation for everything that 1308 Productions and the Novack family does for schools, students and educators.”

“It was a wonderful experience for our students,” Rodriguez said. “We are so very thankful for the support, the instruments, the encouragement and the amazing effort to open the minds of young people to the needs of others.”

To learn more, visit The group has expanded its reach of support, influence and example to New York, Nashville and Haiti in its mission of devotion to public service and music education.

Read more here:



1308 Productions sponsored a party for the music class at Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 on March 10, 2017 as a tribute to outstanding music educator Onil Rodriguez and his devoted, talented students.  1308 also donated keyboards and amplifiers and cables to the school’s music program.
Allison Novack, co-founder of 1308, was there to speak to the class about the importance of music education, public service, and reaching out to people in need everywhere. Allison spoke about 1308’s support of youth music, live performances, scholarships, and programs. The students enthusiastically responded with many questions, keen attention, and appreciation for everything that 1308 Productions and the Novack family does for schools, students, and educators.
Allison also addressed numerous public service initiatives and how 1308 strives to serve as an example to help motivate the efforts of other individuals and organizations.  “The students showed great interest in continuing with their music education in high school, and keeping music as a part of their lives in the future,” said Allison.
“It was a wonderful experience for our students,” said Mr. Rodriguez.  “We are so very thankful for the support, the instruments, the encouragement, and the amazing effort to open the minds of young people to the needs of others.”


Bandshell Stage Named For Clark Douglas Burris

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm the legendary Miami Beach Senior High Rock Ensemble in concert (and friends) will be celebrating the official naming of the Miami Beach North Beach Bandshell stage for Mr. Burris, the longtime ensemble director who passed away this year.


Event information:

RSVP on Facebook:

Student Musicians Honored With 2016 Bob Novack Music Awards

Music faculty at two local public schools select their most talented and dedicated students each year and at their graduation ceremonies, 1308 Productions presents each one with the Bob Novack Music Award and a scholarship check. Three incredibly talented students were recently honored at Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 and at Nautilus Middle School.

“These awards create so much drive and inspiration amongst the students all year long,” said Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Principal Maria Soto-Rodriguez. “The positive impact is continuous, with the students so appreciative of this kind of recognition that comes from outside of the school.”

Former Surfside Mayor Paul Novack, as son of Bob Novack and representative of 1308 Productions, participates in the ceremonies and speaks to the students about their unlimited potential. “Mr. Novack always inspires our students with the confidence and positive attitude that will help them achieve great things in the future,” said RKB music lead teacher Onil Rodriguez.

“1308 Productions, created by Jason Novack and Allison Novack, is so awesome. What they do for our students and our program is really powerful and meaningful,” said Mr. Rodriguez.

The 2016 award winners are Ryan Gutierrez at Nautilus Middle School, and Marian Abuhazi and Martha Alamilla at RKB Bay Harbor K-8 Center.

Ryan Gutierrez is “an outstanding lead trumpet player and a superb guitar player,” said legendary Nautilus music teacher Ray Modia. “Ryan is an outstanding member of our Concert Band and also our Jazz Ensemble, and he has performed at many school and community events,” said Modia.

Marian Abuhazi has had an amazing school career at RKB K-8. “Marian is the first chair Viola player in our String Orchestra, and she has mentored the other 10 viola students,” said Onil Rodriguez. “Marian is a straight A student, sings in vocal ensemble, and has performed with the New World Symphony and at many events.” “Marian is ready for wonderful things ahead.”

Martha Alamilla has also enjoyed great success at RKB K-8. Martha has been the first chair Cellist in the school symphony, and she is also an excellent dancer. “Martha sings in Vocal Ensemble, mentors other students cellists, performs in many school and community events, and has a great future,” said Mr. Rodriguez.

“These three students are a credit to their families, to their schools and teachers, and to their communities,” said Mr. Novack. “Most of all, their achievements are a credit to themselves, because they have very worked hard to get to this point.” “They have the proven ability to now launch ahead into lifetimes of success and happiness, and music will be an invaluable part of their futures.”

Since 1997, each year the Bob Novack Music Awards are presented in memory of the late Bob Novack, a life-long musician, band leader and music educator. Mr. Novack performed with famous big bands throughout the United States including the Glenn Miller Band, and he led the Bob Novack Orchestras in South Florida for four decades. Bob Novack’s bands performed at thousands of major events and special occasions; he was a versatile and talented keyboards player with vast musical knowledge and a charismatic band leadership style. His legacy includes bringing smiles and joy to others through his music, and the student winners each year do the same thing. Congratulations to Ryan, Marian, and Martha.


3rd Annual “CAROLE AWARD” Presented at Seniors Ceremony

The third annual Carole Taran Award for Excellence in Performing Arts at Miami Beach Senior High School was presented to senior Stephany Arbelaez, a superbly talented performer who was selected for the award by the faculty of the Fine Arts Academy at Beach High.

2016 Carole Award photo
photo: L to R: Nina Duval, Paul Novack, and Stephany Arbelaez

“Stephany is an extremely talented music student and performer, with a wonderful voice,” said Nina Duval, Lead Teacher and Fine Arts Chair at the high school. Stephany will be attending the New World School of the Arts at Miami Dade College in the fall.

Stephany is a veratile performer who can take on any role as an actress, instrumentalist, or singer.  She sang in school and community theatrical productions, and also with Beach High’s Rock Ensemble. During high school Stephany performed in seven school productions, as well as in numerous public service, nursing home and homeless shelter events, positively impacting the lives of many people. Stephany has also actively participated in many Brazilian Club functions, spreading awareness of Brazilian culture throughout South Florida.

Beach High has become well known for its first rate fine arts programs, with numerous dramatic and musical performances that have been a credit to the school system and the entire community.

The 2016 Senior Awards Ceremonies were held on Wednesday May 25th at the Beach High Auditorium and the “Carole Award” was presented to Stephany Arbelaez at that time. Stephany received a Certificate and a $500.00 scholarship check, courtesy of 1308 Productions, a non-profit music advocacy organization. Stephany was humble, thrilled and excited about the recognition and scholarship award.

The annual award is presented by 1308 Productions, a non-profit and public service music education advocacy organization founded and led by former Beach High students Jason Novack and Allison Novack, Carole’s nephew and niece. The award is in honor and memory of their aunt, Carole Taran Lee, also an alumnus of Beach High.

The award was presented to Stephanie by Carole’s brother Paul Novack.



After another successful school year of supporting music education programs in South Florida, 1308 Productions and new Haiti partner Torch of Hope are preparing for the commencement of a new kids music program in Fauge, Haiti.  Kids in the remote area of Fauge will have the opportunity to participate in beginning music classes, mainly in guitar and flute.  The instruments are being provided by 1308 Productions and the teachers are being provided by Torch of Hope.  Kids will begin the program in September 2015 and updates will be coming in from Fauge at that time. Here are just a few of the 25+ various instruments, being readied for shipment to Haiti in July:

“No Refunds” – New Ex Norwegian Live Album

Ex Norwegian are done with their #PureGoldTour and have a limited live release titled “No Refunds“. The digital album comprises of 12 songs recorded on their March 2016 tour which sees the band completely rearranging many of their classics as well as revved up versions from their latest studio album, “Pure Gold“. Check it out on BandCamp.


Please join Ex Norwegian, The Velocity Gospel and friends for a celebration of love, music, and devotion to dedication to a man who changed and influenced so many of our lives and left the world a better place than which he found it, Clark Douglas Burris.

SUNDAY, April 3rd at the North Beach Bandshell
7275 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
FREE EVENT, starts 7PM

The event’s lineup represents four decades of performers born through Burris’ inspiration, not just as a teacher, but also a friend and mentor. All groups are almost entirely comprised of former music students and aides. Burris, the beloved quadriplegic music teacher, fostered hundreds of artists through his 40-year tutelage at Miami Beach Senior High School and his Rock Ensemble program – the first ever of its kind – started back in 1972. Burris passed away on January 28th at the age of 73 after a lifetime battle with multiple sclerosis.

Spacekamel, an up-and-coming groove band, will kick off the show followed by The Macsters, a power pop band who originally formed in the late ‘80s. Psychedelic experimental rock act The Velocity Gospel will follow before Ex Norwegian, proclaimed as one of the “brightest pop rock bands” by RingMaster Review, brings the night to a close. In between acts will be acoustic performers connected to this local legend: David Weinstein, Jennifer Kaiser, Rodolfo Troncoso, and Karen Feldner, and more.

“To Burris, every day was an invitation to enjoy great music. This concert will unite his fans, his friends, and anyone who shares a part of his spirit through their love of music will come together, said Emmanuel Canete. “We will honor him with a once in a lifetime ‘Concert for Burris.’”

Burris wrote in his memoir, Walk & Roll, “The community [always] deserved a free concert, especially around the holidays and in the spring.” This night will stay true to that creed.

The free event at the beautiful open-air North Beach Bandshell welcomes people of all ages and abilities. There will be food trucks and beverage stations available throughout the event.

The city of Miami Beach proclaimed April 11 as “Doug Burris Day,” in recognition of his 40 years of commitment to the musical education of his students, his contribution to the arts and entertainment industry, and for serving as a beacon of accomplishment for others with multiple sclerosis as well as the Miami Beach community at large.

Ex Norwegian
The Velocity Gospel
The Macsters

More info:


The woman who gave birth in a bomb shelter and ran a South Florida city

Mickey Novack huddled with her family in a bomb shelter as the Nazis launched their air assault, known as the London Blitz, on Sept. 7, 1940.

Mickey Novack Claude PepperNovack’s challenges inside that shelter in Bethnal Green, a Jewish section of London, were just beginning.

“She gave birth to my sister in the bomb shelter during the air raid,” her son, attorney Paul Novack said on Monday, a day after his mother, a former vice mayor for Surfside, died at 97.

“For 40 days and nights, the Nazis bombed them every single day,” he said. “She spent a lot of time in that bomb shelter.”

Two decades later, the little girl born in that shelter as Carole Kent was on her way to becoming cabaret singer Carole Taran. She was a fixture at South Florida’s beachfront hotel lounges in the 1960s and ’70s and was an events producer.

Her mother Mickey, remarried to Robert Novack, worked alongside her daughter and son-in-law Bob for their firm Adam Productions. The company booked name acts like Luciano Pavarotti, Aretha Franklin and Chris Rock for corporate events. (Taran died at age 72 in 2013; another son, Harry Novack, also predeceased his mother.)

In the 1960s, Novack, living in Surfside since 1958, took her son Paul on a trip to see Bethnal Green. Many of its buildings remained in rubble. That imagery, and having lost some members of her family to the Holocaust in Europe, left an impression.

“She loved this country and appreciated it and gave herself to it,” her son said. “She was a trailblazer. She came from a time when women didn’t serve in public positions.”

Novack volunteered as a teacher of business education classes, particularly for girls. When her sons were students at Bay Harbor Elementary in the 1960s, the school lacked air conditioning.

“My mom and other moms took that as a cause and put in the first AC in the old school,” her son said.

Novack served on Surfside’s planning and zoning board from 1975 to 1979 and would spend the next 11 years, until retiring in 1990, as the town’s vice mayor. She was the longest-serving female on the council. During her run, she opposed runaway development, speaking out against developers who wanted variances to build oversized condominiums.Mickey Novack

She sponsored an ordinance that outlawed the parking of cars on house lawns for more than 48 hours at a time. “You see cars on lawns everywhere. It’s just disgusting,” she said in a 1986 Miami Herald article.

Paul Novack served as Surfside’s mayor from 1992 to 2004.

Mickey Novack also served as president of Surfside Taxpayers Association, and treasurer for numerous organizations, including Hadassah, Women in Government Service, the PTA of Bay Harbor Elementary and P.R.O.P.S. The latter, a woman’s charitable organization, put on shows with stars like Carol Channing and Phyllis Diller to raise money for women who wanted to pursue careers in entertainment.

In 2008, on her 90th birthday, Novack scored letters of congratulations from President Bill Clinton (“You’ve had the opportunity of living through one of the most fascinating times the world has ever known,” he wrote) and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“The fervor and ardor with which former Vice Mayor Novack devoted herself to the community and her family in conjunction with her life achievements is truly inspirational,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said when she entered Novack’s name into the Congressional Record in 2008.

In addition to her son Paul, Novack is survived by her grandchildren Adam Taran, Jason and Allison Novack, and great-grandchild Samantha Taran.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. March 8 at Riverside Gordon Memorial Chapels, 20955 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura. Donations in her name can be made to 1308 Productions to support scholarships for young musicians and local music education programs.

Obituary appeared March 7th, 2016 on the Miami Herald:

Clark Douglas Burris—A Tribute

A unique, incredible human being.
An inspiration larger than life.
A tune, and a beat, that will be heard forever.



“For fifteen minutes, Freebird built to a cresendo with so many repeats of the chorus that I began to onder if anyone would, or even could, cue the ending! Someone finally did and the Freebird extravaganza ended with group bows to a standing ovation, and plenty of hugs onstage. In high school I dreamt of becoming a rock star. That night, I was!”
-Doug Burris, Walk and Roll excerpt


Walk & Roll chronicles the remarkable life of Clark Douglas Burris, a pioneer in music education who founded the Miami Beach Senior High School Rock Ensemble, the first program of its kind in the world. Doug recounts his story with exquisite detail, humor, and uncanny insight into the peaks and valleys of directing alternative music programs for over forty years while enduring the physical challenges of multiple sclerosis. A triumph of the human spirit, Doug’s story demonstrates that passion and determination can overcome any obstacle. Like Doug’s students, readers will find ample inspiration to play in time, live in harmony, plug in, and crank it up.


inspiring young Americans, providing an entertainment vehicle for public service activities, supporting music education near and far …