Monday, November 09, 2015

Mark Koopmans Revival: How a Tenor Lost his Voice, but Found his Calling

Please welcome my favorite Irishman Mark Koopmans to my blog. This "Oirish" lad knows how to tell a story and, lucky us, we get two of them today, Donald's and one of Mark's own from his childhood in Dublin. His first book 'Revival' is now available! Take a look....

Donald Braswell
Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.”
Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch. Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others.
Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight?

 REVIVAL" is more than the story of one man's struggle to overcome—it's a testament to the power of God.”
                      ~ Alex J. Cavanaugh, Amazon Best Selling Author of Dragon of the Stars

Love #AmericasGotTalent? Check out this memoir from a Season 3 finalist!

REVIVAL by @DonaldBraswell w/ @markjkoopmans is now available at...
#inspirational #book #memoir #amreading #singer
#inspirational #book #memoir #amreading #singer

See Donald sing, hear that voice on...

THE VIDEO #amreading #inspiration

And now from the author himself...
Crikey. I can’t believe it’s the second week of the REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story Tour.
Lisa, one hundred thousand thanks for hosting me today, and you were wondering about my roots, and life growing up in literary Ireland.
The best thing about Ireland was (and is) the “craic.”
No, it’s not the Oirish way to spell an illegal drug. Craic is the fun one has when you’re around good friends and the conversation (among other things) is flowing.
I grew up on Dublin’s Southside, in what remains a working class neighborhood. Our little gang of “gouriers” (lads) were always causing trouble, and I probably need to apologize to many parents around our neighborhood for the general corruption of their sons!
Seriously though, there was nothing like growing up with my small band of brothers. Funnily, from the seven in our “gang,” four of us were “Mark,” which meant nicknames were soon applied, and the lads to this day still call me “Koopo.”
Though we don’t get together much, when we sit for a few hours and have a pint or two, the stories of our mis-spent youth come flying back in seconds—and the craic is always great.
I may never again live “In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls were so pretty,” but it’s nice to see how metropolitan Dublin is. Construction continues to change the city I once called home, and I’m always amazed by the amount of cranes that dot the skyline. (It wasn’t like that in my day!)
They say “you can take the man out of Ireland, but you can’t take Ireland out of the man,” and it’s completely true. I still support the Irish national soccer squad as passionately as I did in 1989 when I left the “Oul’ Sod” (even if many of today’s squad were born in 1990 and later.)
Ah, the joys of growing old-er... (Is it time for a pint?)

Where did you grow up, and does it still hold a little piece of your heart?

Thanks Lisa for asking a fun question, and for hosting me today. Tomorrow, it’s Donna Hole who has to put up with me. (She wants to know the history behind the book title.) Wednesday, it’s David Powers King turn who wants to know about REVIVAL’s timeline.

REVIVAL: The Donald Braswell Story was released on Nov. 3, 2015 from Pen-L Publishing.

Mark is a husband, writer and stay-at-home dad to three boys under the age of eight :)

Mark's Blog
Normally he posts on his blog on Wednesdays, but has been known to add a bit of humor on other days to mix things up with a touch of seriousness.


  1. Hi Lisa and Mark - that's great to read about your Oirishness and the other Mark + lads ... and those early years - oh gosh I expect the parents knew the fun-loving culprits and forgive you. I find going into London and seeing the cranes from the train building London once again always rather foreboding sometimes, and thankful at others. Early life was bliss as you say the three of us and a best friend but we didn't roam the streets - just the gardens and surrounding area a little. Days without cares ... good luck with Donald's story ... it is great to bring it to life for him. Cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary - I think the best thing now, as I look back, is that it's ok to wear the rose-colored glasses (they don't make my butt look big:) and reflect on the good times, and the great memories!

      Thanks for all your support :)

  2. Hey Lisa and some dude named Sir Mazza!

    Good to see Mark's tour has arrived to your site. Congrats to Mark and hey dude, you've made the big time being on Lisa's site!

    Take care, the both of you.

    Gary :)

    1. Hey Gary:)

      I'm very lucky to have a ton of wonderful blogger friends - including you - to help keep me grounded from all this fame and pennies:)

      Stay thirsty, my friend ;)

  3. You corrupting young men? Naw, never! Not Mork Koopo.

    1. Dear Mr. Cavanuts,

      Upon reflection with my court-appointed first-year law student, I am hereby invoking my right to plead to the Fifth.

      "Please, Fifth... come back home... Please... your mother and I miss you... please..."

  4. Was that leaving the Ol' Sod or growing up an ol' sod?? Must say I was wondering if you were classified as being from the UK or not. I think you have done a remarkable job with this memoir and I hope it gets the success it deserves. Merci bien Lisa, mon amie.

    1. Hey Jo, I was born in Dublin, so that puts me square in the Republic of Ireland:)

      Thanks for all your support, too, Jo. I appreciate you always stopping by and yeah, I do hope Donald's inspirational story reaches a large audience.

  5. What's the craic?! lol One of my friends says, "What's the move?" when he's bored and wants to go out. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but I sometimes drive through my Pop-pop's old apartment area, because we spent a lot of summers in his apartment.

    1. Hey Deb:)

      (One official response to "what's the craic?" is "Ah, the craic was 90 in the Isle of Man." - Don't ask me where *that* came from!!)

      Oh, I like "What's the move." Maybe I'll use it on the dance floor one day (and probably get popped on the nose for my troubles!!)

      Isn't it fun to drive/walk/travel through old neighborhoods... It's amazing how they change and yet stay the same...

  6. I can imagine you getting in some trouble as a youth and perhaps leading others there. Hope your tour is going well.

  7. Lisa, thanks so very much for letting me stop by and bother your bloggers :)

    I appreciate your friendship, help - and those kind words :)

  8. Loving seeing Mark and Revival fllooding the blogosphere. Home always holds a piece of us. For good, and sometimes for ill.

  9. I would love to see Ireland!
    It's always time for a pint! LOL
    Great tour, Mark and David!

  10. I knew the meaning of craic, lol! It's not just a term in Ireland. My brother Roland and I hung around a few lads from Scotland in our pipe band competition days and lifted a few pints. Good times.

    Growing up...I think it was the freedom to wander fields and woods, which was our playground, making up stories and playing them out each day after chores (or when we were hiding not wanting to do chores) with my brothers.

    Wishing you the best with this!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  11. Mark is just everywhere. Good thing I like him a little ;)

  12. I so want to read this!

    As for where I grew up: In South Africa, where I still am. Although now I'm about 14 hours away by car from where I was born.


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