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Vocal + Assist

Behind the Scenes

By Rick Henry Christopher Published about a year ago β€’ 8 min read
Top Story - February 2023
Rick, Mike, Cathy, Dharrsheena, Heather

My name is Rick Henry Christopher. For the longest time most of you have known me simply as Rick Henry. Recently, I added Christopher to my name as a way of paying tribute to my fantastic brother Chris who unexpectedly passed away in 2021 at the young age of 58. I miss him greatly and think of him daily.

Love is the driver in everything I do...

I have been on the internet since 2001 with various related music forums, websites, and blogs. I found early success with one of my websites getting more than 8,000 unique visitors per month and attracting quite a few celebrities.

Around 2005 I made it onto MySpace and encountered a similar success with more than 5,000 friends. This in turn led to interviews with celebrities and steady Amazon affiliate sales through the links I posted.

I finally landed on Facebook in 2009 continuing with my brand. I have created a staggering number of groups, maybe 40 to 50 and something like 25 pages. Most of them are no longer active. Since my mom became sick, I am not able to maintain them anymore.

I have always had this yearning to reach out... The internet is where I flourished!!!

There was my short lived highly unusual comedy show on YouTube called Mr. Hank's World. Many people would chant the tagline "Hello Friends."

In 2011 I created The Word Thoughts Blog which is a blog hosted on the Blogger website. This is one of my most popular projects. However, I have not updated it since about 2017. My most popular blog post received 105,000 unique views. With several others capturing between 35,000 to 45,000 views.

In 2020 my YouTube interview show called Rick Henry's Talk Show debuted. I have interviewed many well known musicians such as Terry Draper from the Canadian band Klaatu, Russell Javors the bass player in Billy Joel's band, Trombonist, trumpeter Nick Vayenas a longtime member of Michael Buble's band, disco legend D.C. LaRue and several others. I hosted some great guests but really did not enjoy the success I've achieved with my websites, blogs, and groups.

In case Vinnie Zummo, guitarist in Joe Jackson's band (1980s - 1990s) - I still have your interview in the can and I've been thinking about it quite a bit lately and I need to find the time to make this happen and get your interview online.

My talk show ended in November 2020 when my mom became very ill. I was working on the Vinnie Zummo interview at the time but never had the chance to finish it.

Getting back to Facebook I want to speak about a little group called Vocal + Assist. It's not a super large group currently it has 391 members. But here's the thing - it's an active little group where the members are more like friends and family. Our motto is "Let Love Rule" and "Love Makes the World Go Round."

The group started small and grew very slow. Vocal + Assist was an underdog. I think people were expecting it to fail. Mike Singleton - MikeyDred was the first group member. Then came Melissa Ingoldsby.

The Assist in Vocal + Assist equals HELP. Vocal + Assist is all about helping each other to be a success.

Mike and I began chatting back and forth on Messenger. He started helping me out with posting Author of the Day a few times a week as my mom's dementia progressed, I had to spend more time with her and our sleep became very inconsistent. I was becoming sleep deprived. Mike's help was very much appreciated.

What was initially intended to be just a few weeks ended up turning into months. Mike came up with some great ideas and he brought in quite a few people.

As I learned how to reprioritize my time I became better equipped to deal with the advances of my mom's illness and continue to write and reciprocate the reads.

With this reprioritization I was able to become more involved with Vocal + Assist and re-establish my presence.

I learned to work around my mom's illness in order to get back onto social media!!!

Mike and I began communicating back and forth about the group. He and I came up with a few ideas. I think he came to discover that I was good at resolving issues in a manner that was fair to everyone involved. Fairness has always been my focal point. I do not favor my friends over those I don't know. Everybody gets a fair chance.

Fairness has always been my focal point

As time went on Mike and I added a few Group Experts. Of which I saw as a springboard to becoming a moderator. Dharrsheena Raja Segarran was the first group moderator. A few months later Heather Hubler became a group expert. But because of her high engagement in reading people's stories and leaving responses and hearts in both Vocal and Facebook she was quickly promoted to the moderator position. Once she became a moderator Heather displayed a natural sense of leadership, fairness, and organizational skills and she was given an admin position. I guess the next step for Heather is to award her the position of Group Creator. Or oh wait is that one I get to keep? 😎😜

Since Heather's moderation position was open, Mike, Heather, and I brought Cathy Holmes in to fill Heather's shoes and boy oh boy Cathy really fills those shoes like dynamite fills a hole in the dirt 🀩. Cathy brings a great sense of humor to the gang. She couldn't be all that bad. After all she loves Pink Floyd.

The way things happen at Vocal + Assist is everything begins as a conversation between Mike, Heather, and I. Then we take what we've discussed to Dharrsheena and Cathy where the five of us have equal voice in conversation. Then we vote on the issues facing the group.

One thing I am very conscious of; is that I never go in with the attitude that this is my group, and this is how it will be. Everything is fair and everything is voted on. The five of us have an equal voice in representing what is best for our little Facebook group called Vocal + Assist.

The following are statements from The Vocal + Assist staff:

Mike Singleton - MikeyDred

All the Admins bring different things to the table and all are committed to improving and developing V+A, we are all supportive and there for all members when we can be, admins and moderators have a global spread so there is likely to always be someone around if needed

Heather Hubler

Over the last several months, I've had the pleasure of becoming an invested member of the V+A fb group. It's a vibrant, supportive community that I've flourished in both as a writer and reader. I was thrilled when Rick and Mike asked me to first be a group expert, then a moderator, and most recently an admin. Being a part of the behind-the-scenes workings has continued to show me what dedication there is to keeping the group a safe, engaging, successful place to be. Group rules, suggestions, and staff positions are all voted on privately, and great thought is given to ways to actively improve as the membership continues to grow and expand. It's one of my favorite places on facebook.

Dharrsheena Raja Segarran:

At first when I joined this group, I quickly realised it was different from the others. The group only had about 90 members at that time, but it had a very pleasant atmosphere and unlike other groups, there was engagement in posts here. I was also very impressed with Author of the Day, Tag Author and Tag Reader, and Three's a Crowd. It was original and it helped us get more reads. Then we gained a lot more members and they all have been so active in returning reads. This group is the epitome of reciprocation! We also have a great team of Admins, Moderators and Groups Experts. If any one of us Admins or Moderators has an idea for the group, we would voice it out to get the feedback of the other Admins and Moderators. We would then have a vote to decide whether to go forward with that idea. We are very respective of each other and I'm so grateful to be a Moderator in this group πŸ’–

Cathy Holmes

It's a wonderful group filled with talented writers who happily support their fellow authors. The admins strive to make a pleasant and easy to navigate experience by allowing daily solo posts, as well highlighting individual members on featured threads. Suggestions on how to improve the experience are welcomed and encouraged, then discussed and voted on by admin staff. I have recently been honoured to have been named a moderator. They don't make me do a lot of work, thankfully. Otherwise, I may have to remind them that I won 2nd place in a challenge for a piece in which I mentioned something about shoving someone face-first into a paper shredder.

Fairness is the game... or it's really not a game... it's reality... Assist and it shall come back to you tenfold... I get by with a little help from my friends!!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that if you haven't yet visited Vocal + Assist that you will take a minute to come visit our crazy talented family and read a few good works while you're there!!!

With Love, Rick Henry Christopher

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About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction to fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and soothing the bruises of the day.

The shattered pieces of life will not discourage me.

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Comments (32)

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  • suman mohanabout a year ago


  • Quincy.Vabout a year ago


  • Shane Dobbieabout a year ago

    Can attest to the wonderful group. Got a lot more reads from posting there and chatting with everyone.

  • Monica Billyabout a year ago


  • Stephanie J. Bradberryabout a year ago

    I am so glad I was able to become a part of Vocal + Assist. It was the support and place I needed to be to help with starting to focus on the writing side of my career.

  • Paul Stewartabout a year ago

    Loved this Rick. Love Vocal+Assist - it's my favourite place for all writing and stuff on Facebook. Thank you for the interesting insight into the man behind the group and the other amazing team members. Glad it was given Top Story! So deserved!

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    Congrats on the top story.

  • Thavien Yliasterabout a year ago

    Hmmm... Sounds like You've accomplished much in Your time. Bravo, Rick. Bravo. Here's to hoping that You remain successful in the years to come.

  • Tiffany Gordon about a year ago

    Congratulations on all that you've accomplished as well as on your Top Story! It is wonderful to see the group thriving! Way 2 go! πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ

  • Emily Marie Concannonabout a year ago

    Congratulations on top story!! This was so good, so nice to hear more about everyone! Love you all and I am so sorry Henry about your brother! πŸ’•

  • JBazabout a year ago

    Wonderful, so glad this was recognized. These groups are vital to the success of Vocal. It is great they acknowledge that. Congratulations

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    YAY on the Top Story!!!! Congratulations :)

  • Congratulations on your Top Story

  • Veronica Coldironabout a year ago

    Thank you for sharing this!! It was a GREAT read!

  • C. H. Richardabout a year ago

    Great story about a really great group of writers and friends. Thank you to all of you Rick, Mike Heather, Dharrsheena and Cathy who work hard to make the group special.

  • Irene Economouabout a year ago

    β€œHello, Friend!” You have a gift, Rick, in creating groups that have appeal across a wide range of interests. I hope you will never lose that Midas Touch! ❀️

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a year ago

    I found this group by chance... and to think, I hesitated at first. Previous vocal groups I've joined were not very active, which led me to believe this one would be the same. But it's not. It's the most active, engaging, accepting, socializing group of the 5 Vocal groups I belong to. Thank you to all involved for all the hard work you put in to get it to where it is now. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

  • Judey Kalchik about a year ago

    Thank you for letting us learn more about you and your background. V+A is a great group!

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    Thank you for sharing the history of this group. It's such a treat to peek behind the scenes πŸ€—

  • J. S. Wadeabout a year ago

    What a great back story Rick. I’m so glad you shared it. Thank you Rick, Mike, Dharsheena, Heather, and Cathy for all you do to make this wonderful community function. πŸ₯°

  • KJ Aartilaabout a year ago

    I love this group & how dynamic it is! Thanks for creating this group, & writing this article. :)

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a year ago nice to learn some back story

  • Gerald Holmesabout a year ago

    Well done Rick. Great promotion. Speaking about your mother hits very close to home for my sister and I. I think you have done an outstanding job in developing this group. The sign of a good leader is surrounding yourself with the right people and you have done that perfectly.

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Loving behind the scenes!!! Left some love!!!

  • Excellent promotion, would be great if this were a Vocal Top Story to give us more exposure but as I write this we are almost up to four hundred members. It's the members that make the group.

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