Thursday, May 30, 2013

"...I Hear a Symphony..."

Several years ago I began to be asked on a regular basis by esteemed executive directors of performing arts centers the following question: "Do you have a symphony show?" Now I can affirmatively answer "I have TWO!"

Many folks may not know that in addition to my combined career as a performing artist, composer/arranger and recording artist, I am also Director of Vocal Studies at University of South Carolina Upstate (I have just completed my first year in this position). This wonderful university has graciously awarded me a grant to develop a touring symphony show which will enable me to meet the needs of concert presenters looking for new, excellent and affordable pops programs while sharing my music with even larger audiences. These concerts will be available for touring as early as December 2013, and are available now for booking 2014-15 and 2015-16 concert seasons.

I have enlisted the help of some wonderful arrangers (and friends of mine) who have earned Grammy awards for their excellence in large ensemble arranging and composition. The first show will highlight a Holiday Pops program, ideal for any international, national or regional symphony organization inclined to indulge in the warmth of Christmas cheer as part of their regular November/December programming. The second show will be comprised of beautiful, energetic arrangements of jazz/Broadway standards in the tradition of Pops programs featuring a female vocalist. My several years spent as a jazz and cabaret performing artist as well as a featured big band vocalist and symphony soloist will allow this transition from an intimate jazz combo setting in 400-600 seat theaters (typical of what I now present regularly throughout the country) to a symphonic setting in 900-2000+ seat halls to be smooth and comfortable.

I am truly blessed to share this opportunity with you and hope that if you are interested in hearing one or both of these concerts in your city, you will contact your local symphony director or performing arts center executive director and make your request known by sharing this information. Thank you so much for reading and for your consistent support of live music! More information about this and other shows is always available on my website.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's in a Name?

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be a musical guest on a local TV show (click to watch). I was there in anticipation of a performance later that same week, so the station was interested in having me there to perform and talk about the upcoming concert. Halfway through the live interview I noticed that my name on the enormous projection screen inside the studio was misspelled. I immediately pointed it out to the host (we happened to be on a commercial break) and it was soon remedied, but the tape had already rolled and the beginning of my interview was to always remain stamped with my incorrectly spelled name. For a former national spelling bee state finalist, mistakes like these can be rather frustrating and difficult to swallow... This experience caused me to empathize with all my favorite singers and artists over the years who likely experienced a similar blunder by the press. But even if Bing Krosby, Frank Sinnatra, Judie Garland and Mel Tormay had been misrepresented by faulty nomenclature, their faithful fans still know who they are! We still love and cherish their wonderful work! Nobody is exempt from innocent mistakes, no matter how egregious they seem to those who are the unsuspecting recipients of those mistakes... So sing on, Diana Kral and Jane Monhite! Keep on crooning, Tony Benet and Michael Bublie! We love you-- and I, for one, promise to respect and dignify you (after this silly blog is finished) by at least getting your NAME right.