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Winterfest 2016 – Siletz Bay Music Festival

Posted by on January 10, 2016 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Featured, Irving Berlin, Music Festivals, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

Winterfest 2016 – Siletz Bay Music Festival

Siletz Bay Music Festival’s Winterfest 2016 is the kick-off to the Oregon Coast social season and a wonderful evening of entertainment and fundraising in support of musician expenses for the Summer Music Festival. If you have been to the festival, you already know about the phenomenal talent bound to grace the stage. And if you are new to the area and have a soft spot for all things music, you are in for a real treat!

 

An Evening of Music – February 2016

The Siletz Bay Music Festival brings world-class music performances and education to the Central Oregon Coast each year as part of it’s annual summer program. Winterfest is an integral part of launching that program every year. On February 20, 2016, Winterfest lifts the curtain at 5:30pm and features the music of Irving Berlin and the Gershwin Brothers – performed by Susannah Mars (soprano extraordinaire), yours truly (Rocky Blumhagen) and Rick Modlin at the piano. The inspired menu, silent auction items and live auction show-stoppers round out an evening generosity and joy. Tickets are $95. Tables for 8 are $700. Additional ticket information below.

 

What to Expect at the Siletz Bay Music Festival

siletz_bay_music_festival_winterfest_2016As a native Oregonian and part-time resident of Gleneden Beach since 1994, during the festival, you are likely to find me performing in the Artist Showcase & Fundraiser. In 2015, however, while I was invited on stage for an impromptu number with Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski, I opted for more of a production role; lending technical and stage support behind the scenes. Last year, the festival featured a wonderful roster of acclaimed musicians:

  • Ronald Arron – Violist
  • Haroutune Bedelian – Violinist
  • Denise Dillenbeck – Violinist
  • Denise Dillenbeck – Violinist
  • Lorna Griffitt – Pianist
  • Dick Hyman – Jazz Pianist
  • Adam Jackson – Pianist
  • Nicole Greenidge Joseph – Soprano
  • Armen Kasajikian – Cellist
  • Rebecca Kilgore – Jazz Vocalist
  • Jack Koncel – Bassist
  • Ken Peplowski – Jazz Clarinetist/Saxophonist
  • Gerry Robbins – Pianist
  • Katherine Schultz – Cellist
  • Ron Spivak – Baritone/Narrator
  • Mei-Ting Sun – Pianist
  • Miriam English Ward – Violist

If you can imagine, 2016 is shaping up to be even more spectacular! With a clear dedication to their mission, every year at the Silez Bay Music Festival raises the bar and, as  the steward of the Studio to Schools grant, sees to it that music lives as a vibrant and integral part of the Lincoln City Schools. It is worth noting that while the Siletz Bay Music Festival does not benefit financially from this grant, the partnership has afforded all children and families in Lincoln City a rarefied, up-close and personal experience with many of the world’s best musicians. To learn about the Siletz Bay Music Festival is to understand the heart-centered contribution it makes to the community and more ways than mere words can say.

 

Yaacov Bergman – Artistic Director and
Conductor

As has been our good fortune for the past several summers, many of the performances this year will be under the brilliant direction of Maestro Yaacov Bergman – Artistic Director and Conductor of the Festival. In addition to his dedication to the festival, Maestro Bergman lends his particular genius and passion to the Walla Walla Symphony and the Portland Chamber Orchestra, as Music Director. He is also the former Music Director of the Colorado Springs Symphony, the New York Heritage Chamber Orchestra, and the 92nd St. Y Symphonic Workshop Orchestra in New York City. Maestro Bergman has a lifelong career and international reach. He has conducted the world over – from  Japan to Austria, Canada to Denmark and Israel to the United States. The Sizetz Bay Music Festival, local music-lovers and area schools are so incredibly fortunate to have Maestro Bergman as part of the community.

 

You are Invited to Winterfest 2016

I’d love for you to join me at Winterfest 2016! Please consider this as my PERSONAL invitation to you. Winterfest is the perfect way to get to know the people at the heart of this festival, enjoy time with others who share your passion for music and the arts, and support this deeply community-centered festival at its core.

Winterfest 2016- Siletz Bay Music Festival
Saturday, February 20th – 5:30pm
Salishan Spa & Golf Resort
7760 US-101, Gleneden Beach, OR 97388

Tickets are $95. Tables for 8 are $700. Friends and neighbors welcome!
All proceeds will help fund musician expenses for the Summer Music Festival.
For tickets, please be in touch via the website: SiletzBayMusic.org
Or call  541-992-1131 for more information.

Visit the Siletz Bay Music Festival on Facebook for ongoing information about the festival.

Siletz Bay Music Festival is a 501 (c)(3) organization Tax ID # 45-2668175

In Just a Few Short Hours

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Cole Porter Music, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows, Music Festivals | 0 comments

In Just a Few Short Hours

Don’t let the absence of blog posts fool you – it has been a busy summer. In fact, it has been SO chock full of events and performances, that I’ve not been much time for writing! Just take a look at the Calendar Page and you will see what I mean. And I’m not even sure we got them all!

One of the highlights of Summer 2015 was a song I performed at the Siletz Bay Music Festival. At the impromptu invitation of Jazz legends, pianist/composer/arranger Dick Hyman and clarinetist Ken Peplowski, an original arrangement of Cole Porter’s “So In Love” went from great idea to live performance in just a few short hours. It was a blast!

 

Always a Pleasure to Sing with Jazz Great – Dick Hyman

Pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and composer – all apply in nearly equal measure to this wonderful man. And we are the better for it! Dick Hyman began his musical career in the early ’50s and has looked to the future at every turn. These days, in addition to gracing the stages of the Siletz Bay Music Festival, you will find him performing concerts in the United States and Canada.

His compositions for piano and orchestra include a concerto, a cantata and a growing catalog of chamber music compositions as well as countless pieces for trio, quartet, and quintet. If you are in the know, you likely remember Dick Hyman in “Three-Piano Crossover” with the late Marian McPartland and Ruth Laredo.

In addition to serving as composer/arranger/conductor/pianist for just about any Woody Allen film you could possibly name, he also served as artistic director for the Jazz in July series at New York’s 92nd Street Y for twenty years.  In the time since, he has filled a similar role at the Oregon Festival of American Music.

In addition to his extensive discography with combos and numerous duet albums, one thing you may be surprised to learn is that Dick Hyman was one of the first artists to record on the Moog synthesizer and had the first chart-making single using a Moog synthesizer when his Minotaur landed on the Billboard charts.

With Arguably the Greatest Living Jazz Clarinetist

Ken took to music at a young age in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. While still in elementary school, Ken played his first professional gig and from the Polka Band and Polish dances to radio and TV appearances the ball kept rolling! Ken’s high school years included stage bands and jamming with local Jazz musicians – all while teaching at the local music store. From a brief year in college, Ken bounced right into the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow. From there,  “It was a great ‘road-school’ – we learned the discipline that goes with playing one-nighters every day for 48 weeks out of the year, and Buddy was a great, very generous bandleader.”

From small clubs, a sold-out concert at the Hollywood Bowl, to headlining in Vegas, the Newport Jazz Festival, and at European festivals and clubs, Ken is on the move. While at home in NYC, he is still at play on the soundtracks to Woody Allen movies and guest soloing on records with artists like Marianne Faithfull and Cuban vocalist Isaac Delgado.

The roster of world-renown and respected musicians and vocalists with whom Ken has performed contains every name you could possibly imagine and a few more you would be delighted to know. I encourage you to explore these excerpts from “In Search Of…” and “Maybe September” – Click here to listen.

 

Snapshots of a Song – So in Love by Cole Porter

Enjoy the Video

A special note of appreciation and gratitude to Rudy Salci for the wonderful work he did on this video. It was such a special moment and to have it enjoy again is a delight. Thank you Rudy!

To hear Rocky sing Cole Porter as arranged by the incomparable Ron Able – Click Here!

February 2015 Show Dates – Open to Public

Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Featured | 0 comments

February 2015 Show Dates – Open to Public

I’m back in rehearsal for these two action-packed shows! Excited to once again be working with the wonderfully talented singer and actress Susannah Mars as we reprise “Oh, Those Gershwin Boys” at Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College Campus in Walla Walla, WA. And too, with acclaimed actor/singer and historian Ron Spivak performing our 2014 show, “It’s Better With a Baritone” in addition to the Best Loved Solos & Duets – Broadway and The Great American Songbook in and around Portland, OR.

Tickets are available for all shows outlined here and you are always welcome to contact me if you have questions. I look forward to seeing you there!

February 2015 Show Dates – Open to Public

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Walla Walla, WA

“Oh, Those Gershwin Boys” (George and his lovely wife Ira!)
Rocky Blumhagen and Susannah Mars TOGETHER AGAIN with the Walla Walla Symphony!
Conducted by Maestro Yaacov Bergman

Show Venue: Cordiner Hall
Whitman College Campus
345 Boyer Avenue – Walla Walla, WA 99242

BEFORE the Show: FREE “Inside the Music” Pre-Concert Talk
6:30pm –
Reid Campus Center  280 Boyer Ave. Walla Walla, WA.  99362

Tickets: Available HERE
Group Tickets: Call (509) 529-8020
Buy Tickets in Person : 13-1/2 E. Main Street, Suite #201, Walla Walla, WA

Single Ticket Pricing:  Adult – $17, $24, $28    Student – $8, $12, $16    Youth (18 & under) – $5

Publicity Stills: Available HERE – Please click link THEN scroll down the page to to locate Gershwin Photos with Rocky and Susannah Mars

 

Monday, February 9, 2015 – Doors Open at 5:30 –  Show 7:00-8:00pm
Portland, OR

Best Loved Solos & Duets – Broadway and The Great American Songbook
Vocalists Rocky Blumhagen and Ron Spivak with Rick Modlin on piano, Evin McHill on drums and Joe Aloia on Bass. This is a Fundraising Event for The Portland Chamber Orchestra

Jimmy Mak’s
221 NW 10th Avenue – Portland, OR
Phone: 503-295-6542

This evening of Broadway Blockbuster Duets and Stunning Solos is guaranteed to keep you tapping your toes, smiling and wanting to sing along!

The Portland Chamber Orchestra presents this relaxed and intimate evening at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Oregon. While the evening’s exact set list remains a surprise, I can tell you it is likely to include well-known selections from Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, A Little Night Music, La Cages aux Folles, and more!

This is part of a series of special fund-raising events, open to the public and all PCO supporters. Enjoy this spirited performance while partaking in the fine dining and refreshments available at the restaurant, and stay for additional jazz-fare offered by Jimmy Mak’s regulars. All in all, a wonderful night on the town!

Tickets: Admission is $25.00
Tickets are available by calling (503) 771-3250
It’s easy to Purchase Tickets Online

Publicity Stills: Available HERE

 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday – February 13, 14, 15, 2015
Camas, WA ~ Astoria, OR ~ Portland, OR

Rocky Blumhagen and Ron Spivak present a special edition of their two-man Broadway revue “It’s Better With a Baritone” featuring some of musical theatre’s most impassioned ballads by Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerry Herman, Michael Valenti and many others. The program includes seductive selections from Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, A Little Night Music, The Pajama Game, and La Cages aux Folles (to name just a few).

It will be quite the event as the full Portland Chamber Orchestra will be in attendance, conducted by Maestro Yaacov Bergman. Always a treat!

Friday – February 13, 2015, 7:30 pm
Union High School
6201 NW Friberg-Strunk Street – Camas, WA 98607

Saturday -February 14, 2015, 7:30 pm
Liberty Theatre
1203 Commercial Street – Astoria, OR 97103

Sunday – February 15, 2015, 3:00 pm
Agnes Flanagan Chapel – Lewis and Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road – Portland, OR

 

Tickets:  $25/Adults    $20/Senior 65+   $15/Student   $5/Child 5-12
Group Tickets: Group ticket pricing available for groups of 10+ Please call
the PCO Box Office at 503-205-0715 or purchase online – Choose “10+Group” option

It’s easy to Purchase Tickets Online

For more information about Portland Chamber Orchestra please call 503-771-3250 or email general inquiries to info@portlandchamberorchestra.org.

 

Baritones at Jimmy Mak’s to Support PCO

Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway, Featured | 0 comments

Baritones at Jimmy Mak’s to Support PCO

“It’s Better with a Baritone” is thrilled to be a part of PCO MONDAYS at MAK’s! PCO Mondays at Mak’s is a series of special fundraising events in support of the Portland Chamber Orchestra. The events are open to the public and help the PCO continue their passion for sharing both new and exciting works with music lovers in and around Portland.

Monday, June 30, 2014 at 6:30pm at Jimmy Mak’s, Ron Spivak and I will perform selections from “It’s Better with a Baritone” with Rick Modlin on piano. Doors open at 5:30pm. If you have not yet been, Jimmy Mak’s is a wonderful and intimate venue, and I’m really looking forward to the event!

A Few Tidbits About the PCO – Portland Chamber Orchestra

The Portland Chamber Orchestra was founded by Boris Sirpo in 1947. A Finnish composer and conductor who left his war-torn native country and came to Portland. Initially, the orchestra was comprised of his students at Lewis and Clark College, however, through it’s commitment to quality performances and innovative repertoire, it has grown into a mighty force, and now stands as one of our nation’s oldest and highly-respected chamber orchestras.

Since 2002, Maestro Yaacov Bergman has held the baton, and with his direction, the PCO has brought its distinct sound to Premiere works and fusion performances that encompass a wide range of artistic expression. The PCO has been lauded as “the most ambitious” arts organization in Portland by Willamette Week’s annual Finder edition. I have to agree!

About the PCO, the quote goes on to say: “Punching way above its weight, under music director Yaacov Bergman, PCO has lately been the city’s most innovative orchestra, combining music with visual arts, poetry, theater, even science and sex.”

Baritones Lend a Fundraising Hand – Monday, June 30, 2014

jimmy_maks_portlad_oregon_music_venueRon Spivak, the “East Coast Baritone” in our dynamic duo, and I are very excited about our part in supporting this musical treasure. In the PCO, Portland really has quite the gem. PCO Monday at Mak’s gives locals an enjoyable way to play their part by lending modest financial support via a $25 ticket in exchange for a wonderful evening of music at the legendary Jimmy Mak’s!

I would LOVE for you to join us on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 6:30pm at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland. Call 503-771-3250 for tickets, buy tickets online, or join us at the last minute via tickets at the door. Keep in mind, we have sold out in years past! Doors open at 5:30pm.

I look forward to seeing faces of those I know in addition to many new ones… Please come up and say hi after the show!  ~ Rocky

 

Portland Chamber Orchestra
PCO Events Online 
Call for Tickets: 503-771-3250
Buy Tickets Online Now: Click here 

Jimmy Mak’s 
221 NW 10th Ave – Portland, Oregon
Between Davis and Everett
Jimmy Mak’s Website

Photo Credit: A special thank you to Esquire online for the use of the photo from their article about Jimmy Mak’s – “Jimmy Mak’s is an undeniable palace of jazz excellence and retro style.” Feel free to check out Esquire online!

 

Baritones in Support of Siletz Bay Music Festival

Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows | 0 comments

Baritones in Support of Siletz Bay Music Festival

The Siletz Bay Music Festival has become a wonderful tradition in my life. For those who do not know, The Siletz Bay Music Festival, which runs this year from Wednesday, June 25 through Sunday, July 6, has its home in Glenedon Beach, Oregon.

This year, many festival performances will be held at either the Lincoln City Cultural Center or the Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, a scenic property ten minutes to the South and at the foot of Siletz Bay. Both locations are close enough to walk the water’s edge, and the surrounding natural beauty is a treat indeed!

 

All About The Siletz Bay Music Festival

The Siletz Bay Music Festival is dedicated to providing cultural enrichment through musical performances and education as they bring internationally renowned musicians to perform on the Oregon coast.

Maestro Yaacov Bergman is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Festival, as well as Music Director of the Walla Walla Symphony, Music Director of the Portland Chamber Orchestra. In addition to being the former Music Director of the Colorado Springs Symphony, the New York Heritage Chamber Orchestra, and the 92nd St. Y Symphonic Workshop Orchestra in New York City, Maestro Bergman has conducted in Israel, Denmark, Japan, Austria, Canada, and throughout the United States. To say that it is an honor to work with him would an understatement. It is a privilege and a joy – Every time!

Educating Area Youth with a Passion for Music

Education is a cornerstone of The Siletz Bay Music Festival. It engages children through master classes, children’s concerts, lectures, and in-school demonstrations. One of the things I really love is that all festival rehearsals are open to the public! This really enhances the experience and encourages more interaction between music students, professional musicians, and the local community at large.

Festival events for children, in past seasons, have included special concerts designed to introduce classical music to young audiences. When the music is paired with visual accompaniments and storytelling narrations, the outcome is magical. In a day and age where there have been deep cuts in education budgets programs offered to area children by The Siletz Bay Music Festival are a gift to the Lincoln City community and the area in general

The rarified air of the Oregon Coast is infused each year with the talent of world-class musicians. That these talented masters are available to instruct and interact with area students is a such a unique opportunity. I am privileged to continue to be a part of it all.

Join the “Baritones” at The Siletz Bay Music Festival

If you are available to come to any of the performances, it would be wonderful to see you! Especially at the Artist Showcase Fundraiser 4pm on Sunday, July 6th, where Ron Spivak and I will perform our favorites from my latest fundraising show, “It’s Better with a Baritone!” Tickets are available Online or by calling 541-992-1131.

~ Salishan Spa & Golf Resort – See you there!

Fundraising Entertainment – “Baritone” Highlights

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows | 0 comments

Fundraising Entertainment – “Baritone” Highlights

Ron Spivak and I have been busy with our new show, “It’s Better with a Baritone!” This new fundraising show was conceived as musical entertainment for large galas and smaller benefits. As such, it is scalable from an intimate venue with piano accompaniment, to the stage of a grand ballroom or theater, with the backing of a full symphony orchestra. Now that’s a fun job!

We are so excited to have this new fundraising show on the road! We have all sorts of dates booked over the summer. In fact, we have already performed to a sold out and standing-room-only crowd in Palm Desert, CA with the Coachella Valley Symphony.

New Fundraising Show – “Baritone” Highlights Reel

Below, you can CLICK TO WATCH a wonderful 4min introduction to “It’s Better with a Baritone!” This highlights reel was edited by fellow Baritone, Ron Spivak. Have a look!

Video highlights from "It's Better with a Baritone!"

Click IMAGE to View the “It’s Better with a Baritone!” Highlights Video!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming June Fundraiser for The Portland Chamber Orchestra

We have a very special “piano and vocals only” selections from “It’s Better with a Baritone” at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Oregon on Monday, June 30, 2014.

In support of The Portland Chamber Orchestra, we will present a relaxed, intimate evening at this legendary venue. While the evening’s exact set list remains a surprise, I can tell you it is likely to include well-known selections from Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, A Little Night Music, La Cages aux Folles, and more!

Bigger is Even Better with a Baritone!

If you want to see the show with musicians galore, catch us at the Siletz Bay Music Festival in Gleneden Beach, OR on Sunday, July 6, 2014.

Their “Artist Showcase Fundraiser” is always a grand affair! And this year it will be EVEN BETTER because as always… wait for it… It’s Better with a Baritone!” See you in Oregon!

 

 

 

More Wonderful Talent in New Fundraising Show

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows, Large Venue Productions, Music Festivals | 0 comments

More Wonderful Talent in New Fundraising Show

Summer 2014 is swinging into high gear with my latest fundraising show ”It’s Better With A Baritone!” In October 2013, rehearsals for ”It’s Better With A Baritone!” started in earnest with Ron Spivak and Michael Valenti on a memorable Monday in New York City  Since then we have performed this new fundraising show to rapt audiences, rave reviews, and sold out fundraising events.

This summer is chock full of dates for different shows. It’s important to point out that it is always a collaborative effort, made possible by a host of talented people and wonderful artists! This page highlights the folks instrumental in the success of ”It’s Better With A Baritone!” and will grow to include other artists as the Summer progresses.

 

new_fundraising_entertainment_idea_venue_ronspivak1Ron Spivak – Ron is a creative talent on so many levels; acclaimed writer, actor, singer, director, and more. From the stage he has played leading roles in musicals from, Man of LaMancha to The Music Man, and has written, directed, and performed his acclaimed concerts Bravo to Broadway and Richard Rodgers Revued with major symphony orchestras. Ron has appeared in several Emmy-winning TV shows to boot!  Ron is recognized as a theater historian, and has served as musicals editor/archivist for Samuel French publishers. He has prepared scripts and scores for more than 50 musicals, including La Cage aux Folles and Little Shop of Horrors. “I have been so fortunate to have you as co-baritone throughout this wonderfully collaborative process. It’s amazing when you think that it took nearly a year to bring the historical role of Baritones on Broadway, to life. With credentials like yours, it is obvious why it has been such a success!” ~ Rocky Visit Ron’s YouTube Channel for more information.

 

new_fundraising_entertainment_idea_venue_michaelvalentiMichael Valenti – Michael has awards, including an Emmy and a Peabody, and has composed, performed, recorded and conducted his way through an impressive resume. His catalog includes shows performed at some of the most prestigious theaters, and ranges from Broadway to orchestral and opera, and from chamber to concert band and television, and so much more. “Michael, what a thrill it was to sing your composition, “It’s Better With A Baritone.” I’ll never forget hearing your compositions, with you at your piano in your Manhattan apartment last Fall. It was one of those moments that could only happen in New York City. With your composition, Ron’s Spivak’s lyric and Larry Blank’s orchestration, “It’s Better With A Baritone” was a memorable opening number. The world premiere was a big success. And “Jenny Kiss’d Me,” I loved it from the moment I first heard it. Singing “Jenny Kiss’d Me” with your orchestration and the Coachella Valley Symphony was a magical moment. Thank you!” ~ Rocky
Visit Michael’s website for more information.

 

new_fundraising_entertainment_idea_venue_rickmoldinRick Modlin – Rick is a wonderful pianist. He has played for several national Broadway tours, and performed extensively in jazz, contemporary, classical music. A prolific composer, Rick has contributed much of his talent recording as a pastoral musician. He has written, arranged hundreds of songs, and his full-length Christmas album, “Joy to the World” is just that! A jazz-inspired, and upbeat collection of traditional Christmas songs that make you smile. Whether soloing at the ivories, performing with a jazz ensemble or laying that foundation on which singers work their magic, Rick Modlin is simply brilliant. “Rick, you play with such elegance and style. When I’m singing with a full orchestra and knowing you are at the piano, I can sing with a confidence that everything will be rock solid! We have shared the stage on several shows and I look forward to our upcoming concerts.  It is a pleasure to be a part of that ‘Joie de vivre’ you bring to all you do!” ~ Rocky  Listen to Rick’s “Joy to the World” CD on Amazon.

 

 

I would love to see you at an upcoming performance, and if you need more information about the show, including publicity stills, please view my Electronic Press Kit.

It’s Better with a Baritone!

Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Broadway, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows, Large Venue Productions | 0 comments

It’s Better with a Baritone!

It’s Better With A Baritone, Broadway’s Best Boys!” showcases baritone duets and memorable solos in Broadway musicals, and at most venues, will be performed with full orchestra! It has been an absolute treat to develop this show. When we started rehearsals many moons ago, who knew that the time would fly so fast? Well, I suppose it always does when you are having fun!

About this New Fundraising Show

Collaboration is an exciting process; made even more special by the phenomenal talent on this project. My latest show, “It’s Better With a Baritone!” is chock full of Broadway Blockbusters and a handful of Stunning Solos tossed in for good measure!

“Praises and joy for the concert keep pouring in! I think every one we sold tickets to stopped by to thank us before leaving (and that’s a lot of thank yous). All were thrilled beyond measure.Many comments, like mine, were centered on how well the baritone voices were perfectly matched and the balance was maintained throughout the program.”

This light-hearted evening features music and lyrics from Loesser, Sondheim, Schwartz, Kander & Ebb, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Jerry Herman, Michael Valenti and many others.You’ll be treated to favorites from Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, A Little Night Music, La Cages aux Folles and other hit musicals, plus a surprise or two. Since the 1940s, the Baritone (with a capital “B”) has been the quintessential Broadway leading man. Now, two acclaimed baritones from divergent backgrounds join forces to pay tribute to the best of Broadway. And if I do say so myself, the orchestrations and arrangements are spectacular!

The Other Baritone in this Dynamic Duo

For this new fundraising show, I team up with acclaimed actor/singer and historian Ron Spivak to pay tribute to musical theatre’s greatest male roles. As the show title implies, we place special emphasis on baritone duets. Ron has even contributed his lyrical talent; putting words to an original opening number by award-winning composer Micheal Valenti.

Ron has written, directed, and performed as narrator and singer for symphonic concerts with major orchestras across the country, and has sung with Steve Ross, Julie Wilson and other luminaries at Lincoln Center. As a musical theatre historian, Ron served as musicals editor/archivist for Samuel French play publishers, for whom he prepared the published scripts and scores for more than 50 musicals, including La Cage aux Folles, Woman of the Year, Little Shop of Horrors, and Dames at Sea. He has composed historical “liner” notes for Broadway cast albums, and has written for respected New York magazines.

With credentials and a talent like Ron’s, you can see why this collaborative process has been so inspired!

 

Rehearsing for a New Fundraising Show

It has been an intense several months of rehearsals and travel! The tradition of using multi-city musicians and collaborators continues in “It’s Better With A Baritone!”  My co-baritone, Ron Spivak, lives in Manhattan, and now that I live in San Francisco. We’re certainly the Bi-coastal Baritones!  Our rehearsals in NYC and via Skype made for delightful sessions in Palm Desert with the Coachella Valley Symphony. Time flies when rehearsals are this much fun!

 

Award-winning Collaborator Michael Valenti

Broadway award-winning composer, Michael Valenti has composed our opening number (lyric by Ron Spivak), plus we are singing two of Michael’s original love songs from his off-Broadway musical “Lovesong.” It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Michael Valenti on this project. Michael has awards, including an Emmy and a Peabody, and has composed, performed, recorded and conducted his way though an impressive resume. His catalog includes shows performed at some of the most prestigious theaters, and ranges from Broadway to orchestral and opera, and from chamber to concert band and television, and so much more. “It’s Better With a Baritone!” is an exciting project and it’s made an even bigger treat working with such a talented artist.

 

Book this Fundraising Show – 2014/2015 Dates Still Available

“It’s Better With a Baritone!” is on it’s feet, and on April 1, 2014 played to a SOLD OUT audience in Palm Desert with the Coachella Valley Symphony and Wayne Abravanel conducting. This fundraising evening for the CVS was a rousing success and such a fabulous way to get this new show off the ground! A special thank you to all the talented musicians of the CVS and to Wayne Abravanel for his skill behind the baton!

One rave reviewer says, “I never had known such sheer joy and fun coupled with musical expertise could be available in the Desert.”

We take “It’s Better With A Baritone, Broadway’s Best Boys!” to Portland in June 2014, in support of another wonderful group; the Portland Chamber Orchestra (PCO). This version of the show is more “unplugged & intimate” and will feature highlights from the show with Rick Modlin on piano. I am thrilled to be back at Jimmy Maks for this wonderful fundraising event.  The PCO is such a deserving group of talented musicians!

In July 2014, we are booked in Gleneden Beach, OR for the Siletz Bay Music Festival at the Artists Showcase/Fundraiser. More on that as we get closer to the date. It will be here before we know it!

These, and other show dates are already booked (or pending) for Spring & Summer 2014 with even more more to come!For information or to Book “It’s Better with a Baritone!” for your fundraising event, please be in touch!

Publicity Photos and additional show info available may be found here.

 

A Cole Porter Valentine to Remember

Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Cole Porter Music, Large Venue Productions | 0 comments

A Cole Porter Valentine to Remember

Valentine’s Day 2012 will never be forgotten, not just because I had dreamed of singing in Cordiner Hall for forty years but because I had no voice leading up to the concert!

I first heard vocalist John Gary perform a concert at the newly built Cordiner Hall in the early 1970’s.  I remember exactly where I was sitting in the 1400 seat auditorium on the Whitman College Campus in Walla Walla, WA, when I said to myself, “Someday (more…)

Fundraising Show Brings Rocky Home to Portland

Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Featured, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

Fundraising Show Brings Rocky Home to Portland

Finally!  We were all together in Portland! With the help of technology, the new fundraising show “Oh, Those Gershwin Boy!” was put together even though everyone involved lives in different cities.  It was a memorable month of performances, and our afternoon at Lewis & Clark College in Portland was especially memorable to me. I had not performed on the campus since I’d graduated nearly 40 years earlier! I know I am dating myself, but it is what it is!

Being back in the extraordinary Agnes Flanagan Chapel was such a thrill. At times it felt as though I were 21 years old again; transported back through time to my college years at Lewis & Clark. Then, mid song I would open my eyes and see all the smiling faces just beyond the lights. Seeing all the friends and family members, I knew I wasn’t in Kansas any more! At the end of concert everyone clapped in rhythm for our encore… I don’t ever remember that happening before at any show and certainly a moment to remember!

Fundraising for Charity Highlighted in Lewis & Clark Chronicle

New Fundraising Idea - Gershwin Musical Review

CLICK to Download PDF of Full Article

I had to chuckle when they initially told me about the “Crooning the Classics for Charity” article in the Lewis & Clark Chronicle Magazine. What’s there to write about? And then I remembered, oh, I’m no longer that college kid going to class and singing in the choir, I’ve been out living life for (mumble) years, and perhaps Lewis & Clark alums may find the work I do, creating fundraising musical revues, an interesting read.

Pattie Pace did a terrific job on this well-written article. I was so pleased she placed such emphasis on my desire to raise money for charity; highlighting the fundraising shows that continue to move me toward my goal –  To raise 1 million dollars! I’m nearly half way there.

 

A Birthday Wish to Rocky’s Mother Remembered Forever

The afternoon at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel was made even more special by the fact that it was my mother’s 87th birthday.  At the end of the concert the orchestra played and the audience all sang happy birthday to her.  Little did I know that she would leave us less than four weeks later, so that memory of singing to her and seeing her wipe a tear from her eye will be with me forever.  She was such a darling mother and I miss her dearly.

Eleanor Blumhagen at Work“She was a mother who didn’t take any guff, gave us unconditional love, and had a home cooked meal on the table 90 minutes after she got off work every day. She taught us how to work, how to make a list, how to sing on pitch, and how to treat others. We all loved her fiercely. I’m pretty sure there will be fireworks tonight in honor of her passing.” ~SBB

 

My darling mother, Eleanor Blumhagen after the Gershwin concert at Lewis & Clark College on her 87th birthday. Elsie Williams, is the widow of my first high school music teacher, Jack Williams.

My darling mother, Eleanor Blumhagen (left) after the Gershwin concert at Lewis & Clark College on her 87th birthday. Elsie Williams (right), is the widow of Jack Williams, my first high school music teacher.

In the the summer of ’42, at the age of 16, my mother laid eyes on a handsome fellow, a hired hand working in her father’s golden wheat fields near Milton-Freewater. From the moment she first brought lemonade to my dad, it was love at first sight. Otto Blumhagen had stolen her heart. Three weeks later he was drafted and they were apart until dad’s return early in ’46. Within the year they were married.

My mother adored flowers and had a knack growing them. In fact, both of my parents shared a love of the land and believed in the preservation of the Walla Walla Valley. It seems fitting that they would have first met where they did.

Those wheat fields will always hold a very special place in my heart and the hearts of my family.

You are deeply missed. ~ Rocky

 

 

 

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