2017 Siletz Bay – Post Festival Musings

Posted by on July 10, 2017 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, Featured, Music Festivals, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

2017 Siletz Bay – Post Festival Musings

10 years ago, Cascade Head Music Festival under the direction of Sergiu Luca, from Rice University, decided to retire as the artistic director and maestro of this long running chamber music festival on the Central Oregon coast.  Gallery owner, Lee Freed of the Freed Gallery in Lincoln City recruited Yaacov (Yaki) Bergman to take over the festival. 

The name was changed to SoundWaves and for three years operated under the non-profit status of Lee Freed’s “Let There Be Arts” program for Lincoln City Youth.  And then, 6 years ago, Maestro Bergman and the Festival board stepped out on their own as The Siletz Bay Music Festival

Fast forward to this Summer and we have just completed the 2017 season, June 21st – July 4th at a combination of venues. 

A Few of My Favorite Moments from 2017

In the gallery below, you will see some of my favorite moments from the Festival. Images feature Nicole Greenidge Joseph , a former Oregonian and now living and teaching in Detroit, Michigan.  And new to the festival, jazz song stylist, Clairdee from San Francisco. The 5 person photo, was taken on the Dick Hyman/Willard Espy night.  In addition to Nicole and Clairdee, you see Jazz clarinetist, Ken Peplowski and pianist Ehud Asherie.

We had a last minute change in the line-up at the Festival and missed seeing Dick Hyman in person. Sometimes life happens. We were fortunate to have Ehud, hop coasts from NYC and grace us with his musical talents. He was brilliant and the nicest guy too. The foursome with me and Rich Royse, also shows the smiling faces of  Yaki and Joan Bergman.  

Nicole Greenidge Joseph, Clairdee, and Rocky Blumhagen

Picture 1 of 7



The Siletz Bay Music Festival Today

This year, the Siletz Bay Music Festival included concerts at several area locations. The Lincoln City Cultural Center hosts smaller, intimate chamber music with some of the best pianists and string players in the country if not the world. Pianists, Mei-Ting Sun, and Gerald Robbins are audience favorites.  Along with Los Angeles cellist Armen Kasajikian and Portlander, Katherine Schultz and violinist and concertmistress, Denise Dillenbeck from Ellensburg, Washington. 

Each Summer, we have a free concert at the Congregational Church and another at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. These are in addition to the annual orchestral program for kids at Taft High School.  Yaki has expanded the Festival to include, Jazz, Cabaret, Big Band, and Broadway – the Festival tops out with an orchestra of 45 musicians for our final Festival concert on the 4th of July. 


Dick Hyman – We’ll See You Next Year 

Jazz pianist and composer, Dick Hyman, who was just inducted into the Kennedy Center Hall of Fame for Jazz Masters, has been with us the last several years. Rich and I went back for his concert induction at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC on April 2nd of this year.  

On a trip to the Galapagos Islands in June 2017 with his wife Julia, he was feeling some pressure and when he returned home to Florida. He went in for immediate triple bypass surgery.  Needless to say he couldn’t travel for the Festival later in the month. We all missed seeing him, thought of him often, and are very happy to know he is on the mend!

Wunderkind and Dick Hyman protege, Ehud Asherie, with just a few days notice, flew out from NYC to play ALL of Dick Hyman’s scheduled shows plus the West Side Story revue scheduled for the annual benefit on July 2nd.  He hit the town running and was a big hit with audiences.  Ehud is a marathon swimmer and has a robust appetite – Rich fed him several meals at the house.  You may not know this, however, musicians are known for their hearty appetites.  We know this more personally than most, since we had our tenth annual musician dinner this year with 55 musicians at our little house on the ocean in Salishan, Gleneden Beach.  A big crowd makes for a fun party when everyone is elbow to elbow! 

Back in the 1970’s Dick Hyman set to music the poetry of Willard Espy.  Espy was a wordsmith that truly plays with words.  The poetry that Dick used was actually called “An Almanac of Words at Play.”  At the time they were both living in the same Manhattan high rise. Willard Espy was from Oysterville, Washington.  And in the NY Times obituary for Mr. Espy in 1999, they actually quoted from “Oysterville” the song, one of the songs I sang in the Hyman/Espy program on June 28th. 


So Many All Stars Light the Nights

Last year at Siletz Bay Music Festival 2016, famed jazz clarinetist, Ken Peplowski who frequently tours with Dick Hyman, played in the show titled, “On Wings of Shakespeare.”  Dick had set to music 11 lyric texts from Shakespeare plays.  The singers cast by Dick, were opera singer and festival favorite, Nicole Greenidge Joseph, and first time Siletz Bay Music Festival performer, Clairdee
And finally me.

This year, Dick Hyman created the same format this year for the poetry of Willard Espy. It was a repeat cast except Ehud Asherie stepped in for Dick, Ken Peplowski, on clarinet, singers, Nicole Greenidge Joseph, Clairdee, and yours truly. We had just as much fun this year as last and I think the audience did too. 

My style of singing is more crooner/Broadway so it was interesting casting, but it really worked.  We had solos and sang a few selections and passages as a trio.  With Dick Hyman compositions and Ken Peplowski’s clarinet improvisations, it proved to be a very interesting and entertaining concert.  Ken Peplowski is a natural born comedienne in addition to his extraordinary talent and he makes full use of his humor on stage whenever he can.  You know you give the guy a microphone and look out! 


“I Rise” – Charlie Creasy World Premiere

Another highlight of the Festival was hearing Charlie Creasy’s composition, “I Rise,” which had its world premiere here at the 2017 Siletz Bay Music Festival.  People that know me well remember that Charlie Creasy, who lives in Palm Springs, has arranged and orchestrated many of my past Benefit Shows, including:

A Party With Comden and Green
Opera to Broadway – The Composers and Lyricists Who Did it All
Oh, Those Gershwin Boys, George and His Lovely Wife Ira 
The Irving Berlin Showcase
 – With Portland singing sensation, Susannah Mars

I cannot begin to tell you how powerful the Charlie Creasy aria “I Rise” is, other than to say that it had such a huge and immediate standing ovation to thunderous applause when Nicole Greenidge Joseph finished. So much so, that Yaki immediately scheduled it for a second performance at the July 4th concert. 

There is a dramatic backstory regarding the composition of this piece and I don’t know if all of it is mine to tell here. But I can say Charlie channeled his grief, pain and anger into a piece of music that can stand the test of time.  The text he chose was the famous poem by Dr. Maya Angelou, “I Rise.”  


The Spirit of Collaboration Continues

Our next 2017 collaboration was for the Benefit July 2nd.  Mark Lopeman is an arranger and orchestrator from Manhattan who has arranged for Ken Peplowski, Dick Hyman, and Clairdee. And may I just say here, I hope for me one day too! 

My Niece & Uncle Rocky at Mark Lopeman’s West Side Story Revue

His arrangements of all the songs from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” were phenomenal and so fun to sing.  

My tender and intimate arrangement of “Maria” was one of the best I have ever heard.  The chords were so rich and evocative, I couldn’t help but sing it almost as a prayer. And his arrangements in the 4th of July concert for Ken Peplowski playing Benny Goodman and Clairdee’s, “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good,” reminded me of Nelson Riddle orchestrations, so popular with Frank Sinatra.  Mark floats woodwinds; flute, piccolo over the top of the strings, it makes for such a unique and memorable sound.  I loved it!!

And Mark Lopeman’s instrumentation for the Benefit was so creative.  A trombone, Ron Babcock, that filled in the bass, beefy part of the orchestration, then Aaron Johnson,  here on vacation, grew up in Coos Bay and now plays in Broadway pit orchestras in Manhattan, doubled on sax and clarinet, Portland’s well known Gary Hobbs on drums and Portland phenom Stand Up Bass player, Dave Captein. 

Ehud Asherie stepped in and played the piano anchoring the septet and of course our own Ken Peplowski was wailing on his clarinet and directing all of us.  He even sang on Officer Krupke! Ken says he has many more shows like this in his portfolio for benefits, so we are already anticipating a repeat next year. 

After so many years Nicole Greenidge Joseph and I had spoken about singing a duet together, we finally did.  Two wonderful songs, “One Hand One Heart” and “Tonight.”  I have to say, Nicole is BRILLIANT at singing everything – from an aria from La Traviata, to the world premiere “I Rise,” a negro spiritual, and even swinging it like a pop superstar on “Tonight.”  Nicole and I really shared a magical moment on stage during “Tonight.” 


As Siletz Bay 2017 Comes to a Close

It is in these moments that I feel most alive.  And these moments that continues to draw me back to Live Performance.  To be on stage in the company of such superb musicians is what making music is all about. I am indeed grateful. 


More details about my performances at Siletz Bay Music Festival 2017.

2017 Siletz Bay Music Festival

Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, Featured, Music Festivals | 0 comments

2017 Siletz Bay Music Festival

WOW, it’s Summer 2017 already and has been a busy year to date and Summer continues the trend. The Siletz Bay Music Festival is an series of concerts I look forward to every year. With each new festival season, the dedicated participants and patrons of the Siletz Bay Music Festival demonstrate their dedication to bringing high quality music performances and education to the Central Oregon Coast.

This year I am excited to be a part of two concerts:

CONTRASTS – Songs from an “Almanac of Words at Play”
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 – 7:30pm

BENEFIT – “Jazz and the American Popular Song” – The Annual Artists Showcase/Fundraiser
Sunday, July 2, 2017 – 4pm

Both concerts take place at the Salishan Spa & Golf Resort – Long House at Salishan Lodge in Gleneden Beach, Oregon. If you have been looking for an excuse to get to the coast of Northern Oregon – THIS would be it!


Musical Legends & Phenomenal Talent 

In CONTRASTS, on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 – 7:30pm, Jazz great, Dick Hyman has yet again worked his particular magic. I look forward to sharing the stage with fabulous vocalists, Clairdee and Nicole Greenidge Joseph. I performed with these two beautiful women last year in Dick Hyman’s 2016 show, “On Wings of Shakespeare” – a fabulous evening of music and Shakespeare in a very entertaining format. 

This evening of contrasts begins “On the Lighter Side” and ends “In Hot Pursuit” with the legendary composer, Dick Hyman and his sidekick Jazz Impresario Clarinetist, Ken Peplowski. The two will take the stage with a sextet for this second act of instrumentals. All in all, an evening of phenomenal talent!

I would LOVE to see you there if you can make it. Here are all the details:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 – 7:30pm
Gleneden Beach, OR

Siletz Bay Music Festival: CONTRASTS

Salishan Spa & Golf Resort
Long House at Salishan Lodge
7760 HWY 101 North – Gleneden Beach, OR

Tickets: $35
Call 541-992-1131 or Purchase Tickets Online

Siletz Bay Music Festival:  Visit Website


The Artist Showcase & Annual Fundraiser

This year, the Artist Showcase features two Centennial Tributes in honor of Lena Horne and Leonard Bernstein. My how 100 years will fly!

The talent taking the stage for this fundraising event includes some of the most influential artists in the world of music today. Those you are bound to recognize, include: Dick HymanKen Peplowski, and Clairdee.

A bit about the show:

Centennial Tribute to Lena Horne – The groundbreaking singer, actress and activist who personified glamour and became a catalyst for social justice. Horne, one of the most revered singers of the popular American Songbook, is especially renowned for her definitive version of the Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler torch song, ‘Stormy Weather.’

Clairdee (vocalist), Ken French (piano, music director), Ken Peplowski (clarinet), Gary Hobbs (drums), and Dave Captein (bass)


Leonard Bernstein 100 Anniversary – Siletz Bay Music Festival celebrates the 100th Anniversary of composer, Leonard Bernstein’s birth with renditions from his famed “West Side Story.” The memorable music director of the New York Philharmonic, “Lenny” composed in many styles; symphonic and orchestral, ballet, opera, film, and Broadway. Including award winning shows like “West Side Story” and “On The Town.” He was also a skilled pianist who often conducting from the keyboard. As the emerging medium of television came to life so did Leonard Bernstein’s celebrity. (1918-1990)

Ken Peplowski (clarinet/music director), Nicole Greenidge Joseph (vocalist), Rocky Blumhagen (vocalist), Clairdee (vocalist), Denise Dillenbeck (violin), Aaron Johnson (flute), Ron Babcock (trombone), Pete Barbutti (comedian/musician) Ken French (piano,) Gary Hobbs (drums), and Dave Captein (bass)


Sunday, July 2, 2017 – 4pm
Gleneden Beach, OR

Siletz Bay Music Festival: Artists Showcase/Fundraiser

Salishan Spa & Golf Resort
Long House at Salishan Lodge
7760 HWY 101 North – Gleneden Beach, OR

Tickets: $125 – Table for eight: $1000
Call 541-992-1131 or Purchase Tickets Online

Siletz Bay Music Festival:  Visit Website


Siletz Bay Music Festival 2016 – Artist’s Showcase

Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Broadway & Film, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows, Irving Berlin, Music Festivals | 0 comments

Siletz Bay Music Festival 2016 – Artist’s Showcase

I would love for you to join me on July 3rd, 2016 at the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort in Oregon for an evening of Irving Berlin. Susannah Mars and I have phenomenal evening of music and story to share with you. Delightfully arranged and orchestrated by the ever-talented Charlie Creasy, this new show was previewed over the winter and is now ready for prime time. The Siletz Bay Music Festival’s Artist’s Showcase fundraising event is an annual favorite and is a cornerstone in raising funds for so many of the Siletz Bay music programs and educational offerings.


A Great Cause Deserves Legendary Music

And a GREAT story!

Irving Berlin, born in ​1888, was one of the most prolific, enduring and famous songwriters of the Twentieth century. Some of his most memorable pieces include, “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “White Christmas,” and “Blue Skies.”  With more than 1000 songs to his credit, to say that Irving Berlin had long and prolific career, might be an understatement! And after nearly 90 years, these songs are all still on the lips and in the hearts of most.

Did you know that Irving Berlin had a scandalous courtship in the early 1920’s? He did! Berlin, a 36­ year ­old immigrant Jew from Belarus, Russia and Ellin Mackay, the 21 ­year ­old daughter of a socially prominent Irish­-American, Catholic family, fell in love. To make matters even more exciting, Mackay was the granddaughter of a silver magnate who was one of the richest men in America.

Wonder how the story ends? Come see our show to find out and support The Siletz Bay Music Festival in the process. Such fun!


Artist’s Showcase Fundraising Event

When:  Sunday, July 3, 4:00 pm
Where:  Salishan Spa and Golf Resort

Susannah Mars – Vocalist
Rocky Blumhagen – Vocalist
Charlie Creasy – Piano

Buy Tickets Online: HERE


Siletz Bay Music Festival – Full Details


Irving Berlin Showcase – A Fundraising Show

Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, Featured, Irving Berlin, Music Festivals | 0 comments

Irving Berlin Showcase – A Fundraising Show

Irving Berlin is one of the most famous, prolific and enduring songwriters of the 20th century. “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “White Christmas,” and “Blue Skies” are just a short sampling of the more than 1000 songs Irving Berlin wrote during his long career.

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) had a scandalous courtship in the early 1920’s.  Berlin, a 36-year-old immigrant Jew from Belarus, Russia and the Ellin Mackay, a 21-year-old daughter of a socially prominent Irish-American Catholic family fell in love.  Being the granddaughter of a silver magnate and one of the richest men in America this was a media sensation. Come see our show to find out the ending!

“The Great American Songbook” would not be the same today without Irving Berlin.  Vocalists Susannah Mars and Rocky Blumhagen performing arrangements and orchestrations by Charlie Creasy and directed by Maestro Yaacov Bergman will bring this fascinating American composer’s story to life with dialogue and song. You will leave with your heart warmed and your toes tapping!


Tickets and Info – Come Celebrate on July 3rd

Tickets are $125 for this Siletz Bay Music Festival Fundraiser.  Enjoy hosted wines by Erath Vineyards, a scrumptious spread by Salishan Lodge in a transformed performance space for this concert.  We will celebrate the success of the 2016 Siletz Bay Festival Season with a short oral auction and hear some of Irving Berlin’s most patriotic music, remember this is 4th of July Weekend!  This “Artist Showcase” has always been one of the Festival’s most popular offerings. Reserve your seats now and support your very own Siletz Bay Music Festival!





Siletz Bay Music Festival Fundraiser
Sunday July 3, 2016
Salishan Long House 4 PM
Tickets: $125
Call: 541-992-1131
Purchase Tickets Online 

Vocalists, Susannah Mars & Rocky Blumhagen
Siletz Bay Music Festival Orchestra under the direction of Yaki Bergman.

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

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:
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


Baritones at Jimmy Mak’s to Support PCO

Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, 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 & Film, 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 & Film, 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!




Copyright Rocky Blumhagen 2018 – All rights reserved