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More Wonderful Talent in New Fundraising Show

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, 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 & Film, 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

 

 

 

Great Talent in Support of Many Wonderful Causes

Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows, Large Venue Productions, Music Festivals | 0 comments

Great Talent in Support of Many Wonderful Causes

This Summer was a busy one! My 2013 Spring/Summer performance schedule had me on the move. We put the Gershwin show together despite the fact that we all live in different cities.  Susannah in Portland, I was in Palo Alto, Jack Moore and Charlie Creasy in Palm Springs and Maestro Yaki Bergman in New York.  The result was thrilling! After months of planning and remote rehearsals we brought “Oh, Those Gershwin Boys!” to the stage in June and helped to raise needed funds for several organizations, including the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland Chamber Orchestra.

 

Throughout the Summer I had the profound pleasure of working with so many wonderful musicians and vocalists! While this only captures a scant few of the brilliant performers I met and worked with along the way, it is a great place to start! In no particular order…

 

Susannah Mars - Actress & Vocalist - A New Idea for Fundraising Entertainment Susanna Mars – Susannah has been honored with five Portland Drama Critics awards, including four for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. Regionally, she has appeared in Das Barbecu at ACT in Seattle, WA, and as both Eva in Evita and Meg in Brigadoon at Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater. Susannah has soloed with, among others, the Oregon Symphony, and her debut solo recording, Take Me to the World, was nominated as Best CD by the Manhattan Association of Cabaret Artists and Clubs. A versatile and accomplished artist, she does it all with such a sense grace an humor.  “There is a reason Susannah Mars is one of the most sought after performers on the west coast.  She is as charming and memorable off stage as on stage. Susannah would have made the Gershwin brothers proud with every performance! “  ~ Rocky   Visit Susannah’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.

 

Lidsay Deutsch - Violinist - A New Idea for Fundraising EntertainmentLindsay Deutsch – Hailed by the L.A. Times as having “… the technical equipment and temperament for a big career…”, American violinist, Lindsay Deutsch, brings a fresh perspective to classical performances. Taking the listening experience to the next level, she plays with a passion and energy that has thrilled audiences throughout the US and Canada. “Linsday, you absolutely captivate an audience and the power and tone you create on your violin doesn’t seem humanly possible! How do you do it???” ~ Rocky
Visit Lindsay’s website for more information.

 

Adam Wade Duncan - Vocalist - A New Idea for Fundraising Entertainment Adam Wade Duncan – An artist that believes that music can bring people together and create healing and life for the world.  Accomplished in opera, oratorio, symphony and recital performances, and voice, clinic and masterclass work. A house favorite at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Adam has performed in the company’s productions of Tosca, Aida, Madama Butterfly, and so many more. “You have the classic voice to sing Bernstein and Gershwin and you and Nicole Greenridge Joseph were brilliant together!”  ~ Rocky
Visit Adam’s website for more information.

 

Nicole Greenridge - Soprano - A New Idea for Fundraising Entertainment Nicole Greenidge Joseph – Soprano, received both a Master’s in Voice and  Specialist Degree in Voice, from University of Michigan. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Nicole studies with Melody Racine, and has performed Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Musetta in a modern production of La Bohème (U of M Opera Theatre.) Additional credits include Despina in Act I of Cosi fan tutte (Opera North Young Artist Program), Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges, and Mary in Douglas Moore’s The Devil and Daniel Webster. “Nicole, you are sensational! Both Rich and I are ready to fly around the country and be two of your groupies!”  ~ Rocky

 

Ted Rosenthal - Jazz Pianist - A New Idea for Fundraising Entertainment Ted Rosenthal – First achieved international recognition by winning first prize in the 2nd annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Since that time he has performed with many jazz greats, including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer and James Moody. “Ted, I was wowed to have someone of your talent and accomplishment at the piano for the Cole Porter show this summer. New York arranger/orchestrator Ron Abel would have loved hearing you bring his stylings to life. You New Yorkers really know how to create brilliance! Thank you! I hope we have another opportunity to make some Cole Porter magic!” ~ Rocky Visit Ted’s website for more information.

New Gala Fundraiser – Gershwin Revue in Portland

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Featured | 0 comments

New Gala Fundraiser – Gershwin Revue in Portland

George and Ira Gershwin have a collaborative history that crosses all musical divides, from popular, classical and jazz to film scores. What a perfect pair to build a show around! I have invited the fabulous Portland singer and actress, Susannah Mars to join me in this Gershwin Revue. And my friend Jack Moore, show builder extraordinaire, has created another entertaining show that is a companion piece to last year’s popular revue “A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green!”

Gala Fundraising at Its Best in Portland

New fundraising shows are always a treat to develop! “Oh Those Gershwin Boys!” opens on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at a benefit gala in Portland, OR. This revue centers around composer, George Gershwin (born Jacob Gershovitz) and his older brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin (born Israel Gershovitz.) I will play the role of Ira and Susannah will play the role of Kay Swift, composer, musicologist and George’s dear friend.  Susannah and I will sing and tell the story of George Gershwin’s remarkable life through the eyes of his older brother, Ira, and George’s friend and companion, Kay Swift.

New Fundraising Entertainment with Some of Broadway’s Best

We will take the audience through a musical history highlighting their most popular films and musicals.  Their first collaborative Broadway show was in 1924 and over the next 13 years the Gershwin brothers wrote 22 shows and movies, that’s about two a year plus other songs for revues and other occasions.  Ironically their last collaborative effort was the Great American Song Book standard, “Love Is Here to Stay.”  And how well it speaks to the enduring quality of their music and lyrics.

The Gershwin Brothers are definitely here to stay… And so are we! With performances throughout the summer, Susannah and I are going to be quite busy. Please let me know if you would like a show developed for YOUR next gala fundraising or benefit event!

 

See you at the show! ~ Rocky

Two Back to Back Portland Shows and Counting

Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Cole Porter Music, Featured | 0 comments

Two Back to Back Portland Shows and Counting

“OH, THOSE GERSHWIN BOYS!”

George and Ira Gershwin have a collaborative history that crosses all musical divides, from popular, classical and jazz to film scores. What a perfect pair to build a show around!  And my friend Jack Moore, show builder extraordinaire, has created another entertaining show that is a companion piece to last year’s popular revue “A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green!”

Check out the GREAT BLOG POST by the PCO about this New Gershwin Revue at the Portland Chamber Orchestra Website!

 

Back to Back Portland Shows – See the New Gershwin Revue

June 8, 2013  –  7:30pm
Century High School, Hillsboro
2000 SE Century Blvd
Hillsboro, OR

June 9, 2013  –  3:00pm
Lewis & Clark College, Portland
615 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.

Summertime and the Living is Easy – Gershwin Music at its Best

Summer is perfect for getting out to see live music. Rocky and Susannah will sharing this new show with audiences throughout the summer months and would love to see you there! To find a date and location that is best for you, simply take a look at Rocky’s Calendar.

See you at the show! ~ Rocky

PCO Benefit at Portland’s Jazz Gem Jimmy Mak’s

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Cole Porter Music, Featured, Intimate Venue Shows | 0 comments

PCO Benefit at Portland’s Jazz Gem Jimmy Mak’s

Each year, artists and locals alike come out to support music in Portland! On June 3rd 2013, the Portland Chamber Orchestra is pleased to present vocalists Rocky Blumhagen, Susannah Mars and violinist Lindsay Deutsch as they perform “The Gershwin’s meet Cole Porter,” the music of George Gershwin and Cole Porter at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Oregon.

This benefit event is perfect for those who appreciate great music and value Portland’s legendary Chamber Orchestra. If you are looking to extend your weekend and are ready to enjoy a fantastic “Monday Night Out on the Town” in the warm and intimate jazz club setting of Jimmy Mak’s… Then please join us!

June 3rd PCO Fundraising Benefit at Jimmy Mak’s Open to Public

This wonderful fundraising event is open to the public and PCO supporters alike. The  Portland Chamber Orchestra is the oldest incorporated chamber orchestra in the country, the Portland Chamber Orchestra is known for its innovative concerts with a fusion of art forms. Its tagline is ‘the intimate symphony with infinite imagination.’ The orchestra is made up of local professional musicians.

Portland Chamber Orchestra is funded in part by The Regional Arts and Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland and Multnomah County; and by Work for Art, including contributions from more than 70 companies and nearly 2000 employees in the region; and by the Oregon Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency.

When – Monday, June 3, 2013  (Monday is the ONLY night fellow working-musicians can attend!)
Admission
– Only $25.00
Tickets Available – At the door and by phone (503) 771-3250
Buy Your Tickets OnlineClick here

Doors Open – 5:30 and show runs from 7:00-8:00pm

Jimmy Mak’s
221 NW 10th Portland, OR 97209

Phone: 503-295-6542

Find Us: Directions to Jimmy Mak’s

The Portland Chamber Orchestra Appreciates Your Support

The Portland Chamber Orchestra relies on the support of our donors and contributors to underwrite the costs of our performances (musicians, venues, etc.) Ticket sales cover less than one-third of our expenses. Please contribute whatever you can to keep the PCO performing this great music!

For more information about The Portland Chamber Orchestra or to learn how you can become a PCO donor or contributor, please call (503) 771-3250 or Contribute Online.

Portland’s One & Only Jimmy Mak’s to Host PCO Benefit

Jimmy Mak's is the Place for Jazz in Portland, ORJimmy Mak’s was Established in July of 1996 and founded as a small family restaurant.  In the time since, the music has become their calling card as they showcase the world-class musicians that call Portland home.

Jimmy Mak’s is recognized by many national publications as a top venue for jazz.  Esquire Magazine lists Mak’s as one of their “Best Bars in America”, going on to state that “Jimmy Mak’s is a dream venue for performers & audiences.”

Offering up a mix of national, regional, and local artists, Jimmy Mak’s gives guests the opportunity to enjoy the top current names in jazz, and even discover a legend in the making. The recognition that Jimmy Mak’s has received over the years is a tremendous compliment to the musicians on stage, and to their audience, who continues to enthusiastically support live local jazz.

“One of the world’s top 100 places to hear jazz.” ~ Down Beat Magazine

 

This is going to be a vibrant night of exceptional music… And all for a truly wonderful cause! Here’s to the Portland Chamber Orchestra!  ~ Rocky

 

Fundraising Benefit for Portland Chamber Orchestra

2013 Fundraiser Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center

Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, Featured | 0 comments

2013 Fundraiser Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center

The debut of “Oh Those Gershwin Boys,” a new Gershwin Musical Review at the fundraising gala for the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, at Oregon Health &  Science University (OHSU). For many Americans, composer George Gershwin is thought to be a national treasure. “Oh, Those Gershwin Boys!” takes you on a musical journey through Gershwin’s 1930’s Broadway shows and the golden age of film. It features Gershwin hits and brilliant gems coaxed from the archives. Gershwin’s music and lyrics are witty, fun and delightfully romantic! Join us the first Sunday in June for a memorable afternoon re-living the grand Gershwin legacy through the eyes of his brother, Ira Gershwin, and George’s good friend and collaborator, Kay Swift.

About Businessman and Philanthropist Harold Schnitzer

Harold Schnitzer, was an highly-regarded businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist. Schnitzer is remembered for having made many generous charitable gifts over the course of his lifetime. As a diabetic, who passed away in 2011, he dreamed of creating a center to serve both juvenile and adult diabetes patient groups in one location. Unique in this regard, the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, at Oregon Health &  Science University, is the beneficiary of this fundraising gala.

Stars to Shine at Diabetes Fundraising Gala

Lyric Baritone Rocky Blumhagen and Soprano Susannah Mars perform “Oh, Those Gershwin Boys!” This original revue was created by Jack Moore for the Portland Chamber Orchestra, “the intimate symphony with infinite imagination” founded in 1947 and conducted by world renowned Maestro Yaacov Bergman.

If you plan to be in Portland on Sunday, June 2, 2013 from 4pm-7pm, please join in supporting this worthy cause. Cocktails, an elegant plated supper and dessert. Tickets are $125, call 503-552-0698. See you there!

Kridel Grand Ballroom
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR  97205

View Full EPK – Including Media Advisories and Publicity Photos

Poster for 2013 Schnitzer Diabetes Fundraiser

A Birthday Gala Celebration in Hong Kong

Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Broadway & Film, Comden and Green Music, Featured, International Performances, Large Venue Productions | 0 comments

A Birthday Gala Celebration in Hong Kong

International Gala at Hong Kong Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

December 30th, 2010 will always be a memorable evening in my life. My good friend and fellow singer, Elaine Wang Meyerhoffer asked if I would join her in Hong Kong to celebrate in concert her Grandfather, wealthy Chinese textile tycoon, Mr. Y.C. Wang celebrate his 100th birthday.

It sounded like a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I knew Mr. Wang loved music and even had selected repertoire he hoped Elaine would have performed at his gala evening for 220 guests at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong.

My partner Rich and I flew in a few days early to spend Christmas with her lovely parents, Jimmy and Lucy Wang and her fun brother and his charming wife, Rick and Lisa Wang whom all live in Shanghai.  Elaine traveled with her accompanist Richard Bentley, both from Palm Springs California in advance of our trip where they gave a classical recital at the coveted Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Once in a Lifetime Event at a Stunning Venue

After Christmas we all flew to Hong Kong to get ready for the performance.  An eight-piece Filipino orchestra would be our back-up and we were to meet at a recording studio to rehearse our show.  About an hour into the rehearsal, the orchestra leader took a call, at the end of the conversation I heard him say, “Mr. Wang, everything is under control.”

A Birthday Celebration to Remember

100 Years Young and at Still His Office Every Day

It was Mr. Wang, at 100 years old calling from his office to see how the rehearsal was coming along.  He still went to his office daily in the financial district and the night of the party greeted everyone.  He barely had a wrinkle in his face, perfectly tanned and so perfectly coiffed in his customary dark blue suit (he never wore black!).  By the way I had white and black tuxedos made in Shanghai at the Dongjiadu textile market.  Elaine’s, Aunt Carolina navigated the many vendor stalls and took me to one of their favorite tailors, and in 48 hours I had two beautiful custom tuxedos at a fraction of the cost at home and beautifully made garments.

A Entertaining Gala Full of Memories

My fondest memory was at the end of the evening, nearly all of the guests had departed and the dance floor was full of his progeny, dancing the night away.  His driver was there to take him home and he was in the lobby saying more good byes and he heard the music playing and asked to be taken back into the Grand Ballroom.  Upon arriving he shook his fists in the air ala the movie, “Rocky,” it was an enduring image I will always remember.  May I have that much vigor for life if I live to be a centenarian!

A Footnote on a Gracious Man

Y.C. Wang passed away April 23, 2012.  He was in his 102nd year.  One other musing; when he toasted everyone at the party he reminded them that he had invited everyone to his 10th celebration at his 90th birthday and he extended that same toast to his 110th.  His intention was to live to 110 I have no doubt.

 

See Rocky & Elaine in Action – “A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Read More About – Comden & Green Fundraising Entertainment

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