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Showing posts from April, 2012

World Debut of "Fill It With Music."

A new song dedicated to Father Jeffrey Hamblin and musical director Mark Janas, and to the people of Christ Church, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Miami Sun-Sentinel on "New World Waking"

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A terrific article by Philip Valys.


"I was also a big, stocky kid in high school, but bullies made me feel weak physically and emotionally. When I discovered music and theater, that's when I found my strength."

This is why "New World Waking!" an anti-bullying concert debuting tonight at Aventura Arts and Cultural Center, resonates with Castellanos. He sings second tenor for INSIGNIA, the 16-man vocal ensemble of Miami Gay Men's Chorus, which is staging the 45-minute revue created by composer Steve Schalchlin. The concert packs 14 poignant, if brief, anecdotal numbers preaching peace and social justice while tackling themes of violence in wars, homophobia and transphobia, and broader-scale corporate bullying. "It's a roller coaster of emotions that are hard to deal with, and definitely thought-provoking for me," Castellanos adds. "There's a song for every emotion, and this concert is a book full of inspirational stories and, unfortunat…

New World Waking in Miami April 28

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All my Miami friends, it's upon us!

Singing In The Choir

This past Sunday, the members of the church choir at Christ Church, Bay Ridge Brooklyn, stayed after the service and sang with me. I've been writing a submission for the Dear Harvey "contest" being held by the San Francisco Gay Men's Choir.

The singers in this choir are so good. And they're also young, fresh, talented, can read music, and sing just about anything. We sang, in the service, a Beethoven "Hallelujah" that would have taken most choirs months to learn. This choir learned it in just one rehearsal.
When Fr. Jeff Hamblin and Mark Janas created this choir, it wasn't merely for vanity's sake. He really believes that  sacred music, especially when beautifully and expertly, and meaningfully sung, brings the presence of God into a room -- and is an essential part of the liturgy. 
I confess that when I began at the church, it was purely because I wanted to sing and work under the baton of Mark Janas, because he is as close to a maestro as I&#…

Out with Mark and Jake.

Jake did his daily run down to the Village to pick up Mark. We were to meet at the 42nd Street AMC to see "The Cabin in the Woods." Though I don't love slasher pics, I heard this one had a little twist, and I love surprises. I didn't realize how funny it would be, though. But definitely bloody.

Then, we went to the Polish Tea Room for soup and a sandwich. Then, over to the hot, new XL Club, which is at the heart of a "gay urban resort" called The OUT NYC. A very nice man took us around and showed it off. I can very much see it as a fun place to hang. (It has upscale hostel rooms, four beds to a room with privacy curtain -- and, at your feet, a wide screen TV with headphones. Hundred bucks a night. Not bad in a neighborhood where even the pod-room Yotel goes for over $250. Of course, you may have to fight off unwanted intrusions, but then, that's just life, isn't it?)

I mentioned before that he, like me, is by nature, rather bull-headed. So, he does…

My First Acting Class.

His name is Andy Gale and if you live in New York City and you're looking for an acting teacher who will bring out the very best in what you do, run, don't walk to Andy's class. If you can get in.

There. I said it and I mean it.

But, be on notice. He doesn't advertise -- he only takes people on referral or recommendation -- and he doesn't accept everyone who wants in. As he put it, life is too short to work with people who don't want to learn or who are unpleasant to be around.

When I first went to one of his classes, it was really just because Mark Janas was playing piano and the class was aimed at singers who wanted to learn how to better audition, and given the fact that I've never had an acting class, I thought it might be fun.

Called "Acting the Song," the format is simple. First, he pulls a song out of his satchel -- usually some number or standard from days of yore -- and we just pass the song around, verse by verse, and warm up. Then, we …

Caine's Arcade

Just in case you haven't seen this, it reduced me to happy tears.

Honoring the 30th Anniversary, Beirut Veterans.

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I'm sincerely proud to have lent the song "My Thanksgiving Prayer" to the memorial page to "the 270 KIA while serving as Peacekeepers of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force, Beirut Lebanon 1982-1984. To the 220 Marines, 18 Sailors, and 3 Soldiers (241) KIA on October 23, 1983. To the Survivors who will forever live with the memory of that fateful day. To the Beirut Veterans who, after returning home, struggled with PTSD and took their own lives. And to all their Families. ~Semper Fidelis~"

Personal Update (and Mark Janas).

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Last week, while on a ship on the other side of the world where Jim was performing Zero Hour, I got word that Mark Janas, my friend, musical mentor and support system for a lot of people on this island, was taken in for brain surgery. Just before we left, he began getting some facial paralysis.
Then, I received notice from Salon producer, Tanya Moberly, informing us he had gone in for brain surgery. There was a tangle of blood vessels on his brain stem, where all the nerves go out to the body -- and that it would only get worse if left untreated. 
He told the surgeon that he was a pianist, and he pleaded that he not lose control of his hands. The surgeon smiled and said he was a bass player, himself, and that he would be very careful.
The surgery was successful and I've spent the last week (along with other friends of Mark's) being with him. His partner, David, is out of state and he asked us not to let him be alone for at least a week.
Happily, Mark has responded to therapy.…

TESTIMONY from SFGMC and Stephen Schwartz

If you haven't seen this, watch it now. It's a stunning song based on testimonies from the "It Gets Better" project, and the music is written by Broadway composer of "Wicked," the wonderful Stephen Schwartz. Also, wanted to send congrats to my buddy, Ken McPherson, who got his first mention in BroadwayWorld for his rendition of "Popular" from "Wicked."

Day Of Silence.

Jim Brochu at Feinstein's April 29th.

Jim will be at Feinstein’s at the Regency on April 29th, premiering a part of his new show, “Jim Brochu: Character Man,” all about the great Broadway character men and the songs they got to introduce. In this preview, he’ll be singing songs introduced by David Burns, Barney Martin and Zero Mostel.
The evening, Randie Levine-Miller's Showstopper Divos, begins at 6:30pm with a glass of wine and dinner. The show starts at 8pm. Joining Jim will be Tony nominee Stephen Bogardus, MAC Award winner Nicolas King, Myles Savage from the original “Platters” and Broadway baby, and Kevin Spirtas.

The price of the evening is $125.00, includes the wine, dinner, show and party, a terrific price for Feinstein’s.

Order tickets here.