Thursday, December 1, 2011

9 Shopping Days till Nicolas King at The New York Sheet Music Society!


"Look out show business. Here comes Nicolas King." - Liza Minnelli.


Happy December!
The holidays are upon us and with that the rush to get that holiday shopping done. But do take the time to stop and listen to the music. Holiday standards, or standards in general. I love that every year at this time, we DO hear Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Rosemary Clooney and so many of the giants that paved the way for a whole new generation of "singers" who don't know the slightest thing about nuance and/or vocal interpretation. There IS a reason why these songs are still played. They are as fresh today as the day they were recorded. THAT'S what makes a standard.
MOST "singers" today are more impressed with how they sound and/or their presentation than they are than they are with the lyrics...that is when there are lyrics! The other day I heard a "song" in a store that was LOUD, unpleasant on the ears, and repeated the same five word phrase ad nauseum for the ENTIRE song without any variation. In the big band era, great vocalists like Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Peggy Lee, and others entertained while people danced around whatever ballroom they were appearing in.
During the Disco era, it was fashionable to knock disco, it still is, but you could still understand the lyrics of songs...even when they sometimes didn't make sense.
Then the 80s brought in a techno sound that was nothing more than a continuous droning of the same thump, thump, thump.
The late Judy Kreston and David Lahm
One of my favorite cabaret venues was Helen's (formerly Judy's, which was owned and operated by Judy Kreston and David Lahm).
It was an elegant intimate room. I have so many memories there both on and off stage. When they went out of business, it was a huge loss to the cabaret community.
It re-opened as a restaurant (Eight on Eighth, I think it was called). We decided to go to dinner one night. Just Danny and me and another couple sitting at another table.
The music ( a driving forceful beat) didn't add to the ambiance, which is what music SHOULD do in a restaurant, it destroyed it.
When I asked the waiter if he could turn it down so I could enjoy a nice dinner with good conversation. I was told that this was what the manager wanted! The couple at the next table told me that they had made the same request and got the same response. We were the only people there! Needless to say, that restaurant went out of business. The same thing happened in another restaurant a few years ago on Christmas Eve. The music was loud with no subtlety and it wasn't even Christmas music.
IF I wanted that type of music, I would go into a venue that catered to that.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a wedding band on a ship, WITH NO ESCAPE, that had the music at such a decible that you couldn't even carry on a conversation. Why have weddings, for the most part, turned into that? I have stated that I will walk out in the future when that happens.

I write this because I think music is to be enjoyed and embraced. I love to sing and I LOVE singers when they respect the lyrics. Give me a singer, a great song, great accompaniment and I'm happy.
Obviously, I am not alone in my feelings on this. In New York, we have The New York Sheet Music Society.  I have been fortunate to perform at the NYSMS (as Carol Channing).
That led me indirectly to appearing at The American Theatre's Wing's Gala several month's later honoring Carol Channing, James Earl Jones, and Tommy Tune in an evening I will never forget!
A few weeks ago, I did a panel discussion honoring Jerry Herman (See previous blogs for more info on that).
I received a call yesterday regarding something BIG that is brewing that I have been asked to participate as a result of that afternoon. So, I am indebted to the NYSMS on so many levels. We all should be! They are preserving  our rich musical heritage.
According to their website, "The New York Sheet Music Society was established in 1980.
It began with a small but dedicated group of collectors, who, through the courtesy of the late Sammy Cahn, president of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, met at One Times Square to exchange sheet music and stories about songwriters, singers, and songs.
Now a thriving non-profit corporation, the Society has over 400 members spread across the nation."

Whether on or off stage, I always have a great time when I attend their meetings.There is a great article about the Society in the November issue of Cabaret Scenes Magazine.


The Sheet Music Society not only celebrates those songwriters that we have come to love but thanks, mostly to Sandi Durell's involvement, are celebrating the current crop of great singers and songwriters that are very active today!

As a matter of fact, Sandi does a Songwriter Series every year through the Society celebrating their contributions. Next year will be her 11th installment of this great mainstay. That will be on May 12th. But before we get to that, you can see Nicolas King on Saturday, December 10th joined by Mike Renzi.



"He’s only 19 years old, but Nicolas King has been performing since the age of 4 when he started out on Broadway as Chip in “Beauty & The Beast.” What makes him an old soulis his love for the standards and more specifically how he’s been influenced by the Rat Pack and Bobby Darin."
Sandi Durell on Nicholas King (Times Square Chronicles Review)

Every person both old and young who share in this celebration of great music should attend.
At 20 years of age, Nicolas has a style and a panache that most don't achieve in a lifetime.

The first concert he remembers seeing was Liza Minnelli at the Warwick Musical Theater in Rhode Island.He remembers lots of lights and flash and just unbelievable energy. He remembers being in a trance actually!

He remembers thinking "that woman was just incredible". She was and still is. Liza is definitely no slouch in the music department. You would have to live under a rock to know her rich musical heritage.
Going all the way back to Grandparents that were part of the rich legacy of vaudeville. 

Nicolas told me, "It was ridiculous! It convinced me that I wanted to be a performer as well. There was nothing like it."
It's for this reason alone that I work so hard on behalf of Carol Channing's Foundation For The Arts. Being exposed to LIVE entertainment breed future audiences AND entertainers.


Liza isn't the only one with a rich musical heritage!
Nicolas's grandmother (Angela Bacari) is a singer, and so naturally growing up in that environment, going to shows, hanging with musicians, all that stuff, he just sort of fell into the business. Plus, having a mom and dad who love music, there was constantly music ringing through the house always.
Nicholas doesnt remember actually when he first appeared on stage. He feels like he's just always been on a stage! He does remember doing some of his early shows, like on theSally Jesse Raphael Show and singing in Newport with his Aunt Lisa's dance band for weddings or parties he'd crash.
 His first professional job was a Sears commercial, He believes.
 He was 5, and they flew him out to Chicago to film it. He's been working ever since!
I asked him about his thoughts abour arts in education. 

He thinks, as I do, that there should be more of it! he has sung for schools in the past, and kids are really sponges.

 The more they're exposed to the better. It always brings him joy to see them take an interest in the Great American Songbook and other programs.
 
Since I am working on behalf of Carol Channing and Harry Kullijian, I asked Nicolas for his comments on Carol Channing. His response: Love her! I met her once!
I  rode down in an elevator from Liza's house with her and Sam Harris and remember being fascinated by the amount of feathers on her clothes.
Most recently in NY, Nicholas did a series of shows at Don't Tell Mama's from June to November with the amazing Mike Renzi trio!
On Saturday, the 10th, at NYSMS, he will once again be joined by Mike Renzi and Steve Doyle.
Nicolas is one smart guy. He told me  that he feels his most successful when he’s  supported by people who he admires  in the industry so much. Interestingly enough, I feel the same way.
For instance, having Liza [Minnelli] sit 5 feet away, ringside, at his opening night at Don’t Tell Mama show cheering him on was surreal.  I have had the same experience with Carol Channing in the audience!
He is also pals with Carol Burnett. He has always been a huge fan of hers, and to work with her, and to get to know her is so wonderful, he says .
The hard part for him, as it is for all of us is getting negative reviews!
Honestly no one likes that, so he know s he’s not alone. He says he has to remind himself that he’s only 20 still, and and he feels he has a ways to go in his craft. And just like gold needs extreme heat to work out impurities and become valuable, so too a true artist needs refining from time to time.

He’s been in the industry for 16 years and he’s still trying to figure out how it works! [Laughter] I feel the same way, Nicolas, at 50. And the older I get, the more baffled I am.
His idols and role models are Sammy Davis Jr., Jamie Cullum, Harry Connick Jr., Chicago, Nancy Wilson, Jack Jones. And on a personal level, friends like Liza and of course his grandmother, Angela.
I like his style. I am now a fan. I hope you’ll check him out on the 10th. I’ll be there. Hope to see you there!
 
THE NEW YORK SHEET MUSIC SOCIETY

Presents

An Afternoon with
Nicolas King
Nicolas, Angela Bacari, and Karen Oberlin
"Riveting performances...
Nicolas King is my candidate
for superstardom this decade!"
- Joe Franklin (Bloomberg Radio)

Star of Broadway, Television and Recordings in a special concert!

King has performed since age 4 for crowds all over the US. Having appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, "The View", "Today", "Sally Jesse Raphael" and in 3 Broadway productions (Beauty & The Beast, Hollywood Arms, A Thousand Clowns) all before he turned 12 years old, he hasn't stopped!

After touring with Liza Minnelli, and performing to star-studded audiences in his own recent one-man-shows at "The Metropolitan Room" and "Don't Tell Mama's" in NYC under the direction of music phenom Mike Renzi, King (at the tender age of 20) continues to celebrate the Great American Songbook to varied generations and vast audiences. Don't miss this show!

** The New York Sheet Music Society can stay alive and growing the Great American Songbook only if it educates young musicians, singers and songwriters in this remarkable genre of music. Help support the process by attending and bring a student musician along!

Catch Nicolas on December 10th with 7 time Emmy Award winner
Mike Renzi on Piano
Local 802 - Musicians’ Hall, 322 West 48th Street, NYC.
1:45 - 3:30PM     
NYSMS Members: Free  - Guests: $10 - -  Students w/ID: $2 Donation

 And Don't forget:


Dec 20

8pm
THE TRIAD, 158 West 72nd Street
RICHARD SKIPPER CELEBRATES... CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK!
This is the the second installment of this series. Once a month, Richard will be celebrating a different theme. A Benefit for Carol Channing's Foundation for the Arts.
Rosemary Loar, Miles Phillips, Diane J. Findlay, Maureen Taylor, Leslie Orofino, Scott Coulter, Carol J. Bufford, Karen Oberlin, Julie Reyburn, AND... Raissa Katona Bennett! RESERVATIONS A MUST! $25 show plus two drink minimum, $50 PREMIUM SEATS plus two drink minimum. PLEASE CALL 845-365-0720 TO RESERVE.
DO NOT CALL THE TRIAD. 

Mention this blog and get two premium tickets for $75.00! That's a $25.00 savings!

WIKIPEDIA and the websites of the entertainers in this blog are THE MAIN SOURCES OF THIS  BLOG. NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!
Nicolas and Stephenie Powers at Lincoln center




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Tomorrow's's blog will be...YOU TELL ME...I'M OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS!


Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog! 

I love you ALL!! 

 
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!


Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TOMORROW!

 Become A Facebook friend of mine!
with Julie Wilson at The NYSMS April 2007
Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING  and HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS


TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DECEMBER!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
With the talented Amra Faye Wright and the classy Jamie DeRoy

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