Archive for the tag 'musicians'

A Sheepshead Bay resident is one of five finalists competing for a chance to join the cast of Broadway’s Rock of Ages and sing during the Super Bowl broadcast on February 2.

The cast of Rock of Ages will perform as part of Super Bowl XLVIII’s NFL Tailgate Party, part of which will be televised live on FOX Super Bowl Sunday.

To drum up excitement for the show, Rock of Ages put together an online contest, welcoming would-be musical stars to perform a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive.”

Arnel Arcedo, a Filipino immigrant who lives in Sheepshead Bay, is currently in the lead with 871 votes as of this writing, just a smidge over the the second place contestant, who shamelessly employed her baby to get votes. The contest goes on until 4 p.m. today, welcoming the public to vote. You can vote here.

It would be the second dream come true for Arcedo in the past few months. After relentlessly pursuing a career in illustration, he released a graphic novel late last year that he worked on for seven years while riding the subway system. He debuted the work at New York Comic Con in October, becoming the first Filipino author and illustrator to present at the event.

Give a neighbor a boost, and go vote now!


Jeffreys (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

File under things I learned today: famed singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys is a Sheepshead Bay native, and apparently his experiences here have played a significant role in his forty-plus-year career.

Known for straddling the line between genres ranging from rock and roll, reggae, blues and soul, with racially conscious undertones, the man behind “Wild in the Streets” drew inspiration from his experiences as a mixed-race kid in Sheepshead Bay.

“I was a light-skinned black Latino, growing up in Sheepshead Bay in the 1950s. Being multi-ethnic was something that was frowned on. We were the only family of color in the (local) Catholic church,” he said in a recent interview with the Daily Record.

But Jeffreys says he managed to make his way in a tough situation. His music, he said, reflects that.

“That’s what I’m about in a lot of ways,” Jeffreys said. “I have a pretty good handle on my life — where I’m from, what I’ve been through and what I’ve seen.”

The urban grit of a Sheepshead Bay in the midst of a residential and demographic boom exposed him to some cutting edge music.

“Growing up in Brooklyn, we had the street corner sounds of early rock ’n’ roll like Little Richard,” he said.

Jeffreys has 14 solo albums in a career going back to 1970.

These days, he still likes to rock out—just on the beat of his own schedule.

“I’m not interested in recycling myself,” said. “I do music when I feel I have something to say.”

The interview comes as Jeffreys releases another album, Truth Serum. Check out this video from the single “Any Rain”.

– Vanessa Ogle

You might know Willie Simpson as a Sheepshead Bites contributor, but you probably didn’t know he’s also a songwriter.

And now he’s produced his first full-length music video for his song “Memory Lane,” and he didn’t even bother telling his closest friends and part-time employers about it. They had to read about it on Facebook.

Like, really, one of your best friends publishes a website all about Sheepshead Bay and frequently features music and video about Sheepshead Bay and you don’t bother telling him you made a video chock full o’ Sheepshead Bay.

What can I say – Willie’s no ladder climber.

But he’s got good friends that help him out anyway. Check out the video above, and follow Willie’s musical musings at and on Facebook.

He told me his next single will be called the “The Oshi Anna Poos,” a bluesy folk piece about a news blogger kidnapped mid-squat on a public john and lynched as a warning to anyone who dares have a sense of humor. It’ll be his “Straight Outta Compton,” I’m sure.

The Hot Sardines as photographed by Harry Fellows for Collective Magazine

The Hot Sardines will play July 20. (Source:

On Stage at Kingsborough, the performing arts programming division at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) will once again host a series of free outdoor concerts all summer un the Hot Summer Nights banner.

The concerts kick off this weekend, and follow on Saturday nights thoughout July at 8:00 p.m.

“This year, our concerts will feature some of the finest Jazz and Swing artists in the world that play regularly at New York City’s hottest clubs,” stated Anna Becker, executive director of On Stage at Kingsborough. “Or you can find them right here, at Kingsborough’s free outdoor concert series at our bandshell, in the shadow of our stunning lighthouse, and just a breezy stroll away from our breathtaking sea wall. We invite everyone to bring a picnic and make a wonderful summer evening of it.”

Here’s this year’s lineup:

  • July 6: The Brooklyn Community Wind Ensemble, conducted by Ray Wheeler, kicks off the series with its musical tribute to Independence Day. Join us for an evening of patriotic pops with our community’s beloved concert band.
  • July 13: The George Gee Swing Orchestra, featuring vocalists Hilary Gardner and John Dokes with special guest Lindy Hoppers Samantha Siegel and Brian Lawton. Get ready to jump, jive and wail with the George Gee Swing Orchestra. This swingin’ band has been together for over 25 years and deeply enjoys its hard-earned reputation as the swingin’-est, blowin’-est, heppest classic big band in New York City. In more than 30 years of playing for dancing feet, the George Gee Swing Orchestra band has developed a special bond with lindy hoppers all around the world.
  • July 20: The Hot Sardines -  Take a blustery brass lineup, layer it over a rhythm section led by a Fats Waller-style stride-piano virtuoso, and tie the whole thing together with a magnetic, one-of-the-boys frontwoman whose voice recalls another era, and you have The Hot Sardines. The Sardine sound – wartime Paris via New Orleans (or the other way around) – is steeped in the kind of music Louis Armstrong, Dhango Reinhardt, and Waller used to make: Straight-up, foot stomping jazz.
  • July 27: David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band - Inspired by the noble jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and more, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band breathes life and passion into America’s own great art form. This Grammy Award-nominated band plays weekly at New York City’s Birdland Jazz Club with guest musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Dick Hyman, Jon Hendricks, and blues great Big Joe Turner. 


Admission and parking is free and open to the public. Kingsborough’s gates open at 7:00 p.m. and the concerts begin at 8:00 p.m.

A limited number of seats are available, but all are welcome to bring blankets and folding chairs for our grassy areas as well.

  • Rain Location: In the event of rain or extreme heat, the concerts will be relocated to the air conditioned Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center. Updated location information will be available on our box office line - (718) 368-5596 - starting at 4:00 p.m. on concert days.
  • Picnic Information: To complete a gorgeous night of great music in a friendly community setting, our gates open at 7:00 p.m. and picnicking is welcomed. An ice cream truck will be on site selling treats.

For more information:

  • Box Office Location: On Stage at Kingsborough box office, Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard. There is ample, free parking on the campus.
  • Box Office Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • By Phone: (718) 368-5596
  • Online: 

While organizers of the not-so-Great GoogaMooga reneged on their “rain or shine” billing in the face of Sunday’s drizzle, hundreds of Sheepshead Bay residents flocked to Emmons Avenue to prove what the phrase really means.

Bay Improvement Group’s 22nd Annual Bayfest went forward despite a day-long downfall that appeared to come in from all directions. Attendance was surely hampered by the weather, and even several of the sponsors bailed (Sheepshead Bites set up table, but, without a tent, was forced to say our goodbyes after our materials took on too much water).

Organizers plowed ahead anyway, keeping good on their promise, with music blaring from two main stages and a handful of performance areas. Inflatable rides amused kids – and also provided brief refuge from the rain, and sponsors like Investors Bank kept in good spirits, cheering to the music with their teams and handing out goodies.

Aside from all fun – soggy or not – the group’s president, Steve Barrison, took a moment before the festivities to honor the  Department of Sanitation with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Barrison and the group thanked the department for lifting, carting and removing countless tons of debris in the months after Superstorm Sandy.

See the photo gallery.


Midwood’s P.S 193 Gil Hodges School once had an award-winning music program, but budget cuts have scaled back their capabilities. That’s why school music advocates at organizing the Spring Music and Family Fest, a fundraising musical showcase to restore the program to its former glory.

The school has lined up as many as 20 accomplished musicians and performers, including a handful of school alumni, set to rock P.S. 193′s 2515 Avenue L auditorium this Saturday, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Genres range from hip-hop to opera, and features well-known performers like Yah Supreme and The Lords of Liechtenstein.

The school’s music program was once thriving, with the students winning awards in the Riverside Symphony Music Memory competition and elsewhere, and a choral teacher who wrote original scores for the end of the year school musicals. The school hopes to close a budget gap created by September 2012 budget cuts.

It’s not just music on tap for the night; the event will feature activities such as free face painting and a raffle with prizes from local businesses such as a gift card from Tête-à-Tête Café.

Purchasing the tickets online cost $12 per ticket with a V.I.P package available when four tickets are bought. Tickets at the door will cost more.

The school’s music teacher, Nonie Schuster, wrote in an essay the school posted on their site, “As music teachers, if we can instill a love and appreciation of music in our students, we’ll give them a gift that will nourish and sustain them throughout their lives.”

Check out the school’s site to learn more.

The music of cellos, harpsichords, flutes and clarinets will soon fill Good Shepherd Church as the Homecrest house of worship gets ready to hold its annual concert series.

Every Sunday, from October 7 through December 16, New Yorkers are invited to enjoy recitals by some of the best classical musicians in the world – for free.

This year’s series features clarinetist Tom Piercy, mandolin player Joe Brent, classical guitarist Dan Lippel and acclaimed ensembles like Brooklyn Baroque and Duo Cantabile, among others.

“I wanted to give conservatoire musicians a place to play in beautiful acoustics like these,” said Michael Fontana, the church’s music director for the past 20 years. “It’s really a great venue.”

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Source: AVRO via Wikimedia Commons

Multi-Grammy winning musician, children’s storybook author and former Brighton Beach resident Neil Sedaka has never forgotten his roots. With his second children’s book, Dinosaur Pet, Sedaka employs his family to help him tell the story.

The book is co-written by Sedaka and his son, Marc. It also comes with a CD of songs recorded by Sedaka and his three grandchildren.

His creative work has become a family affair.  This is no surprise to Sedaka, who states that his childhood greatly shaped him as an artist.

Sedaka lived in a two-bedroom apartment with several generations of his immediate family. He said that the apartment was “filled with 10 other people: my mother, father, my grandparents, my older sister Ronnie and my five aunts. To say this experience shaped me as an artist would be an understatement.”

As for his adult life, he was never far from the ones he loved. He lived across the street from his parents and took his children on the road with him whenever he went on tour.

“My son Marc used to introduce me at concerts; most notably at my comeback show at The Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1974. My daughter Dara and I scored one of the few father and daughter-hit singles with ‘Should’ve Never Let You Go’ in 1980,” he said. It all draws on his experiences growing up in a tight-knit family in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

Sedaka’s colorful childhood in Brighton Beach filled with his close-knit family left an indelible mark on the man as an artist. Now, he’s glad to pass that on to his own family.

“I’m very proud attending their art shows and their recitals. Sitting in the audience, surrounded by all the other doting grandparents, I’m no longer singer or songwriter Neil Sedaka. I’m just ‘Papa Neil.’ And that’s when I’m the happiest,” he said.

The banderia, a traditional Filipino instrument. (Source:

Traditional Filipino music is alive and well in Brooklyn, provided long-term care by a duo of Marine Park nurses working at Beth Israel Brooklyn Hospital at 3201 Kings Highway.

Maria Bella Soriano-Locsin and Ruth Manligoy formed the Filipino Arts and Music Ensemble (FAME) in 2003 and recruited family members to take part in the rondalla – which is a group of musicians playing stringed instruments. For that, the pair and their work were profiled by the Daily News.

The group took off in Brooklyn’s Filipino community and has grown to include more than 60 musicians and dancers who meet weekly for practice sessions at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, at 1315 East 28th Street in Midwood.

“The Friday sessions have become a family thing,” Manligoy said. “Everyone brings food and we eat together. Family is very important in our community.”

Soriano-Locsin and Manligoy came to Brooklyn after being recruited by officials from Beth Israel Medical Center (then known as Kings Highway Hospital). They joined a Queens-based Filipino music group, and realized the younger generation of Filipinos in New York were not exposed to traditional music.

“The old people may still be playing traditional music in the Philippines, but the young people are not hearing it. We saw it was important because this music, even in the Philippines, is a dying art form,” Manligoy told the paper. “Once we played for a Filipino dignitary who said he has only heard a rondalla in New York City.”

The group has branched out not only across the five boroughs but to places like Boston and Connecticut, performing traditional Filipino songs as well as modern music, including their own Lady Gaga/Katy Perry medley. Soriano-Locsin’s husband, a patient-escort at Beth Israel, serves as choreographer. Though the group has expanded, the emphasis remains on family. At least half of the group’s members are children of Beth Israel employees.

“By starting FAME, our children and Filipino children in this country have started to learn about their heritage,” Manligoy said. “So we can safeguard this part of our culture and preserve it here, in this country.”

To book a performance or donate to the group, see the website,


File:Adam Yauch 2.jpg

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s impossible for teachers to know which of their students over the years will go on and do great things, but sometimes a teenager’s character stands out so strongly they make an impression.

Such was the case with Adam Yauch, also known as MCA of the legendary Beastie Boys. Yauch was a Murrow High School student (1600 Avenue L) – a quiet one, at that – but he made a lasting impression with at least one instructor.

Judith List taught English at Murrow from 1978 to 2007. Yauch was in her class, and upon hearing of his death last week, she broke out into tears.

Thirty years after seeing him last, List penned a recollection of her time with Yauch for Murrow’s website, inspired by MCA’s lesson to her about all students. “We can never know which of our students will bring about the next revolution or create the next new idea and inspire a generation,” she wrote. “Therefore we must passionately believe that every student will surely be the next one to move us all forward and bring us that unwavering message of hope.”

In the piece, she remembers Yauch as a sweet, quiet boy – not the best student, she says, but a very human one.

Adam was my student in Writer’s Workshop. I can still remember where he sat, near the window in the front of the class in 210A. He was thin and so his jeans and sweaters always seemed big on him. That year Adam seemed to grow much taller, and his face became more masculine and less of a boy’s face. He was quiet and unassuming, but always a presence in the class. Was he an angel and an ideal student? No. But then, I never did favor those angelic types!! But I’ll tell you what he was: Adam Yauch was a regular kid, who sometimes needed to be pushed to do his homework—but not always, and sometimes came late—but not often, and who ultimately worked and learned some stuff about reading and writing in my class. He liked his fellow students, he enjoyed a good laugh, and he had depth and humanity, even then. When we discussed biographies for book reports, Adam read and wrote about Tony Hawk, the superstar skateboarder. Thirty years later I still remember it for its unbridled admiration of Hawk’s talents, and for his respect for Hawk’s philanthropy and good character. It never surprised me that Adam himself became a man of prodigious talent and who was concerned with people and philanthropy.

Often Adam and I would ride the subway together, as we lived on the same Brooklyn street. On those rides home from school, he spoke about his band and the gigs they were starting to get. One day he excitedly told me that his band would soon be getting a record contract. I really liked this kid, and so I cautioned him about not being too disappointed if it didn’t work out, and that he sure had plenty of time to find success. Oh boy, was I wrong! Adam and the Beastie Boys became, well… you know how great and influential they were.

… I still see Adam’s sweet face in the classroom, at the age of 16 or so, writing from the heart whenever possible.

Read the full piece.

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