Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Update On “Is Anybody Listening?”

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Jenny Burton and Cast – “The Times They Are A’ Changin'”

The news is most positive. As of January 15, 2017 the video editing and remix of the show are now complete and ready for webcast production. I worked with Pamela Radat of J6 MediaWorks digital film and video production in New York who did a masterful job with the two show/ five camera shoot that we filmed last October.

The work was most stimulating and rewarding and we’re all very happy with the result. Simultaneous to Pamela’s editing process, I took the multi-track files that we had recorded during both shows and remixed the entire show for webcast production. Both shows were shot in Hi Def and capture the sound, look and feel of the exciting and standing ovation shows.

Those of you who gave and gave to this production will be happy to see your generosity come to such fruitage.

Julia Wade – “A Still Small Voice”

Now we move on to the next iteration of “Is Anybody Listening?” with much anticipation. In March of 2017 we will begin the webcasting to various interested parties around the world. We’ll have a special evening for all of our past donors, several church presentations here in the U.S., and cap it all off with a series of webcast cyber parties direct from the Sheen Center in NYC to raise investment monies towards a long run in the late spring.

We’ve gone back to the drawing boards, having learned a great deal about our show this past fall in its 4 concerts presented in NYC. Since this entire endeavor is running the cutting edge of a new technology, our initial timeline has changed, and, in fact, lengthened so that we could present the concept in as professional way as possible. We’ll be doing some re-casting, further staffing and actually adding several new songs to the show as well.

Here’s a little teaser as to the look and feel of the show.

Link to YouTube Audition Video of the Opening Song Here.

Many of you have been such a vital part of this with your generous giving and support, and in these most interesting times, we have learned that this show has a very necessary place in our changing world. It’s a right idea in its time. The theater critics concur:

“There is a perfect storm going on over at the Sheen Center, and you are going to want to be totally immersed in the experience.

 “To call IS ANYBODY LISTENING? a concert is doing it a disservice. It’s a bone-chilling soul-searching arousal of humanity and its ability to survive and thrive. EVERYBODY should be listening. One more show – go, go, go!” 

~Laurie Lawson – Electronic Link Journey

IAL Funder Letter #2

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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Dear Friend,

Once again I ask, “Is Anybody Listening?”

If you are, read on.

So now to the question, “Why are we doing this? To what purpose?”

We are doing this to enlighten. We can all change the world by bringing awareness first, and then healing. And music is the medium of communication. Music, a language of Spirit, is a most wondrous medium.

“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” ~Martin Luther

Is music powerful enough to move mankind to a spiritual basis? If it is not, what language is? For music is a universal language.

Using music as the great communicator is powerful, but not enough. One must also have content. One must also have the answers to the problems. Those answers, we believe, are found not in material solutions, but spiritual.

Love is the answer.

Let’s look at terrorism as an example.

Evil cannot be solved through material means. Unfortunately, that’s the way the world tries to solve the issues we all face. But as we look around us, we see pretty clearly that that’s not working.

Well, there’s simply a better way to go about this.

Love is the answer.

And if you lose your faith in man

And find your life in disarray

And question how it all began

And why you went astray

And looking back you wonder

If you had only worked from love

And left regrets to yesterday

And let love find the way

 

Where would you be today?

In a quiet space

In a holy place

If you only had worked from love

And let love find the way

 

Then heart to heart and eye to eye

The bond between becomes restored

And all is well in one accord

When you let love find the way

Lyrics from 1st Act Closer, Is Anybody Listening?

 

Only by becoming more conscious of our spirituality will we triumph over the world’s evils. This is what must be learned and demonstrated by all mankind.

How do we convince them (and ourselves) of this? In the same way we teach children — by setting a great example and communicating the truths of existence in a clear and loving way.

Love is the message. Music is the messenger.

Thanks for listening,

Peter Link

PS – Interested in supporting this project?

 Donate Now:

http://watchfiremusic.com/wfm/is-anybody-listening/donate-now/

Visit the web page:

Is Anybody Listening

 

Interview With Mezzo-soprano Isola Jones

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

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Guest Blogger, Amy Duncan


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American mezzo-soprano Isola Jones is a highly acclaimed opera singer who sang at the Metropolitan Opera for 16 seasons (over 500 performances) and has sung with many opera companies throughout the U.S. and abroad. Isola was born in Chicago, and her striking looks reveal her ancestry—African American, Native American (Cherokee) and European.

Isola Jones is best known for her portrayal of Carmen, her signature role, however she also collaborated with James DeMars and wrote an aria for an opera written for her: “Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Roses.” She is an adjunct faculty member at South Mountain Community College, where she shares her gifts with her students. She has earned her Masters and is now pursuing her DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) from Arizona State University.

Isola recently participated in a recording for Watchfire Music—a collaboration with pianist/composer/arranger and WFM recording artist Deborah Offenhauser, in Deborah’s debut as an orchestra arranger and her first time recording with a vocalist. The album, “Child of God,” illustrates the Creator’s loving embrace for his children, and is the result of several years’ work by Deborah in writing the music and lyrics.

 

INTERVIEW by Amy Duncan, Guest Blogger — “Tending The Fire”

First of all, I know you’re working on your Doctorate Degree. I would love to hear about that and what made you decide to undertake this at this particular time in your life.

I don’t plan to retire anytime soon and I love the academic environment. Earning a terminal degree (Doctor of Musical Arts) provides me with the necessary credentials to control my future. I received an Honorary Doctorate twenty years ago from Providence College in Rhode Island, but an earned doctorate is the Holy Grail in education.

Second: Tell me a little about the new CD and your experience working with Deborah’s music.

I’ve known Debbie for over twenty years, and when she asked me to

record her music, I was happy to be a part of the project. She was gracious in allowing me to make some changes in the vocal line that better suited my style of singing.

How would you describe your style of singing?

In 1975, I auditioned for Leonard Bernstein who was casting his newest musical, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He was amazing and charming and I will quote exactly what he said to me: ” You belong in an opera house.”

Tell me about when you first started singing and when and how you realized it was your calling.

 I suppose I’ve always known that I wanted to sing. It wasn’t until I heard Leontyne Price sing on “The Voice of Firestone” television program in the ’60’s that I decided that the opera was my passion (I was eleven years old). Leontyne Price possesses the most beautiful voice on earth!!

Fourteen years later, when I was the mezzo-soprano understudy with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Georg Solti who was conducting the Verdi Requiem (a major orchestral piece with orchestra, chorus and four soloists), I was called in to sing the final dress rehearsal because the guest artist (mezzo) was sick!

When I arrived at Orchestra Hall I was introduced to the other soloists and we began the rehearsal: on my right, Leontyne Price, on my left Luciano Pavarotti and on his left was Welsh bass, Gwynne Howell.

My career began that day! Solti offered me the role and the recording of the part of Mary in the Wagner opera “The Flying Dutchman.” Decca London Records contacted me about performances and a recording of the Gershwin opera “Porgy and Bess” in Cleveland with Lorin Maazel conducting. “Porgy and Bess” won the Grammy that year for Best Opera Recording.

 You’ve had a broad and varied career in opera. Has this been your only love, or have you sung (or wanted to sing) other genres?

 I appreciate all kinds of music, regardless of genre, but I, however prefer to sing classical music because of its supreme beauty and its power to transform both performer and audience.

 Are you happy with the way your career has developed, or is there something else you have wished for or still wish for?

 I love my life and I’m doing what I love to do! I’m singing, teaching and will graduate on May 9, 2016 with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

How do you feel about the future of opera, considering the financial challenges many of the arts are facing today?

I believe the answer is in marketing the product (opera) correctly.

I teach in South Phoenix where the musical culture gravitates to hip-hop, rap and mariachi music. For the past eight years I have given classical recitals to raise money for South Mountain Community College’s annual Stars Concert: music scholarship fundraiser.

Five of those eight years, I’ve sung with my students: solo arias, duets and ensembles. In September we performed the opera “Carmen” to a packed house! We posted notices on social media websites and we had gorgeous posters to distribute.

This is all to say that those who work in public relations need to use their imagination and present a compelling reason for the public to come to the theater. If Madonna can be famous, anything is possible!

Do you have any advice for young opera singers just starting out?

 Young singers need to simply sing well! And what does that mean? It means that they need to know and understand the science of singing in order to have excellence and longevity as the voice matures.

 

Phoenix Rising

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Note: The following is a compilation of several posts and some new updates intended for newer readers of this blog.  Much has been written about our new project, Goin’ Home.  If you’ve been following all along, you may find some redundancies here; however, if you’re somewhat new to the project, you’ll find here a summary of events and thoughts that will bring you somewhat up to date.

What if today you could go over to your neighborhood grocery, grab that cart and shop for anything your little ol’ heart desired, then, instead of getting into the checkout line, skip that and just head home with your groceries – steak, shrimp, Haagen Daz, throw in a little Kobe Beef, some chocolate truffles and perchance a tin or two of Almas Caviar.

When you got outside with your overflowing shopping cart, the police would be there, but would just look the other way as you passed by chuckling gleefully, licking your chops.

What a great idea!  Why don’t we do this?  Food should be free!  I think most of us would agree that life would be a lot easier if food were free.

Trouble is, after very little time, maybe the next time we went back to the supermarket, the aisles would be empty, the shelves bare.  “Hey, all the food is gone!” you might cry.  “Well, let’s go back to the farmers and get more,” the store manager would say.

So we’d go to the farmers and say, “Hey farmers, make more food!”  They would respond like this:  “Without getting paid, it’s just too hard.  Sorry, but there’s just no more food.  We’re gonna go do something else.”

Well, essentially that’s what just happened to the music business – except for one problem.  Of course the farmers equal the artists in this little analogy and the artists, who love to make music, are still saying, “Oh cool, you like my music? You actually want to listen to my music?  OK, I’ll give it to you for free!”

So it’s gonna take a little time before this situation is righted.  Give the starving artists a chance to really starve.   Then they won’t be able to make any more music no matter how much they love to do it.  Cuz we all gotta eat! (more…)

The Logic of Logic II

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Every once in a while I just have to stop and be grateful for and appreciate the incredible tools I get to work with creating Inspirational music here in the 21st century.  I’ve been working with a software system for about 15 years now that was first developed by a German company named Emagic in the early 1990s called Logic.  In 2002, Apple, seeing that Emagic’s Logic had probably the most powerful engine of the various DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) systems, bought Logic from Emagic and has produced this industry leading tool ever since.

Coupled with a hot Mac computer and a few other relatively inexpensive pieces of hardware, this software system has taken the place of the entire recording studio of yore amazingly for the price of $499.

For 25 years I owned a major recording studio here in NYC and operated 3 rooms for various recording spending, over time, a couple of million dollars on equipment to keep up with the times and keep the shop running.

Today all that has changed dramatically.  Today I record symphony orchestras in my son’s converted bedroom in my apartment.  Of course I’ve put some serious money into the acoustics of the room including an isolation booth that fits five, but essentially, I’ve got everything I ever had before and more, for infinitely less. (more…)

Looking Back on 2010

Friday, December 31st, 2010

It was a very good year for Watchfire Music, your Inspirational music company and on-line music store.  We are grateful to list the year’s accomplishments and positive growth below:

The creation of the Watchfire Music Collection – thematic compilation CDs featuring the best music of Watchfire Music artists.

Send To A Friend – Send the gift of music to a friend along with a personalized seasonal gift card.  It’s easy and quick!

Catch up on Sparks From The Fire – monthly fliers featuring the best of posts from the past month.  Easy to follow and comprehensive.

Accompaniment tracks from our DSM division for vocalists everywhere.

(more…)

Julia Wade/Every Day Interview

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Julia WadeJulia Wade is presently serving her sixth year as soloist of The Mother Church, the First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston, Ma.  We caught up with her recently following a recording session in New York City where she lives and is presently completing a new Inspirational CD.  She gladly took time out of her whirlwind schedule to meet with us and talk excitedly about her forthcoming album, Every Day.

1. Your new CD, Every Day, is due out for Christmas.  Word has it, it’s a bit of a change of direction for you.  Is that true, and if so, would you please explain?

Well, yes!  My producer, Peter Link, and I set out to broaden my reach — stretch the borders of the music I have been singing in these last 8 years or so.  I love singing sacred and inspirational music, but I also wanted to record songs that reach beyond strictly sacred music and deal with social and world issues as well.  The idea of this CD is to apply the sacred to all parts of our every day lives – both on a personal and a universal level. (more…)

Things To Come – Part 3

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Part 3 – As an artist:

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Perhaps this sub-heading needs further explanation before we start.  On the Watchfire Music website an artist is someone or some group that makes records (CDs, songs).  In this case I’m using the larger meaning of the word.  In my case I am an artist with several hats.  Stick around while I try them on. (more…)


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