Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

“Is Anybody Listening – Concert and Webcast” Premier

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

 Webcast World Premier

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Private Showing

Here’s a word or two (or 10) from those who listened to one of  the performances in NYC last fall.

“Your performance on Thursday night was extraordinary in every way.  Anita and I both concurred that, even for both of us who’ve experienced the consistent level of your artistry for so many years, IS ANYBODY LISTENING? was such an intense, emotional and inspirational evening.” ~Brent Nicholson Earle, New York City

“Peter, as I said to you as we were leaving, you have the unique song-writing skills to create powerhouse show stopping production numbers (like “Tear Down The House”) … poignant ballads (like “A Sill Small Voice”… which Julia sang lights-out!!!) … and give unique arrangements to old familiar tunes like “The Times They Are A’Changin’.” ~Bob Donnelly, Entertainment Attorney, NYC

“Julia, you were amazing last night. WOW! I had tears running down my cheeks with your last 2 songs. The contrast between the emotions you evoke juxtaposed with those evoked by Jenny was … words to describe are failing me at the moment — a whole new revelation! Thank you. Peter, accolades for all you created with your music.” ~ Dr. Barbara Keller, Merritt Island, FL

“You are a true artist, Jenny — a voice that is a gift from the Gods. You personalize every moment and make us take that spiritual journey with you. Thank you for allowing me to experience such work. Peter Link is a musical genius!” ~Charles Turner, New York City

Saturday, April 15, 2017 – 4:00 PM

First Church of Christ, Scientist, San Rafael, CA

Saturday, April 15, 2017 – 6:00 PM

First Church of Christ, Scientist, McAllen, TX

 

 

 

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

I Grew Grass

Friday, May 27th, 2016

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I grew grass! Well, I, personally, didn’t grow it. Rather I planted the seeds and watered it daily. Uhhh, actually, my neighbor, Bill, planted the seeds and put down the topsoil. But I did water it with my garden hose.

And miracle of all miracles, it grew!

I’m in awe of life and its amazing ability to create and re-create. We put these little skinny brown seeds in the dirt, scattered them around and covered them a bit and put on some other shiny green stuff on top of that so the birds wouldn’t eat the seeds. Then I watered it every day for a week … and nothing happened.

I didn’t really think it would. I mean, how could green stuff come from skinny brown stuff? It made no sense whatsoever.

But on the eighth day, lo’ and behold, little skinny green stuff began to emerge. And now, a week later, the little skinny green stuff has grown up to be … a lawn!

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Ya’ see, a tree in our front yard had died; the city came along and cut it down leaving a big patch of dirt. Ugly as sin! And we had just moved in! Something needed to be done!

And so neighbor, Bill, recommended GRASS!

Living in New York City two blocks from Times Square for 40 years simply did not prepare me for this. Life in the country is one miracle after another. What a trip!

Who invented this concept? Plant seeds, water, grass grows. What intelligence made this up? God? Mother Nature? Someone we haven’t even thought of yet?

It’s a mystery.

But oh so fascinating …

Yeah, I know, there’s a science behind all of this – Biology. I took a biology course once and it was explained to me, and I probably said, “Well OK, so that’s how it works”, but biology never explained the essence of the process. It explained the process, but we never got to the essence. Somehow it was overlooked.

Biology never explained Life.

Where did life come from? What did it look like? Where did it go when our tree died? Does it live in the dirt?

Seed + Water + Dirt + Life = Grass???

What a concept!

I once spent an afternoon getting to know a tree many years ago and had the same basic experience. I realized that the tree and I were essentially the same. What made us both was life. Life! We were each made of different stuff, but at the heart of each of us was life – essentially life. Without that life neither of us could possibly exist. And though we were each made of different stuff, what was the same in each of us was life.

You and I are each made of the same stuff, yet we are still very different. Perhaps we’re like me and the tree – different, but essentially the same. We both have life.

Maybe this is what’s meant by the Universal Truth that states, “We Are All One.” We are all one in life. We are all one in essence. We are all one in the miracle of this continuing energy.

Some of us are even different colors! If we miss the point, if we overlook the essence and fail to get down to the basic truth of who we really are and what really makes us up, if we fail to see this and miss the true concept, that’s called Racism.

If we’re really smart and in-depth thinkers and seers, we’ll simply know the truth and the truth shall make us free – free from racism.

This all came from growing grass.

You’ll have to excuse me now. I have to go water my lawn.

IAL Funder Letter #7

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Dear Friend,

Is Anybody Listening?

Who is our audience?

Audience-1-450

You are.

But it must go beyond you. We speak to the “spiritual, but not religious”, the independent spiritual seekers, the millions of other healers on the planet – those that sit on the neighboring edges of our particular healing nation.

We offer an ‘alternative’ approach to awareness and healing – or perhaps an ‘additional’ approach.

The power of church in many people’s lives is great. But what about the many people who don’t go to church? What jogs their thought to a more spiritual approach and to the spiritual solutions that WILL solve the problems of our world?

Our particular language is music and song. It’s a universal language that speaks to all. It entertains, educates and inspires. It’s a joyful enterprise.

Audience-3-450

Nobody has a corner on Truth. The Truth is simply available to all of us.

Learn More:

Is Anybody Listening

Participate Now:

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

 

Thanks for listening,

Peter Link

Casting In New York

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Casting-Call-waiting-room

For over thirty years I taught the Auditioning course at The Neighborhood Playhouse School Of The Theater here in NYC. At last count I have sat through over 20,000 auditions during my lifetime in show biz. That’s a lot of awkward moments and a few incredible ones.

Auditioning is an art of its own and very few people ever really get it down. First of all it comes replete with nerves. Normally when an entertainer finishes their moment it is met with applause. That’s the culture. But in an audition, when one is finished, it is only natural to be met with a number of critical eyes and at best, silence.

Even the very talented are very fortunate to be “accepted” one out of ten tries. Failure to get the job is the norm for even the best of talents. It’s a tough world.Casting Call 2

Sitting on the other side of the table, as I have done so for over 40 years, has been exciting, tough, boring, awkward and sometimes even painful, and I could regale you for hours with story after story of fascinating moments of human failure and success.

As much as I’ve done it, it never ceases to stimulate the old juices in me to yet again go down that road. Last week was no exception.

On Thursday I saw over 40 singers audition for 4 roles in Is Anybody Listening – Concert Theater and Webcast at the Sheen Center rehearsal rooms in NYC. This was not an open call where anybody could come in if they were patient enough to wait in line all day, but rather a call through a casting director who scheduled top talent through their New York agents..

Still, each singer had only 5-minutes time allotted them to come in, do their thing and knock us out.

Once again I was amazed at the energy of these special creatures – the Broadway kids, the recording artists, the studio singers, the church singers. They sang their 32 bars of an up tempo tune and (in some cases) another 32 bars of a ballad and we had a few words and then they were gone – back out into the streets, and on with their lives.

We called back the cream of the crop, about 15 of them, the following day and spent about 15 minutes with each working with them and finding out more about their vocal instrument, their acting ability within a song, their true sense of pitch, their innate sense of rhythm, their stage personalities, their charisma, their dedication, their ability to handle the curve ball, their ability to take direction, their vocal range, and probably most important, their ability to focus under fire and their grace at being a joy to work with.

audition-1024x768-300x225A lot to gather in 15 minutes, but hey, I’ve been doing this for 40 years, so repetition teaches one to watch for certain things very carefully in order to make the right judgment in the end.

My overall rule is this: The audition is a microcosm of the entire experience you will have with the talent. So if they’re 10 minutes late to the audition, you’ll end up firing them in rehearsal for being late all the time. If they’re a little bit pitchy in the audition, you’ll end up firing them at some point for singing off key. If they treat the pianist improperly because they’re nervous, they’ll make enemies in the cast. And if their nerves affect them a lot in the audition, then how good will they really be opening night when everything really counts in front of the NY critics?

Another thing I often do during callbacks is to, in some way in the course of the experience, throw them a curve. They say in baseball, “You’ll never make it to the majors if you can’t hit the curve ball.” The same holds true for show biz. Everyone is always trying to be on his or her best behavior in an audition. It’s only natural to want to put your best foot forward. But I want to find out how you’re going to act three weeks into rehearsal when everyone’s struggling to learn the lyrics, remember the choreography, sing the right part and absorb the daily changes constantly thrown at them.

So I throw a few curveballs – just to see how they might handle the unexpected.

In the end, after the last note has been sung and the holding room has cleared, we, the staff, sit around the table, spread their pictures out on the table before us and talk each person down with all our thoughts about how good they were, how graceful they were, and essentially if they were the right type for our show. There’s always someone who just knocks our socks off, but just doesn’t fit the type. These, for me, are the toughest to turn down because, well … I just love talent! When that person can really bring it, I don’t have to even think. The chills that run up and down my spine when they’re singing tell the tale. So after they do so well and prove themselves so solidly, it’s really tough to turn them down just because they might not “look” the part.

On those two days of casting, seeing 60-100 performances, we were very fortunate to have at least 20 chill moments. NYC is always full of exceptional talent. The streets just ooze with it. And I must say that those two days were better than a Broadway show! The talent is just amazing.

Irving_Berlin_Portrait

Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin & Oscar Hammerstein Casting

In the end we hired two. We’re still considering one of the others but waiting to decide based on a whole slew of things.

But the two we hired brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. The tears were tears of joy at the talent that poured from them. And I just keep thinking, “Wow! I get to work with them! I get to have them in my show.”

Now if we can just raise the rest of the money …

But that’s another story.

The Glorious Expansion Of An Idea

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016


Why does a light bulb symbolize an idea? Because it represents the expansion of light – the pouring in of light upon a particular subject.

And that’s exactly what is happening now with Is Anybody Listening? – Concert Theater and Webcast. The light around it is growing brighter every day.

It started out to be a piece of concert theater that explored the lost art of listening through music and song, but it has developed these past few months into a far wider and even potentially mammoth project that through both music, multimedia and live performance will explore the awareness, and subsequently the healing of the problems of the world around us.

Consider the power of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s We Are The World released in 1985 and unifying the world, raising millions for charities and going quadruple Platinum in a few short weeks.

Consider the impact of the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love to the Woodstock Nation of people uniting under the banner of Love and essentially standing up against the war in Viet Nam and working for peace.

Consider Peter, Paul and Mary’s If I Had A Hammer, Paul Simon’s Homeless, Joni Mitchel’s Parking Lot …

 The list goes on and on.

Music is a timeless connective that goes beyond language and culture and has the power to unify thought.

And so Is Anybody Listening? — more than any one thing — is about Awareness.

The first step of healing is always to identify the problem, the cause – not the result, but the mental cause of a problem. This is our intention here at Watchfire Music – to identify World Issues that need our attention – not through fear mongering headlines, but through positive value focus on awareness and healing. And while we’re at it, be highly entertaining.

Have you ever been healed by a song? Many have. Music is one of the most powerful tools of communication that we have to effect world thought.

So in June of 2016 we will first present the pilot performance of this endeavor, Is Anybody Listening? and then run it all summer as we develop it at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, New York’s newest arts center.

Our first act’s offerings will explore the World Issues of the universal quest for Truth, the dignity of women, racism, aging and dementia, dissolution and solution, and the present solution to it all, Love.

The second act will take one of the greatest problems we face in the future, that of Global Water Scarcity, and begin to investigate it in depth. Aptly named H2O, the concert and webcast uses nature’s cycle of water as a metaphor for mankind’s journey, his grappling with mortality and its multifarious meanings, and finally mankind’s eventual rise to a higher consciousness.

As water follows its natural cycle from sky to earth, to river to ocean, and back to the heavens, so man struggles in the same metaphorical cycle. “H2O” deals strongly with the world-wide problems with water today, its relationship to global warming, and correlates these issues with man’s moral responsibilities to the planet and its people.

The very same water

That is wetting your lips

May have flowed through the streets

Down in New Orleans

 

Or flowed down the cheeks

And spilled upon the piano keys

As the brilliant Tchaikovsky sat

And wrote his Pathétique.

 

Here on this rock

As we journey through time

We live by the grace of water

For it bears within its essence

This miracle of life

And infuses this life into the world

From “Water”, Music and Lyrics by Peter Link

Here on this planet, “Where there is no water, there is no life.” And yet life is everlasting, eternal. A higher consciousness will some day clarify this seeming contradiction and put an end to this fear of scarcity. This is the kind of awareness that we hope to bring to mankind. We are not governed by the laws of matter as it seems, but rather, ultimately, by the laws of Spirit and the Spiritual world that our Spiritual leaders have been revealing to us for centuries.

We hope to continue this exploration through music and lyrics, using the new and exciting tools of technology that are at our fingertips to communicate our findings.

We hope you will join us in this endeavor.

Contact:

Marivic Bay Mabanag

For funding opportunities and partnerships

Email: marivicmabanag@yahoo.com

Cell: 415.845.5004

Or

Peter Link

CEO & Creative Director

Watchfire Music

Email: peterlink@watchfiremusic.com

908.608.3189

IDEA

Update On “Is Anybody Listening?”

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

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The news is all good.

Our RocketHub crowd funding campaign succeeded on several different levels. Though we did not meet goal, we ended up with $15k plus that we did not have before we started. We not only paid the costs of the campaign, but also ended up with a substantial profit to move forward over the next few months.

We also learned many things about our constituency, our tribe. We learned what kinds of people cared about what we were doing and what kinds did not. We learned who our true fans were and we learned who is content to just watch. And we learned about the types of people that we will cater to and those who are simply just not that involved. This was hugely helpful.

Because of what we learned, we shifted the project and pointed it in the directions of interest. I’ve always said, “We serve you. Tell us what you want in the way of inspiration and inspirational music, and we’ll do our best to provide it.”

You spoke; we listened.

In meetings just recently Watchfire Music will now partner with the Sheen Center For Thought and Culture, NYC in producing a wide variety of inspirational music both as live events performed in and webcast from New York City, and also as a series of 20-minute video modules that can be repurposed for a myriad of events ranging from theatrical to corporate and from church to charity productions.

These modules will address a myriad of world problems, inspire in a most entertaining fashion with pertinent songs and arresting visuals, and tune the ear and eye to a better sense of listening to the heartbeat of the world around us.

“Is Anybody Listening?” will focus the imagination and attention of people around the world on the problems that we face and the solutions that are at our fingertips, and is a clarion call to the world to pay attention.

Our focus audience and clients:

Individuals Seeking Inspiration

Corporations

Fund Raising Benefits

Theatrical Presentations

Nonprofit Charitable Organizations

Church Groups

Here are just a few examples of the issues that the modules would address:

Water — Global Water Crisis

Healing Response to World Tragedy

The Intercession of Science and God in the Universe

Corporate Promotions and Public Opinion Issues

Shootings and Gun Control

Spiritual Awareness

Healing Depression

Terrorism

For those of you who donated, we are working now on fulfilling our obligations to you and clarifying your part in this endeavor over the next few weeks. Thank you and welcome to the fold.

We now have well over a hundred dedicated people working on this project. Our goal is to now add some zeros to that 100. We need each of you to reach out to others who share these interests and would like to help.

These monies and these ideas are just a start, but there is a strong professional foundation underlying this project that insures its success. Between the Sheen Center and Watchfire Music and other great professionals that we will attract, this project will move forward and through music will inspire the world to better listening and therefore better action and reaction.

Join us. It’s a most exciting road we travel.

All Will Be Well

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

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Margaret Imrie was the epitome of grace. She’s no longer with us on the planet, yet remains in her music. Her husband was a great friend and supporter of both me and my music back in the days of The Jenny Burton Experience. Together we produced the group and had a blast doing it. Gordon and Margaret (Peggy) lived in a brownstone up on West 74th street and raised 3 totally precocious boys who were all, at one time or another, in my Sunday School class.

I knew about Peggy’s grace as a woman long before I knew of her grace as a vocalist. In fact, her great voice came as a surprise to me years into our relationship because I only knew her as a mother and the breadwinner of the family.

I don’t remember when I first heard her sing – probably at one of the funky musical soirees that the entire Imrie family would put on occasionally with their antique player piano.

But once I heard her sing, I became her champion. She had a nine to five job at the time that was really a morning to midnight job and Gordo was Mr. Mom, so here was a voice that never had a chance to get the exposure that it deserved.

At the time I was the music chair of First Church, Christ Scientist in Manhattan. Since it was located only 3-4 blocks from the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center, the church had a history of most professional and powerhouse classical soloists. One could call it the home of some of the greatest vocalists ever to grace the platforms of that religion.

As music chair I led the selection of these vocalists. Peggy did not have that kind of powerhouse operatic voice. She had great chops, but not the paint-peeling-off-the-ceiling kind of volume that the congregation was used to. But Peggy understood the text and communicated the word of God far beyond the paint peelers. So I pushed for her to be the soloist. Finally, I put in a hidden mic at her soloist position and that took care of all the problems. People would remark, “Well Peggy, how your voice has grown!”

Because of her deep spiritual understanding and ability to communicate, she became an instant favorite in that church and held the position for many years.

She passed tragically, early in life.

Last year I got a call from Gordon announcing that he had over 400 cassette recordings of Peggy’s performances. Now we all know that cassettes were never the best quality of recording. In fact one could call them the low point of fidelity in the past 70 years.

“Couldn’t we somehow make an album with some of these recordings?” Gordon asked.

I answered, “Possible, but not probable … but it might be worth a listen.”

Gordon replied, “Good. Then I’ll send you all the recordings and you can listen and find what you think might work.”

I answered, “No my friend, you will go through them and find the best 30 and then I will pick from them.”

A mammoth job. But Gordo did it. That’s what love can do. Make it all possible.

The rest of the story is the result of additionally my work in restoration and the brilliant mastering work of my dear friend and accomplice, Phil Klum of Philip Klum Mastering, NYC.

This resulted in Peggy’s first CD, Margaret Imrie – Giving Voice, a beautiful CD of church solos.

“All Will Be Well”, the closing song on her album, is one of my favorite hymns of all time. It’s a beautiful ancient Welsh melody that is innately harmonizable. I’m one of those guys in church that loves to sing the harmonies every time we stand up to sing, so I’ve been working on that one now for about 50 years – and the new harmonic ideas keep coming.

Long story short: (or perhaps even longer) I had Phil bring forth Peggy’s voice on the old recording and make it louder than the piano, then orchestrated the stereo mix, and wrote a series of vocal harmonies for Julia that she added to Peggy’s original recording. If Natalie Cole can do it, so can I.

It worked. So the song is now on both albums – Peggy’s and Julia’s.

Peggy lives on and Julia holds her hand.

All Will Be Well
AR HYD Y NOS

Music: Ancient Welsh Melody
Lyrics: Mary Peters

Through the love of God our Saviour
All will be well
Free and changeless is His favor
All must be well
Precious is the Love that healed us
Perfect is the grace that sealed us
Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us
All, all is well
Though we pass through tribulation
All will be well
Ours is such a full salvation
All must be well
Happy still, in God confiding
Fruitful, when in Christ abiding
Holy, through the Spirit’s guiding
All, all is well
We expect a bright tomorrow
All will be well
Faith can sing through days of sorrow
All must be well
While His truth we are applying
And upon His love relying
God is every need supplying
All, all is well

 


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