2002-06-29 / Columnists

Notes From The High C’s

By Sharon Gabriel

Here we are at the beginning of another RMAC season. While last season ended on tragic notes last September and November, this new season is beginning bright and shiny. To begin, there was the RMAC/RTC opening night of "Lend Me A Tenor" followed by the Art Frenzy last weekend.

The RMAC participated both days of the Art Frenzy, and on Sunday we presented Agostino & Company who did storytelling and face painting. It was wonderful to watch and see how fast the work was done. The children were delighted and kept looking at themselves in the mirror. In addition, we had all types of creative materials available and the children used their imaginations to create the most beautiful picture frames, jewelry and assorted items. See the pictures with this column. Also stopping off to say hello at the RMAC tent were Borough President Helen Marshall, Queens Council on The Arts Director Hong Yee Krakauer and Councilman Joseph Addabbo.

On Sunday, June 30, at 6p.m., the RMAC will present the first of their summer Sunset Picnic Concerts. This year there will be an additional two concerts. Our first concert will star Oscar Brand, probably the preeminent folk singer in the country. Mr. Brand has performed several times at our Sunset Picnic and we are delighted to have him perform again. Mr. Brand, besides being a wonderful storyteller and singer, always mingles with the audience following the concert. Because of these special times, Mr. Brand will present a special "God Bless America" concert. Please join us at the Parade Grounds at Ft. Tilden to enjoy the concert and participate in the wonderful raffles, which have become a part of each concert.

The following Sunday, July 7 is one of our additional concerts. Starting at 6 p.m., a Celtic Celebration and Rockaway’s answer to "Riverdance." "Cherish The Ladies" is a group of Irish musicians who have been referred to as the female "Chieftains." Hailed by the New York Times as "passionate, tender and rambunctious," Cherish The Ladies "expands the annals of Irish music in America." The "Ladies" are Joanie Madden, founder of the group, Mary Rafferty, Mary Coogan, Dierdre Connolly, Donna Long and Marie Reilly.

The group was founded by Joanie Madden 14 years ago, and they have recorded eight albums. Their first recording "The Back Door’ was chosen as Best Folk Album of the Year by the Library of Congress. The "Ladies" have performed with some of the best-known folk-singers in the world; Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Joan Baez and The Clancy Brothers. In addition they have also appeared with The Boston Pops, a performance that earned them a Grammy nomination. Please join us in the park on July 7 for this wonderful group.

Rockaway’s own Legend of Rock ‘n Roll Kenny Vance and The Planetones will be with us on Sunday, July 14. Kenny and the "Tones" recently appeared in a wonderful film, "Looking For An Echo." Watch for our next column for more about Kenny Vance and The Planetones and our following concerts.

There is one person whose tireless efforts go into making each of our concerts so successful; John Musumeci. Without John there would be no concerts. He books almost all of the talent, oversees the soundman and makes sure the performers have whatever they need to have a successful concert. John begins preparing for the concerts in the early part of the winter talking to agents and managers to find out which artists will be available for our dates. The RMAC Board adds their two cents to the mix and we come up with our slate of performers, which we hope you will enjoy.

This Sunday, stop over at the RMAC tent to say hello and we hope you will become a member of the RMAC. Membership dues as well as grants from several organizations provide the funds to present our Summer Sunset Picnic Concerts. This year we would like to thank the following for their funding which helped us present the concerts; NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, JP Morgan Chase Bank, The National Park Service, The NY State Office of Parks and Recreation. HSBC Bank, Queens Council on the Arts, The Neponsit Property Owners Association, Sweet’N Low and The Marsicano Foundation.

See you in the park on June 30.

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