2005-07-08 / Columnists

Notes from the High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Our first concert of the summer was the Klez Dispensers and they were wonderful. There is nothing like warm and lively music to stir the soul. Klezmer music was brought here from eastern Europe, most probably when many of our grandparents came sometime at the beginning of the 20th century. If you have ever been to a Jewish wedding, you have certainly heard Klezmer music and danced to it as well. It was a fun evening thanks to The Klez Dispensers.

This week the concert will feature Kenny Vance and The Planotones. Kenny lives right here in Rockaway and has been part of the rock ‘n roll scene from the age of fifteen. In those years Kenny would hang around the Brill Building at 1600 Broadway which was the mecca of songwriting. Just a little aside, my very first job in the entertainment industry was in a building that looked directly out to Broadway and at the Brill Building. It is really a coincidence and that old “six degrees of separation.” In any event, Kenny met some other young guys at the Brill Building and Jay and The Americans were born. Kenny and the boys recorded fifteen albums and toured extensively and were the opening act for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for each of their first U.S. performances.

After performing with Jay and The Americans for all of their eleven years, he set out on his own and developed an expansive career that includes producing, composing, scoring and soundtracks for many recordings and feature films. In working on the Alan Freed story, “American Hot Wax,” Kenny recreated the groups of the 50’s and 60’s, and The Planotones were formed. They gave their first performance in the film and it’s all history since then.

Since 1969, Kenny has worked on fifteen feature films either producing, supervising, scoring or providing original music. He has supervised or directed the music for many television shows including “Saturday Night Live,” performed with other artists and in addition, has acting credits in twelve films including Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Stardust Memories.”

Kenny Vance and The Planotones have performed at our Sunset Picnic Concerts before and each and every time they are a smashing success. So, if you love rock ‘n roll, please join us this Sunday, July 10th, at 6pm at Ft. Tilden for a great evening of music.

We hope you will stop by our table to say hello, pick up a program and become a member of the Rockaway Music & Arts Council. Your membership is what helps us continue with the concerts each summer. See you on Sunday.

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