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Robert Miller And The Summer Of Love 2020

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G.H. HARDING

Erstwhile leader and superb-bassist of Project Grand Slam, Robert Miller will issue his first-ever solo album in January entitled Summer Of Love 2020. Recorded during the pandemic, we exclusively spoke to Robert via ZOOM about the new work:

Robert Miller album work Stockbridge amd Lenox MAC

Q: Tell us about Summer Of Love (2020) the new album; your first solo album, correct?

A: Summer Of Love (2020) started out to be a new Project Grand Slam album. I began writing songs last spring in the midst of the pandemic. But I quickly realized that the songs were very personal, and I felt that I needed to sing them. So, the album morphed into a Robert Miller album and it happens to be my debut solo album although I utilized most of my PGS band mates.

Summer was recorded completely differently: track by track and remotely due to the pandemic. Of course, it was impossible to all go into the studio together, and anyway my musicians were scattered around the country. But recording like this was very old school. 

I began recording the songs on my iPhone! I had no home recording studio. So, I would record a guide track for each song on the phone and then email it to my engineer, who miraculously would bring the sound up to release quality. We next added drums and then I asked each of my other musicians to record their part and email it back. We slowly assembled each song like a Frankenstein! We then edited all the ingredients together.

Q: “Aches And Pains”, the first single, has a great hook reminiscent of early Creedence Clearwater Revival, right?

A: You bet! It’s got that swampy, Creedence kind of feel to it that I just love, mainly courtesy of my terrific guitarist, Tristan Clark, who somehow channeled his inner John Fogarty.

By the way, the song has a double meaning. It’s about the aches and pains we all have. But it’s also about the aches and pains of the pandemic. I released it as an advance single from the album and it’s getting a great response from listeners. 

Q:  While in lockdown, what else were you up to?

A: Luckily, we recorded and finished the most recent PGS album, East Side Sessions, just before the world closed down. And it received great reviews. We’re fortunate to have a group of professional music reviewers who have followed PGS through all of our albums. They know my music almost better than I do by now. And they’ve consistently boosted me and the band.

After the pandemic hit, like all musicians, all of our upcoming performances were canceled. These included festivals and a European tour. So, we couldn’t play live.  But the one thing we could do was to make videos of songs from the new album, and we did four. 

The first, “It Is A Miracle To Me”, is an upbeat, joyous song that I felt was a kind of a musical antidote to the virus. The second, “I’m Falling Off Of The World”, is an upbeat but lyrically darker song about how all the troubles in the world affect us. Both videos were remote performance videos. Both did well. “Falling” has over 350,000 YouTube views as of recently.

The next video, “The Pardners”, is my Cowboy jazz song. I grew up watching Westerns on TV and this song has that western vibe and all the sound effects: gun shots, horses, whips. The song is about two outlaw partners, one cheats the other, and then the cheated partner exacts revenge. For the video we somehow located a 1968 Italian spaghetti western movie that shockingly fit perfectly with the song. 

Last, we did an animated video for “I Wanna Be Your Girl”, my version of an early Beatles song, “I Wanna Be Your Man” (sung by Ringo). Every album I take an iconic ‘60s song and re imagine it in the PGS style. I’ve done that with Hendrix, Cream, The Who and The Kinks. For the video we threw in a bunch of “Yellow Submarine” references. People loved it.

Q:  Project Grand Slam was always working; here and in Europe … do you think that will all resume in time?

A: At some point we will perform live again. I’m hoping by next summer. Fingers crossed.

Q: I came down to see a performance at The Groove in NYC and the band just had a great groove (!!!) playing that night. You must feel that onstage there?

A: The band is tight as can be. We have a great lineup including a wonderful female singer named Marilyn Castillo. Plus guitar, bass, drums, perc, and two keys. I love performing with the band. They’re all great musicians and we constantly reach new heights. It’s magical.

The Groove in Greenwich Village is kind of like our home court. It’s small, intimate, has a great sound, and the crowd there loves us. I look forward to playing there again. I also look forward to performing at festivals and major venues again – both in the U.S. and abroad.

Q: Of all the acts you’ve opened for, who was the most interesting … and, why?

A: When we started out we opened for a number of artists: Edgar Winter, Blues Traveler, Boney James, Scott Weiland and Mindi Abair. We also did an after-show for YES. 

Being an opening act is very challenging. The audience is there to see the headliner. They have no idea who or what the opening act is. You’re basically borrowing the headliner’s audience for about 30 minutes, and you have to try and win them over. I’m pleased to say that in every instance we got a standing ovation from the audience, and they even came out to meet and greet us and buy our CDs in the lobby between shows. 

All the artists we opened for are great. I could never choose one over the others!

Q: Which was your favorite festival?

A: We’ve played a number of festivals in the U.S., including in Alabama, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Michigan, and also abroad. 

They were all great, but my favorite so far is the Nisville Jazz Festival in Serbia which we played in 2018. Picture a medieval castle setting, and 10,000+ screaming fans who barely spoke English. And we got a standing ovation. It just doesn’t get any better. Plus, we got an excellent live recording too from them which we turned into our album Greetings From Serbia. Nisville was one of the festivals that we were scheduled to play in 2020 but of course it was canceled.

Q:  I’ve got to say, the title of the album is so positive … especially in this horrendous year! Care to comment?

A: The pandemic defined Summer Of Love (2020). All the songs I wrote either speak to the pain and confusion of the pandemic, or are about love. It’s my belief that love (and a vaccine) are what will get us through this terrible time.

I called it Summer Of Love because the vibe of the album is like an updated version of the peace and love which came to signify the original summer of love in 1967. And people get it.

Q: What’s the release date of Summer Of Love (2020)

A: The release date for the album is January 29, 2021. This gives us enough time to release a few singles from the album so people can familiarize themselves with it. We’ve released two singles so far, “Aches And Pains” and “You Can’t Tell The Truth”. We will probably release one or two more. Plus, we put together a one-minute promo reel that provides snippets of all the songs. Here’s the link: 

Q: How can people learn more about you and Project Grand Slam, and buy Summer Of Love?

A: Just go to our website, www.projectgrandslam.com, which is the mothership for all things PGS. And if you become a subscriber to our Newsletter you will get a free digital album as a token of our appreciation. You can listen to Summer Of Love (2020) and pre-order the album at our store, www.thePGSstore.com. Of course, you can also listen to and pick up all our other music and merchandise there.

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

TRUMPED AT CANNES — What with Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and Kevin Costner’s Horizon garnering most of the pre-Cannes ink, it turns out that The Apprentice; the so-called rise of Donald Trump, has become to must-see attraction there.

Sebastian Stan

Starring Sebastian Stan

Sebastian Stan

and Jeremy Strong -as Roy Cohn-  its received the most attention after its screening this week. Check out this up-to-date spot from The Hollywood Reporter:


The Trump camp has threatened a lawsuit over a somewhat graphic scene between Trump and Ivana in the movie. The filmmaker Ali Abbasi has said that while the lawsuits may fly fast and furious from the Trump-camp, their success rate should be re-examined. A pretty savvy response if you ask me.

MORE TREK — (Via Deadline) Oscar winner  Holly Hunter has been tapped to star in Paramount+’s upcoming series Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Hunter will play the captain and chancellor of Starfleet Academy in the series which will begin production later this summer.

Produced by CBS Studios, the series will follow the adventures of a new class of Starfleet cadets as they come of age in one of the most legendary places in the galaxy.

Per the logline: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy introduces viewers to a young group of cadets who come together to pursue a common dream of hope and optimism. Under the watchful and demanding eyes of their instructors, they discover what it takes to become Starfleet officers as they navigate blossoming friendships, explosive rivalries, first loves and a new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself.

As a Treker-from the 60’s, where the hell is the next proper Star Trek-movie with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto? They both were fantastic in my mind. Into Darkness was sensational? Weird for sure.

Michael Jackson and Ron Alexenburg

SHORT TAKES — Record-industry icon Ron Alexenburg is penning his autobiography to be called From The Warehouse To The Penthouse. Alexenburg, when he ran Epic Records, worked with everyone from Michael Jackson to Meat Loaf, Boston, The Beach Boys, and Charlie Daniels. Here’s a great interview with him:

Oddly, he doesn’t mention his Infinity Records opus, where I worked with him. The opening night party for the label was at the NY Public Library in NYC. It was an awesome event …

Speaking of books, Dave Mason’s Only You Know and I Know is finally out after a massive delay. I saw a video of him opening the first box. Apparently it is only available through his website. Good luck Dave …

We haven’t seen Kevin Costner’s Horizon yet, but a report from Roger Friedman (Showbiz 411), claims Costner doesn’t even appear in the movie for the first hour. Really? …

Christopher Reeve

Great Hamptons Film Festival exclusive by Roger Friedman. Check it out: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/21/hot-ticket-christopher-reeve-super-man-film-to-get-early-look-hamptons-screening-before-release-at-summerdocs … And, great spot on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on the new book from Michael McDonald with Paul Reiser (What A Fool Believes/DEY Street):

RIP Fred Roos.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Riley Keough; Edwyn Collins; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony Seidel; Jason Cooper; Bob Krasnow; Les Schwartz; Pete Sanders; Jeremy Long; Peter Shendell; Randy Alexander; Carson Daly; Pete Best; Cory Robbins; Bill Adler; Roy Trakin; Mark Bego; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Kent and Laura Denmark; and BELLA!

Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Events

Shoshana Bean Joins West End Superstar Bradley Jaden At Sony Hall

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West End Superstar Bradley Jaden will make his US debut on Monday June 3rd at Sony Hall along with the iconic, two time Tony Award and Grammy Award nominee Shoshana Bean, currently starring on Broadway in Alicia Keys hit musical Hell’s Kitchen, which is up for 13 Tony Award nominations.

Jaden, fresh from his acclaimed performance in Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends, at the Gielgud Theatre, will bring his own show Live In Concert to New York City for his US debut ahead of two sold out dates at Cadogan Hall in London. Later in the year he will embark on the Les Misérables Arena Spectacular World Tour recreating the role of ‘Javert’.

Bradley has starred in some of the West End’s most enduring productions including his unforgettable performance as ‘Javert’ in Les Misérables, Fiyero in Wicked and ‘Raoul’ in a new production of The Phantom of the Opera in Trieste, Italy. Other West End theatre credits include Shrek The Musical, Side Show in Concert and Treason The Musical.

Jaden will be recreating the role of ‘Javert’ in the Les Misérables Arena Spectacular which embarks on a World Tour from this September with a cast and orchestra of over 65. He will share the role with Michael Ball, playing opposite Killian Donnelly’s ‘Jean Valjean’.

He is not only one of musical theatre’s most successful leading men, but he’s also a star of the small screen, having seamlessly transitioned to the world of soap, taking roles in both EastEnders as Sonia Fowler’s flatmate ‘Jed’ and in Emmerdale where he played ‘Ben’.

Shoshana Bean

Shoshana Bean

Shoshana Bean can be seen starring in Alicia Keys’ new musical Hell’s Kitchen, which has received 13 Tony Nominations since opening on Broadway this spring. Her portrayal of ‘Jersey’ earned Shoshana her second Tony Award nomination for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical,” a Drama League

Award nomination in the “Distinguished Performance” category, and a Drama Desk nomination for “Outstanding Featured Performance.” Her performance in the Public Theater’s Hell’s Kitchen earned her a Lucille Lortel Award nomination in the “Outstanding Featured Performer in a Musical” category. In 2022, she received Tony and Grammy nominations for her starring role as Susan Young opposite Billy Crystal in Broadway’s Mr. Saturday Night. She previously starred on Broadway as the first replacement for Elphaba in Wicked and as Jenna in Waitress. Her six independent studio albums and EP’s have landed her on top of the iTunes and Billboard charts, including the peak position of #1 on the Billboard Jazz Chart. She has sold out concerts around the globe and lent her voice to countless films and television shows, including Sing, Sing 2, Enchanted, Jersey Boys, Glee and Galavant. Shoshana made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Hairspray, appeared Off-Broadway in the 2000 revival of Godspell, and in Songs for a New World at City Center Encores. She won an IRNE Award for her performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and earned a Jeff Award nomination for her portrayal of CeeCee Bloom in the pre-Broadway musical production of Beaches. She has appeared in Bloodline, Bill and Ted Face The Music, and recently filmed a solo concert special for PBS.

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TODAY Show Celebrates 30 Years With Its 2024 Citi Concert Series

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The TODAY Show is celebrating 30 years so its 2024 Citi Concert Series lineup is pretty spectacular. Rockefeller Plaza will have country music with Wallows kicking things off. Chris Stapleton, Lainey Wilson and Thomas Rhett, as well as fan favorites Meghan Trainor, LL COOL J and Chance the Rapper.

Mark Your calendars:

May

Friday, May 24 — Wallows *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, May 31 — Anitta *Register for a Fan Pass

June

Friday, June 7 — Meghan Trainor *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, June 21 — Kehlani *Register for a Fan Pass

Tuesday, June 25 — Lainey Wilson *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, June 28 — Gracie Abrams *Register for a Fan Pass

July

Thursday, July 4 — Bleachers *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, July 12 — Rauw Alejandro *Register for a Fan Pass

August

Friday, Aug. 9 — Maggie Rogers *Register for a Fan Pass

Monday, Aug. 12 — Little Big Town and Sugarland *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, Aug. 16 — Chance the Rapper *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, Aug. 23 — Thomas Rhett *Register for a Fan Pass

September

Friday, Sept. 27 — Chris Stapleton *Register for a Fan Pass

Date to be announced 

LL COOL J *Check back for Fan Passes

TODAY concerts are free and open to the public. The shows take place on the TODAY Plaza in Rockefeller Center, located at 48th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in New York City.

The closest subway stop to our TODAY Plaza concerts is the 47th — 50th Streets — Rockefeller Center station on the B, D, F, M trains. 24/7 parking is also available nearby at the Rockefeller Center Parking Garage at 53 West 48th Street. The garage is operated 24/7 and accepts reservations in advance. Hourly and daily parking rates apply.

Fan Passes are limited and available by advance request. Guests who receive them will be notified by email before the scheduled concert date.

Guests who do not obtain a Fan Pass can still attend the General Admission line the morning of the concert, and those fans will be let in if space allows. Other answers to commonly asked questions about the series can be found here.

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

RASCALS AT SONY HALL — The Rascals long-awaited return to NYC proved to be a sensational evening of music. Their 16-song set, backed up by a terrific band -including bassist John Billings from Micky Dolenz’s band- was rocking from the start with their “Do You Feel It” and “”Beautiful Morning.” Felix Cavaliere’s vibrant vocals were just a joy. Face it, for people of a certain age, we grew up with this voice … just magical.

Micky Dolenz

Their cover of the Jackie Wilson-chestnut “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) High” set the SRO crowd afire.

Felix then brought his daughter Aria out for two selections. Clearly, she’s inherited by father’s dynamic vocal prowess. She was just terrific and a nice surprise.

Cavaliere then brought out guitarist Gene Cornish who was just wonderful. Gene has had some health issues, but his presence brought the show to a magnificent high-point.

Oddly, there was no mention of the rumored “My Hawaii” from Cavaliere with vocals from Dolly Parton. He mentioned it in a recent interview with Medium, but was mum about it on last Monday’s WOR-interview with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. I hear that the release has been held up several times. Sad … can’t wait to hear it.

The show ended with their signature classics “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “People Got To Be Free” and Good Lovin’.” The Rascals’ music is ingrained and it was a joy to hear it once again. Truth be told, it sounded better than ever!

Seated in a corner booth by the stage was none other than Bill Murray – a huge fan. Great night sensational set. Also, there were Rascals-PR man David Salidor; Dan Zelinski; Billy Amendola; Magda Katz from Times Square Chronicles; and Susan Nuzzi Russo. Thanks to SONY Hall’s Peter Abraham for his assistance.

David Sanborn

DAVID SANBORN — We don’t usually re-print tributes, but this, from David Sanborn’s wife Alice Soyer was so heartfelt.  Take a read:

Dave, my love, my warrior, my soulmate, my unique bird, my everything. I cannot believe what I’m writing right now but what I know is that you changed my life, because of you I know what true love is, I had and have it all. I have it all. Although I’m going to miss you every single minute of my life, I know that the pain you were enduring was not right, those pains are now released and you are completely free. You are and will be in every note, in every breath, in every sound that touches the soul, in every sun beam, in every cloud, in every beat of my heart. Dave you are an inspiration. Your courage to be yourself, to reveal this true voice screaming from inside, oh my love you are a true warrior, a pure artist, an extraordinary being.I will honor you every step on the way, I will represent you, us. I love you madly.

Dave forever

Don Grolnick

SHORT TAKES — First off, I left off one very important member when I referenced The Brecker Brothers last time: keyboardist-genius Don Grolnick: terrifically talented and much-missed …

George Harrison

One of the best parts of watching Let It Be(again!) was seeing John & Yoko dancing to George Harrison’s stunningly-beautiful “I Me Mine.” Awesome…  From Roger Friedman’s SHOWBIZ 411:Barbra Streisand just released a new a beautiful new single called “Love Will Survive,” for the closing credits of the upcoming series “The Tattooist of Auschwitz.” It’s maybe Streisand’s best new vocal in years thanks to producers Walter Afanasieff (Mariah Carey’s classics) and Peter Asher (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor classics). So now I’m told Streisand has booked the producing duo for her next album of duets. Barbra has a couple of these under her belt over her six decade career. But this one sounds like a powerhouse … Great interview with Micky Dolenz in advance of his Surf Ballroom show Friday in Clear Lake, Iowa: https://littlevillagemag.com/monkee-micky-dolenz-surf-ballroom/?fbclid=IwAR2jXAYYYCJ_19ovY4yT8DU8OfdaTU-GYdYhXahF-rvYj3yERRW_K5MmgrI

Francis Ford Coppola

With this year’s Cannes  Film Festival underway, the first big movie screened was Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and it generated some of the craziest reviews I’ve ever seen.

Mostly positive. Coppola’s a genius, so you know to expect the unexpected. I think my favorite was from the UK’s Daily Telegraph which gave the movie four stars, saying, “Coppola’s latest is like Succession crossed with Batman Forever and a lava lamp… Aubrey Plaza is fantastic in this full-body sensory bath movie which follows a struggle for power among the elites of New Rome.” Me? I can’t wait to see it. The guy’s a bloody genius … 17-year-old wunderkind Kjersti Long -co writer of Vanessa Williams’ current return to music “Legs (Keep Dancing)”- heads to NYC for the Tribeca Festival in 2 weeks … And Apple TV’s Sugar -with Colin Farrell- ended its run. The first few episodes were great; very LA Confidential, but then, it turned into a sci-fi adventure. Odd? You bet. The ending left room for a second season, but I highly doubt it. Farell was great, but the topsy-turvy plot twist was brutal.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — August Darnell; Coati Mundi; Jeff Vogel; Kent Kotal; Bruce Grakal; Ringo Starr; Danny Fried; China Club; Tony King; Peter Brown; Mark Bego; Kent & Laura Denmark Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Peter Lubin; Steve Plotnicki; Profile Records; Joe Cocker; Lush Ice; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; and BELLA!

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Rockers On The Rise With Love

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A special celebration titled Rockers On The Rise With Love took place on Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 6 p.m. at The Cutting Room, featuring some of the most talented young performers of the next generation.

Rockers on the Rise that includes-Sylvia Smith, Nick Allen, Audrey Simone Winters, Gus Schonfeld, Avery Rehl, Melanie Correa, Claudia Fabella, GG Roberts-Nguyen, Jackson Pressier, Reese Rehl, Isabelle Gottfried, Matteo Russo and Tyson Gottfried

The performers included the graduating high school seniors, class of 2024

Isabelle Gottfried

Isabelle Gottfried

 

Avery Rehl

Avery Rehl

Matteo Russo

Matteo Russo (The Many Saints Of Newark)

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia Smith; and other young rockers

Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Claudia Fabella and her mother

Claudia Fabella

GG Roberts-Nguyen

GG Roberts-Nguyen

Tyson Gottfried

Tyson Gottfried

Jackson Pressier

Jackson Preisser

Gus Schonfeld

Gus Schonfeld

Jurnee Swan

Jurnee Swan (The Piano Lesson)

Audrey Simone Winters

Audrey Simone Winters (The Sound Of Music (tour).

Donnie Kehr and Cori Gardner join with Sylvia Smith, Avery Rehl, Isabelle Gottfried and Matteo Russo

Reese Rehl, Scott Rehl and Avery Rehl

The Band-Gerard Canonico, Gary Bristol, Logan Medland and Steve Gibb

Donnie Kehr and Jeremey Schonfeld with the band Gerard Canonico, Gary Bristol, Logan Medland and Steve Gibb

The creative team was led by director Kehr; Executive Producer Cori Gardner; with music direction by Logan Medland (A Bronx Tale)

Reese Rehl and Avery Rehl

and with student executive producing by Avery Rehl, The band includes Gerard Canonico on drums (Almost Famous), Gary Bristol on bass (Glory Days), and Steve Gibb on guitar (Jersey Boys)

Gus Schonfeld and Jeremy Schonfeld

Special guest Jeremy Schonfeld (Drift) will join a special performance with his daughter Gus.

Claudia Fabella

Isabelle Gottfried, Avery Rehl, Sylvia Smith and Matteo Russo

Avery Rehl

Reese Rehl

Gus Schonfeld\

Jackson Preisser

GG Roberts-Nguyen

Isabelle Gottfried

Nick Allen

Matteo Russo and Sylvia Smith

Jackson Preisser

Jurnee Swan

Jurnee Swan

Avery Rehl and Donnie Kehr

Donnie Kehr

Nick Allen

The entire cast that includes-Isabelle Gottfried, Avery Rehl, Matteo Russo, Sylvia Smith, Nick Allen, Melanie Correa, Claudia Fabella, GG Roberts-Nguyen, Tyson Gottfried, Jackson Preisser, Reese Rehl, Gus Schonfeld, Jurnee Swan and Audrey Simone Winters

The entire cast that includes-Isabelle Gottfried, Avery Rehl, Matteo Russo, Sylvia Smith, Nick Allen, Melanie Correa, Claudia Fabella, GG Roberts-Nguyen, Tyson Gottfried, Jackson Preisser, Reese Rehl, Gus Schonfeld, Jurnee Swan and Audrey Simone Winters

Rockers On The Rise is The PATH Fund’s new mentorship initiative that enables young artists to audition, perform, direct and produce their own shows. With personalized mentoring and hands-on training to gain real-world experience, this new initiative builds tomorrow’s audience today.

Melanie Correa

 

Gus Schonfeld and Alexandra Schonfeld

Matt Lange and Avery Rehl

Reese Rehl

Jackson Pressier and Reese Rehl

 

 

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