Friday, December 20, 2013

Michael Bolton Holiday and Hits with the Pittsburgh Symphony

Michael Bolton Holiday and Hits 

with the Pittsburgh Symphony

By Angel Hoffman
Roving Pittsburgher Reviewer and Michael Bolton Fan

The show opened with the very impressive Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. They played: "Flight to Neverland" from "Hook," Suite from "The Polar Express" and a medley of familiar Christmas Carols. What a symphonic treat for the audience.

Following intermission, Michael Bolton (Bolton) took the stage
with his very talented band! The crowd was eager to hear him sing and shouted, Pittsburgh loves you! Bolton was very comfortable with the audience and even invited the audience to take pictures during the concert. His voice was incomparable as he sang songs from various musical genres, including, "Said I Loved You…But I Lied." He is quite the entertainer!

Bolton showcased each of his band members: a female musician on trumpet, along with musicians playing saxophone, electric guitars, piano and drums. A female singer named, Kelly, sang with him on selected numbers. Michael started out singing familiar soft rock tunes and some classic Christmas carols. He delivered a powerful, yet gentle rendition of Irving Berlin’s, "White Christmas,"  but then he got the crowd going with "Sweet Home Chicago," which he said was one of his childhood favorites.

He also performed the aria, "Nessun Dorma," following a very tender tribute to his deceased friend, Luciano Pavarotti. The aria showcased his vocal range and the beauty of his voice. Bolton sang, "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough" from his new Motown album along with Kelly. The number one hit single which he wrote for Laura Brannigan, "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," was definitely one of the crowd favorites. However, the highlight of the evening was when he sang "When a Man Loves a Woman" and then the audience gave him a standing ovation! It was quite a night and Michael is as handsome as ever!

Angel Hoffman
Advanced Partners in Health Care Compliance, LLC
Phone: 412-559-6703

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Plaid Tidings Will Make You Jingle All the Way Home

Plaid Tidings Will Make You Jingle All the Way Home

by Dean Quinn

I recently attended the musical comedy called Plaid Tidings at the Pittsburgh Cabaret Theatre. This was my first experience at the Cabaret. It was an extreme pleasure that reminded me of old clubs such as the in movies like the Cotton Club and Goodfellas. There is a nice food menu provided by Meat and Potatoes with some interesting items. It also has a wide variety of drinks including a nice wine list. 

Plaid Tidings is about a musical group sent back to earth from heaven for a unknown purpose. As the performance begins, the
Brandon Lambert, Billy Hepfinger, Eric Longo and Quinn Shannon
group tries to determine what that purpose is for being there. Comical situations arise. For example, the pianist goes out for a
“union” smoke break in which she refuses to return to play for the group members until her break is over. One of the band members loses his glasses and says he cannot sing without them. Which sends him through the crowd singing which gives the crowd an uproar of laughter which adds to the continuous comedy throughout the entire show. 

Brandon Lambert, Billy Hepfinger, Eric Longo and Quinn Shannon
The musical is quite enjoyable because of the group's excellent voices. The silly choreography and facial expressions of the band members adds to the almost slapstick repertoire of the show. Eventually the group determines the reason they returned is to
perform a holiday show and get people in the spirit. Plaid Tidings is taken aback when they realize this. There is a flashback at this point of the show, in which they recall all of their performances and how they imagined making it big. As big as being on Ed Sullivan show performing for a large crowd. This scene was the most enjoyable for the older attendees who remembered watching Ed Sullivan on T.V.

This show certainly put me in the holiday spirit.  I would definitely would recommend this show to anyone who wants to laugh and jingle all the way home. You can still see "Plaid Tidings" at the Cabaret Theater through December 6, 2013


Dean Quinn is an independent associate of Lincoln Heritage Insurance, serving Pittsburgh and surrounding area. He specializes in providing funeral service benefits for individuals over 50. Contact Dean at:  412-623-9864 or

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Spain’s Gift to America

Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Spain’s Gift to America


EmpressofBiz…JoAnn R. Forrester

The Pittsburgh Symphony performance of Sheherezade on NOvember 8, 2013 was amazing!  I do not know many conductors names, and seldom if ever really glow over a conductor… But oh my, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos is an exceptional conductor who led the orchestra and featured guests to a brilliant performance. 

Arabella Steinbacher
The first part of the concert was devoted to the up and coming young artists and the Symphony No 6 "Symphony of Sorrows" and composed by Leonardo Balada. This piece was commissioned in 2005 by the Barcelona Symphony and National Orchestra of Catalonia to mark the seventieth anniversary of the start of the brutal Spanish Civil War…a miniature version of the World War II with all its devastation, sorrow and destruction.  It was a dramatic and haunting piece aptly presenting in music the horror and futility of war.

The second piece featured was concerto No 1 in D Major for violin and Orchestra Opus 19 composed by Sergei Prokofiev and featuring German violinist Arabella Steinbacher, one of today’s leading violinist on the international scene.   I enjoyed this piece greatly and especially enjoyed the rapport between Ms. Steinbacher and conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos.  His interaction with her was intense and weaved a magical circle of interaction between the two leading her to exceptional performance.   Quite enjoyable.

Maestro Frubeck
The second half was all Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and he led the PSO on a thrilling performance of "Scheherazade," Opus 35 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  I love the story of the Sultana Scheherazade weaving tales of adventure to amuse and outwit the fickle Sultan Shakira who had the practice of putting each of his wives to death after the wedding night.   Night after night Scheherazade weaves these wondrous tales and the PSO make them come alive under his exceptional direction.

The audience was enchanted as I was and gave him a standing ovation which lasted almost ten minutes.  If you ever have a chance to hear and see Maestro Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos conduct an orchestra…you must go… he is exceptional and how I wish could follow him around the world and just listen to his concerts.

Named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, other numerous honours and distinctions he has been awarded include the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Bundesverdienstkreutz of the Republic of Austria and Germany, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, Spain’s most important musical award, conferred in 1997 by the Queen of Spain.  In 1998 Rafael Fr├╝hbeck de Burgos received the appointment of "Emeritus Conductor" by the Spanish National Orchestra. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra in Spain.  Since 1975 he has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. 

Roving Pittsburgher Good News Reporter, JoAnn
Forrester is the Host of "Empress of Biz, Reinvent in Rugged Times," a business Talkcast syndicated on PPLMag, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network.  You can hear JoAnn and Business friends every Thursday at 9 AM on the TalkShoe network or archived later at:  Jo Ann has also been a regular business tip columnist at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ann Hampton Callaway, PNCPops, Streisand Songbook An Entertainment Delight

Ann Hampton Callaway 

The Streisand Songbook with the Pittsburgh Symphony 

PNC POPS in Concert… 

An Entertainment Delight!


Empress of biz…JoAnn R. Forrester

The Pittsburgh Symphony Pops and Ann Hampton Callaway is a musical treat for Streisand Devotees.

Barbara Streisand one of the great popular song stylists of the last half of the 20th century was property represented by Ann Hampton Callaway and the PSO.  Ms. Callaway is a singer, composer, lyricist, pianist and born entertainer with a strong stage presence.     Her admiration and association with Ms. Streisand gives her an unusual insight into the music and life of Barbra Streisand. Barbra has recorded two of songs that Ann has written, I’ve Dreamed and At the Same Time

Did you know that Barbra has only given 92 concerts in her 50
photo by Bill Westmoreland
plus year career?  It is well known that Barbra hates to do concerts.  Well she does not have to do them…she has Ann Callaway out there singing her songs and talking about her. 

The Pops program included “Don't Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl,” Marvin Hamish’s “The Way We Were,” “Evergreen” from “A Star Is Born,” and Callaway's “At the Same Time.”

Ann Calloway Hampton has a strong command of the stage and a delightful sense of humor.  She did a great improvisation form the stage based on suggestions from the audience about a steelworker, therapist, a rendezvous at the Fairmont hotel and love blooming a year later.  It was a fun piece and demonstrated how talented and versatile she is.  I really joyed her work presenting the Streisand Songbook…and when she comes back to the ”burgh” I hope it is a show based on her own songs and work.  What a talented and creative person she is.

The Pops symphony was conducted by Assistant conductor Fawzi Haimor. He has a light breezy engaging style.  The symphony as usual was top notch and all together it was a fine and enjoyable night.

Roving Pittsburgher Good News Reporter, JoAnn Forrester is the Host of "Empress of Biz, Reinvent in Rugged Times," a business Talkcast syndicated on PPLMag, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network.  You can hear JoAnn and Business friends every Thursday at 9 AM on the TalkShoe network or archived later at:  Jo Ann has also been a regular business tip columnist at the Pittsburgh Business Times.