Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Westfield News Arts Beat: 2/26/14

Debbie Gravitte joins the Springfield Symphony for music of James Bond films; Shakespeare at UConn, and a reminder about The Book of Mormon, coming to Hartford.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Succeeding in Small Business Blog Article on Radio: 2/13/14

This piece was fun to write, because I got to reconnect with some of the people who made a difference in my 30+ years radio career.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Media Release: The Big Broadcast ! Returns to Mount Holyoke on 3/09/14

DATELINE: February 12, 2014


The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College present the 9th edition of The Big Broadcast ! on Sunday, March 9, at 2PM & 7PM at Chapin Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, MA. “The Big Broadcast”, directed by Mark Gionfriddo (onstage as “Matt Morgan”), is a recreation of a live 1940's radio show, and features WWLP-TV meteorologist Brian Lapis as emcee “Fred Kelley”. The Mount Holyoke Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles perform well-known tunes from the swing era and the American songbook. 

Mount Holyoke College music faculty member Mark Gionfriddo originally created The Big Broadcast ! for a small cabaret group he directed, and incorporated it into the concert season at Mount Holyoke College.

“My students and I researched live radio broadcasts of the 1940s: the big band swing music, the radio serials and the commercials of the day," said Gionfriddo. “We incorporate all of these elements into our production to give the audience the feel of an authentic radio variety program on a fictitious station named WJAZ."

"This year's The Big Broadcast ! is bigger and better than ever," says Gionfriddo, “with six major bands represented in swinging arrangements by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. We also will feature the Vocal and Chamber Jazz Ensemble in a novelty hit from 1939, "Lydia The Tattooed Lady" written especially for Groucho Marx."

“Audience members will hear George Gershwin's "Do It Again", Tommy Dorsey's arrangement of Franz Liszt's "Liebestraum", "Taking A Chance On Love" by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw's theme song "Nightmare", Stan Kenton's "It's Been A Long, Long Time", and Glenn Miller's "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree," added Gionfriddo. 

Mark Gionfriddo (“Matt Morgan”) is well known to area concertgoers as pianist, accompanist, composer, arranger, and musical director. His versatility and knowledge of many musical styles has brought him together with a wide range of popular and classical artists through the years, among them Mitzi Gaynor, Liberace, Al Martino, Anna Moffo, and Garrison Keillor. Mark's adventures while assistant conductor on board Cunard's MS Royal Viking Sun brought him around the world to 30 countries. Mark received his Bachelor's Degree in Piano from Skidmore College and Master's Degree in Accompanying from UMASS/Amherst.

He has been based at Mount Holyoke College since 1986 where he is a Senior Instructor in Jazz Piano as well as Director and Founder of the Jazz Ensembles. In 2006, Mark conducted the MHC Big Band during two episodes of the popular public radio quiz show “Says You!”.    Last summer, Mark was musical director for The Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of “Peter Pan”. His other BTG credits include Musical Mondays and a revival of the Ed Kleban musical "A Class Act".

Brian Lapis ("Fred Kelley") joined the 22News Storm Team in 1996. He got his start in broadcasting at the age of 15 at radio station WILI, in his hometown of Willimantic, CT. He's worked as a radio on-air talent for stations in Hartford, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Syracuse, NY; and Providence, RI. Brian has a Bachelor's degree in Television Radio Film Management from Syracuse University. In addition, he holds a certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. This is his 7th season as WJAZ announcer and emcee “Fred Kelley”. Last Fall, the National Weather Association named Brian “Broadcaster of the Year".

Sponsors of The Big Broadcast ! are:  Mount Holyoke College, Loomis Communities, 
The Republican/Mass Live, New England Public Radio, and WWLP-22News.

Tickets are general admission. $20.00 premium front and center seating. $15.00 regular seating. $10.00 seniors and students. Tickets are available at the UMASS Fine Arts Center Box-Office in Amherst, at the Odyssey Bookshop, Village Commons, South Hadley, and at the door (subject to availability).  For phone orders: 413-545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMASS. For online orders:


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Westfield News Arts Beat 2/06/14

Summer season announcements from Williamstown Theatre Festival, Barrington Stage; Laura Klock's "Final Recital" at UMass, and Colin Quinn at The Colonial in Pittsfield...and more.