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Reflections on Rhythms of Rio

A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Rio de Janeiro and fell in love with the music and the people. I was excited to be able to produce and present a show filled with music that I love with my good friends. There were times during the concert that I felt the audience and the musicians experience a deep connection as we all became immersed in the sounds and feelings of the Bossa Nova and Sambas.

The Michael Ryan and Friends fundraiser at the Claremont Community Foundation involved performances of several works by Brazilian songwriter Carlos Jobim.

Michael Ryan on Guitar

Ken Soderlund (in purple) on Guitar

Hai Muradian (in red) on Flute

Adam Kaplan (in blue) on Flute

Mike Bennett (upper left) on Percussion

Bryan Brock (in the middle) on Percussion

Reed Gratz on Keyboard

Garrett Wolfe on Bass

3 Samba Dancers of Tropidanza Entertainment, Inc.

We did a great job keeping up with the dancers, if I do say so myself! They had different changes of costumes and each one appropriately fit the style of music that we were playing. They also came out into the aisles and danced with feather fans and it was great to see the audience experiencing the dancing up close.

Emily Lopez as Singer

(In this photo she can be seen performing Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 with Michael)

And even a comedic relief from Jim Gallucci or Stage Manager's Assistant.

Jim had come on stage several times during the breaks in the show to dust off a chair or move a microphone and each skit was met with a small roar of laughter and applause from the crowd. A couple of people thought that Jim was employed with Garrison Theater, but he is actually our Assistant Stage Manager. Usually we have an intermission during our shows, but this time we switched it up with a little comedy and it was fun to have a laugh or two between songs.

We had a terrific time performing as a group and individually. I thought everyone did a great job! Emily Lopez beautifully sang Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5. I thought the flute solos that Adam and Hai did for Black Orpheus were incredible. Michelle Dachary, an audience member stated, “When the two flutes played together it was breath-taking. Just gorgeous."

I really like a new song that I performed by Carlos Jobim entitled, Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars. This is a new song and for me it was one of the highlights of the show. The encore piece Bim was written by Garret Wolfe and dedicated to Carlos Jobim.

The crowd was right with us and was really experiencing the show well. Bernadette Batista Kendall left us the following comment during the reception after seeing the show, "Michael, my grandmother was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1901 and is to be 96 years old. I loved your beautiful Brazilian music.”

The happy feelings and fun experience was shared by all and filled the entire house. The audience had a great time and there was a magic to the evening! Audience members Barbara & George Adams told me after the show that “We thought the show tonight was as good, if not better, than any show at the Hollywood Bowl! You belong in New York.”

I would like to give a special thanks to Deb Waas our Stage Manager and the sound and light technicians at the Garrison Theater. There was a bouncing energy about the music that night and the lighting helped to set and maintain the mood. Everyone was wonderful, so nice and helpful; it made the performance such a fun and rewarding experience. The Claremont Community Foundation was pleased with the performance and we raised money from tickets and donated gifts for the foundation.

We appreciate the support from all who could attend and we look forward to seeing you at our next event. Remember that we are here to entertain you and if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for what you would like to see in our future performances, please let us know! You can feel free to leave us a comment on Facebook, or you can fill out a comment/suggestion cards at an event.

Take care,


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