Monday, July 20, 2009

Jazz Camp Final Performance

The Final Performance of the Elefante Music Jazz Camp 2009 was a success! Despite the fact that I left the cymbals at the store (oops), we kept our cool and put on a great show. Congratulations to everyone who performed at Crossroads on Friday night.

Make sure you don't miss Elefante & Friends @ Centennial Park in New Providence on Thursday, July 30, at 7:00pm. This concert will feature Al, Joe, guitar teacher Anthony Sanacore, drum teacher Mike Advensky, and special guest vocalists Caryn Elefante and Yvonne Greene. And, if you'd like to check out the next great EMU student ensemble, we'll be back at the Crossroads with the Rock Project on Friday, July 31 at 6:00pm. See you there.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rick Henly

Elefante Music is thrilled to announce the addition brass teacher Rick Henly to our top-flight roster of private teachers.

Rick Henly is currently working on his newest CD which will be available soon. Rick recently completed his Christmas CD, CHRISTMAS PRESENT, which is available with his solo CD, LOVE LIKE FIRE, at:,, and other major retail outlets. Rick is currently performing as a soloist and also as Lead Trumpet for: "America's Tenor" Michael Amante and his 14 piece orchestra; on Broadway; Charli Persip's big band, SUPERSOUND; and in varied venues across the United States.

On March 7, 2003, Rick played the American Premiere of Steve Margoshes' Ballade for Trumpet and Orchestra with the Ridgewood Symphony.

Rick was Lead Trumpet on a dozen Broadway shows, including the long-running hit, MISS SAIGON and has over 20 years experience playing Lead Trumpet on Broadway shows. He graduated from Ithaca College and earned a Masters Degree from Northwestern University. Following school, Rick auditioned and was appointed Principal Trumpet of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a position that included a scholarship to study with the great Adolph Herseth of the Chicago Symphony. This was followed by a Fellowship to study for two summers at the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center.

His early career included performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago. He also played on several recordings with the Chicago Symphony. While in Chicago, Rick was also on the faculties of The American Conservatory of Music, Elmhurst College and the Preparatory Department at Northwestern University.

Called one day to fill in for an ailing lead trumpeter, Rick went to the theater to play for Meredith Willson's THE MUSIC MAN, starring Dick Van Dyke. For that production, Conductor Milton Rosenstock wrote a brilliant trumpet cadenza (based on the MINUET IN G) to end the show. Conductor Rosenstock was so impressed with Rick's rendition of the trumpet solo, that he insisted Rick come to New York and open the show on Broadway the following week.

Since MISS SAIGON, Rick has performed the on-stage 'Harry James' solo in FOSSE and substituted as Lead Trumpet on THE PRODUCERS, CABARET, THE MUSIC MAN, FOLLIES, THOU SHALT NOT, 42nd STREET, and the RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL ORCHESTRA. Rick continues to give solo demonstrations and clinics all around the country.

Rick has performed with the New York Pops, American Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Little Orchestra Society (Soloist), Liza Minnelli (Lead Trumpet), Shirley Bassey, and Frank Sinatra. Conductors with whom Rick has worked include Leonard Bernstein, Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, Andre Previn, Rafael Kubelik, Lukas Foss and Skitch Henderson

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Personal Story about Michael Jackson

This post is by Joe's wife, Caryn Elefante.

From the time I was five years old I have been singing in studios all over NYC for commercials, demos and even music albums. My sister, brother and I have sung on albums for Gloria Estefan, Liza Minelli, Maureen McGovern and even soloed on the Canadian Brass Christmas album. One day, my mother got a call from our contractor booking us for a recording at the Hit Factory. We weren't allowed to know for whom we were singing and we were only allowed one parent per child. Our interest was peaked. We spent the next few days trying to figure out who this mystery recording could be for. We decided to bring three CD covers with us- Frank Sinatra (he was still alive at the time), Madonna and Michael Jackson.

We went to the studio and some guy told us we were going to be singing one word... "Childhood". He sang it for us once or twice then began recording. All we heard in the cans (headphones) were tracks with no lead vocal. We still couldn't figure out what or whom this was for. After singing the one word a few times, I saw a man behind the glass in the recording studio step forward out of the darkness with a black hat, a red shirt and a black curl in front of his face. On the talkback we heard, "Can you sing it a little more like this... Childhood" As soon as I heard the voice I grabbed my sister's hand and spoke without moving my lips "It's MICHAEL JACKSON!!!!"

I cooly sang "Childhood" about a dozen more times and the engineer thanked us and said we were done. We went back to the green room where our parents were waiting and I grabbed the Bad album cover from my mom and brought it to Michael's assistant. I asked her if she could please bring it to Michael and have him sign it. The other kids who sang with us began ripping little pieces of paper for him to sign. They were no where near as prepared as my family!!

The assistant said "Let me see what I can do", and she disappeared for about five minutes. She came back and said, "Can I have all of the kids follow me?" We followed her to a door in the Hit Factory that had a star on it and said "Jackson". We went into the room and there he was, greeting us at the door with a hand shake and a smile and telling us that it was a pleasure to meet us. Can you imagine? A pleasure to meet us?? His room was filled with some pretty strange things: life-size cut-outs of the Power Rangers, a train set, and a giant globe that rotated. He had pictures of children that he had helped attached to the country they were from.

Michael had many questions for us like if any of us went to camp for the summer. He said that he always asked his parents if he could go to summer camp because it looked like so much fun and of course they told him no!! This was right around the time when the media was questioning whether or not he had married Lisa Marie Presley. I noticed a ring on his hand and I said, "so does that ring mean you are married to Lisa Marie?" He nodded his head yes and said "shhhhhh". We chatted for a while, he signed our album cover and we went home having what I thought was the greatest day of my life.

A week or two later my mother got another call from our contractor. This time she said Michael wanted to have us back to the studio to record a Christmas song. It was July but when we got to the studio, it was decorated for the holidays. There was snow all over the ground, a tree, Santa who gave us all presents (we each got a Gameboy... tells you how long ago this was!!) and reindeer. Michael came walking right into the studio this time and didn't hide behind the glass. I guess he felt more comfortable with us this time. He taught us the song himself and stayed with us in the sound booth as we were singing it. After we recorded the song he invited our parents into the studio and had the whole thing catered. We sat around the piano as he played the piano and we all sang Christmas songs. It's just like Christmas Eve at the Elefante's (my in-laws)!!!

So on June 25th, when the whole world was in shock of Michael Jackson's death, these were the memories that all came flooding back for me.

That's Caryn all the way to the right.

Elefante Music Jazz Camp

If you're interested in seeing some of our best young musicians perform in a real live jazz club, come see the Elefante Music Jazz Camp performance at Crossroads in Garwood, NJ. They'll be playing on Friday, July 17, @ 6:00pm. The 45-minute set includes music by Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and Horace Silver. I'm quite certain you'll be impressed with how well these students handle some very challenging music.

The Elefante Music Rock Project performance will be @ Crossroads on Friday, July 31, @ 6:00pm. We'd love to see you at either show (or both)!