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“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

By Shelley Bromberg, Photos by Love Imagery

originally published: 05/30/2017

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

Even though it’s a dreary day this Tuesday, May 23, 2017, it doesn’t stop thousands of New Jersey music lovers from coming out to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ to hear talented entertainer Michael Amante.

Perhaps these folks are privy to knowing what an incredible singer and performer Amante is, but for those who aren’t quite certain, they’re surely about to find out!

Termed “the people’s tenor” by none other than Tony Bennett, Amante is known for being an extremely versatile artist. The New York Times writes that he has “both the voice and charisma of a cross-over star.” Not only does Amante excel in classical music, but he can also belt out standards, contemporary music, and Broadway show tunes along with the very best of them.

And today, Amante will lead his followers on a musical journey that will include opera, musical theater, and even 1980’s pop.

This afternoon’s performance is the second offering in the Garden State Arts Foundations’ 2017 “Senior Concert Series,” which offers free concerts to New Jersey residents aged 55 and older. The first show — presented on May 17, 2017 — featured ’60s musical icons Gary Puckett and the Union Gap along with singer Vinnie Medugno.

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As we take our seats, we notice the stage is set with an impressive array of musical instruments including a full-sized grand piano, a pair of synthesizers, a horn section, a percussion station with drum set and vibraphone, and a set of acoustic and electric basses. Judging from this set-up, we can expect today’s musical performance to be stellar!

First up is Ronald Gravino, the Vice President of GASAF’s Board of Trustees, who encourages the audience to take some time one day to visit the nearby New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Gravino also thanks the sponsors of today’s show — Live Nation Entertainment, PNC Bank, Sirius XM ‘60s on 6 radio, the Princeton Public Affairs Group, and the Sills Cummis and Gross law firm, in addition to individual donors — for their generous contributions. According to Gravino, “No federal, state, local, or Garden State Parkway toll money” is ever used to fund GSAF performances.

Michael Amante immediately takes the stage singing Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.”

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

Dressed in a long black jacket with gold embroidery and black slacks, Amante quickly sets the tone for a gripping and moving experience. The audience cheers and sings along with Amante as he croons: You made me so very happy/I’m so glad you came into my life.

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

Upon the song’s conclusion, Amante introduces himself saying, “I’m your musical guide, Michael Amante. Have you seen me before?”

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

To this — and for his performance thus far — the audience bursts into a strong applause.

Amante explains that his and the audience members’ presence today represents “freedom and safety,” in that they are not shying away from attending a concert. This comes in light of the tragic news the night before when 22 concert goers were killed in a terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Continuing on, Amante reveals that his father flew in WWII for “peace and safety” and that he sees himself in a similar role as a singer and performer, stating he wants to be “a diplomat for love.

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

Not surprisingly, Amante’s professional experience includes musical theatre. Upon his performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story, Amante reveals that he enjoyed playing the role of Tony in the show and creating a “sense of anticipation.”

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

He also uses his voice with a special dramatic flair and strong emotion singing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, crooning: You alone can make my song take flight/Help me make the music of the night.

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

And for those seeking some of opera’s best arias, Amante does not disappoint.

His performance of “Core’ngrato” is incredible; the sheer power and resonance of his voice bring the audience members to their feet with strong applause.

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

Other notable operatic numbers include “Malafemmena,” and his most noteworthy finale, “Nessun dorma,” which elicits a standing ovation and wild applause from the crowd at the show’s conclusion.

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

After the concert, we have a chance to catch up with some audience members who share their thoughts with us regarding this afternoon’s performance.

Loretta from Berkeley tells us, “I think this concert was really good. When Michael sang from Phantom, I loved that,” going on to add, “and I also apppreciate the work that the Garden State Arts Foundation does.”

Cheryl from Toms River states, “I loved this concert. This man has a beautiful voice and amazing breath support.”

We also had a chance to catch up with Michael Amante himself. When asked how he enjoys performing here in the Garden State, Amante shares that he loves the energy of audiences here in New Jersey, stating, “whatever I bring to them, they always give more back to me.”

Clearly, based on the love shown from the audience and his love for them, Michael Amante is a diplomat for love.

“A Diplomat for Love” Michael Amante LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center

To learn more about Michael Amante, visit his website at www.michaelamantemusic. For more information about future Garden State Arts Foundation performances at the PNC Bank Arts Center — including The Osmonds on June 13 and the US Army Field Band & Soldiers’ Chorus on June 29 — please go to

State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at
Steve Barton & Robert Darlington From Translator To Perform at Randy Now's Man Cave
(BORDENTOWN, NJ) -- Whether it's pure pop or moody acoustic ballads, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Barton, has developed a reputation for crafting some of the most literate and poignant music in underground rock.  In addition to being a founding member of the revered punk/psychedelic band Translator, perhaps best known for the Barton-penned song "Everywhere That I'm Not", he has released several solo albums.  The seventh and latest, "Tall Tales and Alibis", is a sprawling triple album tour de force filled with Steve's brand new songs, which was released in March by Sleepless Music.   To celebrate the release of the record, Barton will be making a rare live appearance with his Translator partner Robert Darlington, this Sunday, September 23 at Randy Now's Man Cave in Bordentown (134 Farnsworth Ave) at 7:00pm.  

From the Ballpark to the Concert Stage: Bernie Williams LIVE! at The Grunin Center
Fans of sports and music are lining up outside Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Saturday, September 8, 2018 for a concert by four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist/composer Bernie Williams and his All-Star Band!
“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!

Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm

Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm

Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

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