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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...2/25/16

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 02/25/2016
"Opera," the very word evokes images of class, elegance, tuxedos, long gowns, balcony seats in regal theaters,and beautiful arias; if you're around the age of 50 it may also jog the memory for a few old Looney Tunes or television commercials. Regardless of which, it is perhaps the most beautiful form of raw human power in the entertainment world. Using one's voice to create emotion, dictate direction and the telling of a story, done so in a language that is foreign to many; yet moving to all.

"I was eight years old," says soprano and international opera star Suzanne Vinnik as she discussed her upcoming March 5 appearance with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra where she'll star in the role of "Mimi" in the classic Puccini opera,"La Boheme." "My teacher gave me a VHS tape of "La Boheme" and I remember I had no interest, I didn't want to watch it at all but when I finally gave in; I fell in love."

No longer an eight year old child, this statuesque brunette from Nevada is causing others to fall in love with not only "La Boheme" but opera as an art form. An "alumnus of the Opera Studio di Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy where she studied and performed under the tutelage of Renata Scotto" (as quoted on her website), Vinnik also owns a B.M. in "Vocal Performance" from Texas Christian University. "I don't think people realize how much opera is in their lives," she said with a laugh. "It's in movies and commercials; it's very much all around us."

Over the years, Vinnik has played the roles of "Violetta" in "La Traviata," of "Micaela" in "Carmen" as well as countless other leading roles. However, her first big break, came in elementary school as she took on the role of "Sandman" when the Nevada Opera Theatre presented "Hansel und Gretel" at her elementary school (CVT Gilbert Magnet School for the Performing Arts). "It's crazy how I got it," she explained of her first prominent role with a bit of whimsy in her voice. "We were doing the same opera ("Hansel und Gretel") with the company that I was with and I didn't like singing in the chorus so, I went to the head of the company and told her that I wanted to sing solos. She allowed me at a gala and when there was an opening in Hansel and Gretel, she let me do Sandman."

She's gotten many parts since and performed on some of the most renowned stages world wide, including "Carnegie Hall," "Lincoln Center," "The Opera House in Norway" and most recently at "The Stanislavsky Theater" in Moscow, Russia. When asked if she had a favorite, Vinnik turned politician, "Gosh, it's hard to say. I have sung in so many cool places and have been so very fortunate to do so." When prodded a bit, she finally confessed that there is nothing like playing for your hometown fans; "Performing with the "Las Vegas Philharmonic" at "The Smith Center" in front of my family and friends was the most special so far. I have to admit that it was really special and a huge thrill for me."

In addition to her beautiful voice, Vinnik has started a very popular Facebook group called, "Opera Diva Dress Collection,"
where she puts her talents and notoriety to use helping others in the trade. "I'm very happy to say that we now have over 5,000 members on this Facebook group page. I created this page so that other ladies of opera could buy, sell or just swap performance clothing and it's been met with great success and it's only growing; it's been really helpful and a great resource."

A captivating performer and engaging personality, Vinnik is very much looking forward to her New Jersey appearance next week. "Oh this is going to be great! I am very excited to return to New Jersey," she said enthusiastically. "Boheme is perhaps the most popular opera there is and this is going to be a special night; performing with the symphony orchestra and Maestro David Wroe, he's so wonderful to work with; it's hard not to be excited. I think that people should really try and come out to see this; I think they'll recognize more of the music than they may be aware of."

"La Boheme," is the story of doomed young lovers in Bohemian society and is the inspiration for the modern day musical "Rent." In this particular version, Vinnik's role of Mimi is that of a tattoo artist as opposed to the traditional seamstress as in other productions. The opera has been somewhat modernized but is performed in Italian with super-titles and full costumes.

The New Jersey Festival Orchestra will be bringing this all to life at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, NJ located at 140 Mountain Avenue at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at or by calling (908) 232-9400.
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
Amalfi's Restaurant
146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville
(609) 912-1599
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Blue Meanies
Amarones Windsor Inn
29 Church St. Windsor
(609) 448-7144
Fri. 8 p.m. Sounds of The Street
Sat. 8 p.m. After Dark
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam
Backstage at Championship Bar
931 Chambers St. Trenton
Fri. 7 p.m. Less Than Ruined, To Vanish Tomorrow, For Those Who Fall, Misery Loves Company, Synergi. All ages, $10
Sat. 5 p.m. Fastride, Hellbound Heroes, Impulsive Kind, True Will, Lethal Affection, (TBA). All ages, $10
Candlelight Lounge
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612
Sat. 3 p.m. Lauren Sevian Baritone Sax Quartet (No cover-$10 minimum)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia
Dempster's Pub
437 Pine Street Mount Holly
(609) 261-0500
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. DJ DNIAL
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Chris
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Soul Kitchen
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Keli Vale Jazz
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Michael Leggerie. (9 p.m.) Visoon
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Keli Vale Jazz (3 p.m.) Dick Gratton
Wed. 8 p.m. Joe Robinson
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.
Fri. 8 p.m. Gyrl Band
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Vermilion / Working Class Hussys
Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam
All shows 21+
Glory Days Tavern
1200 Hornberger Ave. Roebling
(609) 499-0896
Sat. 8 p.m. John & Maggs
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-9897
Fri. 8 p.m. "Eagles Tribute" w/ Best of The Eagles. Doors at 6 p.m., $25
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Slamm
Sun. 6 p.m. JB Kline Band
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. Darla & Rich
Fri. 6 p.m. Hopewell Valley Vineyards Jazz Ensemble
Sat. 6 p.m. Four +1
Sun. 2 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Al Oliver
Ivy Tavern
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 10 p.m. PapaDelux
Sat. 10 p.m. Beetle Pie
All shows 21+
John & Peter's
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. Bill & Fred's Excellent Adventure
Fri. 9 p.m. Grasshopper
Sat. (3 p.m.) "Miss pumpkin Presents: A Drag show Benefit" (9 p.m.) Redrover Review Burlesque
Sun. (3 p.m.) Christine Havrilla / Gypsy Fuzz Duo (9 p.m.) Collin J. Rocker
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Tim
Tues. 9 p.m. Hevee Levee
Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
JoJo's Tavern
2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-2678
Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke
McGuinn's Place
1781 Brunswick Avenue, Lawrenceville
(609) 392-0599
Sat. 9 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Rd Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Thurs. 10:30 p.m. "Beer Pong" w/ DJ Codie
Fri. 10 p.m. 44 Fridays
Sat. 10 p.m. "Saturday Night Party" w/ Dueling DJs
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Fri. 9 p.m. Motel Radio, Tedo Stone, Sing Bird Of Prey. $8
Mill Hill Playhouse/Passage Theatre
205 E. Front Street, Trenton
(609) 392-0766
Check website for upcoming events
O'Connor's American Bar & Grille
1383 Monmouth Road, Easthampton Mt. Holly
(609) 261-1555
Fri. 9:30 p.m. The Williamsboy
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Rick Winow & Danny Coleman
Olde Liberty Tavern
2114 Liberty Street, Trenton
(609) 396-2262
Sat. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21+
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Sat. 8 p.m. Dirty Red "Unplugged"
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Deb N The Sons of Rock
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Check Website for upcoming events.
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 10 p.m. "College Night" w/ DJ Bob E. Luv. 21+
Tara's Tavern
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Thurs. 9 p.m. Out Of the Red Acoustic
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Anything Goes
Sat. 9 p.m. ArHouse
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night
The Cool Cricket
216 4th Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. 80's Undercover
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street
(609) 291-7020
Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau St. Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. Diablo Sandwich Band
Sat. 10 p.m. River Dogs
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Sat. 8 p.m. April Mae & the June Bugs / Russell Gulley. All ages, Doors at 7:30 p.m., $12 (advance)
The Roost
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050
Fri. 9 p.m. Mr Lucky
Sat. 9 p.m. El Ka Bong
The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. The Kings and Queen of Porn
The Sun National Bank Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. Derry Brigade
All shows 21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine St. Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic.
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Fri. 7 p.m. First Friday
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 6 p.m. Dick Gratton
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Fri. 10 p.m. Radio Birds. ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Maradeen. ($5 cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night (Sign ups 6:30 p.m. at hostess stand)
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock
All shows 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.

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