This review of Silver Lining presented by The Singing Experience at The Triad was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 7 (2017) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
The Singing Experience Workshop #481
Director: Linda Amiel Burns
Associate Director: Joan Adams
Music Director: Richard Danley
Technical Director: Shannon Epstein
158 West 72nd Street
New York, New York 10023
Linda Amiel Burns has been running The Singing Experience workshops for the past 40 years. The result has been that over 5,000 individuals have fulfilled their dream of performing on stage before family and friends in a supportive atmosphere. It is not so much about launching a new singing career than it is to gain self-confidence and to take steps to find happiness in your own life. As the charismatic and loving Ms. Burns says, "Music transforms you and makes you feel good." In this fun workshop, participants "sing, meet each other and find a song to perform that means something to each of them." After the show is over, the singers get a video tape of the performance and have a wrap party in Ms. Burns' apartment. The supportive Richard Danley (with "golden fingers that play in every key") is the Musical Director who works with each singer to bring out the best in them. Ms. Burns says he "transforms and transcends." Shannon Epstein, the Technical Director, made sure the lighting and sound were perfect for each performer's "big night." In the end, the "new stars" made new friends and had a fun and fulfilling experience. Many participants return to take additional workshops and at the end of every show, Singing Experience alumni are invited on stage to take part in the show's finale.
Family and friends of each performer were seated together and treated to free snacks prior to the show. Everyone was extremely friendly and in a very good mood since they were there to see a loved one or friend perform. The opening and closing numbers were sung as a group. We were told the singers did not know in which order they would appear on stage so they had to be ready when called upon. Each performer greeted the audience, gave a brief bio of what they do in real life and, after singing a song or two, introduced the next person up with a fictitious, over-the-top bio intended to inspire each singer to live up to their potential. This method of presentation didn't always work out since some of the performers forgot the names of their new friends. One particularly embarrassing moment was when Martin P. Klein forgot Michelle Yaskel's name and didn't seem to be particularly concerned about the faux pas. Some of the performers were dressed to the nines, while others didn't take the time to focus on anything else other than their singing.
The entire cast opened the show singing "Look For The Silver Lining." Particularly impressive newcomers included Janine Brunetti ("How Far I'll Go"), Shari Passales ("Nice N' Easy"/"That Face"), Georgia Buchanan ("How Are Things In Glocca Morra?"), and Michelle Joy Yaskel ("I Gotta Be Me"), who announced she got her start singing publicly at member events sponsored by the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. (founded 1857). Professional performers contributed to the evening's entertainment - Linda Amiel Burns ("Everybody Sing!"), Richard Danley ("The Haunting Memory"), and Bill Dyszel ("Embraceable You"), who sang at The New York City Opera. Others who love to sing included Vincent Blier ("Ain't No Sunshine"), Suzannah Grady ("Before The Parade Passes By"), Martin P. Klein ("Pretty Girl"/"Toot Toot Tootsie"), Joe Medeiros, Jr. ("Angel"), Rosemary Saporito ("Love Me With All Your Heart"), Bonnie Schneider ("Some People"), Mary Carol Tedeschi ("Strong Woman"), and Bill Thomas ("Easy To Be Hard"). The closing number, "On A Clear Day," contained the following line Ms. Burns wanted everyone in the audience to pay particular attention to: "Let the glow of your being outshine every star!"
If you have ever dreamt of singing on stage, I would encourage you to consider signing up for an upcoming workshop. The Singing Experience is best explained in the following note in the evening's program: "The Singing Experience is a complete performance workshop where you will learn everything you need to be a well-rounded, confident performer - on stage and in life. Through singing, you will embark on an extraordinary voyage of self-discovery. In a nurturing atmosphere, you'll learn more than technique; you will dare to take risks, soar above your imagined limitations, and discover the artist within. Come join the legions of The Singing Experience Alumni. Some are entertainment professionals and others sing for the thrill of it, but all have undertaken this joyous adventure of challenge, commitment, and fulfillment and learned to express their innermost self through singing. Give yourself a gift of song. The bliss is immediate, the benefits long-lasting." For more information about The Singing Experience, visit their website at www.SingingExperience.com or call 212-315-3500.
Linda Amiel Burns, the Director of The Singing Experience is a 2-time MAC & TRU Winner, who currently serves as President of the American Popular Song Society. She is also a Writer/Critic for Theater Pizzazz, Theater Life, and Theater Scene. Her dedication to all who have participated in The Singing Experience is admirable and praiseworthy. She has given it her all and has helped transform the lives of the people she has met. Brava!