A Cabbello Announces 2022 Season!
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A Cabbello Announces 2022 Season!
May 14 & 15: “We’re Still Here” features music of Stephen Sondheim
2023 Season Kicks Off:
October 7, 8 & 9 Features Classic Themes from James Bond / 007 Films
Both Productions at CV Rep
9 May 2022 – Palm Springs, CA: If music be the food of love, sing on! to paraphrase Shakespeare. After two years of COVID-enforced non-audience events, the “Bello Gents” of A Cabbello (www.acabbello.org) are back on-stage and in-voice for their 2022 season beginning with two concerts devoted to the legacy and music of Stephen Sondheim – “We’re Still Here” – Saturday & Sunday, May 14 & 15, 4pm at CV Rep Playhouse (68510 E Palm Canyon Dr, Cathedral City). Tickets are $ 40 and can be purchased online www.acabbello.org. Later this fall – October 7, 8, 9 – to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first James Bond film, the talented all-male ensemble, will perform the classic 007 theme music from the iconic franchise also at CV Rep as the kick-off to their 2023 Season.
“You can’t zoom art for very long,” says Linda Moran, Artistic Director for A Cabbello. “There is nothing like live, in-person, in unison, in harmony voices to lift our spirits and our hearts. The ‘bello gents’ of A Cabbello know all about that, and are looking forward to welcoming audiences back to live events.”
Founded in 2016, A Cabbello is the Coachella Valley’s premiere all-male vocal ensemble. A Cabbello is committed to pursuing excellent, fervent and innovative music-makingwith the message of love, hope and unity, that fosters an enlightening artistic andspiritual experience for our members and audiences.
“Classic Broadway and classic Hollywood converge this season,” says Kurt Kelley, Music Director. “To paraphrase Sondheim’s iconic song from Follies, ‘We’re Still Here’.”
Below, meet the “Bello Gents” of A Cabbello:
Alan Denny (Bass) – Alan has fed his performing soul traveling the U.S. and Europe in musical comedies and classical performances. Discovering laughter at an early age is a powerful aphrodisiac. When playing a little tin soldier in his grade school Christmas play, he dropped his gun and the audience laughed, he was hooked. Being a Southern Baptist Minister’s kid, he continued to hone his craft in youth and college choirs. Studying opera in college, he returned to his true love, musical comedy. Creating a home base in New York City, he toured and performed in many shows and revues, before moving to Los Angeles and then to Palm Springs. Alan also sings with Modern Men Coachella Valley Men’s Chorus.
Andrew Bird (Tenor 2) – Andrew has had the honor of performing with the Chicago Symphony Chorus on six Grammy award winning albums. As well, with the LA Master Chorale, Grant Park Symphony chorus, Lyric Opera Chorus, and many more. He performed in opera companies around the country and sang in Otello with Luciano Pavarotti at Carnegie Hall. Locally, he also sings with the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus and is part of the “From Met to Broadway” troupe. Andrew has the honor of serving as President of A Cabbello’s Board of Directors.
Cameron Merrihew (Tenor 2) – Cameron is a local performer who holds degrees in both vocal performance and theatre arts. Cameron has performed locally with groups such as the California Desert Chorale, the SweetHots, and the Desert Carolers. He also does theatre locally and has performed in multiple College of the Desert productions and with Desert Rose Playhouse, Palm Canyon Theatre, and Desert Theatreworks. As a new member of A Cabbello, Cameron adds an amazing energy, great spirit and exceptionally rich tone to our stage.
Daniel Stewart (Baritone) – Daniel’s love of singing and playing piano was encouraged by his musical mother and fostered growing up in the Baptist Church. After earning a double Associates Degree in Music and Vocal Performance, life got in the way and a long period of no singing ensured. His interests in electronic music and collecting electronic equipment and taking yearly old man skateboard trips with pals since childhood kept him busy. Daniel rediscovered his passion with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles from 2011 to 2014. We are so grateful his husband Mike and sweet dog, Angus found their way back to the Coachella Valley in 2020. Sharing his incredible voice and spirit with us for the first time is our gift to you, our audience. Enjoy!
Darryl Kozak (Bass) – Darryl’s heart has always been full of music. Two things get him up in the morning, God and Music. He has performed extensively in concert halls and churches as a soloist in demand throughout Southern California, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, and several European countries. Serving others as a Life Coach and an ordained Lutheran Minister for a congregation in Corona fills his days with purpose. We are blessed that he travels across the miles to come share his gifts with us. Darryl’s exciting news is that he is currently working on an album featuring inspirational, uplifting songs. Stay connected and we’ll let you know when it will be released, hopefully within the year
David Sperber (Baritone) – David moved from Los Angeles, where he sang with GMCLA for 16 seasons, to our desert oasis 3 years ago. He has been singing show tunes since the age of 4. His obsession with Broadway runs deep. At his Bar Mitzvah reception, he sang a 30-minute musical theatre set…talk about a captive audience and his parents granted his dream Bar Mitzvah gift request and took him to Broadway to see CATS! He is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theater. He is co-owner of Intelligent Deals, Inc., a marketing e-commerce agency. David and his husband, Chris, enjoy their new Rancho Mirage surroundings, where David has embraced the valley’s pickleball craze with a vengeance.
Evan Boomer (Tenor 1) – Music fills Evan’s life whether sharing with his incredible husband and 4 fantastic kids, helping his 5th grade students find their own creative path, through fellowship at church or lifting you up, our audience. As a San Francisco Bay Area native, he received his BA in Theatre Arts from California State East Bay before relocating to the desert and obtaining his master’s degree in Education from California State University, San Bernardino. While in San Francisco, Evan also performed professionally in musical theater. Two shows that stand out are Spring Awakening…need we say more…And Xanadu, where he was truly able to unleash his inner comedic character actor as a Greek goddess on roller skates! Open invite to come sing with him as the Worship Pastor at the LGBTQIA+ affirming Desert Oasis Chapel of Palm Springs.
Gary Hawthorne (Bass) – Growing up along the rivers and lakes of South Georgia, Gary’s love of music flowed and was fed with the richness of gospel, spiritual, blues, and soul. In San Francisco, he joined his MCC church choir and studied voice at San Francisco City College. Fast forward 21 years, Gary discovered the gay choral movement in Palm Springs and has not stopped singing since. Sharing his talents with The Caballeros, PSGMC, California Desert Choral, Modern Men and now us. We are so grateful he is lifting his voice with A Cabbello. Gary’s gift of making everyone feel seen and heard, embodies the best of the true southern gentleman and his gracious hospitality and kindness is legendary.
Heath Richard (Tenor 1) – A late bloomer in finding his voice, Heath began singing at 40, however don’t let that fool you. The next 10 years, he enjoyed performing some fantastic roles in theater in the Chicagoland area. Lucky for us, 4 years ago, he and his partner were drawn to the Coachella Valley. His passion for singing is shared in multiple ways, performing with A Cabbello, Modern Men. and leading the pack on Tuesday Karaoke night at Roost Lounge. Heath also is an amazing hair stylist and Barber and makes magic with his scissors and razor at Saloniste. We also appreciate Heath’s time and dedication as an A Cabbello Board Member.
Jason Mannino (Baritone) – As a recent transplant, after 21 years in Los Angeles, Jason enjoys working on his new home & exploring all that the Coachella Valley has to offer. He quickly connected with Modern Men, Coachella Valley Men’s Chorus and had the honor of performing in the world premiere of Momentum. He holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from University of Santa Monica. Jason is a dynamic certified career coach with the International Coaching Federation (www.coachmannino.com), as well as, an executive search recruiter. We are thrilled, Jason creates time to bring his gifts to our stage and also appreciate his expertise and dedication as an acting A Cabbello Board Member.
Justin Marsh (Tenor) has performed in numerous opera, oratorio and musical theater productions across the USA and Germany; and, he has sung in television and radio broadcasts both nationally and internationally. Known for his lyrical voice, comedic acting abilities and being a specialist in contemporary composition, he has performed in festivals of new works and collaborated with composers since he was in his undergraduate studies. Justin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received his Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Justin, also a licensed Esthetician, moved to Palm Springs in 2019 and opened a location of his skincare practice, “Downing And Grove Skincare” on North Palm Canyon Drive. In December 2021, he met Kurt Kelley while singing with The Desert Carolers… Kurt brought him to A Cabbello and Justin is thrilled to be here.
Mike Stokesberry (Baritone) – Mike grew up in Illinois and remembers singing as early as the first grade. He was blessed to have a music teacher that was a major encouraging influence in his life and the rest is history. Loving and enjoying the camaraderie and magic of blending voices, he has been singing in choirs and choruses ever since. Groups include the Mountainside Master Choral, Riverside Chamber Choir, Inland Master Choral, Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble, Long Beach Camarata, and the California Desert Choral. He has incredible memories of living in Asia, where he sang two years with the Tokyo International Singers and 2 years, the Hong Kong Bach Choir. We are incredibly grateful for his ‘Swiss army knife’ abilities in assisting A Cabbello with many behind the scenes needs from creating rehearsal tracks to managing our outgoing communications and systems.
Paul Kowal (Bass) – Paul got the choral music bug as a college student, when their choir had the honor of participating in a cultural exchange program. He spent eight weeks performing throughout Africa and the Middle East with the Amherst College Glee Club. Experiencing first-hand how powerful music can be in creating bonds. He became a lifelong choral junkie, singing 3 years with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and a dedicated 30 years with the Boston Symphony Chorus and eight LGBT choruses. Along with singing, his life has been dedicated passionately to serving on fifteen different chorus’ boards and he was instrumental in founding the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus and Boston’s Coro Allegro. Paul also currently sings with Modern Men Coachella Valley Men’s Chorus.
Phillip Merlino (Tenor 1) – Phillip holds a degree in classical vocal performance and has performed multiple roles as a natural countertenor. A widely used soloist in multiple oratorio and classical works, Phillip has performed as a soloist in concert halls including the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. He is the alto section leader for the choir of St Margaret’s Episcopal Church in San Juan Capistrano and is hired regularly as a guest soloist for multiple groups. He is absolutely loving his time with A Cabbello! When not singing, he enjoys waterskiing, boating, and anything involving the great outdoors and passionately helping his clients as a Real Estate Professional.
Rob Thomas (Tenor 2) – Whether as a featured soloist or an ensemble performer, Rob’s spirit and energy fills the room when he sings. He began singing in church at the age of 6, continuing through elementary and onto an elite high school choir. Before moving to the desert, Rob sang with the Seattle Men’s Chorus, where he had the honor of performing a solo at Carnegie Hall. For 5 years he was the toast of the town as a female impersonator at Seattle’s The Royal Crown singing and dancing full out, “serving up woman on a platter”. Rob founded and performed with the “Caballeros” (now, the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus), California Desert Choral and Harmonic Voices. He also sings with Modern Men Coachella Valley Men’s Chorus.
Kurt Jordan (Principal Accompanist) – Kurt developed an intense interest in learning the piano after having seen The Phantom of the Opera with his parents at age 10. He studied under the guidance of Joann Algier throughout middle and high school, during which time he discovered a love of music using multiple pianos. This passion was further explored at Azusa Pacific University while studying with Dr. Robert Sage. Kurt performed several recitals of material he arranged for two and three pianos, the recordings of which have received radio play in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Boston, Austin and Beirut. In 2009, Kurt had the honor of performing the West Coast premiere of Alvin Curran’s 7.5 hour long piano song cycle, Inner Cities 1-13, as well as the U.S. premiere of movement 14 at Burning Man in 2013. Kurt graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2010 with a BA in Music Theory and Composition. He is involved as accompanist for many musical organizations throughout the Coachella Valley including: From Met to Broadway, the Cathedral High School Chamber Singers, The Arrangement, College of the Desert, and Green Room Theatre. Kurt is the Principal Accompanist for Modern Men, A Cabbello, The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert and Desert Outreach Synagogue. Kurt has also composed several large-scale works for piano solo, a song cycle for piano and soprano, and an SATB choral piece. He is currently working on a song cycle inspired by the paintings of Agnes Pelton for piano, soprano, gong, singing bowls, and dancers.
Kurt Kelley (Music Director/Conductor) is honored and delighted to be leading this incredible group of men, some of the finest singers in the area. This production marks his debut as Music Director and Producer, collaborating with Artistic Director, Linda Moran. Gratitude to our founder and friend, Rich Cook; and thanks to these incredible men–our musical journey has only begun and I can’t think of better travel companions! Since arriving in the desert Kurt has sung with A Cabbello, and the Palm Springs Men’s Chorus. Previous professional singing experiences with The St. George Choral Society in New York City, and the Nebraska Choral Arts Society in Omaha. He served as the Vocal and Choral Music instructor at Fordham High School for the Arts in NYC. He was and continues to be in-demand as a professional pianist, conductor, accompanist, church musician, vocal coach and music director. Kurt has an extensive musical theater and musical direction background, working with performers at every level of ability and experience, from Regional and Off-Broadway and Cabarets, to college, community and high school theater. He is most proud of his contributions to the award-winning Drama Club at Nyack High School (NY). Past productions there include the first-ever non-professional pilot production of Phantom of the Opera, as well as Titanic, Cats, Parade, Xanadu, Big River, My Favorite Year and a host of others. Other professional conducting credits include In the Heights, Oliver, The Music Man, Nine, Ragtime, Company, Assassins, Sunday in the Park With George, Violet, Closer Than Ever, Amahl and the Night Visitors and Sweeney Todd. In addition to A Cabbello duties Kurt is the Director of Bands and Choirs at Painted Hills Middle School, in Desert Hot Springs. Kudos to this group of performers and thank you, dear audience, for your continued support!
Linda Moran (Artistic Director) – Linda’s journey began as a teen, dancing as Mary Poppins in Disneyland parades, can-canning at Knott’s Berry Farm, a regular on American Bandstand and numerous community theatre productions. Linda learned “how to work a show” performing a year – 6 days a week, 2 shows a night, 3 shows on Saturday as a Bluebell Showgirl and swing in Don Arden’s Hallelujah Hollywood at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Then on to C’est Magnifique at the Americana in Miami. ‘Those were the days my friend, and we always think they will never end.’
Unfortunately, a life-changing fall off a set piece during rehearsal, resulted in a spinal fusion and Linda woke up paralyzed. After extensive therapy, she defied the odds and not only began to walk again, but fought to kick up her heels. Auditioning and returning to the stage, in New York, only to find her back would not hold up to the rigors of performing was devastating.
Learning to shift the picture of her life’s dream as a professional dancer taught Linda resilience and how to turn her passion for dance into other arts areas. A myriad of exciting directions developed: theatrical stage director, choreographer, Hollywood casting director and university professor, public educator and Director of Business Development. Reflecting, she has been involved in 250+ musical theatre productions from coast to coast. She has had the privilege of coaching Broadway, TV & film actors and dancers, as well as co-creating Arroyo Vista Children’s Theater.
Linda also found in the corporate environment, labels may be different from theatrical terms, but foundational concepts were the same. Compelling communication, credibility, overcoming obstacles and establishing relationships were key to achieving results. Founding her own company, Theatrical Tapestry, and creating success with national companies over 25+ years in a variety of industries brings her a wealth of experience as a renowned facilitator, performance coach and a motivating, engaging guest speaker.