December 21, 2012

Virgil Guitars Create The Most Elaborate Custom Guitars Ever Built

An artist and guitarist since the 1970's, Virgil Mandanici set out to make guitars that would be exceptional in tone and playability first. After 35 years of playing guitar, he decided it was time to create guitars that would feel, play and look better than anything anyone has ever played before – thus Virgil Guitars was born! As a master craftsman, Virgil has drawn his building career from several luthiers over the past couple years to make these incredible guitars. The inlay and appointments on his guitars are simply a testament to his attention to detail.

Says Virgil, “After playing guitar for over 35 years, I knew what I was looking for in tone and how a neck should feel and had been willing to go to any length to achieve the 'perfect' guitar fit for myself, and ironically, other players. On my Signature & Artisan Series guitars, they come with a DVD that shows the birth of my guitars starting out with a chunk of wood all the way to a music video – I do every step of this process by myself, in-house. I am not aware of any other builder in the world that is doing this... Yet, I am also planning on making ALL unique guitars – there will NEVER be two guitars alike, so all owners of a Virgil Guitar will have their own unique tone and feel. I am also working on making guitars to fit different budgets.”

Virgil Guitars makes custom, one-of-a-kind boutique guitars in Tampa, Florida. Each guitar has its own story, a one-of-a-kind inlay and certain models even come with a DVD of the build. Virgil carefully documents each build with amazing photography and videography assuring the buyer the guitar's tone/sound before purchase. Says Virgil, “The inspiration for all designs comes naturally since I have been a guitarist and artist since the '70s. Watching the masters like Larry Robinson and Grit Laskin helped quite a bit as well – I was amazed at the detail. I love the fact that I can also 'paint' my designs with no paint... I use various shells, stone, prehistoric shark teeth, precious metals and natural wood for all the colors I would ever need.”

“As a player, the most important thing for me in a guitar is playability and sound. Virgil Guitars are the best playing and sounding electric guitars I have ever played. Honest. Then when you add the amazing beauty of the inlay and woodworking, you really have something special.” - Guitarist Todd Grubbs

Bottom line, why would someone want to purchase a custom crafted guitar from Virgil Guitars? Virgil explains, “They should buy them for their playability – don't let the fancy schmantzy inlay and detailing fool you – everyone who has played my guitars does the same thing; they first give some 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' with the inlay or detailing and even some of them have said, 'Well, I'm not really into a lot of inlay...' However, as soon as they put it in their laps, it's the exact same thing we all do as guitarists; we feel the balance of it in the lap, we feel the neck, how open chords and then barre chords feel, then we feel the action of the strings, then the accessibility to the higher frets. The next critique is focused on the tone. I am the same person who pays attention to the details on the inlays as much as every other aspect of my guitars. It would make no sense to spend all the time on the inlay and just blow off the IMPORTANT aspects of a guitar. I make all of my guitars as if it was my last guitar I was to build and have as a guitar!”

For more information, visit the official Virgil Guitars website:

November 21, 2012

Full Sail Announces 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Class

Full Sail University is proud to announce the 2012 Full Sail University Hall of Fame inductees comprised of six graduates recognized for their outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment, media, and the arts. A week long series of events including an induction ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge these latest additions to the hall is scheduled to take place in early 2013.
The 2012 Full Sail University Hall of Fame inductees are:

Marcella “Ms. Lago” Araica

Current Title: Recording & Mix Engineer
Industry Credits Include: Sound Engineer on projects for such artists as: Missy Elliot, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey, Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, Wyclef Jean, Usher, Jennifer Lopez and many more.
Received numerous accolades for her craftsmanship and has been honored with two prestigious ASCAP awards for her work and chart topping hits with Pop vocalists Pink and Keri Hilson.
2002 Graduate (Recording Arts)

Dylan “3-D” Dresdow

Current Title: Mix Engineer
Industry Credits Include: Multi platinum Mix Engineer who has mixed songs for artists including: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Usher, and
His work on the Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. earned him a GRAMMY award in 2010 for Best Pop Vocal Album, as well as nominations for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Dance Recording. He has also been nominated for multiple GRAMMY awards with the group in 2004 on their Elephunk album.
In August 2012, he engineered’s previously unreleased track Reach for the Stars, which was broadcast to Earth from Mars via the Curiosity rover.
1997 Graduate (Recording Arts)

Chance Glasco

Current Title: Senior Animator at Infinity Ward
Industry Credits Include: His first project out of school was Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for 2015, Inc. Shortly thereafter he joined, as an original founding member, the video game development studio Infinity Ward, and the critically acclaimed Call of Duty franchise, with credits, including: Call of Duty® (2003), Call of Duty® 2 (2005), Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare® (2007), Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 (2009), and Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3 (2011).
His specialty and area of expertise is in weapons and first person animations.
Upon its release last November, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 set a new entertainment launch record surpassing $775 million worldwide in its first five days.
2001 Graduate (Computer Animation)

Joey Morelli

Current Title: Senior Video Editor & Compositor at Electronic Arts Tiburon (EA SPORTS)
Industry Projects Include: Worked on game titles Tiger Woods PGA TOUR (Lead Franchise Video Editor / Compositor), Madden NFL, MMA, NCAA Football and NASCAR Kart Racing.
Over the span of his 14-year career, he has earned 13 TELLY awards, 10 ADDY awards, and 1 PROMAX award for his work as a Compositor / Motion Designer / Visual Effects Artist and Editor.
Clients throughout his career include: EA SPORTS Marketing and Game Teams, the Golf Channel, the Miami Dolphins, the Florida Marlins, the Florida Panthers, Nissan, AutoNation and many more.
1998 Graduate (Digital Media)

Susan Rose

Current Title: Lighting Designer, Director and Programmer
Industry Credits Include: Lighting Designer, Director and Programmer for 23 years working around the globe on tour with major artists including: Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band, Louise Mandrell, Hank Williams Jr., John Berry and many more.
Worked on numerous televised specials including the Stellar Awards, the Dove Awards, the Trumpet Awards, and the Freddy Awards; as well as special events for the Walt Disney Company, Dollywood, SeaWorld, and Nickelodeon.
1989 Graduate (Recording Arts)

Jeremy Vickery

Current Title: Lighting Technical Director
Industry Credits Include: Began in animation as a 3D Modeler / Texture Artist at Big Idea Productions working on the popular animated show Veggie Tales. Expanding his career, he shifted into the role of CG Generalist and then later the Lighting Director at Fathom Studios for the animated feature film Delgo.
In 2003, he joined Pixar Animation Studios as a Lighting Technical Director where he worked on the popular films The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille and WALL•E.
In 2007, he worked as a freelance artist for such clients as LEGO, Disney, Sony, and Ubisoft.
In 2011, he returned to Pixar where he recently completed work on the film Brave and is currently working on an upcoming project.
1997 Graduate (Digital Media)

In 2009, the university began the now time-honored tradition that is the Full Sail University Hall of Fame. Its purpose is to recognize those graduates who have made outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment, media, and the arts. This honor serves as a tribute to the creative inspiration, technical brilliance, and determination of each inductee, their unyielding dedication to more than a decade of excellence in their professional career, and their heartfelt commitment to the students, faculty, staff, and graduates of Full Sail University.
“On behalf of the faculty, students, staff and alumni of Full Sail University, it is our great honor to announce the 2012 Hall of Fame induction class,” said Garry Jones, President of Full Sail University. “With each passing year, we are humbled by the talent, humility, and dedication demonstrated by our graduates. Once again, we look forward to hosting this celebration on campus as a source of inspiration for our students and the community at large.”
Additional information including special guests, live performances and a complete schedule for the Hall of Fame celebration week will be announced at a later date.
About Full Sail University:
Full Sail University is an award-winning educational leader for those pursuing careers in the entertainment and media industry. Founded in 1979, Full Sail has been recognized as one of the Top Five Game Degree Programs by Electronic Gaming Monthly, one of the Best Music Programs by Rolling Stone Magazine, and one of the Best Film Programs by UNleashed Magazine. In 2011, Full Sail received the “21st Century Best Practices in Distance Learning Award” from the United States Distance Learning Association, was named the “School/College of the Year” by the Florida Association of Post secondary Schools and Colleges, and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges by
Full Sail offers Master, Bachelor, and Associate campus and online degree programs in areas related to animation, art, business, education, graphic design, film, marketing, web development, music, recording arts, sports, and video games. Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, ADDY®, MTV Video Music Award, and Spike Video Game Award nominated and winning projects.

October 21, 2012

Florida Music Feature: sixluVu

As the first single from the sixluVv debut EP "Caymanas Drive"
"Turn Off the Lights (PUM PUM MEGAMASH REMIX)"
is a MegaMash of the #1 song in the US: "Future - Turn Off the Lights" &
Jamaica's #1 Dancehall song:"Baby Cham - Pum Pum Tun Up" 

Based out of Tampa, Florida ‘sixluVv’ is a Dancehall SoundSystem made up of ElektroAkoustic Music Producer & Dj Mellohype of Snypaworks HD.

The name ‘sixluVv’ comes from the classic Jamaican hailing ‘One Love’ & the phrase used in the game of Domino phrase that describes winning 6 games in a row–the ultimate win. Where we used to hail one another with ‘One Love’, we now say “sixluVv” to wish success, health & a positive vibes.

click the link below to listen:

Turn Off the Lights (Pum Pum Megamash Remix)


Sat Oct 20th: Day Break: The Ultimate Day Party @ Mangroves SoHo 
208 S Howard Ave.  Tampa, FL  from 2pm to 7pm

Sat Oct 20th: Swagnificent Saturday @ Cloud 9 
1910 S Pine Ave Ocala FL 

Sat Oct 27th: Reggae on the Rooftop @ Prana Skybar 
1619 E 7th Ave Ybor City, FL 

Wed Oct 31st: Riddims Wednesdays HALLOWEEN BASHMENT @ FUBAR  
225 W University Ave Gainsville FL

Sat Nov 3rd: Reggae on the Rooftop @ Prana Skybar 
1619 E 7th Ave Ybor City, FL 

Sat Nov 10th : Reggae on the Rooftop @ Prana Skybar 
1619 E 7th Ave Ybor City, FL 

Sat Nov 17th : BABY CHAM LIVE @ Club Stereo
238 W University Ave Gainsville FL 

Sat Nov 24th: Prana Skybar 
1619 E 7th Ave Ybor City, FL 

Sat Dec 1st: Reggae on the Rooftop
1619 E 7th Ave Ybor City, FL

A sound system is a group of sound engineers, DJs and performers/MCs who work together to put on a live show. Sound systems are most closely associated with dancehall music, and within that context, DJs are often called "selectors" and MCs are often called "DJs." Sound systems have a particular brand and identity usually, not unlike a band or other group of musicians. In dancehall music, sound systems often have "sound clashes" or competitions with each other.

Although modern sound systems are associated with dancehall music, sound systems date back to 1950s Jamaica. Sound systems have often played a central role in Jamaican politics.

September 21, 2012

Florida Music Feature: ELEKTROAKOUSTIC

Click link below to listen:

"ELEKTROAKOUSTIC" begins with the screaming leads of 'ScrapeStep' anthem 'holLiwUd.' "Im up in Hollywood, se-se-se-selling my soul" is the catchy hook sung by vocalist blinn over an airy evolving analog electrobeat that morphs into a climax of sound. On "Dont Fall for Me", Cityy Towers is brutally honest when he referring to past relationship: "Oh you was f**kin him, no wonder you didnt pick up, I hope he keep his **** up...stupid as ever the words I used to get cha, you hold em close to your heart, I just threw them together."

Despite its dark tone, the album features lighter records such as the playful acoustic guitar driven pop ballad "U" & a sugar pop dance remix of Little Boot's "Earthquake" which is heavy influences from the island drums of Major Lazer as well as La Roux & Ellie Goulding inspired synths.

Meet the Producer

My name is Rieces Pieces & I am a Jamaican Music Producer now living in Clearwater, Florida. About 2 years, I produced a remix for Interscope Artist MIA’s ///Y/ The Remixes Album which featured Jay Z. The next 6 months were a whirlwind as I had the opportunity to work with a lot of great songwriters and submit what I considered to be unique tracks to a lot of commercial albums including Cee Lo’s ‘The Lady Killer’, Kimberly Caldwell’s ‘Without Regret’, VV Brown & others. I spent the months that followed in the studio working on copycat style songs that sounded like the top 40 records of that year and It grew old, fast.
At the end of 2011, I packed up & moved from LA to Clearwater, FL to record this EP with the intentions of producing a cohesive project as eclectic as my personal musical taste. In the 8 months I spent working on this EP, I produced in total 30 songs & remixes. I worked with independent artists from Europe & as well as the US who were artists I considered to be hidden gems of their genre.
Next, I spent a month listening to all of the songs & trimming the track-list down to the best 8 most unique songs and another 2 weeks on the order of the songs. Finally, I picked the title of “ELEKTROAKOUSTIC”, which was an ode to my biggest musical influences, Pierre Schaffer, John Cage & other forefathers of early recorded Electronic Music. It is my intentions to blend both worlds by using influences from the esoteric in a commercial way. StandOut tracks include: ‘blinn – holliwud’, ‘Prophit – Falls (Spoken Word by Motown Pride)’ & ‘Cityy Towers – Dont Fall for Me’
ElektroAkoustic starts off with an EDM subgenre Scrapestep song then an Indie Rock remix of Metric’s Artificial Nocture then a chilled out flip of James Blake’s The Wilhelm Scream that forays into a dancey almost island sounding 3/4 time remix of Little Boots and eventually ends with a Sample of Regina Spektors Hero Spoken Word monologue.
ELEKTROAKOUSTIC is intended to understated, unique & unexpected.

August 21, 2012

Milton Rubén Laufer, DMA, to lead NWSA music program

New World School of the Arts has selected a new dean to lead its award-winning music program. Milton Rubén Laufer, DMA, an internationally acclaimed teacher, performer and scholar, will begin in his new post this August when classes resume at the renowned arts conservatory. Dr. Laufer brings a wealth of artistic, academic and administrative experience to NWSA, having held similar positions across the nation. As the Dean of Music, Dr. Laufer will serve as the chief academic and artistic officer for the Music Division of New World School of the Arts, overseeing administration of both the high school and college programs in Music.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a brilliant, committed faculty and the ascending talents of the student body at NWSA,” said Dr. Laufer. “As Dean, my goal is to contribute significantly to the academic, artistic, and cultural life at the institution and the city of Miami.  This is such an honor!”

A pianist since the age of three, Milton Rubén Laufer made his musical debut at the age of twelve in Chicago, where he was born of Cuban and Puerto Rican parents. Dr. Laufer’s training includes studies at the Music Institute of Chicago, the Moscow Conservatory, the Gnessin Institute, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, and Rice University.

Top prizes in the Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition, Young Keyboard Artists International Piano Competition, Union League Civic Arts Foundation competition, the Nena Wideman Piano Competition, and the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Stillman-Kelley Award highlight some of Dr. Laufer’s competitive accomplishments.

He has performed chamber music with members of the North Carolina Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Borromeo Quartet, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New World Symphony.

Laufer served for 10 years on the music faculty at Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he held the Phoenix Professorship in Fine Arts and was Artistic Director of the Manning Chamber Music Series.

While in North Carolina, he founded and was Executive Director of the Sir Walter Raleigh Festival of Music, the only festival in the United States that is part of the British and International Federation of Festivals.

Most recently, Dr. Laufer worked as a senior consultant for the music technology firm, Zenph Sound Innovations and served on juries for music festivals in Germany, China, and throughout the United States.

A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Laufer has conducted extensive research in Spanish piano music.  He is recognized internationally as a leading performer and scholar in this area, and his recent editions of Isaac Albéniz’s 3 Improvisations for Piano and La Vega by are published by G. Henle Verlag of Munich and available worldwide.

Currently he is writing the book, "The Pianist's Guide to the Repertoire of Spain".  Dr. Laufer has recently released recordings on the Beauport Classical and Zenph Studios record labels.

About NWSA: The distinguished history of the New World School of the Arts began in 1984 when the Florida State Legislature established the institution to provide artistically talented high school and college students the means to achieve both an academic education and artistic training. In September 1986, NWSA opened its doors to students in grades ten through twelve. NWSA’s audition-based programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art, Dance, Music and Theater. New World School of the Arts offers the high school diploma as well as a four-year BFA or BM college degree.

The academic music curriculum at New World School of the Arts fosters creativity and develops knowledge of musical heritage. Course work strives to develop the student's growth and maturity in comprehensive musicianship. The study of music history and theory is pursued by taking a variety of classes including foundations of music; surveys of music history in the western world, jazz and pop music in America, and music of the world's people; and seminars in composition aesthetics, jazz improvisation, chamber music, and general musicianship. Areas of concentration include piano, instrumental, composition and vocals.

New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.

Information about the NWSA Music program is available by calling 305-237-7855 or visiting

Photo: Milton Ruben Laufer, DMA – Dean of Music, New World School of the Arts

July 21, 2012

Help From the North!

I can remember when I first began to publish the Florida Music Letter, it was the early 1990’s and much was different in the world of music. In fact, many of the restraints that existed in reaching readers all but disappeared with technological advancements. The World Wide Web now means that readers all over the world can read the Florida Music Letter. Believe me, I found out right away how powerful the electronic format could be. Steve Holt, President of Inner Music and Media Group in Toronto Canada contacted me and told me about the services his company offered. He also let me know that his company was able to offer those services to Florida musicians and music companies. That’s why this month we are featuring a company outside the state of Florida. Because I found out the world is getting smaller and support for Florida music can come from anywhere in the world. I could say a lot more but it might be better to let Steve tell you himself in the video below.

Edward Reid

Inner Music and Media Group Services

Corporate and Promotional Videos
Flashy...?  Or simple? Our team creates extraordinary videos that inspire and get the points across. Make a powerful presentation with our custom video.

Recorded Music
We produce demo or finished recordings for performing artists and songwriters. For vocalists, we access our songwriters for new or custom material, as well as a host of session musicians or MIDI instruments.

Voice overs
We produce professional voice overs using our own in-house voices, as well as by accessing our network of professionals. The result is a custom product designed to match the exact requirements of the job.

Ad Videos / TV Spots
We create original and creative videos to advertise your products or services. Our videos range vastly in style due to the eclectic expertise we offer... from cartoon, animated videos, to live-action ads with realistic effects.

Educational / Instructional Videos
We can create educational and instructional videos of any kind on any subject. Using animation to clearly illustrate the topics of the video, the material becomes concise and easy to understand.

We provide professional 3D animated video in a diverse number of styles. From cartoon animation, to lifelike computer graphics. For whatever needs you have, we have the skills to create it.

Music Videos
We create videos to perfectly compliment your song. We will work with the artist to assure that the the music and video become one. From energetic rock music, to emotional acoustic songs, and everything in between. 

GENERAL inquiries




Telephone (905) 492-2000

June 21, 2012

Jazz Alive and Well in South Florida!

Jazz is America's original music, enjoyed around the world. It developed from African and European influences and grew with our country, capturing the spirit of the nation through its melding of cultures,
independence and improvisation, and energy; all of which are hallmarks of American ideals.

Today, Jazz is one of our country's most sought-after international exports, with its language being "spoken" by people around the world. Jazz, emanating from America, has become world music. It is the music of the twenty-first century. South Florida JAZZ is committed to perpetuating jazz in these particular ways:

Offering performance venues for musicians, local, regional, national, and international, whom we regard as treasured talents.

Nurturing the next generation of jazz musicians and enthusiasts by active educational and live performance programs.

Networking with other cultural arts organizations to expose larger numbers of people to serious jazz music of various styles.

Encouraging performance opportunities for non-professional musicians for pleasure and skill-enhancement.
Pat Metheny


South Florida JAZZ is South Florida's premier jazz organization serving the Keys, Miami, Miami Beach, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and the Palm Beaches and is celebrating its Platinum anniversary (20 years).

South Florida JAZZ was founded as a non-profit organization in 1991 to
produce the Hollywood Jazz Festival for the City of Hollywood. In 1996 it created a seasonal concert series, which progressively has grown in stature because of the high-caliber talent that it features from around the globe.

The Hollywood Jazz Festival was suspended in 2005 and replaced by an annual Anniversary Concert that showcases exceptional artists. In 2010 that artist was 13-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Chick Corea.

Paquito D'Rivera
Jazz Education

The principal educational objective of this organization is to inculcate an understanding of the importance of America's classical music, jazz, in students in the Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade county public school systems. It is an established fact that children exposed to formal music show superior academic achievement.

South Florida JAZZ, Inc (SFJ) produces a seasonal  monthly concert series preceded by either a lecture/demonstration by a jazz artist or educator or a "Meet the Artist" question and answer period that allows the audience to ask historical and other jazz-related questions relative to the featured artists. In addition, it has been a contributing sponsor of the Broward Library Foundation's "Books 'n' Bears" program providing live musical performances, stuffed animals, and books to Title I children during the Holiday.

Further, SFJ is a sponsor of free student workshops, clinics, master classes, and concerts produced in conjunction with the Frost School of Music at University of Miami, Florida International University Jazz Studies Department, the New World School of the Arts, a magnet school in Miami-Dade County, and most recently, the Broward College Jazz Studies program. There is active collaboration with BC for the future with scheduled workshops and concerts on the BC campus facilities.

SFJ encourages visiting artists to give master classes and clinics to collegiate and high school music students. Previous participants in this program include Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, Joe Henderson, Paquito D'Rivera, Don Menza and Paul Wertico. This is an ongoing program to introduce music students to elite professionals.

We recognize that jazz developed from African and European influences and grew with our country. It captured the spirit of the nation through its melding of cultures; its independence, improvisation, and energy; all of which are hallmarks of American ideals.

Chick Corea
Today, jazz is one of our country's most sought after international exports, with its language "spoken" by people around the world. Jazz, emanating from America, has become world music. Without proper education about its history and live performance exposure to the children, Jazz is in danger of becoming marginalized or even trivialized in this country.

SFJ uses these lecture/demonstrations as a springboard for further opportunities to listen to Jazz music as entertainment. SFJ brings educators and first-rate professional musicians to the schools to accomplish its goals.

Help support Jazz Education : Become a Member

May 21, 2012

Musicians Network in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Music Network is a Promotions & Marketing Company..It has been designed to generate business for everyone in the industry, from bands to soundmen to venues to promoters to bartenders to photographers to web designers/graffix and publications, just about every aspect of the business. If you get involved it will work for you. Be advised, TBMN offers all styles of music referrals from: Rock ( Current to Classic) Top 40 Dance, R&B, Blues, Jazz, Country/Rock, Reggae, Solo artist as well as duo acoustic acts. WE ARE NOT A BOOKING AGENCY - NO FEE'S !!! We refer Artists & Bands to our clients, in order to help them gain new Business & Clientele....Networking is our game... Let Us show you How to improve your business, tru target marketing, if you have or want Live Entertainment....

TBMN OFFICIAL STATEMENT: TBMN & Vic will be hosting every Sundays in JUNE, July & Aug @ Screwie Louie's Porpoise Pub from 4-11pm...We will be throwing a " TBMN Beach Party " ( flyer soon ) hosted by some of the Bay area's Up & Coming Acts..Happy Hour ALL DAY ( $1.00 drafts, $2.00 wells, $1.75 Domestic Bottled beer, Free Food Buffet 1-7pm). Also, Porpoise will be doing a Charity Raffle( $1.00 each) - " QUEEN OF HEARTS " a kinda of Pot Luck deal which gets bigger every week until some one draws the Queen Of Hearts Card ( details @ Bar).. Ladies, come in your Bikinis/Bathing suits & get first drink on TBMN ( with a pic for Porpoise website, of course ).. Bands that can't do Fri or Sat Showcases with TBMN, should consider Sundays...p.a. provided & crowd already Vic for more details.. More TBMN Showcases coming soon ( with the Huge success of our last one in April ), stay tuned for more details !! Vic-TBMN (813)765-7635

April 21, 2012

Studio and Engineer

DON HYINK: Owner, operator, and founder of Blackstar Studio, is a producer, recording engineer, and a professional musician with over 34 years of experience. He has been featured on multiple recordings both as recording engineer/producer and as instrumentalist. Don Hyink has worked in a wide range of musical styles as well as other music related productions. He particularly enjoys working with microphones and instruments that "move air".

Blackstar Studio's mission has always been about the musician. In the more than 15 years we have been in operation, countless bands, singers, songwriters, and those needing recording services have come through our door. At first most of the activity was providing bands a decent place to rehearse, then the recording part began to grow, and now Blackstar Studio has evolved into a very capable recording facility. Originally conceived of as a studio that would bridge the large gap between the many "home studios" and the numerous commercial operations, Blackstar has more than achieved that goal. We strive to not only give our clients a product that they can be proud of, but an opportunity to work on their craft.
Nothing is more exciting than seeing someone bring in their project, go through the recording process, and finish with something that exceeds their expectations as well as finding that they have taken valuable steps forward in their creative journey! Of course we have gained valuable experience with them. 

Blackstar Studio is located in a commercial area not far from Tamiami Airport in Kendall (Miami,Florida). It's dimensions are roughly 30 x 20 x 20. The neighborhood is safe, easy to find, and with ample parking.
We work with analogue, digital, or a combination of both recording mediums. Final mixes can be delivered on CD, DAT, regular cassette, or on any of the mediums we work with.
In the live room we have a 1929 Knabe Baby Grand, a Hammond organ with full pedals and a Leslie cabinet, a drum kit, bass rig and a selection of Fender amps. There is a nice selection of microphones and some premium mic pre's. By using gobos, multi-tracking, mic selection and mic placement, the absence of designated isolation booths hasn't been a problem.

BOARD Soundtracs Topaz 48 input, 8-buss
MICROPHONES Soundelux ELUX 251, Audio-technica 4050, 4041, ATM-25, AKG 414 - TL II, Beyerdynamic M-88 TG, M 260 N(C) ribbon, Earthworks QTC-1 (stereo pair), Neumann U87, Royer 121 ribbon, Sennheiser 421 (3), 441 (2), Shure SM-57 (5), SM-58 (3), SM-81 (2), Beta 57, Beta 58, assorted dynamics.
PROCESSORS TC Electronics Finalizer "96k", M-2000, D-two (delay), Chandler Ltd. "TG Channel" (Abbey Road Edition), Vintech "X 73" Channel/mic. pre., Empirical Labs "EL 8-X Distressor" (with British mode), Orban (parametric eq's and compressors), Alesis Q-2, Lexicon LXP-15 II, Antares pitch corrector, Avalon 737 (tube mic pre/compressor), Avalon AD 2022 (mic pre), Avalon U-5's (D.I.), Line 6 Pod Pro (amp/speaker simulator), dbx 566 (tube compressor), assorted pieces from dbx, Behringer.
RECORDERS Tascam DA-88 (24 tracks) digital, Tascam MS-16 (16 track 1" reel-to-reel), Tascam TSR-8 (8 track 1/2" reel-to-reel), DA-30 mk II (2) DAT recorders, CD-RW 5000 (2) CD burners, CD-RW 2000 CD burner, Sony dual well pro cassette.
SPEAKERS ADAM “P-33-A” (control room monitors), Wright “Wavefront III” (control room monitors), JBL “4311” (playback), Klipsch “La Scala” (live room mains), Klipsch “ KSM-2” (live room floor monitors)
OTHER ASSORTED GOODIES Knabe Baby Grand Piano, Hammond with Leslie and bass pedals, Fender Guitar amps, Bass Rig, Assorted cabinets.

Blackstar Studios 12187 S.W. 132 Court,
Miami, FL 33186 Phone: 305-235-5043

March 20, 2012

Florida Grand Opera's Young Artist Studio

Surprise performance at Miami Int'l Airport

Founded in 1984, Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Studio has gained worldwide recognition as one of the leading operatic training programs in the nation. The respected program provides talented young singers with an opportunity to refine the skills developed during formal music education, targeting those areas necessary to develop a successful opera career.
The selected artists receive extensive coaching and instruction during the 6-9 month residency. Under the guidance of a staff of working professionals, Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists study with renowned professional artists and teachers from every aspect of the world of opera while gaining valuable performance experiences. Singers receive regular individual coaching sessions and participate in coachings, master classes and seminars given by acclaimed guest artists and teachers. Special classes in audition techniques fight choreography, dance, tax and personal finance, stress management and public relations may also be offered.
Lacy Sauter, soprano at M.I.A.
The highly competitive program accepts only 6-10 artists from over 600 applicants each year and has trained more than 150 young professionals who now appear on the stages of the nation’s leading operatic and theatrical organizations. During their residency, the Young Artists perform recitals and concerts for the community and outreach programs for area students, inspiring a new generation of artists and gaining valuable feedback. The Young Artists also sing principal and supporting roles and serve as understudies in the opera company’s mainstage performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Tenor, Daniel Shirley on top of chair

An Apprentice Coach works extensively with the Young Artists and visiting musical staff. The Apprentice Coach is selected from a competitive application process to perform the duties of coaching the Young Artists, taking part in concerts and recitals, accompanying chorus rehearsals and some mainstage performances, creating the supertitle scripts and calling supertitles for each performance.
Regular auditions and question and answer sessions are scheduled with visiting Artists Managers. Graduates of the program who have gone on to leading roles in major productions include Sarah Coburn, Rachele Gilmore, Leah Partridge, Elizabeth Caballero, Andrew Bidlack and Tom Corbeil.
Young Artists are in residency for six – nine months. Current members may be asked to return for a second year. Members of the Young Artists Studio are provided the following:
Weekly stipend of $400.00
Utilities (except phone)
Heath insurance
Round-trip transportation to Miami
Financial assistance for voice lessons
Additional fees are paid for mainstage roles under FGO’s current AGMA agreement.

FGO Young Artists taking pictures
All Young Artists are responsible for their own transportation and vehicle during their residence in Miami.
John Keene, Head of Music Staff / Coach
Ramon Tebar, Music Director
Master Class Instructors and Guests (in 2010-2011 Season)
Carlos Montane
Elizabeth Futral
Sherrill Milnes
Diana Soviero
Bernard Uzan 
Jonathan Pell
David DiChiera
Currently Planned Repertoire for the FGO 2011-2012 Season
Luisa Fernanda
La rondine
Romeo et Juliette
Currently Planned Repertoire for the FGO 2012-2013 Season
La Boheme
Magic Flute
La Traviata
Every year, the opera company seeks sponsors for each singer to assist in covering the costs of artist stipends, voice instruction, and other training and career development activities. Artists for the 2010-2011 Season include Tenor James Barbato, Mezzo-Soprano Courtney McKeown, Baritone Jonathan G. Michie, Tenor Daniel Shirley, Bass-Baritone Craig Colclough, Mezzo-Soprano Rebecca Luttio, Soprano Brittany Ann Reneé Robinson, Apprentice Coach Tatiana Vassilieva, and Apprentice Coach Ashley Anderson.
Sponsorship Opportunities:
Young Artist Sponsor: $15,000/per year
Young Artist concert: $5,000
Young Artist in-school performance: $5,000
Annual Family Day sponsor: $10,000
Master Class Sponsor: $1,500
General Supporter: $5,000
For more information, contact Kelly Anderson, Director of Artistic Administration, 305-854-1643 or

Welcome to all reading the first blog since the fifteen year hiatus. Don't forget to read each twenty-first day of the month for more Florida Music information. If you have anything to share feel free to contact me:

January 19, 2012

Coming March 21, 2012

Florida Music Letter is a newsletter style online blog that will discuss events, music education, songwriting, recording techniques, recording equipment and so much more. I hope that you will view it as OUR information source and send information about anything happening in music throughout the state of Florida. All of this and you don't even have to live in Florida to be a part of it. If you have any questions please send an email to: