Five Years of Making Beautiful Music
A lovely solarium at the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center in Bloomfield, New Jersey is the home of Music at the Mansion, which presents vocalists from New York City and New Jersey on the last Sunday of each month. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the room is a perfect setting for music performed acoustically, with just a piano and the human voice, creating an intimacy that recalls the salons of days past.
Presented by Nicholas Adler and Corinna Sowers Adler under the auspices of their NiCori Studios and Productions, the series was created by Corinna, who also hosts each performance. Corinna is also a singer, actress, director and vocal coach. She was nominated as Best Host of a Variety Show and Best Female Vocalist for the 2012 and 2014 Broadway World Cabaret Awards. She was a featured soloist at the 25th Annual New York Cabaret Convention held in the Rose Theater of Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has performed at Feinstein’s/54 Below and the Metropolitan Room in NYC. She has also toured and performed her solo cabaret shows Stories, By Request, Songs from the Heart, Let Me Sing and I’m Happy and High Standards at venues in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.
The Cultural Center was once the home of the Oakes family, successful textile manufacturers. After the last surviving Oakes heir passed, the house was donated to the people of Bloomfield to be used as a cultural center. In 1981, it was listed on the State and National Registers of Historical Places. It is now the site for many arts programs and social event.
On January 31, the fifth anniversary of Music at the Mansion will be celebrated with “A Victorian Tea” and concert. We thought this was the perfect time to chat with Corinna about the series.
Cabaret Scenes Congratulations on your fifth anniversary. With so many entertainment choices vying for attention, this is certainly worth a celebration. How did you come up with the idea for Music at the Mansion?
Corinna Sowers Adler I am lucky enough to be the Artist-in-Residence at the beautiful Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center. It has become the home for NiCori Studios and Productions. One night, early in my time at Oakeside, I had finished teaching, was alone in the Mansion, and began to vocalize in the Solarium. It was so acoustically beautiful singing in that room. I thought, “We need to do something musically in here,” and that was the beginning of an idea.
CS What was your goal in starting the series?
CSA Originally, I was planning to showcase cabaret artists and local musicians from New Jersey. At the last minute, I thought why not extend the invitation to perform to NYC artists who are looking to work on material for new shows, build audiences, and gain exposure. I was pleasantly surprised at the incredible response I received from NYC cabaret community. Artists were not only interested, but excited and enthusiastic about coming to perform in this beautiful space.
CS How has the program changed over the last five years?
CSA One of the major changes has been the addition of our “Young Musician Moment” spot in the concert. We feature a young artist (under the age of 18) who has an affinity for the American Songbook and is interested in cabaret and/or musical theater performance. The last five years have also seen tremendous growth in audience members with many regulars who look forward to the concert every month with anticipation. The series has become a thing of pride for the Bloomfield and the cabaret communities.
CS What have you gotten out of the series?
CSA Music at the Mansion has helped our company as well as Oakeside to gain more exposure.
CS What has been the response from the community and the Center?
CSA Many people have commented on what a lovely afternoon it is and have remarked on the beauty of the setting. I feel Mrs. Jean Doswell-Oakes, an avid music lover who lovingly donated her house to the town as a cultural center, would be thrilled to see what we are doing in her beautiful solarium. We also have been able to give singers the rare opportunity to sing in a totally acoustic setting reminiscent of the house concerts of old.
CS How do you see the series changing?
CSA We would like to add featured concerts where we highlight one particular singer who is able to perform his or her entire show in this setting.
Join many of the Music at the Mansion favorite performers for the 5th Anniversary performance. The performance will begin at 2:30pm and will feature the talents of Sarah Rice, Broadway’s original Johanna in Sweeney Todd, multi-MAC Award-winning recording artist Stearns Matthews, international guitar sensation Sean Harkness, multi-award-winning lyric soprano Shana Farr, host and personality Gerry Mastrolia, hostess and singer Randie Levine Miller, singer/comedian Warren Schein, MAC Award-winning singer Sue Matsuki, actor/singer Bob Diamond, multi-award-winning singer/songwriter Tracy Stark, Bloomfield’s very own singer/actor Mark Szep, award-winning recording artist Ilene Angel, Broadway actor DC Anderson, actor, singer and recording artist Jim Speake, ASCAP award-winning songwriter Garry Novikoff, Dallas television actress Deborah Tranelli, television actor and cabaret performer Adam Shapiro, and other surprise artists. Artists subject to change. Visit http://www.musicatthemansion.
Music at the Mansion
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Tea served at 1:00 pm; concert at 2:30 pm
Tea and Concert: $25
Concert only: $10
Reservations required for Tea: 973.429.0960
Visit: http://corinnasings.com/musicatthemansion/ for details and directions