Tags Posts tagged with "The Paramount"

The Paramount

Brian Orlando shows off the new beer he collaborated with to fundraise for suicide prevention. Photo by Julianne Mosher

A local radio personality and a brewery owner are combining forces to combat suicide.

Brian Orlando, a DJ with Connoisseur Media’s 94.3 The Shark, has made it his mission to bring awareness to depression and to help those who are struggling.

Back in 2017, when his hero, and Soundgarden front man, Chris Cornell took his own life, Orlando was devastated. He began writing a song hoping to shine a light on the taboo topic of suicide, and to show that music can heal all wounds. 

A close up look at the QR reader and label on the Never Alone beer packaging. The code leads to a music video created by Orlando in memory of those who lost their lives to suicide. Photo by Julianne Mosher

He teamed up with Northport native (and the lead singer of 90s band Wheatus) Brendon B. Brown, Vinnie Dombroski of the band Sponge, Kevin Martin from Candlebox, and One Direction touring drummer Josh Devine to create “Choose Song.” 

In January 2019, the group, along with dozens of Long Island locals, filmed its music video at 1940’s Brewing Co. in Holbrook, starring Orlando’s friend, and fellow Shark DJ, Ashley Massaro, of Smithtown. 

Massaro lost her own life to suicide a few weeks before the video was set to release. 

“We watched it together,” Orlando said. “It was just a couple of weeks before she passed, and I know that she loved the video. She loved being here.” When Massaro passed away, everyone thought it was too soon to release the video online. Eventually, in July 2020, they decided to post it to YouTube, and share her story with the world. 

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her,” he said. “I want people to realize that when they do see the video, they’re looking at somebody that fought to the end, even though she had problems, she was trying to help other people. That’s why she was here.”

Massaro rose to fame in 2005 after winning WWE’s Diva Search. Two years later, she was a contestant on “Survivor: China.” In 2016, she was one of several former wrestlers who sued the WWE, alleging they sustained head injuries on set that were not properly cared for, causing her severe depression. 

“When people see the video, they realize anybody from any walk of life can suffer from depression,” Orlando said. “And hopefully that’s an inspiration to reach out on that can and get help so you don’t become a statistic.”

The can he mentions is the new beer that  1940’s Brewing Co. crafted this month. Jon Brengel, head brewer and owner, was instrumental in the movement, since the video was first filmed inside his brewery. 

Jon Brengel with Brian Orlando inside 1940’s Brewery in Holbrook. Photo by Julianne Mosåher

Brengel, of Huntington, approached Orlando about creating a beer and a logo that he hopes can save lives. 

“As you try to bring people together with music, we tried to do the same thing with beer,” he said. “I thought it’d be really appropriate to have something to support mental health.”

For every sale of the “Never Alone” beer, proceeds will go to suicide prevention. They also added a QR code to the label, which brings customers to the music video’s page, and other information like the National Suicide Hotline. 

Brengel said the idea to create a beverage for a cause was thought of in December. By February, they brewed a brand-new citrus New England India IPA (flavored after Orlando’s favorite drink, tequila), and created the symbolic design.

The light blue label features a concert setting, with hands reaching up (to the singer or symbolizing reaching out for help). Crinkled paper decorates the background, symbolizing every note written and never sent. In red ink, it reminds anyone looking, “With music, you are never alone.”

Blending the duo’s love for music, hanging out with friends and having a good time, along with the reminder that help is available for whoever needs it, the craft beer was born. 

Brengel said he hopes his beverage will rekindle friendships and bring more people together. 

“Living in the world we live in now, not having that contact, and not being able to see people as often as you want, I think the song really is a reminder to reach out to that person you haven’t spoken to in a while,” he said. “We were very cautious of the stigma of alcohol and mental health matters, but I think the idea is that this QR reader and label will be a reminder for you to reach out to the people you miss.”

Orlando said there is always going to be a stigma about drinking, “But the truth of the matter is, breweries like this are just the places to go to and be together — listen to some good music and be with good people.”

Photo by Julianne Mosher

The ultimate goal, he said, is if the person consuming the drink is feeling down or having a bad day, the QR scanner is right there on the lable, and will direct them to an inspirational video, reminding them they are never alone. 

Orlando said that since the video’s release, nearly 20,000 people have viewed, shared and commented on it, saying that the song helped save their life. 

“That’s what the song is supposed to be there for to help people,” he said. 

The Choose Song beer is available at the 1940’s Brewery and at local distributers.

Huntington Hospital will honor the owners of The Paramount — pictured from left, Brian Doyle, Jim Condron, Stephen Ubertini and Dominick Catoggio — at The Social, an event supporting the hospital and its future cancer center on Nov. 21.

“The Paramount has blossomed into a cultural center and economic engine for the Town of Huntington, a venue the community can be proud of,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital. “They have reinvented and improved the cultural experience of downtown Huntington. I know that employees and patients alike excitedly look forward to attending performances at The Paramount.”

“It’s a great experience thanks to these gentlemen, who brought world class entertainment to our doorstep. Their artistic vision and community spirit are among the reasons we are excited to honor them at this year’s gala,” Fitterman said.

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Dolli Bross at 631-470-5204 or email [email protected]

Photo from Huntington Hospital

From left, Jim Condron, The Paramount co-owner; Suffolk County Legislator Susan A. Berland; Dominick Catoggio, The Paramount co-owner; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; and Stephen Ubertini, The Paramount co-owner

Grateful for the service of Suffolk County’s dedicated United States military veterans and all active service members, The Paramount—in conjunction with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Legislator Susan A. Berland, the Suffolk County Legislature and the greater Huntington community—are showing their appreciation. Throughout the month of May, The Paramount will be waiving ticket fees at the box office for those who have served as a thank you for the sacrifices they have made for the country’s freedom.

“With nearly 50,000 veterans living right here in Suffolk County, it’s fair to say service to the country is in the DNA of our residents,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Dedicating May as Military Appreciation Month throughout the county is only a small part of the thanks we owe our veterans for our freedom and I commend The Paramount for being an integral part in honoring our heroes this month.”

The Paramount’s no-fee tickets are available to all veterans and all active service members on Long Island. Tickets must be purchased in person by presenting a Veterans Identification Card (VIC) or Proof of Service Letter at The Paramount’s box office located at 370 New York Ave in Huntington, New York. Tickets are available for purchase from noon until 6 p.m. everyday, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on show days. Waived ticket fees are applicable to any performance at The Paramount during the month of May for veterans.

“With the unanimous support of my colleagues in the legislature, we designated May as Military Appreciation Month in Suffolk County. I applaud The Paramount for its recognition of Military Appreciation Month and commitment to bringing entertainment to our local heroes,” said Legislator Susan A. Berland, chairwoman of the Legislature’s Veterans Committee. “I want to thank The Paramount for acknowledging our military personnel and making the generous offer to waive their fees during the month of May. The Paramount is an amazing venue to see a concert, comedy show or sporting event. It has universal appeal and is an asset to the Town of Huntington and Suffolk County.”

The Paramount’s scheduled entertainment throughout May includes performances by Johnny Marr, Whitesnake, Billy Currington, Frank Turner, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Live Starring: Rachel Bloom, Judas Priest, And That’s Why We Drink, The Pump and Dump, Stryper, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The New York Bee Gees:Bee Gees Tribute, Jim Breuer, Art Alexakis, The Beach Boys, and Mike DelGuidice.

For more information about The Paramount, please visit www.paramountny.com.

Tom Manuel leads the Jazz Loft Big Band on a bandstand at the loft, constructed from pieces of the original dance floor of New York’s famed Roseland Ballroom. Photo from The Jazz Loft

By John Broven

On May 21, Stony Brook Village reverberated to the sounds of a New Orleans-style street parade to mark the opening of The Jazz Loft at 275 Christian Ave. That happy day brought to reality the dreams of president and founder Tom Manuel.

“In the brief seven months the Jazz Loft has been open we’ve been able to accomplish the goals of our mission well ahead of schedule,” Manuel said. “Our performance calendar has presented some of the finest local, national and international artists; our educational programming has established our pre-college Jazz Institute in collaboration with Stony Brook University; and Our Young at Heart program has introduced wonderful music therapy events to people with memory loss.

“In addition to all of this our lecture series, family concerts, sponsored concert series and acquisitions and installations of jazz memorabilia, art, photography and more are ongoing and ever growing.”

Tom Manuel with children during The Creole Love Song: Operation Haiti! mission. Photo from The Jazz Loft

For establishing The Jazz Loft so quickly and effectively as a community resource, Manuel, a 37-year-old educator, historian and trumpet player, from St. James, is recognized by TBR News Media as a Person of the Year.

“Tom Manuel is a well-deserving nominee for Person of the Year,” Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said. “The Jazz Loft is an incredible gift to the 1st Council District. Tom’s passion for jazz has been transformed into a vivid, vibrant, collection of jazz history and a home for local talent, musicians and performances. In a short time, The Jazz Loft has become an incredible community space for art, history, culture and music.”

Visitors are able to view the loft’s museum exhibits featuring greats such as saxophonist Louis Jordan, the biggest African-American star of the 1940s and a massive influence on the ensuing rock ’n’ roll era; heartthrob blues and jazz crooner Arthur Prysock; upright bassist Lloyd Trotman, a prolific session musician who provided the bass line on Ben E. King’s anthem, “Stand by Me”; society bandleader Lester Lanin; and the seafaring vibraphonist and composer Teddy Charles.

Jean Prysock, of Searingtown, donated the memorabilia of her late husband Arthur Prysock, who played the top theaters and clubs from the 1940s onward and recorded for labels such as Decca, Mercury, Old Town and MGM-Verve. Why did she feel Manuel was worthy of support?

“He was young, he was enthusiastic, he was dedicated, he was sincere,” she said. “I first met him at a jazz bar in Patchogue. He led an 11-piece band, which sounded as if it could have played at New York’s Paramount Theatre.”

Apart from conducting bands, Manuel is an expert trumpet player, who credits among his inspirations Chet Baker, Warren Vache, Bobby Hackett, Harry “Sweets” Edison and Roy Eldridge. As an indication of the Jazz Loft’s authentic atmosphere, Manuel said the impressive three-tier bandstand was constructed from the original dance floor of the famed Roseland Ballroom on New York’s 52nd Street, adding, “It was an extreme labor of love, but certainly worth the effort.”

Manuel has directed a full program at The Jazz Loft while holding an adjunct post at Suffolk County Community College and a faculty position with Stony Brook University directing the jazz program of the Pre-College Music Division. If that’s not all, he has recently completed his doctorate, a DMA in jazz performance, at SBU and carried out charity work in Haiti.

“Tom is fully deserving of this award, not only for creating The Jazz Loft and making jazz available in our area, but also because of his remarkable spirit in bettering every community with which he engages,” Perry Goldstein, professor and chair at SBU’s Department of Music, said.

Tom Manuel (white hat at center) on opening day at The Jazz Loft in Stony Brook, on May 21 of this year. Photo by John Broven

“He motivated seven volunteers to go to Haiti with him after the recent hurricane, where they distributed 200 pairs of sneakers, clothing and school supplies purchased through donations. Tom radiates positive energy in everything he does,” Goldstein said.

Manuel readily acknowledges the help of others in giving liftoff to The Jazz Loft, including board members Laura Vogelsberg and Laura Stiegelmaier, many musicians and sponsors Harlan and Olivia Fischer who “donated our sound system, which is quite outstanding.” Manuel’s philosophy is summarized by the title of his well-received talk at the Three Village Community Trust’s annual celebration, held at The Jazz Loft in November: “Collaboration: The Art of Possibility.”

The jazz facility is housed in a historic building, comprising the old Stone Jug tavern and the former firehouse station, which accommodated the first museum in Stony Brook, founded in 1935 by real estate broker and insurance agent O.C. Lempfert. With the backing of Ward and Dorothy Melville, the museum was formally incorporated as the Suffolk Museum in 1939 before evolving into today’s The Long Island Museum. The renovated building, which was accorded landmark status by the Town of Brookhaven in September, is leased long term to The Jazz Loft by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization.

“Tom Manuel is a unique individual who was born into a generation of musicians steeped in rock ’n’ roll, rap and new wave,” Gloria Rocchio, president of WMHO, said. “I got to know Tom because of a[n] … article about a ‘young man’ with a house full of artifacts and memorabilia relating to the jazz era. The Ward Melville Heritage Organization owned a vacant building … and Tom had a collection in need of a home. A year later The Jazz Loft opened in Stony Brook, where Tom shares his love of jazz with like-minded musicians and fans. Tom is truly a role model for the concept of accomplishing your dream through passion and dedication. We are proud to welcome The Jazz Loft and Dr. Tom Manuel into our community.”

The members of Kodiak who just performed at the Paramount in Huntington last weekend. Photo from Rich Orofino

At the Paramount last weekend, what came before the headliner was almost more impressive.

Northport-based band Kodiak performed on the Huntington stage for the first time that night, opening for Billy Joel cover band Big Shot on Saturday, Feb. 27, and the teens rocked the house.

Before the show last weekend, Kodiak had played mostly open mic nights at their high school and some local bars around Northport, according to songwriter and lead singer Rich Orofino, 17.

In an interview at Orofino’s family home Monday, he and lead guitarist Matt Louis, 16, reflected on their big night while also looking toward their bright future.

“People are singing our lyrics in the crowd,” Orofino said. “That’s, like, the best feeling.”

Orofino and Louis, students at Northport High School, stressed how appreciative they were for the opportunity presented by the Paramount and Big Shot to be able to play the show, which will be remembered as a milestone for Kodiak.

Drummer Jonah Cohn, 17, and bass player Jack Burns, 18, round out the group.

The band has been together for about a year. They compared the sound of their eponymous debut album, released in 2015, to the indie rock band Real Estate. They mentioned Bob Dylan, The Who and Led Zeppelin as some of the bands they listen to.

Their second album, “Romantic Rebel and the Phony Reaper,” which they expect to be done in the next month or so, will have a harder, more electric-driven sound.

Because of that shift, Louis and Orofino had a hard time pinpointing Kodiak’s genre. But they’re okay with that.

“You should never try to duplicate yourself,” Louis said of their evolving style.

Wisdom and maturity came through in shocking abundance while speaking to the guys. That maturity softened Linda Orofino to the idea of her son pursuing such a tumultuous and uncertain career as a musician, a few decades after her husband took his shot at stardom and fell short.

“I did not want my son to be a musician,” his mother said. But his dedication and talent have proved her wrong, she said. Her husband is proud too, she added, when he hears Kodiak perform.

Orofino estimated that he has written about 230 songs, and while he couldn’t name a favorite at first, he settled on “Embers,” off their first album, after some deliberation.

Orofino and Louis both said that music is their one and only priority right now. They don’t have other hobbies — this is all they’ve ever wanted to be.

“I’ve been writing songs since ninth grade,” Orofino said. “In tenth grade one of my best friends put my name down on an open mic list at the school and I just stepped on stage and played two of my songs and I got a standing ovation. That was, like, the greatest feeling on Earth and I just never wanted to not be on a stage from that point on.”

Lead singer Rich Orofino sings as Matt Louis plays during their performance at the Huntington venue. Photo from Rich Orofino
Lead singer Rich Orofino sings as Matt Louis plays during their performance at the Huntington venue. Photo from Rich Orofino

Anyone who has spent time in Northport could understand how artists from there find inspiration.

“There’s so much Northport in our music,” Louis said.

Orofino fully endorsed that sentiment. “There’s literally an osprey’s nest we sing about,” he said, motioning toward the back door of the home, which looks out on the Long Island Sound.

Kodiak will be playing a two-hour show at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in downtown Northport Village sometime in March or April, as a fundraiser for a Northport food pantry. The date has not yet been determined.

Visit them online at www.kodiakband.bandcamp.com to hear their music or find out about future Kodiak shows.