"Homegrown Music Entity NYSCONNECTIONS Grows in Hudson Valley."

By Bill Liblick

Sullivan County Post
August 23th, 2016

Sullivan County resident Naomi Mombrun along with several of her friends have embarked on a creative music promotions entity that is making a name throughout the Hudson Valley.

Operating in its third year as NYSCONNECTIONS -- artists and musical groups are provided with an opportunity to display their skills in an alternative platform. These events attract a wide composition of genres from Classic Rock to Hip-Hop to Rhythm and Blues within the Hudson Valley.

Incorporating "networking" as an important element of each Artist Showcase/Industry Mixer, the organization encourages those with an interest in the entertainment industry to attend.

Aspiring artists, photographers, music producers, film makers, fashion designers, illustrators, and dancers from the Hudson Valley and points beyond have appeared.

One fundamental core characteristic of an NYSCONNECTIONS event encompass a workshop with "reputable" and "credible" entertainment industry professionals.

Considering that the industry is broad in scope, the organization's executive administrator, Naomi Mombrun recognizes the multiple and diverse layers that make up the entertainment industry.

"Grammy nominated and award winning music producer Mr. Alex Salzman; Grammy nominated sound engineer Mr. Peter Darmi; Chronogram music editor Mr. Peter Aaron; and senior partner of the law firm of Jacobowitz and Gubits, Mr. Gary Schuster, have appeared at previous events," she noted.

In 2015, the organization held several events in Sullivan County. One at Bernie's Holiday Restaurant and one at the Rivoli Theatre. More are slated in Sullivan County.

Residents who attended the events were fortunate to watch local and artists from the Hudson Valley perform.

This Thursday evening, August 25, 2016 at Schlesinger's Steak House in New Windsor, NYSCONNECTIONS will present live performances by Angele Pepe, Jules Taylor, Living Intermission, L-Squad, and several other artists.

Making an appearance as guest professional speaker is Sullivan County resident and former Monticello Mayor Gary Sommers. Mr. Sommers is currently president of the Film and Theatrical Workers Union 353.

Music will be provided by the Krowd Kings. Doors open at 8 PM, and Admission is $5, including a complimentary lite buffet.

It is refreshing to see these creative Sullivan County residents expand their business throughout the Hudson Valley.

Visit their website at http://nysconnections.com/event.html

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

"Spotlight shines on area musicians at Rivoli Theater"

By Andrew Beam

Times Herald Record
August 27th, 2015

SOUTH FALLSBURG - Starving artists from around the mid-Hudson Valley will be given their shot to showcase their talents during a two-day music expo at the Rivoli Theater this weekend.

Starting on Friday, a wide array of musicians playing hip-hop, rock, folk and even gospel will take the stage. For many artists, it will be a chance to play live music in a county where there aren't many opportunities to do so.

"That's one of the biggest obstacles,” said Gary Brill, head of NYSCONNECTIONS and who's putting together the event. "A lot of artists say it's really hard to get a gig for many reasons."

The event is a new one for the theater, said Harold Tighe, treasurer of the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop, the organization that runs the theater.

Normally, the Rivoli is home to live community theater productions - it's been that way since the 1950s. Just last week, the production of "Fiddler on the Roof" wrapped up three weekends of performances.

But Tighe hopes hosting the two-day music event will introduce the theater to a wider audience.

"People could say, 'This is a cool place. Maybe I do want to see something here,'" Tighe said.

Robert Feeney, who plays bass in the Jeffersonville-based band Purpose of the Unwritten, said he's excited to play on Friday. His band doesn't get too many chances to play for people other than themselves.

"It's just really exciting that you get to spread your music out there,” Feeney said. "It's more motivating.”

Brill said the lack of opportunity for musicians is one of the reasons he puts on events like this. While the area has a lot to offer musically, he said, "The scene is ... still somewhat underground."

The performances on Friday and Saturday begin at 8 p.m. Tickets for each night are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets for both nights are $25.

"Sullivan Musicians Seek Big Break"

By Andrew Beam

Times Herald Record

Larry "Illa L" McCall Jr., an aspiring hip hop and R&B artist from Monticello, will be among the local showcase performers at Saturday's NYS Connections event at Bernie's Holiday Restaurant in Rock Hill. Dawn J. Benko/For the Times Herald-Record

ROCK HILL - Several artists in Sullivan County are looking for a chance to be heard and NYS Connections will be giving them a stage through a local entertainment workshop and mixer at Bernie's Holiday Restaurant on Jan. 17.

The event is meant to help local Hudson Valley singers, songwriters and others who want to break into the entertainment industry and get advice from the people already succeeding in it.

Even though the music scene built around the old Catskill resorts has faded, Gary Brill, head of NYS Connections - which is not affiliated with state government - says the region still has a healthy music scene.

"That vibrant scene never faltered," said Brill of Sullivan County. "It's still here."

Appearing at the workshop will be Jeff Zahn, an Emmy nominated composer; Melissa Cohen, Transcending Pictures casting director and producer; Tom O'Reilly, publisher of More Sugar music magazine; and Eddie Wilson of WSUL 98.3 FM and WVOS 95.9 FM.

The event will also include showcases for local performers such as hip hop and R&B artist Larry "Illa L" McCall Jr. of Monticello, pop singer Petra Santiago of Woodridge, and alternative singer-songwriter Darren Steele of Livingston Manor.

Tickets are $20. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless.

The event begins at 8 p.m. Go to www.nysconnections.com for more information.

"Time to get Ill...again"

By Sandy Tomcho

Times Herald Record

Tupac knew to give it up for old-school artist who laid the foundation for today's hip-hop talent. Local promoter Gary Brill wants to do the same, which is why he's hosting an Old-School/Throwback party tonight at Club 201 NY in Middletown.

Brill wants to take it back to the NYC block parties of the early '80s to show clubgoers where today's music originated. "When you frequent night clubs, what's missing is the sound of yesterday. We're missing the bridge between old school and new school," says Brill, CEO of Only at Night Entertainment, Inc. "The old-school theme is coming back, so I'm encouraging people to come out in casual gear and represent old school."

Brill said he's hosting the best of both worlds by having two DJs spin old school and today's hits. DJ Chucks is an old-school DJ who performed back in the day at playgrounds, parks and street parties in the Bronx and Queens. He'll be spinning hip-hop including LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash, and the Furious Five and Slick Rick's old releases. He'll also mix in early reggae from Capelton and Mad Lion as well as early TLC, Mary J. Blige and Lisa Lisa in Cult Jam.

Chucks hears significant differences between old-school and new-school hip-hop. Old-School is funkier, for one thing. "They were scratching over the beat," he says, "It's alive. It's still around. It's just that a lot of people just aren't listening to the original stuff anymore." DJ Chucks, 35, has been spinning since he was 2 years old and currently hosts his own radio show, "Old Skool Sessions" at 10pm Saturdays on WJFF (90.5 FM). He says hip-hop went mainstream once some media outlets caught on.

"Graffiti artists had a part in it too, but 20/20 eventually picked up on it. Then people began hiring DJs for their own events because they wanted to learn about the culture." Chucks says,"It's just like the movie, 'Saturday Night Fever.' That dance scene was goin' on long before they made the movie." Chucks says the new school incorporates the aspects of old-school sounds, following in the tradition, but doing it its own way. Still, he says, "I think the new stuff is more limited."

Representing that new school, A-Divine, who used to DJ at the Pines Hotel, will be spinning today's R&B and reggae. The two DJs will alternate between 15 minute and half hour sets. Two local residents will also perform. Alexia Lawson, a 19 year old Newburgh Free Academy graduate, will sing two original songs and one cover. Kash, formerly of Queens, now a Hudson Valley resident will rap.

Brill encourages local talents to bring their own original music. Only at Night Records will have an A&R rep available.

The night is about listening for the future,celebrating the now, and especially honoring the hip-hop, R&B, and Reggae pioneers who gave us the blueprints for today's music. But ultimately, it's all about having fun. "I'm encouraging the entire club to dance," Brill says, "If you wanna breakdance, breakdance. If you wanna rock, then rock. You wanna stomp, stomp. It's really up to the people that come out, but, I know I'll be up there doing it myself."

"Record Label Looking to Sign Local Acts"

By Sandy Tomcho

Times Herald Record

Sullivan County's Independent record label, Only at Night Records, is holding auditions for rappers, Gospel and R&B singers, songwriters, and producers at the Shadowland Theatre in Ellenville on Saturday.

"We want to weed out the pretenders from the contenders," said owner Gary Brill. "With all the talent this area has, it's amazing that no one has ever really come out of it."

Producers need to bring two or three of their hottest tracks and rappers will have 3-5 minutes to showcase their voices over instrumental tracks only. Songwriters will be given a few minutes to talk about themselves and are encouraged to bring samples of their work. Doors open at noon and there's no audition fee.

"Within 48 hours after auditions are over, we'll begin contacting people about doing demo deals," Brill said, "We're hoping to start coming out with product sometime in the spring." Only at Night Records was established in November and specializes in R&B, hip-hop, and dance music. The label's intention is to find talent, sign and then produce them for future release dates. Brill, one of the company's owners, was a DJ for 12 years and promoted track acts in association with Fever Records from the early-to-mid 90's. In the past, his Hudson Valley-based shows have included recording artists like Lisette Melendez, Coro, Fascination, Tony Moren.

"Ayo Shittu added to Entertainment Industry Panel"

Bronze Magazine

May 30th 2015 marks the 3rd annual entertainment industry mixer in Hudson Valley New York hosted by NYS Connections. It is in essence an artist showcase with the content of a workshop catering to film-makers, producers, musicians, designers and fashion professionals.

Highlights include appearances by Grammy Award winning producer Pablo "Ben" Surman, Jeff Zahn of Jeff Zahn Music Group, cinema photographer director Sean Tracy and other industry professionals in the world of entertainment. Costume Designer and native Texan Ayo Shittu is now amongst those who will be present to speak on that panel.

According to Ms. Shittu, "In this business you have to be a renaissance person. No single profession can sustain a career when you work in Arts and Entertainment these days. We're all connected when the media is involved."

To read this article on Bronze Magazine's website, follow this link.

For more information on this event, check out NYSConnections Facebook page or click on the Event Info Link