Rachael Zamstein – A Local Girl Comes Back To Her Hometown

I can remember seeing Rachel Zamstein along with local luminaries such as Rick Barry and Val Emmich several years ago across town. It seemed that just as Zamstein was making her mark in the city, she was suddenly gone. It’s been over 12 years since she’s been on the scene and I’m genuinely interested in what she’s been up to. Her new band is top notch, and her manager told me she has new music to perform and soon to release on Notpop Records for this summer season.

SESAC Recording Artist featured on America’s Got Talent Season 6, Rachel Zamstein has performed with such artists as family member Lew Soloff (Blood Sweat and Tears), Martha Wainwright, Ingrid Michaelson, Val Emmich and A Great Big World.

Rachel grew up in Hartford, Conn. in a musical family and started studying music at age 6. She plays guitar, piano, sax, flute, and sees music as shapes, colors, and patterns.

Although growing up in Hartford, Zamstein has honed her craft after living for periods in Asbury Park, N.J. and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Her debut album Bouquet (2007) on notpop records was produced by Andres Karu (Love in Reverse, Miles Hunt) and created quite a buzz up and down the east coast and in Europe.

Rachel has spent the last few years writing with renowned songwriter Steve McEwan (Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, and Faith Hill), and is now in the recording studio once again with Andres Karu and is looking forward to a Spring/Summer 2019 release on notpop records.

Zamstein will be appearing locally on Dec. 23rd at The Saint at 8 p.m. sharp. The cost is $10, and tickets are available at the door. The Saint is located at 601 Main Street, Asbury Park, N.J.

The band joining Zamstein will be as follows: Rachel Zamstein (guitar, vocals), Rob Tanico (keys, vocals), Steve Bryant (guitar, vocals), Emily Grove (guitar, vocals), Brian Gearty (bass), and Santo Rizzolo (drums).


ASL Holiday Rock and Roll Show and Rockapella

Ocean County College’s Grunin Center has been burning up the schedule recently, gearing up for the holidays and adding more exciting shows to their roster of offerings, from events such as Max Weinberg’s Jukebox to Stray Cat Lee Rocker, The Grunin Center has been working overtime to fill the venue with sound choices for the year. They also offer plays such as “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Alice in Wonderland” as well as various sounds of the season, pageants and other fascinating offerings. The gallery is also a must see and offers a diverse art schedule that has something for everyone to see and appreciate.

Sing and sign into the season at the ASL (American Sign Language) Holiday Rock and Roll Show at Ocean County College! The event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts.

Attendees can enjoy favorite holiday songs played by a DJ while faculty and students from OCC’s Interpreter Training Program sign each song in American Sign Language. This cultural event equals tons of holiday fun!

Tickets: $12 for the public, or $10 with student ID. Tickets will be sold at the door. Sponsored by the OCC Interpreter Training Program/Sign Language Society. For more information, contact Program Chair Kathy Basilotto at


Rockapella Brings Dynamic Vocals

Rockapella has become one of the world’s most sophisticated and imitated vocal groups, and on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m. the quintet comes to Toms River to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts.

As one of the progenitors of the astonishing full band sound of “contemporary” a cappella, Rockapella has shown audiences the raw power of pure vocal talent and originality. “There’s nothing in the way between us and the audience; it’s very human music,” says Rockapella’s human beat-box, Jeff Thacher.

Since the early 1990s, when they first achieved national television fame on PBS’s “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Rockapella has toured the globe and provided a powerful funky soundtrack to several generations of vocal music fans. With tons of catchy original pop songs, and complete contemporary revisions of sparkling motown, pop, and soul classics, this group has always been one to watch.

“We make it rock and make it interesting,” explains Scott Leonard, the group’s chief songwriter, arranger, and an architect of their ever-evolving dynamic sound. “People have a tough time believing it’s just us making all of that music. It’s still those same elements that make modern band music: percussion, bass, melody, and harmonies.”

A popular publication summed up the group’s lasting appeal: “The best musical instrument of all is the human voice — if you’ve seen Rockapella you know that’s the truth.”

Rockapella currently features Scott Leonard (high tenor), Jeff Thacher (vocal percussionist), Calvin Jones (tenor), Mitchell Rains (tenor), and Bryant Vance (bass). This line-up marks a new generation of Rockapella, which remains keenly focused on musical excellence

Tickets are $35–$39, and can be purchased online at; by phone at 732-255-0500; or in person at the Grunin Center Box Office, Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Ask about group and student rates.