Hello my dear friends!
I am writing from Amsterdam! That's right! Tomorrow I will board the MS Rotterdam for the opportunity of a lifetime. I will be singing with an amazing cast of performers in fabulous shows produced by Barry Manilow's production company, Stiletto Entertainment. I am part of the Showroom at Sea, performing a wide range of material from Light Opera and Broadway to 1950's Doo Wop favorites and the American Songbook.
In addition to performing in this beautiful showroom, I will also be experiencing amazing ports of call throughout Europe including Scandanavia, the Baltic and the Mediterranean rounding out the journey with Egypt and the Holy Land! I can't wait to experience so much of the world in this incredibly unique way. Please keep in touch and look for updates on this blog and Facebook. I'll do my best to keep in touch!
Please remember, it's always great to hear from you while I'm living at sea!
See you soon!
Visit Holland America's website and search for the MS Rotterdam to view my itinerary and book your next cruise!
I am so thrilled be making my New York City debut this December! I will be performing in the holiday class, Babes in Toyland, an operetta by Victor Herbert. The show is being produced by the Little Orchestra Society at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.
The Little Orchestra Society is celebrating 65 years of performances this season. Their mission is to "share the vitality of live classical music and to build future audiences by presenting innovative concerts that incorporate multiple art forms to foster a deeper understanding and enjoyment of music. With original productions designed by their artistic staff, consulting producers and program designers, the Orchestra’s mission is to make concertgoing and engagement in the live performing arts a life-long pursuit."
Take a trip to Toyland for the holidays with this updated production of Victor Herbert’s extravaganza, Babes in Toyland. An array of beloved characters performs March of the Toys, Toyland and other favorite tunes.
Babes in Toyland weaves together several Mother Goose nursery rhymes into one delightful Christmas-themed classic. You may remember Walt Disney's 1961 film version starring Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello. You'll recognize an array of beloved characters performing memorable songs like March of the Toys, Toyland and other favorite tunes.
For those who would like to join in the fun, tickets are available through the Little Orchestra Society's website at http://www.littleorchestra.org/. Hope to see you there!
Photo Credit: Little Orchestra Society
Well, I weathered my very first hurricane. I was very fortunate not to experience life threatening damage in my neighborhood of Astoria, Queens. Aside from a few down trees, our neighborhood was unscathed hanging on to power as Sandy devastated the eastern seaboard. My brother Nate and I took all necessary precautions, stocking up on canned goods and other non perishables, candles, batteries, flashlights, matches, water and so on.
It is hard to believe that just across the river, thousands of people were without power for nearly a week. With transportation limited or non-existent, I stayed away from Manhattan this week. Work was cancelled as the event company I work for was with out power and most, if not all, events were cancelled. Finally, this Friday, I ventured into lower Manhattan to lend a helping hand. One of my church friends and I joined an organized group called GOLES: Good Old Lower East Side (www.goles.org) and helped by visiting two high rises on Avenue D. In groups of 10, we climbed the stairs to the top of the building carrying as much bottled water, fresh fruit, canned goods and sandwiches as we could. We knocked on doors to offer what we had and make sure elderly were taken care of and no one needed medical assistance.
As we finished visiting the second high-rise, we witnessed the power come on for these folks who were without for nearly a week. You could hear people shouting for joy in the streets and the tenants came out into the hallway to rejoice. I met one woman who was taking care of her 87 year old mother who only spoke Spanish. The woman said she had been worried all week, mainly for her elderly mom. She told me that her mother asked her that morning why she was so stressed out. Her mom assured her and said, "This was my childhood. Now you know what it was like for me when I was a kid. This is nothing!" They were a precious family. You could feel the love. They were so grateful to know that people cared enough to check on them. It was a really nice moment.
I know the recovery and relief efforts will continue. As power is restored, people are still in need of food and resources. In a big city like New York, that can often feel vast, impersonal and lonely, it's amazing to be reminded that community exists all around us. We create it with our compassion, our actions and generosity. Let's keep it going, no matter where you live!
One of the first things I did when I moved to New York City was email the Miss New York organization and see how I could get involved. I thought that in a city where I knew very few people, I would find instant friends in the Miss America program. I was right! So thank you to the Miss New York program for letting me get involved.
The Miss New York organization has an exemplary mentoring program. They hold a sweeper pageant in which 6 contestants are crowned and given the opportunity to compete at Miss New York. Since these contestants don't have an executive director, they are given a mentor. In New York, their mentors consist of former state titleholders who serve as the contestants confidant and coach.
I was asked to mentor, Miss Western New York Jesse Ladoue. It was such a pleasure to work with Jesse and watch her compete for the Miss New York crown. Jesse launched a campaign to raise funds for Children's Miracle Network called 1,000 Cards, 1,000 Dollars. It was Jesse's goal to collect 1,000 handmade cards to personally deliver to CMN patients and to raise atleast $1,000. I'm so proud to say that Jesse not only reached her goal of $1,000, but she exceeded it. Jesse placed in the top ten and won the Ken Berry Spirit Award! She is a Miss America in my book as she treats everyone with respect and love and competed with great integrity and heart. Way to go Jesse!
Top 11 Miss New York 2012
Back: Semi-Finalists Acacia Courtney-Gotham City, Jamie Lynn Macchia-Staten Island, People's Choice Winner Mikhaila Leinbach-Southern NY, Christina Moore-Verrazano, Shannon Oliver-Metropolitan
Front: 3rd RU Maria DeSantis-Brooklyn, 1st RU Katie Berry-Manhattan, Miss New York 2012 Mallory Hagan (New York City), 2nd RU Nina Davuluri-Greater Rochester, 4th RU Desiree Wiley-Niagara
It was my great honor and pleasure to sing at the Miss Ohio 2012 Pageant this year. It's always fun to play the role of former Miss Ohio, visit with old friends and watch as a new class of women carry on the legacy and mission of Miss America.
I had the opportunity to address the Miss Ohio contestants early in the week and share with them my perspective on the Miss America Organization. We talked about the MAO as a self-improvement program that would help them to develop and grow into their prospective futures. Whether it be to win Miss Ohio or move on to other great opportunities, it is important to reflect on the Miss America experience and understand its relevance in one's life. Winning Miss Ohio isn't the be-all-end-all. Rather, competing in the MAO at the local, state and/or national level is a stepping stone towards the future. A stepping stone that only a select few even get to attempt. We are blessed to live in a country that provides this opportunity for women, encouraging them to shine in such a forum.
We then talked about service and how it is the responsibility of each titleholder to uphold the standard of excellence expected in a Miss America. Competing at your state pageant is not a time to ask for permission to be Miss State. It is a time to carry one's self as a Miss America in thought, word and deed. Each titleholder has a crown, and though only one will acquire the state crown, each crown carries with it great responsibility. As each contestant volunteers through their personal platform, raises precious dollars for Children's Miracle Network and spreads the message and values of the Miss America Organization, they should proceed as if they are already Miss America. In turn, they should inspire others to find their inner Miss America as we all work together to instigate change and improve the quality of life for others.
I was extremely proud of all the young women who competed. It is a pleasure to know and work with many of them and to watch them grow through this incredible self-improvement process we call Miss America. What an amazing ideal to strive for in our every day lives, crown or no crown. All of my students excelled at this years pageant, and I'm so honored to have played a small part in their development and journey towards the crown.
I must recognize the incredible army of volunteers and sponsors who make the Miss Ohio program a success year in and year out. We are truly blessed to have a family of people who are willing to work and sacrifice for this great program. The city of Mansfield has embraced Miss Ohio for decades, and I know I am eternally grateful to each person who gives of their time, talents and finances. When I enter the walls of the Renaissance Theater in Mansfield, OH, it's as if hundreds of arms wrap around me offering support and unconditional love. I am thankful for my roots and so blessed to have the opportunity to be rejuvenated and inspired by my Miss Ohio family. My heart is full and I am forever honored and grateful to be a small part of the Miss America story.
Prelim night one: Miss Montgomery County Alissa Brumbaugh (R) won swimsuit and Miss Central Ohio Gabby Bailey won talent.
Prelim night two: Miss Miami Heather Wells (L) won swim suit and Miss All American City Mahogoney Flemming won talent
Allison Vance was the non-finalist talent winner! Pictured with Ellen Bryan, Miss Ohio 2011, who raised over $35,000 for Children's Miracle Network during her year of service.
Allison Goodwin was the Americanism Essay Award scholarship winner!
Omarosa, who once competed on the Miss Ohio stage as Miss Youngstown, asked onstage question for the final night of competition. All top ten contestants were asked a current events question. Pictured here is first timer and top ten finalist, Layne Schneider, Miss Vacationland. Miss Vacationland is run by Miss America 1963, Jackie Mayer who was celebrating her 50th anniversary of being crowned Miss Ohio.
In addition to offering monthly coaching intensives and pageant workshops in northeast Ohio, I am now offering pageant coaching and talent consulting in the greater New York City metro area. I have relocated to NYC, and am thrilled to be able to expand my teaching studios.
Things have been busy for Amanda Beagle Vocal Studio and Pageant Prep. This January, my pageant clients started the year off right with our first ever Pageant Bootcamp! I was thrilled with the turnout, and so happy with the progress each contestant made for themselves.
My private vocal studio continues to grow, and it's so rewarding to work with such talented young singers. The vocal studio has presented new and exciting challenges as I currently have students ranging from age 6 to 56! It's never too late to get started!
I'm thrilled to host a live mock interview for pageant contestants this February 19th at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Youngstown, OH. Contestants will interview in front of experienced pageant judges, seeking to improve their skills and enhance their performance as they continue to compete for the title of their dreams. Email me for details!
I've recently begun offering my image consulting and public speaking preparation services to political candidates. It has been such a thrill to apply my own experience to the political arena. After all, vying for the job of Miss America is a lot like running for office. It is always a pleasure to help people shine in their best light.
I was honored to sing for First Night Youngstown this year. It was a beautiful New Years Eve, and it was a joy to celebrate at home this year with family and friends. In between teaching and coaching, I've been maintaining my own training privately in NYC and continue to audition for theater and commercial work in NYC, OH, and PA.
I hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying a fabulous start to 2012. Keep in touch and I'll try to do the same!!!!
Performing at First Night Youngstown with my musical director and friend, Jack Ciarniello!
It's the most wonderful time of the year, and I feel so blessed to be in the States this holiday season. I am enjoying the changes of the seasons and am thrilled to experience the holidays with family and friends. I just want to remind everyone that I am available to entertain for holiday parties and events. And don't forget about my debut solo album "Think of Me," which would make the perfect stocking stuffer this Christmas. Since it is officially December, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and most prosperous and happy new year.
It's been two months since I returned to dry land, and life has been busy and full of change. Once again, life introduces the fear and exhilaration of the unknown. I have been splitting my time between NYC and Ohio, auditioning and coaching so as to further my own professional endeavors. I was also the headliner for this year's Festa Italiana Washington D.C. It was an honor to be invited to sing in our nation's capital and to celebrate my own Italian heritage through some of my favorite songs.
I launched my pageant and talent coaching business and have been working with some new clients competing in the Miss Ohio, Miss Connecticut, National American Miss, and American Coed programs. It is such a thrill for me to be home, and once again working hands on with young girls and women who are driven and passionate about service, scholarship and self improvement. We've been having a great time, developing new talent routines, drilling interview skills and building solid competition packages for each of these young women. I'm excited to watch them continue to grow, learn and pursue their dreams. I've launched a new blog, www.yourpageantcoach.blogspot.com devoted to pageant coaching advice and have been having a lot of fun researching and writing articles about various personal development topics. Please visit me there to see all of the exciting things we've been chatting about.
It is interesting to me that once we achieve one goal, we find another we long for just as much. In the midst of all the plans we make for ourselves, life continues to happen whether we realize it or not. I feel I have experienced so much already in this life. I've performed in various professional arenas, I've completed two college degrees, I've lost dear loved ones, and have experienced great failure and the sweetness of success. All of this culminates when I teach and mentor my students. I seek to help them with all of my heart, and wish them great fulfillment in their endeavors. At the same time, I continually seek to improve, grow and experience new adventures personally and professionally for myself. We all grow together in this life. It is truly thrilling, and I am blessed to have such wonderful friends, family and students who help make this life sweet and worthwhile.
The more I experience in my personal and professional life, I realize how important reinvention is. I feel like I am constantly reinventing myself. We soar and then we rest. We fail and then we rebuild. We sow and we reap.