BRIEF BLOG INTRO:
I'm a man on a mission. A mission to convince you that life is worth living, no matter how many obstacles are placed in your way. And that you can accomplish great things if you just push ahead and don't let anyone tell you no.

I'm a singer/songwriter and actor from Texas "Living in the Bonus Round" in New York City-- which is my way of describing how I feel having cheated death. (In a game show, the Bonus Round is where time speeds up and the prizes are better.) Accepting my death changed me. Now, I'm consuming life as quickly and as fully as I can, while still taking time to breathe and appreciate every single day as an utter miracle.

Last year, I turned 60 and I had a set of goals, all of which came true, including composing -- and performing in -- a Mass, recording a solo album (selling 10s of copies), headlining to a sold out house at a major night club in New York City and playing the lead role in a staged reading of a play not written by myself. I update a few times a month these days, and I don't spam. So it's easier to keep up with me by following by Email. When this blog began, it was to track my death. I'm told it was the first AIDS blog. You can start at the gruesome beginning if you want. Or just jump in and maybe we can learn some life lessons together. Welcome to the Bonus Round. I'm Steve [SHACK-lin] and we're just getting started.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Where I Sing on Sunday Morning.


This is the first thing I see after entering Christ Church Bay Ridge. It's a beautiful building which the members dearly love and protect.


The beautiful stained glass lets in lots of sunlight. Also in the picture, Minister of Music (and my mentor) Mark Janas in the black. sitting. "Stage Center," posing is Danielle Erin Rhodes, who decided to this was a shoot about her. 


She and I have great fun in the choir. Like myself, she was raised in an evangelical style church. We're like the two good kids in class who always bring an apple for the teacher. Always sitting up straight and listening to Mark. But, secretly, we're naughty, naughty. Always causing trouble.


 Now, behind her is Kalle the organist from Finland. I'll get better pictures of them another time. I was actually testing out a new snapshot camera.


I think she's doing Liza in this pose. Not sure.


Unfortunately, this whole bank of organ pipes were damaged and need repair, but there are very few organ experts alive anymore. Also, this was built by a famous organ maker. They're doing a capital campaign to raise money to fix it. I hope they succeed. It's an incredible instrument. And to sit beneath those pipes and sing Handel is beyond description.






And here's Dani up close. How can you not love that face? And, for the record, she's hugely talented. Her voice is angelic, she has a natural comic flair and she is a superb actress. That's Kalle Toivio behind her. He recently played at Carnegie Hall with his sister on cello. She and I were the only ones who wore purple in accordance with the season. We never plan these things. It's about our competition to be teacher's pet.



It's most fun getting into the Christmas season. The music starts getting really interesting. Plus, we always do bits from The Messiah!
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