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BEHIND THE SCENES / ORANGE COUNTY

Pier Acceptance

Bringing music to the people is easier thanks to Huntington Beach's new rentable amphitheater.

June 18, 1998

Composers, are you tired of humming away in obscurity? Singers, sick of all those shower engagements? Musicians, down because there's no applause filling your garage?

Maybe it's time to find a stage. Huntington Beach's new amphitheater, part of the city's $11.5-million Pier Plaza project, may be the place to show what you can do.

Take Joseph Cangelosi of Huntington Beach.

He composed the musical "Ghibli" (Sandstorm), a semiautobiographical love story set in World War II Germany and the Sahara. The rumbas, tangos, waltzes and boleros caught the attention of producer-director Robert Wise, who called them "sublime melodies" and recently gave Cangelosi a lifetime achievement award.

Meanwhile, Diana Casey, who served on the Pier Plaza's celebration committee, also heard Cangelosi's tapes. Luckily for the composer, Casey and crew were looking for different types of music to inaugurate the amphitheater near the pier.

"I believe Pier Plaza is for the community at large, more than just rock 'n' roll," Casey says. "We wanted a tour de force. Cangelosi is a local artist-composer with beautiful, haunting melodies. That did it for me."

Jim Roope of KGIL-AM (1260) in Los Angeles served as the emcee for last week's two-hour program of Cangelosi music. "I'm still on a high from it," Roope says. "I had goose bumps when I walked on the stage, and the bumps didn't go down for days. I was overwhelmed."

Anyone interested in performing at the amphitheater can call (714) 374-1650 to request a permit from coordinator Naida Osline. The application cost is $75. The fee for the amphitheater ranges from $50 to $250 per hour, depending on the event.

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