HAL Foundation

Sandy Kastel Will Sing In Beverly Hills for HAL Foundation

Takes Time Out from Radio Tour On Behalf Of “Indiana Rain”

(Nashville, TN. Sept. 20, 2010) Silk and Satin Records artist Sandy Kastel will perform songs from her new album, Indiana Rain, Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Aqua Lounge in Beverly Hills as part of the three-day celebration leading up to the 21st annual HAL (Heroes and Legends) Awards Dinner.

Singing in support of the HAL Foundation is a natural extension of Kastel’s enduring interest in redeeming social causes. She is one of the authors of the new self-help book, Life Choices; Navigating Difficult Paths, and her Sandy Kastel Scholarship Foundation has contributed a scholarship to HAL.

The HAL Foundation was established by fabled Motown Records songwriter Janie Bradford to give guidance and assistance to youth at risk. This year’s honorees include George Duke, Lenny Williams, Betty Lavette, Big Jon Platt, Don Davis and the team of Holland/Dozier/Holland.

A high profile and much sought after vocalist in her hometown of Las Vegas, Kastel had two albums to her credit before shifting to her country music heritage with Indiana Rain. Lately, she’s been visiting radio stations to support her first single, also titled “Indiana Rain.”

On Labor Day, Kastel sang the national anthem at the NHRA (National Hot Rod Assn.) Finals in Indianapolis that aired on ESPN2. Just prior to that, she met with Indianapolis mayor Gregory Ballard to present him a copy of her record. Kastel sings about Indiana with some authority since her husband is a native of the Hoosier state and the two have long had a home there.

Kastel’s show business roots are deep. Her father, Dick Kastel, was
a standout tenor saxophonist in the Harry James Band. She spent much of her childhood sitting in light booths in Las Vegas watching her dad back such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ann
Margret, Shirley MacLaine and Carmen McRae.

Wanda Jean, Kastel’s mom, was a Texas-born beauty who made her musical mark in San Francisco as part of a sister song-and-dance team.

A gifted songwriter, Kastel penned “Indiana Rain” and five other cuts on her new album, which was co-produced by studio wizards Ron Aniello, Jeff Lorber and Jimmy Haslip.

She will be cheering on Bradford and her good works Sunday, Sept. 26, at the posh black-tie dinner and awards presentations at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The music video for “Indiana Rain” is set to debut soon.

Room Set-up Suggestions

Room Set-Up

Here are some suggestions to optimize your event with Sandy Kastel's presentation:

1.    Hold the event in the smallest room which will comfortably hold all your attendees. A closer atmosphere makes for a much better energy and crowd dynamic. The key is to have as little open space as possible.
2.    If the event will be held in a ballroom or similar room be sure to have the stage as close to the audience as is reasonably possible. You don't want a large space between the stage and the first row. Closer proximity makes for a better connection between performer and audience.
3.    If the audience is seated at tables, set the tables as close together as possible, allowing of course for walking and servers, as this, again, creates a better energy in the room.
4.    When introducing Sandy, please use the introduction provided here and refrain from reading Sandy's bio, as this is not an introduction.

Indiana Rain - The Story behind the Song

It was the middle of the night when I woke to the thunder and lightening outside my bedroom window. The road was washed in the light of the full moon as the rain pounded on the pavement and into my consciousness. Mesmerized by the rhythm of the rain and the lights of a passing car washing across the black country road, the story came to life.

I sat on my bed watching for the longest time, letting the melody play in my head over and over, "Indiana Rain, won't you wash away her pain"..until finally I went into the other room and started typing out the words on my laptop.

The story played on in my mind and onto the pages as my heroin came to life, her struggle to go on after losing him. How could she let him go? She felt trapped in the past, in their life before he left and she didn't know how to move on without letting him down. She was caught between the life she had known and the one she had yet to live, the memories still too fresh to fade away into the background with "what might have been" and the reality of the loneliness as it set in. She was a woman struggling to move forward, yet afraid to let go for fear she would forget him, losing him over and over again. What could she do?

As the observer I could see from a distance that she needed to let the Indiana Rain "wash away her tears" to let her live again...

I sat at the computer for eight hours straight that night into the morning without moving. The story was complete. Then came the first demo of the song I made in my home studio with musicians in Las Vegas. The second demo was made in Nashville. Then when producer Ron Aniello selected it as one of my songs on my first original album; we came back to Nashville and Blackbird Studios to record it.

Each time the song has been recorded with a slightly different intro and feel. I imagine the arrangements will change again over time as more singers sing it and musicians play it, discovering their own emotional connection to the story; for I feel it is one of those songs that will pass from generation to generation, resonating with people who have lost someone special in their lives; finding their own struggles to move forward.

It's easy for me to imagine a choir of Angels joining in, a ray of light shining through the dark clouds, lightening flashing in the distance as I sing "Indiana Rain, won't you wash away her pain"



What if someone picks a fight with you?

At times it is challenging when we are faced with negative emotions aimed at us. We can only rely on ourselves to choose how we let them effect us. If you want to grow from these experiences, work towards understanding the dynamics at play by looking within to find the 'button' being pushed. Then you can learn to process it for yourself.

Sometimes people will lash out at others because of their own insecurities or issues. It is important to realize this so you can become the observer in the situation; be aware of your own actions as well and be clear what part you play in the confrontation. The more you recognize your own feelings the better you will be able to assess the way you can best handle yourself for the most productive outcome.

Learn from these experiences and remember, we cannot control others. We can only control our own actions. We can choose how to deal with life and help ourselves grow and take responsibility for our actions.

If you want to get someone's attention, don't react to their antics. They will eventually lose interest in fighting with you if they can't "get your goat."  Set an example.


Sandy Kastel Sweeps in with Indiana Rain

Debut Single at Radio August 12th

Weather Alert!

(Nashville, TN. August 11, 2010) There’s a rainstorm headed your way—specifically “Indiana Rain,” the torrential new single from Sandy Kastel, one of Las Vegas’s favorite hometown performers, a proud “adopted daughter” of the Hoosier State and a familiar face in Nashville songwriting circles.

Kastel (rhymes with pastel) wrote the song, as well as five others on her first country album, also called Indiana Rain, which is due out later this fall. Indiana is a territory she knows well since she and her husband own a second home there.

Accompanying the new single is a dramatic music video, shot on a farm in scenic Springfield, TN, directed by Amanda Van Sandt and produced by Chuck Howard of Acceleration Films.

The daughter of country music lover Wanda Jean Armstrong and tenor saxophonist Dick Kastel of the Harry James Band, Kastel grew up with a diverse musical background, listening to the “strong women” of country music—Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton with her mom and sitting in the light booths of Vegas Showrooms, watching her dad as he backed such legendary singers as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ann-Margret and Carmen McRae. In other words, she learned from the masters. By 18, she was touring nationally and at 21 she commanded the stage as Miss Nevada in the Miss America pageant, winning talent awards for her powerful vocals and touching performance.

Kastel has continued to perform in Las Vegas and released two albums of pop standards. In the past few years, she has established herself as a respected member of Nashville’s songwriter community. The acclaim she received for these efforts convinced her it was time to show just how strong her country roots are by tapping into them for her new album Indiana Rain. You can sample her mastery of country music in her self-penned “Nashville Tonight,” now available on YouTube.

Lost Notes

I arrived in Las Vegas yesterday from Indianapolis on Southwest Flight 1240. On the way home in the car I realized I left my notebook on the plane in the pocket in front of my seat. I called Southwest Airlines. After three calls and twenty minutes of being on hold and an earful of music, I gave my information to a courteous woman from Southwest Airlines Central Baggage Claim.  

She took my information, then told me I should go back to the baggage claim office within the next twenty-four hours in case they found it, otherwise it would be thrown away. As soon as the driver let me off at the house I pulled my luggage into the hallway and changed my clothes. I didn’t want to spend the rest of the evening in the high heels and suit I wore on the plane.

I slipped into my white cotton summer dress with the scooped neck, mid-length sleeves and ruffles. I thought about wearing my lime green low-heeled gierlereoriu’s but opted for the multi-colored Swarovsky crystal covered ballet slippers instead, going for comfort. I transferred the contents from my Louis Vouton travel purse to my ivory Brighton shoulder bag and headed towards the garage.

Before I could take either of the cars out I had to disconnect them from the battery chargers. This is a habit my husband and I started a couple years ago when we discovered our car batteries would be dead when we returned after long trips. As it turns out the complicated computers in the later model Mercedes drain the batteries if they aren’t driven for extended lengths of time.  So now, when we go away we keep both of our cars hooked up to battery chargers.

I decided to take the AMG. It was the car my husband bought for me to drive. It’s supposed to be just like my SL 600, which is back in Indiana now, but it makes much more noise when the engine starts and has a different feel on the road. I do like the color, though. It's Mars Red.

Before I could go any further I had to stop and get something to eat. Driving towards Redrock on West Sahara Boulevard I turned left at Fort Apache to Flamingo Road then turned right and drove past the 215 Freeway to the large mall with Target and 24 Hour Fitness. I parked in front of Fudruckers, ready for a really good burger and onion rings.

It's been over two months since I walked through those doors. I’ve been watching what I eat; cutting back beef, starches and sugar; focusing mostly on chicken, fish and vegetables.  

After finishing half of my burger, a third of my onion rings and one quarter of the A&W Root Beer; I was ready to go to McCarren Airport and see if I could find my notebook. It was one of the new thin black journals I bought at Target a couple weeks ago in Indiana. I found them when I was shopping for a scale so I could track my weight loss. It came in a package of two for only $3.99, much less than I had paid for my Moleskin journals in the past.

The sad thing about losing any kind of notebook for me is that it has my notes in it. Notes from meetings, ideas for songs, beginnings of stories, drawings of designs for the new home we're building. Luckily, I only started using this one a week ago. Unfortunately, I had a lot of notes already in it. Also, there were references from phone conversations pertaining to the meetings I had in Nashville regarding my radio promotion for the single from my new album, Indiana Rain. We had three meetings; one with my radio promoter, another with a publicist and a third with a videographer.

If I don’t get my notebook back, all of those notes will be lost to me forever. Ugh! What a devastating thought. Like many situations in life; if that is what happens, then I will survive. We humans do have an uncanny ability to survive most situations in our daily lives. We might feel devastated or lost for a while, but we manage to pull ourselves together and cope with the challenges placed before us.

This is only a minor setback for me, nothing major. It is merely an annoyance; a distraction which will not dramatically affect my life. It only makes me take note, ah, yes, there are those words again. “Take note”. That is what I do. I take notes. I make notes. I reference my notes. My notes fill books that line my bookshelves and stack on my floor or dressers.

I keep my notes for years, important notes maybe even forever. I don’t think I have ever willingly thrown out a note, unless I re-notated it in another place, such as another “note” book. Then and only then do I feel comfortable throwing out the old note. Hmmm. I wonder what that means. Maybe I will make a note about it and write a book about it when I have time to go through all my notes.

p.s. They haven’t found my notebook, yet. The woman at the baggage claim office said it hadn’t been turned in, but that the plane went on to New Orleans. She gave me the number for their office and said that the plane would be swept more thoroughly at the final stop of the night. I phoned New Orleans this morning. They didn’t find it either. The Southwest Attendant told me if the plane was not swept well enough the notebook might be found at another destination. Then it would be turned into Southwest Central Baggage Claim, at which time they would contact me. Who knows, maybe someone found my notes interesting and decided to keep the book. After all, there were still so many pages left to fill with notes.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Wishing all mothers a wonderful day full of joy and pleasure, especially my own MOM, who has been such an inspiration to me all my life.

An artist, a career woman and a mother, she gives us her love in many different ways.

Her never ending devotion and support of all of her daughters has been the glue that holds us together.

No matter what challenges we are faced with, MOM is there for us. Thank you, MOM! xoxoxoxo

My mother's artwork has inspired others. These are a few of her florals she created using Prismacolor Pencils.

Sold at art galleries and festivals around the country Wanda Kastel Florals will soon be available online at www.WandaKastel.com

My Mother's Artwork


I Love Classic Cars!

My dad is a musician, but he didn't mind getting his hands dirty cleaning pistons on the kitchen table when we lived in Mesquite, Texas!

I was "Dad's Little Helper." He loved taking apart the engines to his cars and cleaning them on Sunday afternoons. As he spread out the newspaper on Grandma's old oak table I brought in his tool box and set it down on the linoleum floor ready to hand him his tools.

When he was done, we would clean up and he would take my sister, Linda, and me for a ride in our new '57 Chevy. It was a Belaire two door in turquoise and Silver. The seats were white leather with turquoise inserts. Dad told my sister and me to keep our shoes off the seats so we wouldn't "hurt the leather seats." We loved going for rides in the new car. It had that "new car smell" and he would let us stick our heads out to feel the wind on our faces.

No wonder I love classic cars! They bring back so many memories.

A few years ago I made my first music video in Nashville and we found a great '65 Ford Mustang Convertible for me to drive. It fit the feel of the song perfectly. We drove it around on the old country roads and through a beautiful street with huge trees with the wind blowing through my hair. It was so much fun!

Here's the video and the lyrics at the beginning of the song...

"Driving south on Hwy 65, the rain was beatin' down, roads were slick as ice. Hot tears burnin' on her cheeks as she cried, her heart breaking from their terrible fight. She packed her bags, grabbed her guitar, and shouted 'I'm not comin' back anymore!'

Nothin's gonna keep me from Nashville Tonight. I can't wait to cross that Tennessee line. I finally broke through the chains in my life and nothin's gonna keep me from Nashville Tonight!"

Hope you enjoy it.


What's Too Much?

What’s Too Much?
by Sandy Kastel

People say I do too much. What's too much? I always seem to be working on a variety of activities at the same time. I find myself going back and forth between them and the energy from one will often fuel the other.

The same people wonder how I’ve been able to accomplish so much in my lifetime. I feel one of the main reasons for this is that I allow myself the freedom to be open to explore the possibilities without limiting myself, which makes it possible for me to bring several projects to completion within a similar period of time.

Also, I love learning. Give me a class in something; anything. Well, almost anything.

I've studied body therapies like massage, reiki, shiatsu, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais; studied psychology, human behavior and the relationship between astrology and the human psyche; studied the use of the English language and foreign languages.

I’ve explored the use of symbols in dreams, inner work and self-help books; learned about meditation, IChing, runes and tarot cards; been boating, canoeing, kayaking and sailing; gone skiing, played tennis, raquetball and golf; studied various forms of dance such as ballet, tap, modern and jazz.

I've taken classes in fine arts, drawing, painting, mixed media and sculpture; been in acting classes, musical theater, television commercial and film study groups; learned juggling, sword-fighting and archery, breathing techniques, tai-chi, chi-gong, yoga and Pilates.

I've written poetry, songs, plays, articles and books; learned word processing, graphics, recording and film editing programs; attended modeling schools, publishing seminars, design schools, jewelry making classes, learned clothing design, home decorating, interior design and designed architectural elements for homes.

I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend. I've been a singer, an actress, a dancer, a model and a beauty contestant, a salesgirl, a photographer, a receptionist and a secretary, a student, a teacher and a mentor, an artist, a sculptor and a clothing designer, a musician, a songwriter and an author, a director, a producer and a playwright.

Many of the skills I've learned have become integrated into my work. Others add only a touch of flavor to my vast canvas, the subtle textures undetectable by the inexperienced eye.

I wonder who will pick up on the complexity of who we are as individuals when all is said and done and we have turned to dust at the end of our run. Will there be anyone out there who notices the quality of details that went into the making of who we have become and what we leave behind in the world?

Will there be a movie about me; or a book written to analyze my contribution to the world? Will anyone notice when I am gone? Will it matter that I learned what I did and cared enough to put my all into my work? Will it make a difference to anyone but me? Will anyone care then - that I did too much?

Nashville Under Repair

Nashville is under repair and people are all coming together to help.

The destruction was devastating in parts of Nashville. Lower Broadway and Downton were roped off and under repair, the tops of trees were all that was visible in many of the flooded areas, buildings were destroyed, families were preparing to start over.

Many of the hotels and local residents were without hot water for days and the electricity was off for periods of time as repairs were being made and damage assessed.

People are "doing business not quite as usual".  They are keeping the music going and relief events are going on all around town to raise money for those who were hit the hardest and hotels like the Renaissance downtown offered rooms to locals who had no place to go.

It was apparent everywhere in Nashville when disaster strikes people come together.