Sunday, November 21, 2010


The Holiday Messages of Frank Rendo
arranged & orchestrated by Palma Pascale

Lovingly dedicated to Frank and Agnes Rendo, two very special, generous people who make a positive impact in the lives of others, and who consistently offer their support to Frank and his music ministry... I know they are so incredibly proud of his many accomplishments!

Frank and Agnes Rendo


~In loving memory of the incomparable Palma Pascale ~

Palma Pascale

"...I don't know if you can hear me, or if you're even there...
I don't know if you will listen to this humble prayer?
They tell me I am just an outcast - I shouldn't speak to you...
But I see your face and often wonder, 
were you once an outcast, too?..."

Hello to you, fans and friends of my truly talented friend, Frank Rendo.   Man, does this lyric hit home in many ways this year as I listen to Frank's version of "God Help The Outcasts," which can be found on his amazing Christmas CD, REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS.

Palma at home in the studio
Tiki's Fred Guarino
Recorded in 2007 at Tiki Recording Studios in Glen Cove, NY, (, by Tiki owner and master engineer Fred Guarino, and arranged and conducted by the creative mind and heart of the late Palma Pascale, this 14-track album is a beautiful reminder to us all of just what and who Christmas is really all about!  

With selections such as "Joseph's Song" and "Someday", we hear Joseph and Mary both as they speak to their newborn child, the son of God.  And the story of that "Bethlehem Morning" is dynamically proclaimed, reminding each of us that the birth of Christ "... is more than just a memory, for the child that was born there, has come to set us free...!"  In the lovely "What Her Heart Remembered" the story of Mary, the mother of God, is told reminding us that Mary was just a human who, like all mothers do, had questions about what she should do and how she should do it to properly care for her newborn child.
Frank Rendo
From the REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS photo shoot!

Though I am apt to listen to REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS from first note to last at any time during the year, as I have done since the release of the disc, I thought yesterday (Saturday, November 20, 2010) would be the perfect time to listen to the CD in its entirety via my iPod as I worked outside in the yard on such a beautiful warm autumn day....and this way, I could be refreshing my memory about my favorite parts of the album in order to write about them, and so that I could simply enjoy it once again, as I always do.  Yet, something very interesting happened that I wasn't expecting, at all.........

The first song that played, ironically, was "God Help The Outcasts."  That was odd, as this is actually the 13th track on the CD.  I don't recall having saved the compilation to my iPod in this way, but I must have absentmindedly done so.  Hearing this, I felt like the sign was very clear that the focus of my writing today should definitely be on this story, which confirmed my original plan.

Frank Rendo
From the REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS photo shoot!
The second surprise came as I suddenly found myself  having completely stopped what I was doing & standing very still, listening most intently to this story that I have heard hundreds of times - yet the dynamics of it - the raw honesty of it - the gut-wrenching emotion of it seemed as if to be brand new!!  It is such a moving song and Frank's conviction of the story comes across very beautifully and warmly.  I heard not only a freshness to Frank's unmatchable voice, but in Palma's orchestration, as well.  I get completely overwhelmed at how Palm could put her feelings into her orchestrations.  I could hear her weep as the beautiful sound of the English Horn played, and I could hear her conviction as the strings took command, leading the way here and there.

Palma and Frank in concert together
Palma had this special ability, and clearly, Frank has it, too.  We have spoken about it many times.  Yes, certainly both are talented, of that there can be no question.  However, to produce something like REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS where every single note is in and of itself profoundly moving, requires something altogether different than mere talent.  To reach the depths and the heights that this album reaches requires that special ingredient - heart!  One must have the ability to "get out of their own way" in order to allow their genuine feeling to shine through.  This distinctive ingredient is very much evident throughout this entire compilation.

Adding to this piece is the genius of talented recording engineer, Fred Guarino.  Fred lets the record take on a life of its own.  He knows all the right places to sharpen the edges, but as we have spoken about, he wants the music to be REAL.  The ultimate compliment, methinks....Fred has told me before how enjoyable it is, working with Frank in the studio, because he makes the music real.  I know I certainly enjoyed working with him last year there at Tiki.

Frank Rendo
It's no wonder, then, when listening to this important message just why it is so all engulfing and had me stopped in my tracks listening, tears falling, and without being aware of it until the song ended.  Then, when I realized how captivated I'd been - how lost I was in the story....I found I was smiling.  I shared with Frank last night that his interpretation of it is often emotional for me because there is such honesty to his read of this song; it's so pure and I can tell it comes right from his heart.

I recall having a conversation with Frank a couple of years ago about why he put "God Help The Outcasts" on a Christmas CD.  He told me that he had a 9 year-old student bring the sheet music for it to their voice lesson, as she hoped Frank would help her learn it.  It struck a cord with Frank immediately.  At that time, he'd listened to Bette Midler's version from the Disney soundtrack of the HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME as well as what he termed "a fantastic version" by Cynthia Clawson.  For several years, he sang the song in concert to a piano track (before Palma did her rendo-ition of it, that is).  

Frank Rendo
From the REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS photo shoot!
When Frank and Palma discussed the tracks Frank wanted to put on REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS, "God Help The Outcasts" was definitely on his wish list.  Palma knew Frank truly loved this song and enjoyed very much performing it live - so, as a gift to him, she created and recorded the magnificent track of "God Help The Outcasts,"  heard on REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS.  What a gift!!  It's the kind that literally keeps on giving.  Frank is requested to perform this song often, and he told me "the song never ceases to strike a cord with anyone who hears it...all year 'round.  But it's especially poignant at the holiday time of the year, when loneliness is at an all time high."  He continues, "The fact that during the holidays there is so much need and hurt and "outcasting," the song really helps open our hearts and eyes to see others in a way that can be of help instead of exclusion."  Yes, Frank...I would have to agree with you, completely.

Bullying is such a prevalent topic today - all of the daytime talk shows, especially "ELLEN" have put a focus on it, as it should be!  One Texas Councilman took his time at a council meeting to discuss his heartfelt mission to help those being bullied.  Young men and women are taking their own lives because they feel themselves to be "outcasts."  Frank's "God Help The Outcasts," as well as his cover of the moving "Don't Laugh At Me" from his CD DELIVER ME, both have a focus that can help those who have been bullied and feel as though they have been "outcast-ed."  Thank you, Frank, for having the fortitude and the heart to know just how important this message is...and how effective it has been in your personal ministry.

The other tracks comprising REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS include seasonal favorites like "We Need A Little Christmas," "White Christmas," "Count Your Blessings" and the widely recognized anthem "O, Holy Night."  But that's where the "typical" Christmas messages end. Frank has been applauded for his selections on this CD, as they are not "typically" included by most artists.  I've said it before and repeat it again - Frank Rendo has a mission - and a personal ministry.  Though he loves laughter and fun, and all good comedy - here, he wanted to get to the real reason for the season, and he has succeeded admirably!

Frank Rendo
From the REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS photo shoot!
"Joseph's Song" is a story from the heart of Joseph, the earthly father of the Christ Child.  It's as if Joseph's deepest and most intimate thoughts are being shared with us.  Joseph honestly cannot comprehend how he, a simple carpenter could possibly be the one chosen to be the father to the Son of God during Jesus' time here on earth.  Such a poignant story, impeccably imparted by Frank, and Palma hits this one out of the park as well with her "less is more" philosophy clearly being followed here, to a heartwarming effect.

And from Mary's perspective comes the tender "What Her Heart Remembered."  Such a sweet story - one that explains that the Baby, born in a cattle trough, was sent to her in order to free the world from sin and fear.  It's all too big for Mary to comprehend, this whole idea of being the mother of the baby Jesus.  She listens to to His soft breathing, the soft sounds of His swallowing and His beautiful soft, sweet sighs - all of these she knew would be memories to hold in her heart forever.  I find it to be such a sweet story, and sung to us with such genuine feeling.
Frank Rendo by the fire, REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS

Frank and Palma duet on "Remembering Christmas," the title track, written by Palma for one of her Broadway musicals.  This one tells the story of recalling Christmases past when the family was all gathered.  Different moments are remembered, and shared with us.  It's quite nice.  A typical "Palma" story!  

Other tracks include "In The Bleak Midwinter" along with the sad Christmas love story, also written by Palma, entitled "Much Less Than Christmas."  Palma so knew how to tell a story both with her clever lyric, and her supporting orchestral arrangements.  Frank's melancholy as he sings this 1973 composition is evident and the listener gets treated to a beautiful, though sad story of the holidays.
Fr. Charles Mangano & Frank Rendo

Included is a duet with Frank and Fr. Charles Mangano called "We Wish You the Merriest."  Additional vocals for this one were contributed by Laurie Mangano, and Palma Pascale.  

"Bethlehem Morning" is also a feature, and it is one powerhouse of a song.  Originally recorded by Sandi Patty, who made the song instantly recognizable - yet, it's Frank's version that is preferred by this writer.  Frank has a soothing, full, rich, handsome voice and for as sweetly as he can sing, he can be every bit as powerful when that dynamic is called for.  He hits every note spot on with that clear, full voice - each note perfectly placed and one as beautiful as the next.  This one will tug at your heart, I can assure you.

Frank Rendo
From the REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS photo shoot!
Another story, as told by Mary to Jesus, is included and is one of my favorites!  (Who am I trying to kid??....each of them is a favorite in one way or another).  "Someday" is the story of a mother telling her child how, one day, He will walk among all the peoples of the world - that they will call Him Master and Savior, and just how important she knew His teachings and life on earth was to be - with the caveat "...But tonight I'll rock you - stay a while with me, my son....let me rock you.  Stay a while with me..."  Wow!!  Frank's delivery of this special, special story is outstanding.  It's worth the price of the CD to hear this one, alone!

Frank Rendo
From the REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS photo shoot!
Finally, though this song really was written for Sinatra years ago, intended to be a "feel-good" song for the holidays, and it is one of the lighter selections on the album; still, it has a point that Frank is famous for making.  A point that peeks out of many of the tunes he selects for his concerts throughout the year.  This one talks about the importance of not making the gift at Christmas the end all and be all...that is, it's not about this once a year gift being given, but more about being the sort of individual who is giving of themselves all year through.  That message is significant and it's well done in this theatrical sounding arrangement.  Bravo for this fun song with such a serious message!!

If you don't own your own copy of REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS, you owe it to yourself to pick yours up this Christmas season.  Remember the "outcast" - pray for the bullying to end, and see that outcasted individual for  who they truly are - especially here at this holiday time of the year.

REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS can be purchased at,, or you can contact Frank at, or me at, and we will see to it you receive a copy post haste.

Frank Rendo
In The Bleak Midwinter
Such a well-done and meaningful Christmas CD.  I'm telling you, you'll want to listen to it again and again - and all through the year, not just at Christmas.  

"...The winds of misfortune have tossed them about, 
You made the outcasts, don't cast them out...
The poor and unlucky - the weak, and the odd...
I thought we all were the children of God..."

Here are some opportunities to see Frank in concert, and hear him sing many of these beautiful selections, LIVE!  

Frank will appear for his annual Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 4, 2010, at the wonderful venue, Samantha's Li'l Bit of Heaven, 287 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY.  Call for reservations (they're a must)  631-262-1212.  The doors will open at 8:00 p.m., and Frank begins at 8:30 p.m.

Frank performs on Sunday, December 5, 2010, at the quaint Binnewater Union Free Chapel in Kingston, NY.  Frank will be in concert for the 10:00 a.m. service there.

Also on Sunday, December 5, 2010, Frank performs at Emmanuel United Church in Mechanicville, NY at 7:00 p.m.

On Sunday, December 12, 2010, at 11:00 a.m., Frank will be in concert at Love and Mercy Fellowship in Bayshore, NY.

On Friday, December 17th, Frank performs at Bethpage Assembly of God at 8:00 p.m. for "A Light of Hope" - an SLM Christmas Special.  Bethpage Assembly of God  362 Stewart Avenue (at Emma Street) Bethpage, New York, 11714  Phone:  516.931.2378

Merry Christmas from RamblingsRegardingRENDO, and from me, personally!  Enjoy Frank Rendo's REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS this holiday season.  You'll be so glad you took my advice as you will find you have been blessed by this man, this magnificent voice,  and his messages!  

Most photographs from Frank Rendo's personal collection.  REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS photo shoot credits to Dominick Avento III.
Photo of Frank and Agnes Rendo and Fr. Charles Mangano & Frank Rendo courtesy of Sue Rosen. 
Photo of Palma Pascale courtesy "Estate of Palma Pascale" re-touched by Dominick Avento III.
Photo of Fred Guarino courtesy of Tim San Paolo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the most beautiful voice. truely a gift of the spirit. unbelievable.