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Singer heats up Gainesville
Kastel continues Arts Council jazz series
Sandy Kastel Trio will perform as part of Evenings of Intimate Jazz, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville. - photo by For The Times

Sandy Kastel Trio
Evenings of Intimate Jazz concert series
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St. SW, Gainesville
How much: $30
More info: 770-534-2787 or

Sandy Kastel’s Las Vegas roots will show through this Saturday as she performs as part of The Arts Council’s Evenings of Intimate Jazz concert series, to be held at the Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville.

Kastel’s career has been a series of "detours," the singer said, from her beginnings as a singer to her reign as Miss Nevada in 1976 to her current life as a singer, sculptor, author and owner of Silk and Satin Records.

"I started singing at 4 years old," said Kastel. "I bought eight Frank Sinatra records from my dad for 50 cents each and I started singing Frank Sinatra songs."

Kastel said her family moved to Las Vegas when she was young because her father, saxophonist Dick Kastel, got a job there with the Harry James Band.

"I grew up in a musical family. My mom was a singer and a dancer as a child," said Kastel, so it was only natural that she would also become a performer.

Kastel said she grew up doing talent contests, and traveled on the road with a band right out of high school.

"Then I came back and I became Miss Las Vegas and got into the Miss Nevada pageant, and went on to go into the Miss America pageant. I got a talent award in the Miss America pageant," Kastel said.

Her Miss America experience was "a turning point in a lot of ways," and she came back to Vegas, performing in musicals and attending The University of Nevada Las Vegas, and singing in hotels, lounges and casinos.

Kastel said her performing style is influenced by Las Vegas singers like Bette Middler and Cher.

"They do a lot of costume changes," she said. "They really perform, and they really give their audience an enjoyable show to watch."

Kastel covered the songs of many Vegas greats, including Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion, in her CDs, "This Time Around" and "Only in Las Vegas," which she will perform at Saturday’s concert, accompanied by bass player Jonathan Wires and drummer Derrek C. Phillips.

But she also will perform some original songs from her newest, yet-to-be-named CD, coming out in March, penned by Kastel as she spent time in Indiana with her husband, drag racer Harold Stout.

"We were traveling around with drag racing," Kastel said. "My time in Indiana had increased dramatically, and every time I would go to Indiana, I would get kind of in this cocoon and I would start writing."

The result was "This Time Around," the first CD on her new label, and her newest CD, which will include the singles "Indiana Rain" and "Nashville Tonight."

Kastel said owning her own record label allows her to see her songs go from their inception to a finished product.

"I see it go from that stage to rewrites, then working with a producer on it, where he takes it to the next level," she said.

Kastel stays busy singing, but she also finds time to sculpt, and helped author a recent book, "Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths," with 24 other authors.

She said her autobiography, "Detours," will come out next year.

"It all works together," said Kastel. "One thing triggers the other, because it’s all this creative process that goes back and forth."