Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for April 25th, 2010

Voce Quartet: (L-R) Paul Harris, Dave Kindinger,
Keith Harris, and Stephen Wilde

This past Sunday at The Salon was one for the record book, folks. The Etcetera Etc Restaurant was packed, and the theme of the evening, "It Takes Two (or More) to Tango," was evident. We saw sooo many people on the little platform stage! The a cappella vocal quartet VOCE, with frontman Stephen Wilde, hosted the evening and special guest was the vocal quintet Marquee Five. We also had a number of other special groups in attendance - read on!

First up was VOCE, which crooned through "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" and "Love Me Tender." They then turned the mic over to Tanya Moberly and Danielle Erin Rhides, who rocked a duet of "Sounds." Then Bill Zeffiro and Lianne Marie Dobbs bantered with each other on "How About You?" Staying at the piano, Bill played for Sunny Leigh on "Just In Love." Next, making her Salon and New York Debut, Lisa Rein (yes, that's my sister, visiting from California!) sang her original song "Machines of Loving Grace" with George Kelly at the piano.

After Lisa, the stage was flooded with men (always a nice thing for me to type) as Broadway Voices, a subgroup of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, got up to sing. With piano and musical direction by Adam West Hemming, they sang "Infinite Joy" and "Heart and Music," two songs from their show "What More Can I Say?", an evening of music by William Finn. This show will take place at THE WEST BANK CAFE/LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER (407 West 42nd Street, NYC - 212-695-6909 - ) on Sunday, May 2nd at 1:00 & 4:00 pm and Monday, May 3rd at 9:30 pm. Broadway Voices features the talents of Dan Baillie, Ben Coleman, Michael Connolly, Tim Howard, Sonelius Kendrick Smith, Michael Morisi, Jim Vivyan, Seth Watsky, TJ Witham and Phil Zipkin. All proceeds will benefit the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, a two-hundred voiced chorus with service to the LGBT community.

Then, Erin Cronican and Stephen Wilde sang what I consider the best duet ever, "Suddenly Seymour," as the rest of the audience joyously filled in the urchin greek chorus (without the need of girl group wigs). We then had back to back lady songwriters, with Kathy Hart singing her song "Sing Your Song," and Annie Lebeaux, who sang an original of her and Mickey Leonard's entitled "All Systems Go," a funny tech-filled conversation between two computer nerds. Annie is now entertaining with her piano at Butler's (52nd & 1st Ave., NYC on the East Side) each Wednesday thru Saturday starting 7pm each night.

Next came Kevin McMullan, who engaged the audience with a high energy call and response singalong through "Minnie the Moocher." Then, Talk of the Town castmembers Adam MacDonald, Kristin Maloney, and Chris Weikel cracked us up with the witty song "Work is a Four Letter Word." They and other members of TOTT will be hosting and special guest-ing The Salon on May 16th with the theme “Back to Our Roots.” Then Helena Grenot sang "Gee Baby Aint I Good To You," (her Don't Tell Mama show will perform May 18th and May 21st), Ray Jessel sang his heartbreaking original "I'm Not So Good at Goodbye," and Richie Eisenberg sang all about the wonderful pairs in the world, "Two Again." To close the first half, Jan Brennan crooned "Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe," and Arianna sang "Out of Sight Out of Mind" from A Tale of Two Cities.

The second half began with the special guest group of the evening, Marquee Five. This quintet is dear to my heart because...full disclosure...I'm in it, along with Adam West Hemming, Mick Bleyer, Vanessa Parvin, and Julie Reyburn. Marquee Five is nominated for a 2010 MAC Award for Vocal Group for it's debut show last year, "We Can Make It: The Songs of Kander and Ebb," directed by Peter Napolitano and featuring Mark Janas at the piano. Adam West Hemming wrote many of the arrangements, and music directed the show. M5 sang two songs arranged by Hemming for the show - "All That Jazz" and "We Can Make It," then sang a medley of songs entitled "Travel and Weather Together Medley," arranged by Hemming as a taste of what might come from the group in the future. We had a wonderful time singing and felt incredibly welcome as special guests that night!

Marquee Five: (L-R) Mick Bleyer, Sierra Rein, Adam West Hemming,
Vanessa Parvin, and Julie Reyburn

After Marquee Five came Mark Janas' Classical Corner. We were captivated by Julie Reyburn, who sang Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock), a famous lied for soprano, clarinet, and piano by Franz Schubert. Mark played piano and visiting clarinetist Edward Gilmore (who won a Julliard concerto competition) duetted beautifully with Julie's soprano. I love that I can sing jazz, musical theater, and rock then sit down at least once each Sunday for some wonderful classical music!

Once the trills of the Shepherd faded, we had the first of two lady trios for the evening - Erin Cronican, Tanya Moberly and Marnie Klar sang "At the Ballet" from A Chorus Line. Then Zachery Stains sang "How Deep is the Ocean," Annie Kozuch and Scott Tucker sang "I'd Give It All For You" from Songs for a New World (Annie's upcoming CD Release 'Here With You' will be at the Beechman May 25th), and Stephen Wilde and Jeffrey Biering revamped their roles from The Talk of the Town with "Two Heads are Better Than One." More castmembers from TOTT then joined them for two songs from the show - "Merry Band of Friends" and "The Velvet Rope." After them, Raissa Katona Bennett showed off her funny skills by singing the hilarious song "Bacon," which she'll be singing at “A Benefit for Zani's Furry Friends” at Birdland on May 1st. Her Bistro Award-receiving concert series The Concerts at Tudor City Greens is starting the 2010 season this Wednesday, May 5th at 6pm! You can catch their Facebook page as well as more information on Raissa's website or blog.

Next came Valerie Lemon, who will be appearing at Feinstein's in October with a Marvin Hamlisch show (and Marvin will be in attendance!), who sang "What I Did For Love." Then three students from the Manhattan School of Music - Alexa Smith, Rachel Hall, and Brian Henry - came up to sing from Alice in Operaland, an adorable children's educational opera written to teach children about music. They portrayed Alice and Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who appropriately taught Alice the difference between a solo, duet, trio, quartet, and chorus. After them, the second female trio of the evening grabbed the stage with a full set brought by David Gillam. Julie Reyburn, Sierra Rein & Erin Cronican - with Bill Zeffiro at the piano - riffed through Sondheim's "You Could Drive a Person Crazy"!

Lisa Rein and George Kelly returned to the stage with Sierra Rein backing up vocals on Lisa's original piece "Miss You." Bill Zeffiro sang the biting Rogers & Hart song "I Wish I Were in Love Again" with Lianne Marie Dobbs, then Manhattan School of Music students Brian Henry and Alexa Smith came back to the stage to sing "Unworthy of Your Love" from Assassins. VOCE closed the evening with two more incredible a cappella songs - "Don't Break This Heart of Mine" and "Lonely Nights." For more of VOCE's performance schedule, click here. They will be competing in the 2010 Barbershop Harmony Society International Competition in Philadelphia PA in late June. Best of broken legs guys!

Mark Janas, Julie Reyburn and Edward Gilmore in The Classical Corner

-Sierra Rein The Blogette for The Salon
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