Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for July 25, 2010: "The Recording Arts – Demo Night with Peter Millrose"

Sunday held a first in Salon history: an entire evening recorded audially for demo and posterity! The evening was dubbed "The Recording Artist: An Evening with Peter Millrose." Peter is a recording engineer (, who set up his computer and microphones ahead of time to isolate the piano and get inputs from the microphones on separate tracks. He recorded the entire show so that singers might be able to get a high-quality copy of their work, should they wish!

The wonderful co-hostess of the evening was Julie Reyburn, who has several CDs (including her "Live at Feinstein's" CD which garnered her a 2010 Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording). Also in attendance was her husband, musician Thor Fields, and their daughter Layla. The special guest performer was the always ebullient and charming MAC Award-Winner (Male Vocalist) Hector Coris, whose live recording at Don't Tell Mama was made into a CD "Life is Wonderful."

It was a unique and respectful evening, as Mark instructed the audience to hold on applause until the last notes of the piano died down for each song. Or, in many cases, if the singer wanted a live sound to his or her recording we were instructed to let 'er loose and rip with the laughter, applause and (in some cases) sing-alongs! Believe you me, some of the performances were so great that the holding off of applause after each song was dreadfully difficult!

The first set started out with the lovely Julie Reyburn, performing "Let's Fall in Love" from her show "Summer Nights," an excellent set of beautiful songs. She performed two nights at Feinstein's this past July, and will be taking it to the Laurie Beechman on August 31st at 7pm, with Musical Director Mark Janas, Ritt Henn on bass and Walter Usiatynski on drums. Directed by Lennie Watts. Susan Hogdon, who belted and swayed through "When You're Good to Mama" from Chicago. She's performing in the Metrostar Challenge at the Metropolitan Room, and is developing a solo show in the fall with Lennie Watts as director. Then David Rigano sang "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" and Tanya Moberly returned "The Pluto Song" to the stage, written by Dan Furman (who was also at the piano) to record the song as a demo. Next, Joey Infante - with Mike McDonald at the piano - sang "Almost Like Being in Love" in a lovely rhumba arrangement. Then Mike himself sang his composition entitled "Wearing My Shoes."

We then had the lovely writing team of Jennie Litt and David Alpher perform the beautiful "Hello In There," a sweet lullabye originally written for their unborn daughter. They will be appearing at Don't Tell Mama this Saturday the 31st at 5pm for their show "Composing Ourselves," a mixture of original pieces and standards. After them, Kevin McMullan sang James Fradrich's ballad "Lonely Little Dreamer." He is going to be performing a show at the Laurie Beechman in October and November, tentatively titled "Gypsies and Lost a New Age." After Kevin, Edie Stokes performed the favorite "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square," and had the great announcement that she will be releasing her own CD with an official release show shortly. We then had Tony Imgrund return to Salon with "What If I Loved You," an interesting piece by Joey Gian from the movie Return to Me. We then had Richard Eisenberg sing his rah-rah song "Good Old American Hamberger," which we all agreed should become the theme song for a good hamburger shack here in the city!

We then had Steve "The Whistler" Herbst (International Grand Champion Whistler, 3 times International Whistler Entertainer of the Year *and* member of the Whistler's Hall of Fame) whistled the "Revenge Aria" from The Queen of the Night (Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen) with Mark playing from memory at the piano. It was stunning to hear the traditionally high soprano notes whistled effortlessly from Steve, and the audience burst into applause after Mark signalled that it was "safe" to express ourselves! Julie also said that Layla loved it, as this was one of her favorite arias. The lovely MAC and Bistro award-winner Danielle Grabianowski
sang "Beat My Dog," a saucy done-me-wrong ballad. She will be co-hosting The Salon on August 22nd with the theme "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda – Songs of Regret" and has a number of shows coming up at the end of October.

We then had a new face and voice, that of Steven Strafford, to come up and sing. Steven just finished playing Prince Herbert in the Sacramento Music Circus verison of "Spamalot," and showed off his comedy and musical theater pipes with the song "Fatso." To follow him Sierra Rein challenged Mark Janas to sight-read "And I Will Follow" by Jason Robert Brown. Our first Etceterette, Arianna, then sang "The Heart is Slow to Learn," which some Andrew Lloyd Webber fans might recognize as the original version of the title song for his new musical "Love Never Dies." Arianna prefers the subtlety and poetry of the original lyrics, and I heartily agree!
We then had our second Etceterette, Janice Hall, sing a German pop song as a torch song, with her English translation of the lyrics (which were quite witty...maybe there's a future as a lyricist for Janice!). She is also a challenger for the MetroStar competition, and is planning a show in the fall of 2010.

The second half of the evening began with the bang that is Hector Coris. Funny, charming and devilish, yet able to sing moving ballads with equal ease, Hector won a 2010 MAC Award for Male Vocalist in May. On Sunday, he sang three showcasing pieces of work: the first was Bill Zeffiro's "Spanish Fly," a dirty ditty originally cut from Zeffiro's show "The Road to Ruin." The second piece was from Mack & Mabel, the beautiful Jerry Herman song "I Won't Send Roses." Lastly, Coris sang a sweet song by David Caldwell, entitled "A Tomb With a View," which was featured in Coris' Life is Wonderful show/live CD.

After Hector charmed us, we had a stunning Classical Corner with Mark Janas. Mark brought up a seriously important subject in the musical world, one that affects arrangements: Counterpoint. Jazz musicians share the ability to play with counterpoint with composers like Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, and even the concept of the "Round" (as in "Row, Row, Row Your Boat") utilize counterpoint to play with and/or against melodies within an arrangement. To illustrate the use of counterpoint, Mark went step by step through an arrangement of "Do I Hear a Waltz," one that he did for Julie Reyburn's show. With Julie singing, he showed how many counterpoint melodies of famous Rogers and Hammerstein waltzes he had placed in the accompaniment (we could find "Falling in Love With Love," "It's a Grand Night for Singing," "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'" and "Out of My Dreams" amongst others!). As Mark illustrated, counterpoint can change the emotion, the mood and the intent of a song as it relates to the melody and lyrics of the song. Another interesting note: a "Round" is not called a "Round" merely because the melody goes 'round and 'round. Instead, it comes from the practice of music students in medieval times, who passed sheets of one copy of music around a table (taking their turns to sight-read the canon at the appropriate time). You learn something new every week in Classical Corner!

We then heard a haunting waltz from Producer Tanya Moberly, a song entitled "Lullaby" which was - ironically - devoid of counterpoint in the piano arrangement. Tanya will be bringing back her show "Theatre Songs" to Don't Tell Mama on September 30th at 9pm, with Mark Janas at the piano and Ritt Henn on bass. After Tanya, we then had the gorgeously baritone'd Mark Watson, who wanted to record the song "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" for his mom (all together now..."awwwwwwww!"). This coming Monday, Mark will be performing a scene at the Producer's Club in the show "Lovers and Other Strangers." Our favorite singing waiter, David Ballard, brought his clear tenor tones to record "The Streets of Dublin," which always fits his voice beautifully. We then had Jac DiMonte croon his way through the ballad "I'm Not Lonely," with music by Lew Spence and lyrics by Marilyn Keith.

Liz Ulmer then popped up on stage to sing the note and pitch perfect "Just to Look at Him," a sweet song by Brian Lasser. She is helping to produce the production I Got Fired, which will be a featured show at NYMF (the New York Musical Theater Festival) in September and October! Steve Schachlin then came up to sing his piece "Somebody Save Me a Seat," and let us know that he is taking part in what he calls "Musical Insurrection for Peace" and is offering free downloads of his work online for singers and musicians to use. You can do so here. After Steve, we heard some encores! Danielle Grabianowski returned with a Nina Simone rewrite of Betsy Smith's "I Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl." Richard Eisenberg brought "Look at the Smile on My Face," and then Janice Hall torched her way through Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas/If You Go Away." Steve Stafford then sang a sweetly funny song by Vance Gilbert entitled "Waiting for Gilligan," which answered some questions about who might be waiting for that 3-hour tour to return. Arianna brought out her character voice with "What's Wrong With Me," the star turn song sung by Lena Lamont in the stage adaptation of Singin' In the Rain. Steve "The Whistler" Herbst returned to sing a standard through whistling power, and Sierra Rein came after him to sing Carol King's "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman)," one of her favorite recording artists. Kevin McMullan brought his energetic rendition of "Minnie The Moocher," and Peter captured the audience's call and response vocals with Kevin's own. To complete the evening, our gracious hostess Julie Reyburn sang her rendition of "Moon River/It Goes Like It Goes."

THIS SUNDAY! The Salon celebrates the ones, twos and threes with the theme "It's Mathematical – Numbers About Numbers." Jim Brochu will be the guest performer, and the comedy/improv/music duo Booth and Pat will officiate as guest co-hosts!

-Sierra Rein
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