Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for October 16, 2011 "Inappropriate Songs for Weddings & Funerals"

What a wonderful and boisterous time was had on Sunday, as we welcomed The Cougars of Cabaret: Patricia Fitzpatrick, Helena Grenot and Dana Lorge, who led us through this week’s theme: "Inappropriate Songs for Weddings & Funerals.” Despite their rowdy demeanor, these three feisty ladies wooed and charmed us into submission, which may have been the plan all along. You never know with these ladies.
Mark Janas addresses the sold out crowd.
Patricia Fitzpatrick kicked off the first half by enchanting Salon sponsor Father Jeff Hamblin with her rendition of “Teach me Tonight.” Our first Salon guest of the evening, Madelaine Warren, sang the lovely “Street of Dreams” by Sam Lewis, a song from the Tin Pan Alley days. Stephen Hanks then came to the mic, singing “Give ‘Em What They Want” - the “11 o’clock” number from “The Fartiste,” a show he’s producing Off Broadway at Sofia’s Downstairs Theater (currently in previews.) Joining us next was Barb Malley, whose infectious smile and delivery made us hungry for Sara Lee (by singing a tune of the same name) -- especially when she brought out a box of muffins. Wholly inappropriate for weddings and funerals, in my book.

Barb Malley, and her beloved Sara Lee.
The lovely, Bistro Award winning, Janice Hall, sang the gorgeous and haunting melody “Losing My Mind” from Sondheim’s “Follies.” Be sure to come back on October 30 to see Janice host The Salon, with the theme of “Monster Masquerade.” Come dressed up in costume, especially if it’s of a character you’ve played in days gone by, or come dressed in black, as Janice said that SHE always does! Next up to the mic was Stephanie Zagoren, who sang the dreamy (and apropos!) “Autumn in New York.” Mark Levy stole our hearts with “September Song “ which he tried out with us before performing next Thursday at a donors dinner, to benefit his alma mater medical school. (That’s right- we have some multi-disciplined singers at The Salon!)

Speaking of folks with medical degrees, Father Jeff Hamblin, MD (the ultimate hyphenate) came up to the mic with a list of hymn tunes that people have asked about for their weddings. Some highlights, “The strife is o’er, the battle done, the victory of life has now been won...” ... “See the kings triumphal lay.” ... “Come labor on, who dare stand idle.” With this, we got a glimpse into one of Father Hamblin’s greatest strengths - keeping a straight face when dealing with such requests! Father Hamblin was excited to announce Julie Reyburn’s next Feinstein’s show on November 27. Also, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving his church is offering a full dinner to those who have no family in town and would like a place to spend the holiday. Get your reservation to Tanya or Mark by the Wednesday before, and you can get in free.

After the “hymn” jokes that Father Hamblin shared, Mark Janas shared a joke of his own. He recalled a specific sermon where a minister talked about the sin of drinking booze and that all of the parishoners should purge themselves of drinking forever by emptying their bottles of liquor into the river. The parish then announced the next hymn to be sung by the congregation: “Let’s Go Down To The River.” (yuck yuck.)

With the audience in a spirited mood, Annie Lebeaux further made us roar with one of her brand new original songs, “There’s Only So Much I Can Do” in honor of all of the singers she’s had to play for as an audition accompanist. Etc Etc’s faithful server, David Ballard, brought highly inappropriate (and oh so good) bravado when singing “Ladies who Lunch.” David announced that he just started the BMI Workshop as a lyricist - look forward to new songs being premiered at The Salon in the future!

Rounding out the first half of singing, Salon Blogette Erin Cronican (c’est moi!) came up to sing Adam Guettel’s lyrical “How Can I Lose You” from “Myths & Hymns,” which Erin noted would be appropriate for anyone trying to steal focus from someone else’s wedding or funeral. Etceterette Shana Farr serenaded us with her gorgeous soprano, singing “Ribbons Down My Back” from “Hello Dolly.” Shana was just asked to join the board of the American Songbook Project, which brings classic American songs into schools. More info here.

The always lovely, Shana Farr.
And then we reached Mark Janas’ Classical Corner. Since we had The Cougars hosting the event, Mark thought it was appropriate to talk about the special relationship between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann. 20 year old Brahms met composer Robert Schumann, who was so impressed with Brahms’ talent that he took him under his wing as a mentor. Mark played snippets of two Schumann songs: “Kinderszenen” and “Kreisleriana.” With this friendship, Brahms also became very close with Robert’s wife, Clara (then, 34 years old), for whom Brahms developed quite an affection. They particularly became close when Robert fell ill and the pair remained lifelong friends, though the friendship paled a bit once Robert died, which left Brahms feeling frustrated and bereft. Mark said experts theorized that Brahms held Clara up as the epitome of the ideal woman, but that in reality the only time he was capable of “being” with women was when he “paid” for their services. Both of these facts fueled Brahms’ passionate, haunting music. To illustrate, Mark played “Rhapsody in G Minor.” He also played “Opus 118 No. 2 Intermezzo,“ which Mark said was autobiographical of Brahms life and the unrequited nature of his relationship with Clara.

The second half of this week’s Salon was kicked off by Co-Host Helena Grenot with a special word for the bride and groom, after which she sang, “Lost Mind.” Helena then introduced the ever so demure Dana Lorge, another Cougar on the Prowl, who sang the tongue in cheek, “I Am Your Friend” directly to Mark Janas, who took it with aplomb. Dana then brought up her fellow co-host, Patricia Fitzpatrick, who sang about her experiences going to funerals -- using “Maybe This Time,” of course. Her object of affection? An urn with ashes, clutched closely to her chest. A perfect song choice for this sultry, low voiced maven.

Tanya Moberly then followed, bringing in the ultimate inappropriate song, “Untouchable Face” by Ani DiFranco. Tanya invited the Etceterettes, Erin Cronican and Shana Farr, to help the audience with some participation in the chorus, which you can see noted on the cards in the photo below. This song is a part of Tanya’s next cabaret, “Moberly Sings DiFranco” which is being done at Don’t Tell Mama on October 24 & November 14 at 9:15pm. She has a second cabaret that is running concurrently, “Tanya sings Jonatha” which runs October 17 & November 7. Both shows include a full band, and feature Etceterette Erin Cronican on co-vocals. Reservations strongly recommended at

Tanya Moberly, charming the audience. :)
Matthew Ward brought in a wedding scrapbook/songbook with many love songs, which somehow included... “A Good Thing Going” from “Merrily We Roll Along.” Um, yes, you read that correctly. For those of us who didn’t know the song, Matthew read the last lyrics, “And while it’s going along, you take for granted some love will wear away, we took for granted a lot, but still I say: it could have kept on growing, instead of just kept on. We had a good thing going, going, gone...” (Not especially compelling lyrics for a wedding!) Matthew then went to the piano and sang/played “Dead Lovers” by Matthew Ward and Steven Cole. He said this song was ”waiting in the trunk for the right kind of theme to come along.” Lucky us!

Ritt Henn then brought his bass to the stage, and shared his song, “Fear.” He made sure to let us know that he’s not one of those people whose voice gets lower as he gets older - “original key, mother f*ckers!” (Apparently, Tanya’s foul mouth rubbed off on Ritt- and we couldn’t be more pleased!) Especially precious was the whistling interlude by the crowd. Mary Liz McNamara then came to the piano, starting off by saying every song she has ever written was inappropriate for weddings & funerals. Did you know that the phrases “read philosophy” and “play Monopoly” are apparent euphemisms for something more “horizontal”? Or so we learned, with Mary’s clever original tune, “My Boyfriend, Lou.” She’s doing a show with Ritt Henn at The Duplex on October 26 and November 2.

Ritt Henn
Next, Paul Kolecki came up the piano and played a brand new uptempo/ballad/uptempo/ballad (it’s true, that’s what he wrote on his card.) Steve “The Whistler” Herbst then joined us at the mic for some grand whistling and lush vocals on a lovely medley. Elaine St George thrilled us with the gorgeous Lew Spence ballad, “A Wet Night & A Dry Martini.” Elaine was excited to announce that she would be performing the role of Marie in a private concert reading of “The Most Happy Fella” produced by Salon Blogette Erin Cronican and starring Salon faves Bill Zeffiro, Tony Imgrund and Lea McKenna Garcia.

Whistling Champion Steve Herbst

Ira Lee Collings absolutely broke our hearts with his tender yet powerful vocals on his ballad. We sure hope Ira joins us again, he really was wonderful. Lynda D’Amour wowed us with the smooth jazz tones and big notes on “Lover Where Can You Be?” You can find Lynda performing at the Club Cafe at the Napoleon Room in Boston, MA. Joey Infante then joined us at the mic with the lovely medley of “Never Neverland” from Peter Pan into “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” We were thrilled to have back Marnie Klar, who sang the Pink song “F**kin’ Perfect” from her show, “Marnie Klar Sings...” directed by Salon producer, Tanya Moberly. Marnie still has two upcoming performances November 1 and December 5 at Don’t Tell Mama.

The talented Ira Lee Collings
David Rigano then came to the stage with his tune, “An Ode to Beauty” (for which he wrote the music and lyrics. The song started as a lovely ballad and then became whimsical comedic number. Kevin McMullan started off by telling a few jokes about weddings and funerals, which lead into the impetuous “The Thousand Islands Song.“ Kevin will be co-hosting the Salon January 8, 2012 with the theme “Denial is not just a river in Egypt...” We then welcomed Melissa Heche, who marveled at why her song, “I Will Survive” is always played at wedding receptions. (yes, why is that???) She got the audience clapping with her fun and capable rendition of the disco tune.

Melissa Heche gets the crowd going.
The final number of the evening of what we had all been waiting for, a trio by the Cougars, “Together Wherever We Go” -- with lots of hilarious ad libbing and singing over one another. Don’t miss their show, “The Cougars on the Prowl” at Don’t Tell Mama October 20 & 21 at 8pm. Tanya was able to arrange 1/2 price admission for Salon members ($10 cover- unbelievable.)

NEXT WEEK: The optional theme for the evening is “That’s Italian- Opera to Pop-era!” Bring in whatever music you feel fits that genre -- we also welcome songs that are off theme. Be sure to bring a second option, in case your song has already been reserved. Our Co-Hosts will be the fine singers of O Sole Trio: Giuseppe Spoletini, Erin Shields & David Shenton! O Sole Trio is a new, vibrant musical ensemble whose shows feature a blend of some of the most popular Italian opera, Neapolitan and classic jazz standards with a concentration on the Italian language. For more information:

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