Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for December 11, 2011 "Holiday Party"

The mood of the sold out crowd was festive as we launched into the final Salon of the 2011 with our official holiday party! Our amazingly talented and perfectly synced co-hosts were the Definitely Dickens Carolers: Mick Bleyer, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein & Adam West Hemming!

The Definitely Dickens Carolers
These Four out of the MAC Award Winning Marquee Five (Julie Reyburn being the fifth) have just released their first CD “8-Track Throwback”. They also finished a run of “City of Angels” at Goodspeed Opera House, so they opened our evening with the “City of Angels” opening number. They followed that with a wonderful caroling medley!

Bobbie Horowitz shook things up a little bit by doing something she rarely does - she sang a ballad (!) And a lovely ballad it was: “Lots of Love from Me To You.” Bobbie was excited to announce that she is now a weekly columnist for “Here Women Talk.” Sunny Leigh came to the mic next, singing “Santa Baby.” It as wonderful to see how much holiday spirit was in the room - we love the hats and costumes!
Sunny Leigh
Up next was a special treat - Layla Fields (board member Julie Reyburn’s daughter) and Olivia Summer came to the stage and sang & acted out “Colors of the Wind” from “Pocahontas.” As the story goes, Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz (“Pocohantas” writers) and Judy Kuhn (voice of Pocahontas in the movie) came to the kids’ school to do a workshop, and the girls took to this song like glue! Our Salon audience was beaming with pride, as were the proud mommies!

Layla Fields and Olivia Summer
Speaking of proud mommies, expectant mother Julie Reyburn came up next to sing “Carol of the Silver Bells,” a medley from her show “Winter Songs.” This was a song she put together with Mark Janas about 10 years ago, and they sing it each year as a sort of tradition. You can hear this song again as Julie brings “Winter Songs” to Etc Etc next Sunday, December 18 at 7pm and 9:15pm. Same as The Salon - $10 cover/$15 minimum. See the end of this post for details. Next, Jennie Litt came to the stage with her original, charming, “Christmas in the Doghouse” about what Christmas is like from a dog’s perspective... out in the yard. We were thrilled to invite up Salon board member, Nicholas Levin and his guest Doug Shapiro, who sang Nicholas’s tune, “An Artificial Tree.”

Doug Shapiro
David Ballard, our trusty server, sang one of his charming solo pieces, entitled “I Never Liked Christmas.” Erin Cronican, your loyal Blogette, introduced The Salon to “Infinite Joy,” a touching song written by William Finn. Marissa Mulder, tonight’s Etceterette, sang a slow and dreamy version of The Beatles classic, “In My Life.” For tonight’s Salon Spotlight, we enjoyed “A Ritzmas Daryl” - a mashup of songs from “Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol” and “Scrooge” sung by Daryl Glenn and Alison Nussbaum, with Ricky Ritzel on piano (as well as the mic!) They kicked off their set with “Christmas is for Children Young and Old” from Leslie Bricusse’s “Scrooge.” They finished their set with the hilarious, “Thank You Very Much!”

Alison Nussbaum and Daryl Glenn
Ricky Ritzel
Despite the instinct to do so, Mark decided against using this week’s Classical Corner to talk about the Christmas favorite, “The Nutcracker.” Instead, he focused on another holiday staple: Handel’s “Messiah.” Mark started by showing up the actual score for the show, and showed how “sparse” the score was -- just how few instruments are played at a time. He talked about how vibrato was a tonal concept just being introduced at that time. He also explained how the music was notated - typically, the dotted notes meant that they had rests, not that they were sustained. In fact, most notes were written with the intention of there being rests in between chords, rather than having a legato feel. Using the opening of the piece, Mark demonstrated how adding the rests gives the music one personality. He then talked about how the piece changed as it was played through different times/eras. Once they entered the romantic period, notes became more legato, and even further through the period they started to give even more emphasis and drama to them. This is the “Messiah” we know of, an extremely dramatic version to be sure. Mark invited up Arn Prince (a tenor) to sing part of “The Messiah,” in a slightly more romantic feel than usual, but still with the light sensibility of the original period. Mark then handed out booklets and asked the audience to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. (Wish I had taken pictures, but I was too excited to sing along!)

Second Set

Our awesome caroler co-hosts (hey, that has a ring to it!) came up to start the second set with their, almost dirty, version of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.” They then invited up Julie Reyburn, who with Mick, Adam, Vanessa, and Sierra make up the Mac award winning Marquee Five. They sang a gorgeous mashup of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” and Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.” They closed their set with an amazing, 5 part harmony, “Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire (The Christmas Song).” As a treat, Mark pressured them into singing one of their most beloved tunes - “Copacabana” (which was especially silly, given their outfits.)

Marquee Five
Tanya MoberlyErin Cronican (me again!) came up to the stage to sing the jammin’ & rockin’ Ani DiFranco song, “Swing.” Tanya is excited to announce that the show she directed for Marnie Klar has been extended one more performance, on December 29 at Don’t Tell Mama. Speaking of… Marnie Klar was next, singing the powerful and wistful, “What’ll I Do.” Coming next was Susan Hodgson, who sang, “Times Like This” from the musical, “Lucky Stiff.” Alan Safier brought to the stage the heartfelt, Jimmy Van Heusen tune, “When I Think of Her.” Mary Lahti came next with her upbeat and warm energy, reciting an original poem about The Salon put to the rhyme scheme of “Twas The Night Before Christmas.”

Mary Lahti
Matthew Martin Ward played and sang a whimsical and heart-string-tugging medley of Christmas tunes (or, “fantasia” as it was stated on Matthew’s card), including a few that I could pick out: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Song.” After Matthew, Nicholas Levin was back, this time singing his tune, “Christmas Thanks.” Elaine St George got us all thinking about the roles we’d play if there were no barriers to casting, with Sky Masterson’s version of “I’ll Know” from “Guys and Dolls.” Barb Malley was next with “It’s That Time of Year” and asked the audience to help her with the final refrain. You could feel the love in the air!

Barb Malley
Lou Yaccavino, who we’re so glad to have back at Salon, sang the lovely, “I Can’t Believe I’m Losing You.” Richie Eisenberg was next with his tune, “What Good Is Christmas,” and it wouldn’t be an Eisenberg song without that tongue-in-cheek humor -- with lyrics like, “Christmas trees and candlelight, A pyromaniac’s delight!” And in true Salon spirit, he credited The Salon with being his real family, and the audience melted into a puddle of “ahhs.” We truly do have a wonderful family here. Thank you, Richie, for reminding us of that.

Kevin McMullan took the stage with the comedic, “The 12 Days After Christmas.” Kevin is hosting our next Salon on January 8, then he goes on a one month vacation. Do be sure to come back to see him before he goes! Arianna was next with her dramatic rendition of, “Surbyana Santa” from “Songs for a New World.” Matthew Martin Ward came to the piano to accompany the lovely, Janice Hall, who treated us with, “The Christians & The Pagans” (a song that she ended up cutting from her current show- we’re lucky to have witnessed it!)

Bill Zeffiro
Janice stayed at the mic as Bill Zeffiro came to the piano, and they sang Bill’s tune, “What The Hell, It’s Christmas.” Bill just had 4 songs performed at the Winter Rhythms Festival at Urban Stages, sung by Salon regulars Marissa Mulder and Julie Reyburn. Bill stayed up and “inflicted” (his word) another one of his creations on us, this one called, “Lower Your Expectations.” Father Jeff Hamblin, a Salon sponsor who makes this event possible, delivered a tender holiday message about the celebration of life, and then sang 3 verses of his mother’s favorite hymn, “In The Bleak Mid-Winter” (which moved many of us to tears.)
Salon Sponsor, Father Jeff Hamblin
As the final segment of The Salon 2011, the Definitely Dickens Carolers asked for audience participation with “Deck the Halls” and then wooed us with “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” Mark Janas then led the audience through the ultimate holiday carol, “Silent Night.”

Let me take this time to say how wonderful it has been serving you this year as an Etceterette, and sharing this post with Sierra as your Blogette. Thank you so much for your smiles, your support, and the collective love you share. Happy Holidays everyone -- and I look forward to seeing you next year!

NEXT WEEK: On December 18th Salon will be hosting it’s first official evening of cabaret: “Salon Presents!” Julie Reyburn will be performing her show “Winter Songs” at here at Etcetera, Etcetera, with Musical Director - Mark Janas. Director & Special Guest - Lennie Watts. Producer - Father Jeff Hamblin, MD. Shows at 7pm & 9:15pm. $10 (cash) cover at the door - $15 food/beverage minimum (cash or credit). For reservations contact Tanya Moberly at / 646-637-2806.

SALON HOLIDAY BREAK: The Salon will be will be on hiatus until January 8, when we return with the theme, “Denial Is Not Just A River In Egypt.” That theme evokes a whole bunch of ideas - I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! (Be sure to bring a second option, in case your song has already been reserved.) Our Co-Host is Salon favorite, Kevin McMullan.

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