by Anura Guruge
>> Setup for ‘Festival Chorus’
>> — July 19, 2014.
>> Devanee ‘Great Waters’
>> newspaper — July 18, 2014.
>> “An Evening of Broadway”,
>> Great Waters — July 15, 2014.
>> Gordon Lightfoot Concert
>> — July 12, 2014.
>> Gordon Lightfoot: setup
>>— July 11, 2014.
>> Gordon Lightfoot, Wolfeboro,
>> NH, 2014 — June 15, 2014.
>> Devanee … Great Waters
>> — May 24, 2014.
++++ Search on ‘Wolfeboro‘ for many other related posts >>>>
To say it was very, very, very good would be a gross understatement. The sheer power, energy and melodiousness of the evening was just staggering. The three soloist totally exceeded all my expectations and I am not known to set the bar too low for anything. Last May, as some of you may recall, we all attended the ‘once in a lifetime’ Handel Society “St. Matthew Passion” at the Dartmouth Hop. They had six soloist that we thought were the cat’s whiskers; by far the best soloists we had heard in a long time — and that was no coincidence since the ‘Handel Society’ had gone to great trouble (and no doubt expense) to get the crème de la crème for this gala performance. The three last night were right up there. The clarity, strength and undisguised joie de vivre of baritone Tom Jones’ singing just blew me away. WOW. WOW. WOW. What talent. He could definitely give a run for the money to his namesake, my fellow countrymen from Pontypridd, another baritone. At the reception after the show, that I managed to make at 11:35 pm after we moved and packed everything away, I had to seek him out, shake his hand and thank him.
The Festival Chorus was delightful and not just because Devanee was singing with them. And the orchestra. Masterful. The music director and conductor, Dr. Christopher Shephard, the Artistic Director of the Worcester Chorus (in MA), is a ONE MAN show in himself. As I told him at the reception afterwards, when he was surrounded by a bevvy of fawning female fans, he is a conductor on steroids. Luckily, given that it was meant as a compliment, he did think it was funny. To be fair, I compared him to another conductor that I am familiar with and as luck may have it he knew him — they had gone to ‘conducting school’ together and were friends. So he immediately knew what I was talking about. His female fan club readily agreed with me. They all concurred that they do love to see his animated, energetic conducting.
I am not a stranger to Broadway or the London theatre scene given that I am a glutton for any and all theatre. Deanna and I have done ‘Broadway’ — once going to New York, staying in Times Square and seeing three Broadway shows, ‘Phantom‘, ‘Fiddler‘ & ‘Bombay Dreams‘ on consecutive nights. The singing last night was up there. I have never seen any of the musicals that they did feature on Broadway or London — slightly ahead of my time, even given my age. I saw ‘My Fair Lady‘, in film form, in Ceylon in the 1960s. I have then seen it on TV. The resonating live performance last night, with the three soloist to the fore, puts the movie soundtrack to shame!
It was good; it was very, very good. The acoustics of the Kingswood Art Center, to my ears, are magnificent — and I was standing/sitting WAY to the side, just off the stage. You could literally feel the music in the air. The notes would rise up like helium balloons going up and then hover, tantalizingly in the air — beguiling yours senses. We are so lucky to have this class of music in the Lakes Region. Loved it. Yes, as a volunteer stagehand I ended up as one of four who helped the choir ‘load’ and ‘unload’ from the fairly steep ‘risers’. That meant I had to be on or very close to the stage — this time stage right (as opposed to ‘stage left’ that I was on for ‘Gordon Lightfoot‘ last week). So I was up close and personal. Of course you don’t get the best sound if you are on the side of the stage. But, my feet were going and I had a blast.
Great bunch of people. The camaraderie among the volunteers and the Kingswood staff is refreshing and delightful. Though it can be physically hard work at times we all have fun. Given that we have been getting ‘tons’ of zucchini from Dan & Dianne Monahan, each time they came to pick up Devanee to take her to rehearsals with them — which was every day between Wednesday and Saturday, I had got Deanna and Teischan to make their well known Zucchini Bread three days running. That proved to be quite the hit.
Not much more I can really say. Right through the night people were coming up to us and telling us good things about Devanee and her singing. She loved it. Saturday afternoon, before the show, she was signing all the ‘My Fair Lady’ pieces around the house. I then realized, with horror, that she probably has never seen the movie! I need to rectify that. Probably get her the DVD.
Oh. She sang on scholarship. Thank YOU ‘Great Waters‘. From what I heard last night at the Reception they definitely want her back next year. That is good.
I didn’t get home till 12:17 am this morning. I had got there at 6:45 pm. The day before I was there from 11 am to 4 pm. So that was a fair amount of hours I put in, but nothing compared to the time that Devanee and the other choir members put in from Tuesday night till last night.