Reviews of shows from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and other local venues published by the Los Cerritos Community News. The writer and paper are in their twentieth year of covering these events.

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Location: Fear City, Ca., United States

"My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field." George Sanders in "All About Eve"

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tribute to Glenn Miller & Vocal Groups January 26,2014

Marvelous Memories in Four Part Harmony with the Tex Beneke Orchestra

                        By Glen Creason

     Wow! This was a concert that was like a triple-overtime playoff game before a sold-out stadium, except everyone playing had gray hair and looked very distinguished.  Actually this show was a fine vintage as in the still very sharp performers and  evergreen  big band vocal harmony songs that swung in excess of three hours of this matinee of dreams. Behind it all was the Tex Beneke Orchestra lead by Jim Snodgrass (Beneke died in 2000) who set up a sensational platform for four of the best vocal groups from what is now called “the swinging years” of Big Band music. The very happy audience murmured in gleeful appreciation whenever their old favorites flowed from the sweet horn sections which was quite often as some three dozen gold-plated beauties were performed in full or as parts of medleys. The vocal groups: the Ink Spots, the Modernaires, the Pied Pipers and the Four Aces were all tight in their harmonies and thoroughly capable to doing the old gems justice.  The show was further brightened by the light but effective comedy of M.C.  Robert G. Lee who gently ribbed  the mature demographic about the obvious that they might recognize the tunes being played on this afternoon.

     The music was splendid and was practically an audio Wikipedia of the greats of Glenn Miller including “String of Pearls, “ “Tuxedo Junction,” “Pennsylvania 65000,” “Sun Valley Jump,” and “In the Mood” that made the memories rise up in unison above the great hall.  The Ink Spots gave them “Java Jive,” “the Best Things in Life Are Free” and the always gorgeous “If I Didn’t Care” with lead tenor James Taylor hitting the high notes with ease.  The Modernaires went for the gold on “Kalamazoo,” “Moonlight Serenade” and a very swinging “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” The first half was a concert on its own but the second half was no letdown with the Pied Pipers adding more shine to the Glenn Miller repertoire and harkening back to the Sinatra days with “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “the Sunny Side of the Street” and “East of the Sun.” Lastly the Four Aces dealt nothing but winners that caused a few swoons in the still rapt house. Highlights included a silky smooth “3 Coins in a Fountain,” “Mister Sandman”and“Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.” For the three hours that the memories flowed inside the great hall, it was just like high school in the 1940’s or college in the 1950’s without a care in the world. Not a bad feeling, even for a youngster like me.


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