Sarasota Music Club's season opens with Purmort and Constantino
Well, Barbara Roth-Donaldson has done it again...another interesting morning of music at the Sarasota Music Club meeting in Sunnyside Village. This one was at the hands of Bob Constantino on piano and the voice of Lyn Purmort, in their slick selection of songs "From Broadway to Hollywood." They are billed as "Just Friends," and very good friends they must be, from the well-worked-out stylings they shared with the very receptive audience.
Like Peggy Lee, but with a better voice, Lyn is one of those vocalists who gets the message over with a wink and a nudge...well, okay, she did use a feather boa in "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend," but mainly it was her, in her 'little black dress.' But mostly it was her clear soprano that pleased, that and her excellent ear. Constantino provided minimalist support at the piano, not overpowering Purmort, but just enough to set up the lyrics effectively. He also added soft vocal harmonies, but it was his subtle, witty keyboard that impressed.
And the songs! A veritable pantheon of Broadway favorites, each a gem. From the most recent, "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables, to the oldest, Gershwin's "Swanee," it was one favorite after another.
I feel a rant coming on, so please bear with me. At my age, I can be described as an 'old fogey'; I am indisputably old and earned every wrinkle, but I reject the fogey part. When I began my long career as a teacher of music, rock 'n roll was just beginning. In short order, RnR took over the airwaves, and one could hear little else. Singing was overtaken by shouting, accompanied by loudly amplified guitars and drums. (Fogey!) Subtle intimations were replaced by offensive blatancies – 'let it all hang out/do it in the road.' (Fogey!)
In the high schools where I taught, we would do musicals. We teachers would do a session to introduce the chosen show to the students, and they would go home excitedly telling their folks about the 'new' songs they would be singing, songs like "Some Enchanted Evening" and "There Is Nothing Like A Dame." These kids would fall in love with songs that actually had a melody and required using the voice beautifully! Of course, their earbuds still blared RnR at their abused eardrums, but for a few minutes each day, they heard real songs. As we know, songs that were 'popular' in the '40s and early '50s now appear on classical voice recitals to represent that period in music history, and opera-trained voices strive to sing them in authentic style. What will 'serious' recitals be programming fifty years from now to represent the present time period? The mind is boggled. (Verily, thy name is Fogey!)
Thanks go to Purmort and Constantino, and to the Sarasota Music Club, for reminding us that the Great American Songbook was great, indeed!