Monday, January 28, 2013

The Four Freshmen

What is that special thing that keeps an entertaining group active and performing for sixty-five years? Ask The Four Freshmen who performed last Friday night at the IWCC Arts Center. Naturally the group has changed members in that time period, but have stayed true to their unique blend of voices while accompanying themselves. Since the beginning of the group in 1948, they have been nominated for six Grammy Awards.
Friday night began with many old favorites for The Four Freshmen. This talented group combined their traditional songs with some newer harmonies and jazz arrangements so that people of all ages could thoroughly enjoy their songs. With the old favorite songs of "Graduation Day", "Something's Gotta Give", "Blue World", and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square", the audience was amazed with the performers perfectly matching the same blended harmonies of these well-known favorites of years ago. This group also masterfully combined their well-known sound with some present day jazz for the songs of the early 60s.
Stand-out performances were definitely "Graduation Day" which seemed to be from an earlier time period and "Stardust" which perfectly combined the original harmonies with a fresh jazz twist that beautifully expressed this song.
As in all performances, certain aspects stand out as being exceptional. With The Four Freshmen each member artistically added their particular talents to this group. Bob Ferreira has been with The Four Freshmen the longest and has a wonderful singing voice in the baritone range while being a master percussionist with active feet. Curtis Colderon added his beautiful jazz renditions to most of the selections on either the trumpet or the flugelhorn. Vince Johnson literally can whistle anything. He is absolutely amazing. When he sings with Bob, the two truly blend as one gorgeous sound. Brian Eichenberger sings the melody while playing the guitar. His voice quality sounds like the original lead singer from the 1950s.
For those who were not able to attend last weekend, the group just released a new CD entitled "Love Songs" which has many of the songs from the concert on it. The Four Freshmen is a wonderful group that truly transcends time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Geneva Decision

The Geneva Decision
Pia Sabel # 1
Seeley James
Amazon Digital Services
Tucson, Arizona
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9886996-0-1
November 29, 2012
Digital edition only $ 0.99
528 KB

What happens to world-class athletes when they stop competing? For world class women’s soccer star, Pia Sabel, she is fortunate in that her father owns his own business, Sabel Security.

Pia plans to step into his shoes taking over the leadership in this firm. However, many of the employees do not like nepotism. These people are concerned that Pia although athletic, does not have what it takes. As she takes over the reigns, more employees resign.

Pia immediately decides to prove her competence by taking a field assignment protecting a Swiss banker at a party. When the banker is killed in front of her, she quickly learns the value of teamwork, trust, and the military training. As her team is training her on the job attempting to prevent other bankers from being assassination, they are catapulted into a plot that is more complex and involved than they could ever had imagined. Added to that, the assassin seems to be following Pia possibly targeting her. Does Pia possess the necessary skills to keep herself alive without killing her team?

The Geneva Decision is superb with constant detailed action. The non-stop intensity catapults the action from the first page to the last, never relaxing. The strength of The Geneva Decision is definitely the constant action described in precise detail. Seldom is any action adventure better explained. The weakness is in the character development. The characters at times seem to have been thrown into the story randomly without any connections or backgrounds previously. Some personal aspects about Pia’s past were revealed as the story progressed but more is needed for the reader to care about these characters.

The Geneva Decision is the story from Pia’s viewpoint as she transitions from being an athlete to an executive. Her developed athletic skills allow her superb stamina and conditioning that even members of the military do not possess and unquestionably, admire. Will she be able to transfer her athleticism into skills useful in a security system?

Her father wants her to be the leader of the company but Pia realizes that she will never have the respect of the employees unless they view her as a competent field agent.Seeley James has worked in advertising and marketing. When he was nineteen years old, he chose to adopt a small child and raised her by himself. Now he is married and has two additional children while living in Arizona. Although he has published short stories,

Seeley James is definitely an author to watch in the future as he writes more story featuring the undaunting Pia Sabel.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Llama of Death

The Llama of Death
# 3 Gunn Zoo Mysteries
Betty Webb
Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN: 978-1464200663
January 8, 2013
$ 24.95
250 pages
Just doing your job can cause you problems.
Theodora "Teddy" Bentley has the responsibility of caring for Alejandro, the llama in giving small children rides at the local Renaissance Faire. She does whatever it takes to keep Alejandro content which is easy since he loves children. With the adults he has been known to spit substantial amounts of slobber.
Life is fairly normal until a dead body is found in the llama pen. Initially it appears that the person died from being stomped to death by Alejandro. Teddy knows that even the llama can be moody, this is definitely not like him.
When a crossbow dart is discovered to be the actual cause of death, Teddy is temporarily relieved until she discovers that her mother has been arrested by the acting sheriff, Deputy Elvin Dade. The dead man who was dressed as King Henry the Eighth in real life was the Rev. Victor Emerson who owned the local wedding chapel. He had married most of the town. However, it turns out that the reverend was not who he said he was and definitely not a legally qualified person to marry anyone. So everyone in this town who had the Reverend reside over their nuptials, is now not legitimately married.
Being that the sheriff is out of town training with Homeland Security, the next available deputy to investigate the murder is Elvin Dade. Dade succeeds in being incompetent as an investigator as he wipes evidence off the dart in front of many people.
Being that Teddy's mother has been married and divorced many times, both her marriages and divorces are now nullified, including her generous divorce settlements. So knowing that there is an obvious motive, Teddy decides that she needs to investigate this murder or her mother will be the only suspect. Will she find the real murderer before her mother turns the local jail into ghetto nail salon?
Being that Teddy's father is hiding from law enforcement in Costa Rica for embezzlement, he returns to town to help Caro, Teddy's mother. Will Teddy's father be arrested?
The Llama of Death is a fast-paced novel filled with mystery and laughter. This page turner is well-written with a logical progression and sequence of events to uncover the real murderer.
The Llama of Death is the third in Betty Webb's Gunn Zoo Mysteries following The Anteater of Death and The Koala of Death. Betty Webb is a journalist who has written another series of mysteries featuring heroine, Lena Jones, who discovers many desert cults. All of Betty Webb's books are completely enthralling and delightful books to read.

The Sanctity of Hate

The Sanctity of Hate
A Medieval Mystery
Priscilla Royal
Poisoned Pen Press
Scottsdale, Arizona
ISBN: 9781464200182
Hardcover ISBN: 978464300205
Trade Paperback
$ 24.95
221 pages
Tyndal Priory enjoys its peaceful existence as part of the Fontevraudine priory on the remote East Anglican coast in the year of 1276. A young applicant from the local village would like to be admitted into the priory as a novice but Sister Ruth definitely does not believe he is sincere. The father of the applicant seems to especially want his son as part of the church offering a gold candlestick and as a baker, bread for the hospital one day each month. The son seems to have some strong feelings against the Jewish people. Is this an example of a father teaching his son to hate a group of people? Why?
During this time Queen Eleanore being widowed from her husband, King Edward, recently expelled the Jewish people from Cambridge. Previously, Edward only allowed those who were Jewish live only in particular English towns. Due to usury, now this group of people found themselves hated by much of the general population.
The dead body of a man is found on the priory ground in the pond by the mill. When examined the dead man's throat was slit, skull was fractured, and his body was obviously drowned in the water. Which one really killed him? Also this man had been hired to guard a Jewish family who were passing through the town but were delayed because of the birth of their child. The obvious suspect is the father since much of England hates the Jews.
Both Prioress Eleanor and Cr owner Ralf are fearful that the village will attack the young Jewish family so they agree that the family needs another guard. However when the guard is attacked, the village is certain that they are to blame. Their only hope is to trust the Prioress and the Crowner in discovering who is the real killer.
The Sanctity of Hate is an extremely well-written tale teaching about history while having the characters solve a mystery. This book actually has the reader in the year 1276 understanding the prejudices and the people of this time period. By focusing on many of the everyday events inside this mystery thoroughly makes the plot more believable and realistic.
The author, Priscilla Royal, has written numerous medieval mysteries featuring Prioress Eleanor. Previously she retired from being a civil servant and now writes full-time. She also believes that mysteries should be written without extreme violence.
When you read The Sanctity of Death, you truly are transported to another time and place. Even though this book is part of a series, these books can be read alone or as part of the series. Read this one and then the others or begin with The Wine of Violence and read all of the books in this historically accurate and thoroughly enjoyable series.

From Broadway to L.A. - Cabaret II

"Another Opening, Another Show" proved that another opening of another show can be a wonderful night with many experienced performers of many ages in Chanticleer's second From Broadway to L.A. - Come to the Cabaret last weekend. The theater resembled a nightclub including the stage. Between the audience seats were portable tables for the horsoeuvres and wine complete with an electric candle. The accomplished performers each chose particular songs that would best show their individual talents at this fundraiser for the Chanticleer Theater. With twenty-one songs performed, there was something for everyone in the audience.
Naturally, everyone had their particular favorites with the individual numbers as well as the group acts. Unquestionably one of the highlights was from Phantom of the Opera with the duet of "All I Ask of You". Rachael Schnitcker beautifully sang the soprano part with Glenn Prettyman perfectly harmonizing and masterfully commanding this demanding song. Also, the audience thoroughly enjoyed the group songs from South Pacific with the women singing "I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right out of my Hair" and the men responding with "There is Nothing Like a Dame". From Annie Get Your Gun, Billy Elliot, Hello Dolly, Saturday in the Park with George, South Pacific, Bye Bye Birdie, Annie, The Flower Drum Song, The Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me Kate, Little Johnny Jones, Mame, 42nd Street, A Little Night Music, and Into the Woods, these favored songs were gloriously sung and performed from these well-known Chanticleer performers.
Tim Daugherty masterfully stayed in character as an audience of a cabaret while demonstrating his wonderful voice in singing "Agony"with Chris St. Clair. These two voices perfectly blended as they told the stories of their fairytale characters. Chris also showed his musical diversity by also playing the guitar. Terry Debenedictus proved to be an integral stage performer with her versatility in characters. Tony Debenedictus added his voice in the ensemble acts and shined in the role from Guys and Dolls in "Fugue for Tinhorns". Kathy Gray added harmonies to the group songs as well as performing a strong female part in "Bosum Buddies". Garret Higginbotham has a wonderful tenor voice while singing Electricity” from the musical Billy Elliot. Cheryl Langer proved her diversity by singing and perfectly accompanying the entire company. Cindy Mirfield demurely sang the haunting tune of "Send in the Clowns" with a beautiful voice. Glenn Prettyman has a phenomenal voice which added depth and strength to the ensemble songs as well as a masterful performer. Denise Putman quickly took command of the stage in both the opening number and "Hello Dolly" truly strutting as an experienced and masterful actress. Rachael Schnitker choreographed the show while also adding the strength and beauty of her voice to the sopranos. Dave Howard showed that he is a true performer with both singing and dancing. That man could certainly tap dance.
Jerry Gray demonstrated his talents by coordinating and organizing these entertainers.
This evening was a delightful night for the audience to see those seasoned performers of all ages "strut their stuff".