December is always an exciting time of years for me especially since that is one of the few times you hear all the wonderful Christmas music. At no other time can you hear these wonderful songs of your childhood and our traditions in this country.
Chanticleer Theater held a cabaret show last weekend to help all of us get into the holiday spirit.
As you entered their lobby, the delicious aromas of food and wine immediately awakened the senses while two manikens dressed in Dickensonian costumes met the guests.
The stage was decorated with poinsettias, Christmas tree lights, assorted Christmas-themed mugs and park benches painted red and green while reindeers and with street signs labeled Franklin Avenue for the theater location encircled the stage.
Those participating in this show, Christmas on Franklin Avenue were Terry DeBenedictis, Sheila Mazzei, Denise Putman, Kathy Gray, Sarah Meyers, Tim Daugherty, Glenn Prettyman, Steve Gillespie and Boyd Littrell as the singers. Jerry Gray was the music director while Cheryl Haines accompanied the group, Dave Podendorf controlled the sound while Bob Putman was in charge of the lighting.
The songs chosen were well-known to the audience. Most songs had some light choreography while all the singers were dressed in Christmas shirts or colors. Each singer had their one special song as well as being part of the ensemble. In the middle of the show, the singers left the stage to sing carols with the audience.
Throughout the night there were many highlights. Also any live performance can vary from night to night depending on the performers and the audience response.
The ensemble singing was wonderful with rich and balanced harmonies in all the songs along with a relaxed feeling combining music, light humor, and showmanship as well as all the singers thoroughly enjoying singing with each other on stage.
Terry DeBenedictis elegantly sang "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" even adding a little sign language. Performing "Silver Bells", Kathy Gray utilized light humor as well as being masterful with a light-up necklace. "The Twelve Days After Christmas" was reminiscent to me from singing this song from my high school years. Glenn Prettyman has a gorgeous voice that is relaxing and reflective of the Big Band Era when there were numerous great singers. "Carol of the Bells" was a cappella and delightfully musical. Sarah Meyers sang beautifully Leonard Cohen's "Halleluiah" with appropriate and meaningful Christmas words. The "Silent Night" arrangement was absolutely breath-taking. All these songs were expressive and musical with controlled breathing, phrasing and dynamics masterfully used in each song.
These cabarets are wonderful for all ages and would be a relaxing and special date night for the adults.
The evening ended with the wish of peace and goodwill to all men in 2016 which I hope for each of you.