The A Cappella American Songbook

Spring 2013

Program Notes

It’s a Grand Night for Singing

State Fair, 1945 Rodgers & Hammerstein, arr. Patrick Sinozich
Love Walked In The Goldwyn Follies, 1938 G. & I. Gershwin, arr. Ward Swingle
The Way You Look Tonight Swing Time, 1936 Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern, arr. Kirby Shaw
I Got Rhythm Girl Crazy, 1930 G. & I. Gershwin, arr. Cristopher Clapham
They Say It’s Wonderful Annie Get Your Gun, 1946 Irving Berlin, arr. Steve Zegree
Summertime Porgy & Bess, 1935 DuBose Heyward & George Gershwin, arr. Roderick Williams
If I Loved You Carousel, 1945 Rodgers & Hammerstein, arr. Kirby Shaw
Send in the Clowns A Little Night Music, 1973 Stephen Sondheim, arr. Robert Page
I’ve Got You Under My Skin Born To Dance, 1936 Cole Porter, arr. Patrick Sinozich
The Very Thought of You Young Man With a Horn, 1950 Ray Noble, arr. Paris Rutherford
Come Fly With Me premiered by Frank Sinatra, 1958 Sammy Cahn & Jimmy van Heusen,
arr. Deke Sharon
Night and Day Gay Divorce, 1932 Cole Porter, arr. Andrew Carter
Something’s Gotta Give Daddy Long Legs, 1955 Johnny Mercer, arr. Patrick Sinozich
INTERMISSION
All of Me premiered by Belle Baker, 1931 Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks, arr. Patrick Sinozich
I’ll be Seeing You Right This Way, 1938 Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain, arr. Darmon Meader
Hello, Young Lovers The King and I, 1951 Rodgers & Hammerstein, arr. Paris Rutherford
Getting to Know You / Surrey with the Fringe on Top The King and I, 1951 / Oklahoma!, 1943 Rodgers & Hammerstein, arr. Patrick Sinozich
My Funny Valentine Babes in Arms, 1937 Rodgers & Hart, arr. Bob Krogstad
Love is Here to Stay The Goldwyn Follies, 1938 G. & I. Gershwin, arr. Darmon Meader
Blue Skies Betsy, 1926 Irving Berlin, arr. Joseph Jennings
encore: Embraceable You Girl Crazy, 1930 G. & I. Gershwin, arr. Steve Zegree

 

FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

When we think of the Great American Songbook, we often conjure up a mood. Something in you must have responded to a kind of mood that this concert title evoked, at whatever time you decided to join us here. What is the mood—what are the qualities—that we’re seeking to evoke?

This music is sophisticated, clever, romantic and sentimental, all that good stuff. We think of singers and songs that are witty, urbane, ebullient, optimistic, a little corny in an endearing way. They are even sexy in a (mostly) highbrow manner without being overly explicit, and they are sometimes profound (though, as John Trotter notes, this is often hidden).

These tunes are classically American. They spring from a time when it felt, at least to Americans, like we were on top of the world. The American Songbook is a post-World-War-I, pre-Vietnam genre.

Also, for all the many times we may have heard these tunes, they have a remarkable quality of remaining fresh. Even the best popular music from other genres can only rarely make the same claim. Some tunes from the American Songbook may be almost a hundred years old, but they don’t feel old. It’s easy to understand how these tunes have formed the core of the jazz repertoire for the past 75 years or so.

For those of us who feel age advancing in some way, quickly or slowly, there seems to be a sense in which we can turn to these songs for a sort of musical Fountain of Youth. “As long as I can enjoy this music, there must be something in my heart, some spring in my step, which is still there.” Or so the feeling might go. I am all for that!

I’ve provided for you, on the song list, the title and year of the musical or revue in which most of these songs first appeared. Thanks to Joe Jennings, former music director of Chanticleer, for sharing with us his fabulous chart of “Blue Skies.” Otherwise, I have decided to break with tradition, restrain myself, and conquer my inner musicologist by giving you simply these brief introductory remarks and those of Guest Music Director John Trotter by way of program notes. The music and arrangements speak loudly and poignantly for themselves, so who am I to get in the way?

Enjoy the show, and let us know if the feelings described above resonate for you too. Thanks for giving us the support and energy to bring this music to life for you on the concert stage. Thank you also for making Chicago a cappella part of what keeps your heart young and your spirit fresh.

—Jonathan Miller
Founder and Artistic Director

FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR

First of all, and most importantly, welcome! I am so pleased that you have chosen to come and share this performance with us.

It has been my pleasure to collaborate with Jonathan Miller this year to create this program, and an equal pleasure to rehearse directly with this fine ensemble over the past two months. As those of you who follow the ensemble regularly will know, Chicago a cappella is a group of consummate professionals possessing immense musical range and flexibility. I would say you are lucky to have them in your neighborhood, but in fact it would be more truthful to congratulate you on having them here. I have, over time, come to suspect that communities get the culture they deserve. All true art-making requires support that transcends mere commodification and exchange. It requires leaders, artists, patrons, lovers of human potential and creativity.

Though it might at first glance seem a strange choice to select a young Canadian as Music Director of a program entitled The A Cappella American Songbook, I have in fact been performing this music since the age of 13. From the beginning, I was attracted to the rhythmic grooves and rich harmonies of the repertoire. As I grew up and developed a love of literature, I became impressed by the perceptiveness and wit of the lyrics. Later, once I had been composing and analyzing music for some time, I began to see how deeply crafted and inspired many of these (supposedly “light”) pieces were, including in the reflection of lyrics in the music.

Shaping a program of many short pieces can be a challenge, one I have tried to approach by carefully considering the emotional contour and subject matter of the songs. Beyond the melodies and texts, there are the individual arrangements to take into account: some are lush, some complex, some innovative, and some (notably Send in the Clowns) are purposely simple, allowing the text to speak plainly. I hope, of course, that you will find the end result enjoyable and satisfying. But more than that, I allow myself to hope that each of us will be subtly changed by what we experience here, that we will leave with a richer sense of what it means to be human, to be alive, and to participate in the immense and mysterious gift of music.

Music reaches out to each of us in so many different ways: some are highly personal and individual, while many are shared. One thing we know for sure, as performers, is that your presence here will change the nature of this performance. Thank you, once again, for coming.

—John William Trotter
Guest Music Director