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|
|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.
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