The Winter Party at the "Brush Club"

Two weeks ago the Winter Party took place at Sean and Steve's transformed work studio.   The space became a swanky 1930's style music club for an entire evening where around ninety guests were entertained by a group of musicians and a rotating selection of singers performing Cole Porter's music.  I loved that most of the guests played along and decked themselves out in evening jackets and cocktail dresses.  What a special and romantic way to spend the Saturday evening before Valentine's Day. 

I'd like to share some memories and pictures with you since the event was such a highlight for me, creatively and musically, this winter.  I only wish I have some recordings to share with you as well.  So here we go... the following is a visual stroll along with my memories of a magical event created by a group of inspired folks.

Our hosts, Steve and Sean, are the ones who are responsible for envisioning, organizing and creating a platform for these special, themed winter parties.  Steve, using his great eye, created the scene with a sparkly "Brush Club" sign (he said he used five pounds of glitter!), thoughtful lighting, specially designed invitations and show bills.  Sean picked out and arranged the Cole Porter music.  He also gathered and rehearsed a talented group of musicians and singers to bring to life an evening's worth of entertainment.  A number of friends contributed their energy towards a full bar, good food and colorful flowers.  Sean and Steve called the venue "The Brush Club" because their studio is in the Arts and Industry Building, in Florence, MA, which was once a huge toothbrush factory!

The stage is set and the musicians gather to begin playing.  Andy Lantz warms up the crowd, twinkling the keys of the piano with his selection of songs.  The Studio 358 Orchestra pick up their instruments.  We have Mike Pfeiffer on upright bass, Jared Libby on electric guitar, Chris Cappello on drums, Yanko Sheiretov on clarinet, Josh Relin on violin and Andy Lantz and Sean Mallari taking turns on the piano.  What a talented group of musicians (and they look great too)!

PJ Helmuth starts off the singing portion of the night with "It's De-Lovely."   He's a class act in his tux with arms raised as he delivers the end to the song.

I take the stage for the next song, "Let's Do It," in one of my costumes for the night complete with Darlene's mink and Heather's pearls.  All night long I got to relive the fun I had as a little girl dressing up in costumes to sing and dance.  I find that it's even more fun getting to dress up and perform as an adult! 

Whew, the mink is getting hot and it's time to switch gears for my next song.  It's time to "Begin the Beguine." I really like singing this one.  Melody wise, it is the most challenging of all the songs I sang and Sean's arrangement brings a sultry, slow, tropical quality to the music.

Heather Cupo becomes reflective as she asks herself "What Is This Thing Called Love?"

PJ Helmuth, Hank Bingham and I finish out the first part of the show.  Unfortunately, my photographer doesn't capture shots of everyone's performance.  I may get some more shots of the night and if I do I will add photos in the future.  "Let's Misbehave", "I Love You" and "Easy to Love" were performed by PJ.  Hank did a great rendition of "Night and Day".

Here I'm singing "Love For Sale" ... need I say more?
Friends and guests enjoy the show from their candlelit, red clothed tables.

The second part of the night is just as much fun as the first.  I sing "Anything Goes"and "Every Time We Say Goodbye" in my red polka dotted dress.  

I wish I had more pictures because Sean Mallari, Darlene Stone Adair, Hank Bingham, PJ Helmuth and Heather Cupo sing a whole bunch more songs...  "Just One of Those Things", "All Through the Night", "You're the Top","True Love", "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and "In the Still of the Night."

"Experiment" and "So In Love"  are personal favorites of mine.  For "Experiment" Sean gets all professorial with glasses and tweed jacket.  "So In Love" has glorious three part harmonies sung by Sean, Hank and PJ.

Here's my husband, Josh, dressed to the nines with a top hat.  I'm relaxing and enjoying a scotch and soda after a night of performing.  I don't think the night could have been more fun.  Well, maybe if you were there too!  Cheers!

A Cole Porter Singing Day

Today is going to be a singing day.  I have a rehearsal coming up this afternoon that I'm really looking forward to.   Lately  I've been writing a lot about snow, visual art and the creative process but have neglected to share things about my musical side.  My intention when starting this blog was to write about my creative life so now it's time to balance out the visual with a little sound.

I was asked this fall to sing a collection of Cole Porter songs for a cabaret themed Valentine's Party.  My friend and his partner put on excellent themed parties centered around live musical performance.  They transform their large studio space into whatever environment fits the theme of the party.  My friend picks and arranges the music and gathers many musicians to collaborate and partake for the sheer fun of it!  I can't wait for this year's party!  The space will be transformed to a 1940's style cabaret with rich fabric curtains, tables, drinks, candlelight, art and music.

I've really enjoyed this new and different musical project for a number of reasons. Up until now  I haven't really sung Cole Porter's material and have only dipped my toes into jazz singing and musical theater.  I love new experiences and learning so this project has been perfect.  Also,  I've been nervous about memorizing all the lyrics and pulling off the material in performance because some of the songs are so wordy and tell a story... like "Let's Do It" and "Anything Goes". I have it though, I know the lyrics and it only took a few weeks of consistent repetition to feel like they are really up there in this brain of mine.  I love working with a new group of musicians and singers and enjoy the comradery and team work that's involved with getting ready for the performance.  Finally, I get to dress up for the part...which to me is great fun!  It's all about make-up, clothes, and transforming myself into a sultry cabaret singer.  I found a great evening gown at a thrift store for 10 bucks!  ...and it fits like a glove....I just can't eat any extra helpings of ice cream or mexican food if the zipper is going to go up without a hitch on February 12th.

So far, my favorite songs that I will be singing that evening are "Begin the Beguine", "Love for Sale" and this one as done by the great Ella....  enjoy.