By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor
The delightfully talented and personable Alexandria Singers had us in the palms of their hands during their concert last night at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, helping us understand the need we all have to express ourselves through music, and most of all through singing. It’s good for us, people, and a whole lot more fun than jogging! Just watching them got my endorphins going! This impressive group sang more than two dozen popular songs and medleys from such composers and groups as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Barry Manilow, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Schwartz, Queen and Pentatonix. Seventy plus singers sang and danced their hearts out in praise of singing! And I’m a believer!
Each piece was introduced by a poignant story told by Music Director Bill Colosimo before letting the singers fly. The Alexandria Singers perform without a conductor, singing memorized music and lyrics, and supported by the fabulous Linda Hemphill on piano, Brooks Ferritt on drums, Jean Finstad on bass and Lindsay Hemphill on flute. You really have to see, hear and feel this music to understand how completely the audience responded to every song.
In addition to the entire chorus singing, the singers kept the interest high through use of lively solos, duets, etc. Two great examples: a tribute to Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand sung by Katie Beth Hicks and Holly Jackson, and the absolutely hilarious and spot on “When I Sing in My Car” sung by Jessica Jellis. I also really enjoyed the arrangements of each song when performed by all the singers. A variety of arrangers worked their magic on songs we all know and love; however, as sung by this expert group of singers, each piece sounded new, but with a nostalgic twist.
One piece of music shimmered and stood out for me–the Jay Althouse arrangement of the Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley song “Pure Imagination” from the Broadway show “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” The close harmony of the singers on this song was beautiful, simple, and thrilling! A perfect example of one of the questions posed during the show: “What do we get from singing and music?” I get chills and warm memories of times, places, shared laughter and shows enjoyed over the years. I think you will feel all this and maybe more when you experience this marvelous show. Bill Colosimo aptly quoted Stephen Sondheim, who said, “If I cannot fly, let me sing!”
The Alexandria Singers were founded in 1975 by 16 Alexandria residents as “The Alexandria Community Singers.” Currently, The Singers (as they are fondly called) are considered by many to be the premier “pops” chorus in the Washington, DC area. They perform music from the Great American Songbook, traditional and modern show tunes, as well as rock and pop radio hits through the decades. By day, these talented men and women of all ages and backgrounds, make the Nation’s Capital hum in varied careers. Over the decades, The Singers have represented Alexandria abroad as well as in countless area venues such as the Kennedy Center, Verizon Center, the White House and DAR Constitution Hall.
Performance and ticket information:
You can catch this show again on Saturday, June 10 at 2 pm and Sunday, June 11 at 7:30 pm in the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA. Tickets at the door or online at http://bit.ly/ALXSingersStore.