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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

(OUTview NW) RE-view: SMC's Silver and Soul is Bittersweet with the Old and the New!

 (John Pai)
by MK Scott

It wasn't easy last season for the Seattle Men's Chorus as they prepared to say farewell to Dennis Coleman who was retiring after being the artistic director for 35 years. With a new conductor at the helm, Paul Caldwell is headed for a slow, but positive start.

If you hadn't heard about Caldwell being a victim of a Hit and Run, you were missing out. As we learned more about Caldwell we learned he is slowly returning and has lots of respect to preserve the Coleman Legacy. As a speaker, Caldwell inspires more so then the mild-mannered Coleman.

With no Guest artist, the first time in over a decade, it was just the chorus and the audience getting to know Mr. Caldwell.

The small orchestra was the best in recent memory and the songs had a different sound.

(John Pai)
The first song, Gaudete stood out as well as the tribute to David Bowie with the Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.

Captian Smartypants truly showed its age (16 years now) with the very un-funny and offensive 12 Days after Christmas and then you learn that their regular, leader and arranger, Eric Lane Barnes, didn't write or arrange this mess. Even the welcome return of originals, David Nilsson and Paul Rosenberg wasn't enough to save this. They faired better in Act 2 with the Pentatonix classic That's Christmas to me, and it just made us miss the days of Zipper, the previous sub-group.

The last song in Act One was "Peace and Favor rest on us" and felt more like a finale or encore number, but if you are not a fan of Soul, gospel is not your friend.

Act 2 started out a little better with Christmas Can Can and Hanukkah in Santa Monica. The much publicized, Carpool Christmas Caroloke with Lady Gaga, Judy Garland and a very bad impression of Johnny Carson joining James Cordon. This was too short and unfunny.

The most bittersweet moment was Kevin Gallegher, the ASL interpreter for 35 years is retiring. Silent Night was also his spotlight number and with him gone, will this tradition continue?

(John Pai)

Another Highlight was Go Tell it on the Mountain, which just as soulful as "Peace and Favor" but more well known and the solo from Ritchie Wooley was prenominal!

(John Pai)

The Finale was the beefcake heavy Dear Santa (Bring me a Man this Christmas) was how the chorus should be.

The encore was just a reprise of Go Tell it, so nothing special, except for the Magic of Wooley.

The set decorations that normally include at least one Christmas tree was shockingly non-existent.

Overall, Caldwell shows the energy and potential and we look forward to seeing how well he does creatively to keep Seattl's Other tradition alive (this first is the PNW Ballet's the Nutcracker) .

For more on the remaining performances, please click HERE.

(John Pai)
(John Pai)

(John Pai)

(John Pai)

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