May 30, 2007

Legend gives voice to jazz

Toronto Star (Ontario):

As is his way, Jon Hendricks was forthright about adapting the moniker of his famed '50s trio for a new ensemble, Lambert, Hendrick & Ross Redux, which performs at the Art of Jazz Celebration on June 3.

"It was the No. 1 jazz vocal group in the entire world for five years, so it's got a lot of bona fides behind it," said the renowned singer/lyricist in a phone interview. "It would be less than intelligent to use any other name when you've got the name in jazz vocals."

It's not as if Hendricks, 85, has been a slouch since the demise of LH&R, the group he formed with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross in 1957.

He has enjoyed a reasonable solo career, done a stint as jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, written for stage and TV, toured a family group that included his wife, two daughters and Bobby McFerrin, and taught Jazz Studies at the University of Toledo since 2000.

Considered the "Father of Vocalese," Hendricks says this new group with the youngest of his five children, daughter Aria, and her childhood pal, Kevin Fitzgerald Burke, aims to fill a void.

"Without us, there's no authentic vocalese going on," he said of the style LHR pioneered 50 years ago.

That's the art of setting lyrics to famous jazz instrumental standards, then arranging voices to sing the parts of the instruments. Scat is singing nonsense syllables to a tune generally improvised on the spot.

Hendricks is noted for his gift in composing lyrics for jazz classics such as Miles Davis's "Freddie Freeloader" and Count Basie's "April in Paris."

"Listening is the key to vocalese. What you're doing is imitating a record that you've heard. If you're going to sing a Lester Young tenor solo, you have to mimic his tone, which is high and reedy. Ben Webster's tone is rougher.

"There are groups that I've inspired and worked with and helped out, like the Manhattan Transfer and the New York Voices. They're all from us. So I felt that if all these people are thriving on what we did, there's room for us in the market."

They tested the waters last fall at a Milan nightclub.

"It was sensational. The people were applauding seven minutes after we left the stage. My dressing room was two flights up and the waiter ran up there and said `You got to come back.' I said `What do you mean come back? We just did two encores.' So I put my shirt back on and we did two more numbers."

A New York date in January garnered a similar response. So the Toronto show, which will feature nuggets from the LHR catalogue as well as new material, is the next step toward a wider tour and recording.

"Everybody knows and loves those songs. We were (in Toronto) twice a year for the whole five years we were together. And I think we're going to recapture the old audience and fascinate the new one."

Posted by acapnews at 11:00 PM

Rockapella wows Opera House

Napa Valley Register (CA):

Whether singing "Papa was a Rolling Stone," "Under the Boardwalk," "Dance with Me," or even about chocolate or coffee, an appreciative crowd ate up anything Rockapella dished out this weekend in two packed shows at Napa's Opera House. Made up of five male singers, Rockapella is part a cappella group and part vocal percussion performance rolled up into an entertaining package of "human music."

The group performs their own original works and covers a wide-ranging selection of popular songs from the Beatles, the Mills Brothers, to the Temptations and Three Dog Night. But they're probably best known for their years as house band and performer of the popular "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" song from the 1990s children's show on PBS.

On Friday night, a wildly supportive crowd greeted group producer, writer and arranger Scott Leonard, and partners Kevin Wright, George Baldi, John Brown and Jeff Thatcher. While Rockapella was originally formed in 1986 on the East Coast, Leonard is the group's longest tenured member, joining the band in 1991.

Bounding onstage, wearing coordinating black and gray suits, the guys quickly had the crowd clapping and cheering for Rockapella's musical style, involving both smooth harmonizing, vocal percussion, dancing, snapping, knee slapping and even a little humor in good fun.

Using three microphones, two stuck to his throat, and holding one, Rockapella vocal percussionist and "Mozart of spit" Jeff Thatcher acted as a human drum set, vigorously thumping and whooshing beat after beat with power and stamina. If you weren't watching, it would be hard to believe the group uses no musical instruments, only their voices.

The five sang a combination of their original songs and hits including "Got to Get You Into my Life," "Rock the Boat," "Long Cool Woman in Black Dress" and "Love Rollercoaster." It turns out many in the group began their musical career working at DisneyWorld in Florida which they good naturedly remembered with a contemporary performance of "It's a Small World After All."

With humor, Leonard introduced a selection of the Rockapella's commercial work for Budweiser, Taco Bell, Almond Joy and Folgers coffee, all equally well received by fans. And then, with no warning, the audience, as if on cue, cried out "Do it Rockapella!" and the group launched into anthem "Carmen Sandiego," earning the group a standing ovation.

Returning for their encore, Rockapella sang "Shambala." Then, in true a cappella style, the five put down their microphones and gathered close to the edge of the stage for "Up on the Roof." Using no other effects other than their natural voices, and in homage to street corner performers everywhere, they sang, segueing into "What a Wonderful World this Would Be." The audience was silent, the song quiet and true. What a wonderful Rockapella world it was.

Posted by acapnews at 10:40 PM

Sing The Jingle contest

Well it's time again for the annual Oscar Meyer "Sing The Jingle" contest. There are prizes, free trips and probably lots of hot dogs. Info at

Posted by acapnews at 1:44 AM

May 29, 2007

Smelly mud

The wife and kids smell the sulphuric mud pots at Lassen

No blogging for the past week or so as we took our annual family vacation and went again to explore the natural beauties of Northern California. This year's trip began with a leisurely drive up Hwy 1 following the Sonoma and Mendicino County coastline which was resplendent with spring flowers and bright sunny weather. A visit to the botanical gardens in Fort Bragg was a particular treat.

We then traversed the Trinity/Shasta coastal range on Hwy 36, a much more remote route than I expected with the road getting down to a single lane over some very steep and mountainous terrain. We left the coast with almost half a tank of gas and figured there would be stations along the route. When the last town on the map, Mad River, turned out to be a single store that was long since out of business and the sign said next service 59 miles we realized how remote the area is. We finally staggered into the small town of Hayfork with barely a couple of miles worth of gas and luckily their one and only gas station was open.

After visiting an old friend in Redding we headed to the most fascinating part of the trip the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Usually the road that runs thru the park does not open till June or even July but this year's light snowfall allowed them to open the park early and we were some of the first to cross the summit. The scenery is terrific and the summit was still thick with snow and the lakes frozen solid. The kids' favorite was the bubbling mud pots and the sulphur smell lead to lots of jokes.. (There is a place there called Fart Gulch).

We then continued thru the high Sierra to Lake Almanor and onto the eastern slope in Susanville and down to Reno and Circus Circus for the kids. I have passed thru Reno and Northern Nevada on several occasions in recent years and find it to be a most interesting part of the country. Its colorful past with plenty of historic towns such as Virginia City, the amazing scenery of the high desert, the remoteness and the various native American reservation together makes for an intriguing area to spend time.

We took a most interesting way to return to the Bay Area by taking Hwy 70 thru Plumas County traveling down the Feather River Canyon where we stumbled upon a music festival at an ancient lodge tucked onto a small island at the confluence of the river's north and south forks.

It was a wonderful trip which once again impressed me with the abundance of natural beauty that we are so blessed with in the this part of the world. Back to regular blogging tomorrow.

Posted by acapnews at 10:27 PM

May 18, 2007

Meet Moira

It was a treat for me, as the long-time Harmony Sweepstakes producer, to finally have a female group win the National Championship. Female trio Pastiche won back in 1987 and although women's group have placed and done well over the years, I have been looking forward to a win by the ladies. And what winners indeed are Moirey Smiley and VOCO who was the unanimous choice of the judges.

A great reason for the success of the group is due to the many talents of Moira whose songwriting, arranging and vocal skills are readily apparent upon hearing the group. Originally from Vermont, Moira went to the acclaimed IU School of Music and graduated with an Early Music Vocal Performance degree. In 1994 she founded the a cappella female group Vida who were soon signed by the prestigious IMGArtists Agency. Vida toured extensively in Europe and the US culminating with performances at the Lincoln Center.

In the summer of 2004 Moira founded VOCO who performs in a few different combinations. Originally performing as a mixed quintet with light accompaniment the group has of late been performing as a female quartet and include a wide selection of a cappella pieces in their repertoire. VOCO digs deep into the spectrum of the human voice as they sing post-folk, improvisation-built songs, ballads, vocal symphonies and dancesongs.

The constant thread in all of Moira’s work is performance that combines emotional, virtuosic, communicative singing with old songs, joyous improvisation and physical wit. Her mother-tongue is folksong – especially old songs of Appalachia, Ireland and Eastern Europe. She has won many awards for her study of voice in culture – always entwined with her composing and improvisation work – this year, receiving The Durfee and American Composers Forum grants for her large-scale arranging project of Bela Bartok’s “Mikrokosmos”.

Moira also teaches vocal technique, traditional singing styles and improvisation at U.S. and European universities and composing for vocal ensembles from here to Tanzania – her song “Stand in that River” is sung worldwide by thousands of choral ensembles and singers of all stripes.

The Harmony Sweepstakes has always rewarded originality and VOCO certainly displays a great deal of creativity and fresh thinking having been dubbed "a secret union of Bella Bartok and Emmylou Harris". The group describes themselves as a "fiery roots vocal band" which perfectly captures their sound and they bring to the Harmony Sweepstakes yet another impressive interpretation of the wonderful and varied sounds of the unaccompanied human voice.

Posted by acapnews at 10:33 PM

May 16, 2007

All Angels choral girl supergroup

All Angels took the Classical Brit Awards by storm last Thursday when they performed Elgar's 'Nimrod' and a cappella 'Steal Away' for a star studded audience at The Royal Albert Hall, including Sir Paul McCartney and The Duchess of Cornwall. The girls were nominated for Album of the Year.

All aged 16 and 17, All Angels bring a bright new look to classical crossover music, with a repertoire spanning classical, choral, opera and pop. Only a few weeks ago the girls were planning their summer holidays as they waited for their exam results. Instead they became busy recording their debut album in London.

Although all four are experienced choirgirls, their backgrounds and interests could not be more different. Charlotte played a Hogwarts pupil in the last Harry Potter film. Multi-lingual Melanie is training for her pilot’s licence. Daisy released her own solo jazz album when she was just 15. And Laura is not only a sports prodigy, but the reigning BBC Radio 2 Chorister of the Year.

Their repertoire includes favorites such as Schubert’s Ave Maria, Barber’s Agnus Dei, and the Sancta Maria intermezzo from Cavalliera Rusticana, along with Delibes’ Flower Duet from Lakme and Offenbach’s Barcarolle. There are vocal versions of Pachelbel’s Canon and Geoffrey Bergon’s Theme for Brideshead Revisited - set to Latin text - and the traditional spiritual Steal Away.

Posted by acapnews at 10:42 PM

May 14, 2007

Rockapella rocks Cultural Center

Scranton Times-Tribune (PA):

The vocal quintet Rockapella wound up the Scranton Community Concerts season Saturday before an enthusiastic audience that was sadly sparse. Fewer than half the seats at Lackawanna College’s Mellow Theater were filled, but those in attendance were about as full of high spirits as the folks onstage.

Most of the numbers in the first half of the program were noisy and uptempo. Clearly, this was an entertainment aimed at a younger audience, which seemed to find no end of amusement in the group’s antics, which included a series of gags built around the word “Lackawanna,” which group leader Scott Leonard defined as “sort of wanting to.”

A 20-year-old pop a capella group, Rockapella is probably best known for its years as the “house band” on the PBS children’s show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” and for an assortment of commercials for things like Folger’s Coffee, Almond Joy and NBC.

Indeed, a medley of their advertising jingles, which opened the second half of the program, elicited some of the warmest applause of the evening.

The singers who now make up Rockapella, which no longer includes any of the founding members, are clearly top-notch musicians: Mr. Leonard, a high tenor; tenors Kevin Wright and John K. Brown; bass George Baldi; and “vocal percussionist” Jeff Thacher, who makes a wide range of drumlike sounds with mouth and vocal cords.

The program had the musical sameness that can mark rock concerts by a single group, but occasionally, the five did pull away from their musical roots in gospel and rhythm and blues.

Toward the end of the first half, for example, the group essayed a swing-era tune, “Paper Doll,” in a duly credited Mills Brothers style and did a bang-up job of it.

If Mr. Leonard wasn’t joking, which was much of the time, Mr. Thacher actually wears a pair of contact microphones around his neck to pick up assorted rumbling sounds. Mr. Baldi provides catchy countermelodies and an unusually wide range of notes for a doo-wop bassist.

The two of them working in tandem in a vocal “rhythm section” provided some of the evening’s most enjoyable musical moments.

Posted by acapnews at 10:29 PM

May 11, 2007

“The Believers” - movie about transgender choir

Washington Blade (DC):

Ashley, one of the founders of transgender choir Transcendence

Anyone attending a gay choral concert has experienced the strange power of seeing a group of gay men or lesbians singing together. Amplify that by about 100 percent, and you’ll get a slight idea of what it must be like to hear Transcendence, the transgender choir of San Francisco that’s the focus of the documentary “The Believers.” Music soothes the savage beast, and in this case, that beast is intolerance.

The film opens with a transgender woman, Ashley, listening to a phone message from her mother, who says she shouldn’t “give [the filmmakers] a screwed up background” during any interviews. It’s a perfect beginning for a film about misconceptions, denial and the need for community, especially since Ashley’s not just another chorus member — she’s actually one of the group’s founders.

She approached her San Francisco-based United Church of Christ’s leaders about starting a transgender chorus, and they went for it. The film follows the group from its early, off-key stages to its performances at various venues (queer and otherwise) and the recording of an album. One of the film’s selling points is that it’s not a cheerleading piece for a remarkable group of people. There is a definite journey and arc for the chorus and the individuals, giving the documentary the feel of a feature film.

Each person's personel story is framed by the group’s growing cohesion and musical abilities, and the questions of identity and community are movingly handled for everyone profiled, including Bobbie, one of the group’s most prominent singers. Bobbie is a black, male-to-female “transgender person” (her words), who has chosen not to undergo gender reassignment surgery but lives full-time as a woman. She’s a recovering crack addict, did some time in prison and is one of the group’s strongest soloists.

For many of the singers, vocal placement and hormones are a challenging cocktail, with most singers wanting to be the soprano they’ve always dreamed of being but not having the physical voice for it. Bobbie has a killer “man’s” voice, and when it comes out of that feminized body, the experience is unearthly, exhilarating and a testament to the long and hard road that she’s walked.

Bobbie’s chorus mentor, Miss Major, is a 62-year-old transgender woman who went through shock therapy and institutionalization during the ’50s to help her become more “normal.”

Despite the difficulties of their daily lives, the chorus members look to the music and the ministry of singing to help heal themselves and their audiences. Transcendence is made up of both male-to-female and female-to-male transgender people, which makes the squabbles between gay men and lesbians seem paltry in comparison to the ability of this mixed gender group (in more ways than one) to focus and get along.

It’s not all sunshine-and-roses among the singers, but the group regularly has sit-down sessions to discuss ways to address their communication difficulties. The chorus’ ways of interacting, working, listening and playing apply as much to their ability to sustain a functioning community as to their music.

After numerous rehearsals, the chorus’ sound finally clicked (in the early days, the non-transgender conductor said, “God, they can’t sing. How am I gonna do this?”). They even performed at the UCC’s 2003 international synod, also testifying before a committee on the necessity of including transgender inclusive and affirming language as part of the church rhetoric. (In a triumphant moment for the chorus and for transgender Christians, this measure did pass.)

Music made inroads where regular speech failed, allowing them to become part of a decision-making body that, because of their voices, sent a landmark message to churches and Christians around the world. Now, that’s a good tune.

Posted by acapnews at 10:39 PM

May 8, 2007

Kickshaw reunion

The Herald (WA):

Jim Castaneda, Blake Lewis, Danny Figgins, Andy Marshall and Dan Schumacher

Award-winning Northwest a cappella singing group Kickshaw will reunite tonight during a free viewing party at Alderwood Mall in support of former band mate and "American Idol" contestant Blake Lewis.

Kickshaw gained fame for the better part of a decade with high-energy shows throughout the western United States and Canada. The group's style was cutting-edge mouth music and it hit a high point when Lewis joined the group and spent about three years with them.

The reunion performance kicks off at 6 tonight with an open mic karoke contest at the Alderwood Mall food court in Lynnwood. At 7:30 p.m., Kickshaw performs for about 20 minutes in the food court. At 8 p.m., "American Idol" will be shown on several televisions in the Comcast soft seating area in the Sears wing of the mall.

Kickshaw hasn't been together for about a year and a half and was spurred into reuniting after Fox Channel 13 asked to do a segment on the group, said Craig Cooke, the band's former agent. The four original members of the band will be in attendance: Jim Castaneda, Andy Marshall, Danny Figgins and Dan Schumacher.

The songs they will perform is anybody's guess. "I don't know what they will pull out of their hats," Cooke said. "They'll do whatever they feel comes back naturally to them."

The band's breakup occurred long before Lewis took on the "American Idol" challenge. Kickshaw members all headed down different musical tracks.

Marshall teaches music at Western Washington University, Castaneda is doing well with the group Woodrush, Shumacher sings with The Bobs, an a cappella group out of San Francisco and Figgins is a choir director.

Posted by acapnews at 10:51 PM

May 7, 2007

2007 Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals results

It was another grand night of unaccompanied vocal harmony singing at the 23rd annual Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival National Finals and the competition was as close as ever. The judges were unanimous in their choice for National Champions but the scores were very close for everybody else.

National Champions - Moira Smiley and VOCO (Los Angeles)
2nd - Face (Denver)
3rd - Solstice (Bay Area)

Audience Favorite - Face

Best Original Song - "Stand In The River" Moira Smiley

Best Original Arrangement - "Oh Fortuna" Ben Lunstad - Face

This is the first time for many years that an all-female group took top honors plus 3rd place went to another female only group. Let's hear it for the girls!!

Thanks as always to all involved and especially to the wonderful participating groups and to the audience whose support and encouragement makes the whole event worthwhile.

Listen to VOCO sing "I Live in California"

Posted by acapnews at 10:51 PM

May 4, 2007

First woman to join Platters dies at age 69

Los Angeles Times

Zola Taylor, the first female member of the 1950s group the Platters, a Los Angeles-based quintet that was one of rock’s first major R&B crossover acts, has died. She was 69. Taylor, bedridden after several strokes, died Monday from complications of pneumonia in Riverside, Calif., said her niece, Zola Taylor Jr.

Unhappy with the Platters’ sound in 1954, manager Buck Ram replaced one of the men and added Taylor’s contralto. With Taylor in the lineup, the band started taking off. “Only You” reached No. 5 in the pop charts in 1955. It was soon followed by the No. 1 hit “The Great Pretender” in 1956. From 1955 to 1960, the Platters had four No. 1 hits and 16 gold records, including “My Prayer,” “Harbor Lights” and two releases based on older songs: “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

"She was the cutest little girl and had that spark. The guys became jealous because Zola was going over so well and they started to work harder," Ram recalled in the 2000 book "L.A. R&B Vocal Groups: 1945 to 1965." After Los Angeles native Taylor joined the group, it was sometimes referred to as the Four Platters and a Dish.

"She had a baby voice that everyone liked — a big voice, but there was a sweetness and a little bit of bite to it, which was good," Steve Propes, co-author of "L.A. R&B Vocal Groups," told The Times.

From 1955 to 1960, the Platters had four No. 1 hits and 16 gold records, including "My Prayer," "Harbor Lights" and two releases based on older songs: "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." They toured the world and were an international sensation in the late 1950s, according to "Contemporary Musicians" (1999). Taylor left the Platters when the group disbanded in the early '60s. She attributed the breakup to the Beatles-inspired upheaval of pop music.

Scandal also might have played a part: The four men in the Platters were arrested on sex charges in Cincinnati in 1959. They were found not guilty but many radio stations quit playing their singles, "Contemporary Musicians" recounted.

Taylor and at least two other members — lead singer Tony Williams and Herb Reed — continued to perform with their own groups called the Platters. "Nostalgia changed everything back," Taylor told The Times in 1990. "Wherever we go, fans bring old records wrapped up tight for me to sign. Platters music is as big as it ever was."

Taylor lived in Los Angeles with Frankie Lymon, the doo-wop idol who co-wrote and sang "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" and said she had married him. He was 25 when he died of a drug overdose in 1968.

In the late 1980s, Taylor and two other women claiming to be Lymon's widow fought over his royalties in court.Taylor said she wed Lymon in Mexico but could not document it, the Washington Post reported in 1988. Another woman was found to be his legal widow.

"Why Do Fools Fall in Love," a 1998 film about Lymon and the three women he purportedly married, starred Halle Berry as Taylor. After suffering a stroke in the late 1990s, Taylor stopped performing. She is survived by nieces and nephews. Services are pending.

Posted by acapnews at 10:23 PM

May 3, 2007

Dick Van Dyke performs in barbershop benefit

Dick Van Dyke will star for the sixth year in the annual benefit concert for local high school choral programs May 13 at the Kavli Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

The show is titled "The Music of Dick Van Dyke" and will feature Van Dyke singing songs from such film musicals as "Mary Poppins," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Bye Bye Birdie." Van Dyke will also serve as the master of ceremonies, introducing and performing with choral groups from Thousand Oaks, Oak Park, Newbury Park, Santa Susana and El Camino high schools.

The Conejo Valley Harmony Oaks chorus, a Thousand Oaks-based a cappella men's group, is producing the benefit show and will perform, as will several national awardwinning quartets. The show finale will feature the nearly 300 performers in a barbershop arrangement of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from "Mary Poppins."

All net proceeds from the show will be donated to the music programs of the participating high schools. To date, the concert series has raised more than $100,000. Van Dyke, a longtime supporter of music programs in local high schools, is volunteering his services for this program.

Van Dyke is a great fan of barbershop singing and has also judged and performed at the Los Angeles Harmony Sweepstakes as well as being a customer of Primarily A Cappella.

Posted by acapnews at 9:20 PM

May 2, 2007

And then there were 4

Wow, it's getting real exciting. After tonight's double elimination a cappella singer and beatboxer Blake Lewis is now the only male singer left in the American Idol competition and our hopes are getting higher and higher that he might well win the whole thing. Keep voting folks! Thanks.

Posted by acapnews at 10:01 PM

Princely a cappella

Congratulations to 2004 Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes champions Mosaic who performed an "amazing set" (LA Weekly) last night when they opened for Prince at his club 3121 in Las Vegas.

Posted by acapnews at 9:30 PM

May 1, 2007

"Sing or Hold Your Peace" falls flat

The Hollywood Reporter

The log line here could be "The Big Chill" with songs, though this is misleading in two respects. "Sing Now or Forever Hold Your Peace" lacks any of the socio-economic or political concerns of "The Big Chill." Indeed its shallowness is reflected in one character's abiding concern with his receding hairline. And there actually is more music in Lawrence Kasdan's 1983 ensemble comedy-drama as its soundtrack is gloriously rife with 1960s rock and soul standards.

The gimmick in "Sing" is that the reunited buddies all sang a cappella together in college, which leads to several musical segments. In any event, the issues here are light and trite, the humor strained and resolutions as pat as a TV sitcom. Consequently, the film's attraction to the over-30 crowd is limited.

Another major difference is that writer-director-producer Bruce Leddy's concentration is entirely on his male characters. Women figure only in their relationships to men. The seven singing buddies who reunite in Long Island 15 years after their last concert do so to sing at the wedding of fellow singer Greg (Mark Feuerstein). Which necessitates twisting the arm of Hollywood player Steven (David Alan Basche), who holds an idiotic grudge against the bridegroom over a stolen girlfriend ages ago.

The movie sets up routine, if not mundane, personal dilemmas among the group: David (David Harbour) -- he of the receding hairline -- stresses over his wife Dana's (Rosemarie DeWitt) desire to have children; Ted (Alexander Chaplin) keeps secret his recent firing from his nagging, foul-mouthed wife Trish (Molly Shannon); and Richard (Reg Rogers), fresh off a divorce, has hit the 500-day mark without sex.

Will (Samrat Chakrabarti), whom everyone assumes to be gay, defies expectations by showing up with a sharp-witted beauty with the arresting name of Julep (Elizabeth Reaser). To jump-start all the male libidos, Steven and his overly proper wife Michelle (Liz Stauber) arrive with their baby's young Swedish nanny (Camilla Thorsson), which triggers all those Swedish jokes that left the lexicon of stand-up comics years ago.

Spooner (Chris Bowers) is cheerfully single as his wealth, Zen-like nature and large sex organ assures him a steady supply of females. His family's beach house lodges the group, and his member is the source of much of Trish's commentary.

Too bad these guys weren't in a rock group, though. Their barbershop-quartet songs are pretty old and corny, as are the movie's jokes. At times the jokes feel like a middle-age guy's idea of adolescent humor -- gags that cause you to wince rather than laugh.Leddy overplays his hand with virtually every character. Trish's foul mouth, Richard's sad-sack routine and the men drooling over the Swedish babe become tiresome very quickly. And the incidents Leddy dreams up to occupy his characters are mostly dull.

The film unfolds in a succession of master shots, one-shots and two-shots with no visual flow and the camera almost always too close to actors. The only striking visual moments come in wide-angle exteriors of the Long Island house. It sure is a beaut.

Unfortunately this review is typical of the others the movie has received

Posted by acapnews at 9:21 PM

Singing for the Queen

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II will visit the College of William and Mary on May 4. During a brief program in the Courtyard, the College of William and Mary Choir, as well as two a cappella groups, the Gentlemen of the College and the Accidentals, will perform for Her Majesty.

Posted by acapnews at 9:17 PM