23 May 2012
The joint was jumping at Carysbrook Performing Arts Center this weekend (May 5 and 6) with the annual spring concert performed by the Fluvanna Community Singers. The chorus, led by musical director Horace Scrugg was swinging and singing old time jazz and blues standards such as Thomas “Fats” Waller’s The Joint is Jumpin’ and Duke Ellington’s lively Hit Me With A Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce.
This year Scruggs staged the concert differently, giving it a cabaret flavor which thrilled the audience. The singers, came on stage sparkling in sequins and rhinestones. The men wore black and white, some looking like the Blues Brother. Nightclub seating was set on the risers while two little tables sat in the sidelines with candles flickering (fake T-light candles that is) all this to set the scene and take the audience back in time to when jazz was king and Flappers were the rage.
It all began with Alexander’s Rag Time Band. Each song had a soloist. During Basin Street Blues, Leslie Geer, in a slinky black velvet evening dress and flaming red feather boa showed the crowd how it’s done. Marcia Kruse was sultry in her solo of Blues Down to My Shoes and a cool and slick, George Roberston shined while singing his finger snapping Jump, Jive an’ Wail. There were other soloists including Fluvanna Community Singer’s staple soloist, Elaine Bergman.
The chorus also seems to be attracting newer members and have added some familiar faces from other groups, including The Piedmont Community Singers, Bill Henderson and Persimmon Tree Players, Jennifer Starkey and Brian Hamshar. Hamshar, who played the tenor sax is also with the Charlottesville Municpal Band and along with accompanist, Susan Nothnagle, Dave Small on the drums and FCHS band teacher Mike Strickler on guitar, they really kept the place hopping.
The crowd was receptive to the new format, hoping Scruggs will try something similar next year. The theme thing seems to work.
“I wish we could do some more performances like this, it was so much fun,” said Nancy Johnson, one of the sopranos in the chorus.
The highlight of Sunday’s concert was the dedication of the William C. Anderson room. The room next door to the theater was renovated, painted a bright sunny yellow with white trim and featured photos of acts from past seasons. Adele Schaefer made a heartfelt dedication to Bill Anderson for all his work on the Fluvanna County Arts Council Board.
The Fluvanna Community Singers ended the season on a high note and will return for the 2012-2013 season with their Christmas Concert. Perhaps longtime tenor Pearl Klingebiel said it best with this poem,
“Be it just a note or a symphony,
Whether Country, Bach, or Rock,
Music is needed in our lives,
Much like hands complete a clock.”