Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Musical Monday at Lake Park: Midwest Vocal Express

Midwest Vocal Express is a Milwaukee-area (based in Glendale) man’s choir that specializes in “Barbershop, show tunes, and spirituals.” Our friend and co-Burrahobbit Richard Marcus is a member of the group, so when he let us know they would be performing a free show at Lake Park on Monday evening the 12th, we decided to go.

Beautiful Lake Park sprawls along the top of bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, but we found Picnic Area 3 and its stage quite easily. We set up our lawn chairs at the edge of a large and enthusiastic audience, and the show began very shortly.
The full choir started off with a very nice rendition of “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King,” and followed with a very energetic medley of “doo-wop” tunes, followed by “Mary, Did You Know,” from the spiritual side.

Then, they turned the stage over to a succession of Barbershop quartets who showed off a variety of styles. “Nostra Vita” had a very polished style and did very nice renditions of “Mambo Italiano,” “You Belong to Me,” (“See the Pyramids across the Nile . . .”), and particularly “Always.”

“High Point” was a more classically folksy Barbershop group (I had forgotten that part of the typical Barbershop is the corn-ball jokes told between numbers--.), but showed off why they are champions with their very tight and blended harmonies. They gave us lovely performances of “Basin Street Blues,” “Sleepy Time Gal,” and “Lucky Day,” among others.

The third quartet, the “Epics,” was a female group, and also had a really fine sound and style. Their repertoire wasn’t as familiar to me (“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was one title I knew) but they were excellent and very entertaining performers.

Then the full chorus came back with a lively version of “Oh Bla Di, Oh Bla Dah,” and ended the show with a patriotic medley of the Armed Services’ songs (first time I’d actually heard “Semper Paratus”) and “This is My Country.”

All in all, this was a very enjoyable, upbeat, and uplifting performance that redeemed what had otherwise been a rather “blah” day for both of us. Thanks to the Midwest Vocal Express for all their hard work putting the show on, and to the Lake Park Friends for making the arrangements.

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Tags: music
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