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Seattle by David-Edward Hughes

SMC's Heartthrobs Salutes the Boys and Their Bands
at McCaw Hall

Also see David's review of Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World

Heartthrobs

Boy bands past and present got an entertaining, if overstuffed, tribute from Seattle Men's Chorus, in Heartthrobs at McCaw Hall on Pride Weekend June 24 and 25. Under the always accomplished musical direction of longtime SMC leader Dennis Coleman, the lighthearted evening was a veritable wealth of medleys celebrating these boys and their bands from the past five decades.

SMC was in good voice as they took on R&B, British boy bands (with a drag queen Queen Queen Elizabeth popping up), and American cotton candy type icons (from the Monkees to the Osmonds to the Jackson 5), Freddie Mercury and Queen; and the medley format lent the full-voiced chorus to offer a plethora of solo moments to some of their most vibrant voiced warblers. And, yes, "Glee" covers of several songs crept in, the best of which was a spotlight guest turn by the gay/straight teen alliance chorus Diverse Harmony, who lit up the Hall with a rousing rendition of Katy Perry's pop anthem "Firework." SMC deserves a big hand for its commitment to supporting these young artists with a high-profile turn such as this, as well as for always making comp tickets available for LGBT teens.

As usual, the chorus subset "Captain Smartpants" brought the giggles with numbers about men working on the "Chain Gang" who burst into song to pass the weary hours, and followed up with a hilarious Bee Gees tribute. As an audience member from the baby boomer generation, much of the second act music was less familiar to me, and I can't claim to find much appeal to the music of the now retro tunes by New Kids on the Block or 'N Sync, but in this concert, variety was the spice of life.

A shortcoming of the show was rather uninventive choreography, lacking the theatricality and ability to balance the varied movement skills of the chorus that frequent SMC choreographer Kathryn Van Meter has brought to past concerts. But ASL interpreter Kevin Gallagher's twinkling presence was as strong as ever, and I can't imagine an SMC concert without him.

Seattle Men's and Women's Choruses have a big 2011-2012 season ahead. For full information on the line-up and ticket reservations, visit www.flying house.org.



- David Edward Hughes



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