Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Harmony for the Holidays
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota
William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou
Photo courtesy of
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota offered audiences a holiday bon bon this month when they presented Duchess, a female vocal trio, in a lovely program called Harmony for the Holidays at the jewel box Historic Asolo Theatre. Duchess is made up of Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou. While each offered one solo during the program, it is as a blended group that they most shine. Across a wide repertory, they pay homage to both vocal groups (The Boswell Sisters and The Andrews Sisters) as well as solo female artists from the swing era, which also encapsulated the vocal groups.

The program was brilliantly chosen, 2/3 holiday tunes and a few from their regular repertory, including one ("I Love Being Here with You" associated with Peggy Lee) with special lyrics by Hilary Gardner that made it into a holiday song. The other holiday songs were an interesting mix of the familiar ("Silver Bells" and "The Christmas Song") and the decidedly less so ("A Christmas Island," "Mele Kalikimaka," "A Christmas Compromise," and "Santa Baby"). Hilary offered a tribute to one of my favorite undervalued singers, Kay Starr, with "The Man with the Bag." Non-seasonal selections included The Boswell Sisters' "Heebie Jeebie," and "Swing, Brother, Swing."

Accompanying the ladies was Carmen Staff from New York on piano with local talents Don Mopsick on bass and Rick Costa, percussion.

Since attending this delightful concert, I have been enjoying Duchess' recorded music. They announced the imminent release of a new one, captured in performance, which I am looking forward to.

Thanks to Artist Series Concerts for another delightful holiday get together for local audiences. This one was a real winner.

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota's Duchess, Harmony for the Holidays ran December 21-22, 2019, at the Historic Asolo Theater, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota FL. For more information, please visit or call the box office 941-306-1201.