14th Annual Oceanaires
Classical Concept with Lots of Balls”
old (former, I mean) Queen Beach DeBris subbing for this year’s Queen Robin
Photos by Lorraine
was an evening of extremes: the Sublime and the Serious: Musicianship vs. the Mock
with Grove Icon Philomena’s lowball riffs (excuse the pun) on George Garvey’s
stage representing an elegant lawn party, strewn with all sizes of balls – and
a classical music concert revealing some surprising polished occasionally
professional (no actual credits in clever program notes) testimony to the
multifaceted personalities of Cherry Grove.
opening anthem was performed in a serious mode by
Ann Giusto on trumpet and W. John Bainbridge (as listed in program but looking
very much like the ubiquitous Isaac) on piano.
only reference to the Grove I know and love was the inimitable MC-ing of
the sports represented Philomena favored baseball, wearing a Reyes’ uniform
shirt mentioning “I can handle balls, even the little ones tucked up, hidden
away, longing and itching to be free.”
first number, “O Del Mio Dolce Ardor” By Gluck was sung in a secure tenor by
William George McGarvey, as accompanied on piano by Isaac Steven Vaughn, illustrated
that Gorgeous George is not just another pretty face who designs sets.
honor of the event Philomena, who is developing her catering business, whipped
up a “Wimbledon” snack, strawberries and cream. Since there was not enough to
go around she had to force some whipped cream down some throats manually.
that musicians require as much strength and conditioning as musicians she
quipped “put the balls in the hands of a musician and see who beats them”
Massager’s “Solo di Concours” featured Chris MacDonnell in a polished performance
of many moods, notably clear and concise, poignantly presented with clarion
precision on clarinet. Accompanied Isaac
boasted “Kissing is a sport and even in college I was a 4 letter man. As for
phone sex, I do not have sex with a phone”
Bacio” (The Kiss) by L. Arditi, coyly singing to a sledge hammer in a hat adorned
with a ping pong racquet and ball and matching colorful ping pong balls on her uniform
Her expressive face and gestures deliver meaning and emotions denied by a
foreign tongue concluding with a resounding high note.
threw a foul with the following: Why was Cinderella kicked off every team?
Because she ran away from the ball. (groan)
scherzo No 2 in b flat minor, op i4 was played with great spirit by Clarence
Perry which made the clarinet “dance”.
first act finale was an opus by J Brahms called “Liebeslieder Walzer” by Molly
Watson, soprano and Sherri Rase, alto (who joined in some glorious harmonies),
Curtis Strohl, tenor, Eric Coyne, bass in three part scenarios intricately intertwined
which must have required a great deal of rehearsal.
this is a “forbidden” no flash terrible picture by me but I thought you must
see the “costumes” to believe it
opened on a lighter note with J P Sousa’s “Star & Stripes Forever” played
by not one, not two, but three: Anthony Chiocci, Clarence Perry and Isaac who
encouraged the audience to sing along the parody :Be kind to your web footed friends…”
rewarded by a true Grove audience show of approval: clapping stomping and
whistling. Question: cannot imagine how they divided the keyboard.
interjected a propos of nothing that it costs more to buy a baseball team than to
buy an election! Later adding that Germans coined the word gymnastics and
.defined Soccer as a half dozen men running around for hours watched by half million
people who need the exercise.
Williams’ “Silent noon” gave Isaac a chance to accompany Brent Weldon Reno’s
tenor rendition which commanded your attention with power and feeling and expert
haven’t heard it all until you hear Lee Sharmat. Previously known at the Grove
for her tap dancing, play Gershwin’s “An American I Paris” on a Tuba! As
a comic relief? But this is a serious musical evening and one can imagine the
years of practicing that made this experience possible. That very low last note
drew hoots of appreciation from the laugh starved audience.
whose piano drove the piece, Seth Bedford on viola and Chris MacDonnell on clarinet
joined forces in Seth’s original piece, “Music for a Summer Night”, which
started in up tempo, provided some intricate syncopation and closed on a quite
note. And remember, it premiered here!
powerhouse number of the evening went to Shirley Ritenour who offered up close a
powerful Wagnerian soprano voice that usually fills up a great concert hall and
most likely could be heard over at the Ice Palace, Island Breeze and Cherry’s!
Wagner piece “dich, teure halle” about a woman returning to a beloved concert
hall was echoed here. Life indeed copies art.
finale was grande in its innovation and ambition as W John Bainbridge, Seth Bedford,
Anthony Chiochhi, Eric Coyne, Laura Ann Giusto, Sherri Rase, Brent Weldon
Reno,, Gene Rohmer, Lee Sharmat, Curtis J. Strohl Molly Watson were led by the
brilliant musicmeister extraordinaire Isaac in an intricate, precise,
multi voiced accapella fugue by E. Toch which reminded me of the opening
number on a train of The Music Man where the salesmen recite the words in a variety
of rhythms – a mistake by anyone could be quite glaring in the precision required
to pull it off – and happy to say it sounded perfect.
was my first Oceanaires and I didn’t know what to expect so I am not sure how different
this was from the rest. It was like parallel universes: Phil in varying drag outfits,
rapping out ribald riffs on sports, specifically on balls, while a serious,
classically trained cast, heretofore unknown to me, revealed itself in an
astonishing display of talent.
connection, other than dressing the performers in oddly related pseudo sports
attire, a mystery
At the end Philomena added – “next year we are celebrating our
15th anniversary... the gift is crystal and I don't mean meth!!!