Talented performers and a great selection of songs come together in a commencement eve tradition at SUNY Fredonia as Rockefeller Arts Center presents "Big Band Song and Dance" on Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m. in King Concert Hall.
More than 20 popular American standards from the 1930s through today will highlight the concert, which features Bruce Johnstone and the Little Apple Big Band backing some of SUNY Fredonia's best student vocalists and dancers.
The end-of-year gala, which has been a tradition for 18 years, will be a musical journey through Broadway, Hollywood, Las Vegas and Tin Pan Alley.
The SUNY Fredonia student vocalists for “Big Band Song and Dance” are, from left, Dylan Greene, Lauren Gismondi, Elizabeth Ruff, Justin Moore, Kathleen Grace Fiori, Jonas Barranca, Mary Ryan and Raphael Santos. The Commencement Eve Pops concert takes place Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m. in King Concert Hall.
Rockefeller Arts Center Director Jefferson Westwood is again the producer for the Commencement Eve Pops concert.
"The lineup of songs is great," Mr. Westwood said. "We are doing three dance numbers choreographed by Paul Mockovak and for the vocals, we have several all-group numbers, some quartets and each student will have his or her own solo as well."
Mr. Westwood explained the vocal solos have been drawn from tunes popularized by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra.
"We're doing a few of our favorite songs from the past, but mostly we have some of the great big band charts that we've not been able to fit into past concerts," he said.
The repertoire includes "Come Fly With Me," "Satin Doll," "Hey There," "Summer Wind," "Get Happy," "April in Paris" and many more.
Eight student vocalists will be featured, all of whom were selected through auditions held in March.
"This year we have an exceptionally talented cast," Mr. Westwood said. "A few of them were in the recent production of 'The Sound of Music' and others have been seen in various School of Music ensembles or Department of Theatre and Dance productions the last several years."
The cast includes:
Jonas Barranca, a BFA Acting major who has appeared in SUNY Fredonia productions of "A Christmas Carol," "Romeo & Juliet," "La Boheme," " Electra" and "The Altruists."
Kathleen Grace Fiori, a BFA Musical Theatre major who was most recently seen as Sister Margeretta in "The Sound of Music." Her other SUNY Fredonia credits include "Charlotte's Web," "Kiss Me Kate" and "A Christmas Carol."
Lauren Gismondi, a Musical Theatre major who has appeared in SUNY Fredonia productions of "Romeo and Juliet," "Charley's Aunt," "Marat/Sade," and "Kiss Me, Kate."
Dylan Greene, a Music Education major who is a part of the University Chorus and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble at SUNY Fredonia.
Justin Moore, a Voice Performance major whose SUNY Fredonia credits include the Student Opera Theater Association's spring 2011 Opera Scenes and the Hillman Opera productions of "Les Contes d'Hoffman" and "La Boheme."
Elizabeth Ruff, a BFA Musical Theatre major who has played leading roles in SUNY Fredonia productions of "The Sound of Music," "Kiss Me Kate," and "The Rocky Horror Show."
Mary Ryan, a BFA Musical Theater major who has appeared in "The Venetian Twins," "The Spitfire Grill," and "Electra" at SUNY Fredonia.
Raphael A. Santos, a BFA Musical Theatre major whose SUNY Fredonia credits include "The Spitfire Grill."
In addition to Mr. Westwood, Mr. Johnstone (music director and conductor) and Mr. Mockovak (choreographer), the creative team includes Dixon Reynolds (costumes), Shinobu Takagi (rehearsal accompanist and vocal coach), Mike McGough (music arranger) and Colin Chauche (Lighting).
Tickets are available through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 (1-866-441-4928) or online at fredonia.edu/tickets.
The Commencement Eve Pops concert is sponsored by the Fredonia and Silver Creek Penny Savers as part of the DFT Communications Pops Series in the Lake Shore Savings Season.