The functional work place of Monterey Peninsula College’s Music Hall was decidedly warmed up Sunday afternoon, April 27, with the jazzy hot vocal licks of Urban Renewal under the direction of Sean Boulware. This “movin’ and groovin’” ensemble filled their program with favorites from their first three years of programs. There were many highlights – not the least of which is the use of individual mics and a new mixer. This enabled a more polished ensemble sound showing off the sheer joy and confidence of this group. The depth of bass support was especially evident in a cappella selections. Linda Hylle opened The Nearness of You with a delicious solo and then later totally smoked on an a cappella, In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning. Nothing says hanging out on a limb more than just a mic and voice and Linda more than showed her prowess. Another feature solo was Diane Ehlers delightful Hey Big Spender complete with turquoise boa. Terrific scat licks from Michelle Boulware and Janice Perl on The Frim Fram Sauce closed the first set -– to their own as well as audience delight.
Other favorite gems across the genre in the first set included One In A Million, Fly Me to the Moon, the wonderful Toto tune Rosanna, a ladies special on a scat filled Pink Panther, an old Dean Martin tune – Ain’t That a Kick In The Head, and a super smooth Besame Mucho. The second set featured such jazzy jewels as Duke Ellington’s Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear From Me with a solid tenor bass opening, Sway, Take Five, a terrific solo on the Norah Jones Don’t Know Why by Michelle Boulware showing off her vocal versatility. Rounding out the afternoon included the smaller group Baker’s Dozen –- actually 14 voices – doing cool effects on Four Brothers that included trading solos as well as a nifty vocal effect of turning their mics upside down. Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven with only percussion back up and finally He Beeped When He Shoulda Bopped.
As if the above doesn’t demonstrate the versatile strength of this group, it must be noted that a range of age also adds to the ensemble mix. There is Mother/Son with Carol and Morgan Vetter – looking forward to doing a duet together. The Mother/daughter combo of Janice and Miranda Perl took their turn in the spotlight on a nifty I’ve Got Rhythm with Dennis Murphy on stand up bass. What fun to see and hear their obvious fun in singing together, and that bass back up deserves a big WOW. Another major highlight was a last minute addition to the first set of Michael Blackburn showing off solid talent of accompanying his vocal on Moody’s Mood For Love with Murphy on bass.
Kudos also go to Boulware who never fails to acknowledge not only his singers and how hard they work, encouraging solo work as well, but also his passionate support of music education. Through Dennis Murphy’s School of Music more and more young and not so young musicians continue to be encouraged to find their skills that will last their entire life.