She’s best-known for her classical work, but soprano Ann Fennessy has proved more than once that she can handle jazz.
Her set at last year’s Spokane Jazz Society All-Star Concert was one of the evening’s highlights.
She was such a hit, SJO musical director Paul Davis invited her back in a full guest-artist capacity, and tonight she’ll explore her earthy side in a program of Broadway tunes with the SJO.
Together, they’ll perform classics from the Broadway stage, including “Singing In The Rain,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “I Can’t Get Started,” “I Loves Ya Porgy” and “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.”
From the modern theater, they’ll do “Memory” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats.”
“What’s interesting for me in this concept is the different voice qualities the songs require,” Fennessy said. “‘Memory” is a whiskey song - it takes a deep whiskey alto - but ‘Singing In The Rain’ has to be sung in a 1940s pretty-voice. You can’t smoke it up.
“It’s like walking through the different rooms of an art gallery, and I like the variety very much.”
For all its promise, tonight’s show will be a bittersweet event because it’s the last performance for music director Davis. He recently announced his resignation with the intent of pursuing a doctorate. He’s accepted a position as the assistant conductor for the wind ensemble at the University of Texas, where he will also study.
The SJO has come a great distance during the five years Davis has been at the helm, and he’ll be missed.
“It’s been a good five years for me, to be able to work with good musicians and help bring this genre of music to Spokane,” Davis said.
The concert is co-sponsored by and will benefit the Samaritan Counseling Center, a non-profit, nondenominational organization.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Spokane Jazz Orchestra Location and time: The Met, 8 tonight Tickets: $16, $14.50 students/seniors