Costumes, Showmanship Outshine Group’s Music

MONDAY, JUNE 23, 1997

Seattle Men’s Chorus Saturday, June 21, The Met

Hilarious antics and solid singing kept the audience laughing, clapping and rolling in the isles at Saturday’s Seattle Men’s Chorus concert. The Met floor and front balcony were packed, with lots of empty seats in the back. It’s hard to believe there aren’t a few more people in Spokane who would have had a great time at the show.

While it would be easy to get snooty and jump all over tiny musical aspects of their performance, that’s not the whole point of the show. Besides, I have heard the refined side of the Seattle Men’s Chorus on more serious music, and know that they are capable when they need to be.

But it requires more spirit than finesse to pull off songs from the ‘70s.

Animation, spunk and chutzpah were not lacking Saturday night. The SMC had the moves, the outfits and the attitudes down. Embarrassing dance moves. Is that really his hair? Great outfits. Not a natural fiber on stage.

The first half featured ‘70s streetwear with tight McGovern and smiley T-shirts and wide-belted hip-hugger bell-bottomed jeans. Think “Mod Squad.” After intermission, the guys were ready to disco. Platforms, full Cleveland, gold chains and shirt buttons optional.

Special effects costuming reached a peak in the fast-change bow to prime-time TV. A drop-dead Brady Bunch materialized out of nowhere, and there were also look-alikes for Mary Tyler Moore, Archie and Edith Bunker, Mr. Kotter, and the crews from MASH and Love Boat.

Impersonations in the second half included Village People and a bunch of divas. Cher in the “Copacabana” conga line and Liza Minelli in “Maybe This Time” were pretty convincing. The streaking craze was also quickly commemorated with appropriate costuming.

Fun, games and tackiness aside, there were a few spine-tingling choral moments that only a well-trained and dedicated chorus can produce. The close-harmony sub-group, Zipper, was a hit with the crowd, especially on “Afternoon Delight” and there were several soloists who I could listen to some more. Marc Willis did a capable Elton John for “Candle In The Wind” and the incredible falsetto of Arnaldo Inocentes knocked my polyester socks off in “I’ll Be There.”

The Seattle Men’s Chorus will be back in Spokane next April with a blues and gospel show.

, DataTimes

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