The Spokane Symphony will explore the Great American Songbook with vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway during Saturday’s SuperPops concert, “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts.”
This performance, with resident conductor Morihiko Nakahara, will include such classics as George Gershwin’s “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” Harold Arlen’s “Blues in the Night,” and Stephen Sondheim’s “No One Is Alone.”
As it’s St. Patrick’s Day, Callaway will celebrate her Irish heritage with “Danny Boy” and an improvisation, with her at the keyboard and audience participation.
Callaway is a prolific composer, having written more than 250 songs including the platinum hits for Barbra Streisand “At the Same Time” and “I’ve Dreamed of You.” Her most popular song is the theme song, which she also sang, from the hit television series “The Nanny.”
She grew up in a musical family.
“It was very inspiring to grow up with two parents who were so creative and expressive,” she said. “My mom sang with the Chicago Symphony … dad gave me love for jazz and taught me how to sing scat when I was 3.”
“Music is the most powerfully healing, connecting, uplifting art form and human beings deserve to experience the joy that only music can bring,” she said.
Callaway credits Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday as models for jazz styling. In the pop music field she regards Carole King, Streisand and Stevie Wonder as major influences.
Callaway and her sister, Liz Callaway, have a stage show that Callaway calls “an amazing experience. We know each so well we have almost a sixth sense for breathing and phrasing together.”
When not performing, recording, writing or producing music, Callaway spends a great deal of time working with outreach programs to public schools.
She loves introducing children to “the excitement of an orchestra, our country’s great songs and the power of many people working together toward one cause – truth and beauty through music.”
Callaway has recorded 12 solo CDs including her latest, “At Last,” and is a guest artist on more than 40 albums. A Spokane Symphony news release hails her as “One of the leading champions of the Great American Songbook, her unique style blends jazz and traditional pop, making her the mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television and in film.”
Callaway’s pianist Ted Rosenthal will also perform his rendition of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” This, of course, is the work that brought jazz into the concert hall.
Rosenthal is a jazz educator on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times called Rosenthal “a pianist of rarest skill, weaving rapid single note lines that span out into rich chordal patterns, parallel octaves and hints of the blues.”