Five by DesignVSO Pops


Dates and Venue 3-4 April @ 8 pm: Orpheum Theatre

Reviewer Ed Farolan

What a fabulous show! This is one of the best pops series that VSO has presented so far. This group of talented singers, Five by Designpresented their latest show, a trip down memory lane in a Variety Show style reflecting the early days of television. It was like a deja vu, reliving those childhood days, watching TV in black and white, and listening to those pop tunes of the fifties, that golden era of entertainment.

There was a segment in the performance where a medley of theme songs was played by the VSO, and when Terrence Niska asked the audience composed mainly of the older generation of baby boomers if they remembered those TV shows, he received reactions like "aha!" and "oohs" and "aahs" as he enumerated the scores from those TV series of old: Peter Gunn, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Gunsmoke, and others.

The concert selections included "Sh-boom (Life Could Be A Dream)", "Papa Loves Mambo" where the group of five hurriedly changed costumes from one song to the other. Part of the variety show included the game show "What's That Song?" where a comic skit between a Harvard science professor and a retired librarian contested for money by guessing songs being sung by Niska. The way commercials were presented in those early days of TV was also acted out by the group who would enact those old Ajax and Texaco ads live. Everythting was live in those days. There was no such thing as "taped commercials" or "taped programs".

Other songs sung by this fantastic group of five singers (brothers Kurt and Terrence Niska, childhood friend Michael Swedberg, Lorie Carpente who is Kurt's wife, and Sheridan Zuther) were: "See the USA in your Chevrolet", a sung commercial, appropriately followed by songs reflecting travels around the US and the world--"New York, New York", "Istanbul (Not Constantinople", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"( a song of the 50s popularized again by the 90s animated film Simba); the ever-popular "The Girl from Ipanema". "Smile". "More", and "Charade", among others.

This is the kind of entertainment I enjoy and I look forward to seeing more of the VSO Pops series in the seasons to come.

.© 2009 Ed Farolan