ĎStagedoor Spectacularí features dance, song and big band tunes
To salute the end of the school year, American Music Review says "We got da blues - we got da funk" in its April 13 "Stagedoor Spectacular" filled with dancing, song and big band tunes.
The free concert, sponsored by Purdue University Bands, is set for 8 p.m. Friday, April 13, in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center.
Constantly changing tempos and moods, the concert takes musical leaps from rambunctious tunes like "Pig Lickiní Blues" and "Chewiní the Fat" to gentler numbers such as "Autumn Leaves" and "Bewitched." Dancers will add to the Broadway flavor of the event in two numbers - "Happy Feet" and "Carnivale" - while singers are featured in six numbers.
Talents of two seniors - singer Fritz Muelhausen of Buck Creek and trumpeter Kris Gibson of Floyds Knobs - will be spotlighted in the show. Muelhausen will be featured in Bobby McFerrinís "Thinking" while Gibson performs several solos in "All of Me."
In their last show for American Music Review, both attempt something theyíve never done before. For Gibson, itís juggling vocal and instrumental solos in the same piece. One of Purdue Bandsí top trumpeters throughout his four years at the university, Gibson kept his vocal talents hidden until his senior year.
"For a long time I was a closet singer," says Gibson whoís first public solo happened at a Boiler Brass party centered around karaoke singing in the spring of 2000. Not too long before that event, Gibsonís girlfriend Sarah Lemke had given him a Frank Sinatra CD, and Gibson easily imitated the singerís style.
American Music Review director Bill Kisinger was so impressed, he insisted Gibson solo with the big band at all of its performances this season. "I freaked out the first time," says Gibson, who found that remembering lyrics, and singing a solo, made him way more nervous than playing his trumpet.
"Iím pretty comfortable playing the trumpet. Iíve done it so long. But trumpet solos are always improvisation, so thereís no forgetting. Iím a little more nervous when I sing."
Gibson enjoyed his foray into vocal territory so much, he jumped at the challenge involved in performing "All of Me." "Iíve never done that before (solos for voice and trumpet), so I wanted to try both," he says.
Throughout his life, Gibson has been a leader in musical activities. At Floyd Central High School, he helped organize a big band at his school when none existed. Now that band is part of the schoolís regular curriculum. At Purdue he's been a regular soloist with AMR and a four-year member of the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band, earning the Outstanding Marching Band Member Award in 2000.
Fritz Muehlhausen, whoís been a singer with AMR for three years, also looks to challenge himself at the April 13 concert. As a vocalist, heís used to being backed up by the band and other singers. But for his senior spotlight, heíll go it alone in Bobby McFerrinís "Thinking."
McFerrin, best known as the "Donít Worry, Be Happy" man, wrote the tune as an a cappella number. In it, one person "does all the parts himself, changing around to different voice
ranges, from bass to lead, to give the effect that itís more than one person," says Muehlhausen. "I thought it was kind of fun, something unusual to do for my last performance."
Both men majored in engineering at Purdue, and found American Music Review provided a creative release from the academic world.
"Itís a pretty laid-back group. Itís nice to have a singing group where you can enjoy the format, yet itís still casual enough to have fun with it. Itís been a good fit for me, being in a technology, to have the arts and music be a very important part of my life," says Muehlhausen. He specialized in electrical engineering technology and has secured a position with Mail Code of Lafayette, while Gibson, an electrical engineering major, is interviewing with several corporations as well as the Navy.
Both plan to keep music in their lives. With the pressure of college gone, "I actually look forward to having more time to practice," says Gibson who hopes, wherever he ends up, heíll find opportunities to play the variety of big band music that attracted him to American Music Review.