This Saturday evening, September 21, 2013, Jen Logueflower’s Poemsong makes it’s triumphant return to Alley Stage, where it was first performed in 2011.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but poems are sometimes hard for me to understand. This is especially true when it comes to old classics – the types you are forced to read in school. But, put a poem to music – really exceptional music like you’ll hear this Saturday at Poemsong — and it’s a whole different ballgame. Suddenly the poems make sense. As Jen explains, the “melodies come directly from the written words.”
Jen’s creation is pure genius. Just as Rogers & Hammerstein and Elton John & Bernie Taupin divvied up lyrics and music when composing their classics, Jen masterly collaborates with the great dead poets to create a magical experience.
Since Poemsong was last performed in 2012, Jen injured her voice, so she was highly motivated to teach the songs to others. In the process she “discovered how phenomenally rich in talent our community is in vocalists.” Here’s how Jen describes the performers in the upcoming show:
* Monica Dunn‘s voice is classically trained, and exquisite. Many folks know her in the Point Five context. She’s terrific. Poemsong showcases her voice in an entirely different mode….she sings an E.E.Cummings poem that blows all our minds….and numerous others.
* Aaron Dunn brings high energy rhythm guitar and a superb voice. It goes without saying, when Aaron and Monica Dunn sing together, their sound is sublime.
* Vicki Mecozi is another new addition to the Poemsong troupe. She has such power and depth, though most folks know her in the country and folk music genre, and as a great barn dance caller. She’s SO talented, and capable of such range. She’s also brought her musical theatre gifts to the fore. She and Mike Mitchell are a joyful duet, silly and serious, depending on the tune.
* John Birner, of the Cozys, plays a righteous electric guitar and brings in some mandolin. His baritone voice is warm and expressive.
* Travis Phillips, of Dodgeville is an early 20 something with a gorgeous voice….channeling some Bobby Darrin in one case, and offering solid rhythm guitar.
* We return with the talented cellist/trumpeter Eric Miller from Madison. He’s the consummate musician, regularly enchanting everyone with his improvisational skills.
* Todd Hammes is a world class percussionist from Madison with a mile long resume. I can’t even begin to convey what a central role he has in elevating the performance of the troupe.
* Last, but certainly not least is the “aging tenor”, as he calls himself…a pure hearted gracious hardware man named Mike Mitchell. His voice is lovely, and he carries a substantial portion of the narrative that accompanies the performance.
This show is brilliant anytime, but this Saturday is extra special. As Jen explains, “We’re performing on the Autumnal Equinox, a most astrologically auspicious time of balance. September 21…9/21. Numerologically, we’re all set….9 players in the troupe (including Jen) …..21 poets represented…..in two Acts of 12 songs each. Over half are completely new compositions, and another third are new arrangements with new voices.”
If you missed Poemsong in 2011 (at Alley Stage) or 2012 (at the Opera House), then do yourself a favor and come to Alley Stage this Saturday. Here’s a two-minute trailer from 2012.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the performance will take place at the UCC Church, which Jen describes as an “acoustically superb, spacious sanctuary.”
Click here for tickets.
Contributed by the Hays