The best of America’s “standards” will be featured this Saturday, April 7, in the Alkek Fine Arts Center at Weatherford College.
“Celebrating the American Songbook” is the first concert in a month-long lineup of fine arts events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Alkek. The doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online via a link provided at www.wc.edu/alkek20.
Miss Sandra Kaye will lead the concert along with performances by pianist Dr. Hyeyoung Song and vocalists Rob Laney and Rick Rainey, instructors at WC.
The concert will feature some of the most important and influential American popular music from the early 20th century including songs composed by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin and many more.
“This is music that was created for theatre and Broadway and early films,” said event organizer Duane Durrett, WC’s Dean of Community Relations. “It was done by performers who were good actors but maybe not good vocalists. But when people like Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan got ahold of this music, people wanted to hear it because they were such incredible singers. It was the pop music of the day.”
These songs are kept alive today by artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Michael Bublé and many more, including Miss Sandra Kaye.
Kaye said she has been a singer as far back as she can remember. And with 25 years in the business, her career has taken her around the globe from Japan to Italy to Africa.
“I’ve been overseas quite a bit,” she said. “I lived in China for seven years, and I played at the Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai for five years.”
She finds influence from the pioneers of jazz including Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Rosemary Clooney and Anita O’Day, just to name a few.
“I have really taken my style, a little bit, from all of them,” Kaye said. “I love all of them, and it’s because of them I perform."
Kaye, who was the 2016 Sammons Jazz Artist of the year in Dallas, is known for her authentic interpretations of the great artists of the 20th century.
“Like Sandra said, she learned from these people and you can hear it in what she does,” Durrett said. “Not that she’s trying to copy it, but there is a certain sincerity and truthfulness.”
Songs scheduled for Saturday’s concert including “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “The Very Thought of You,” "These Foolish Things,” "September in the Rain,” “Caravan,” and many more.
“I was doing these songs for years before I realized they all came from movies,” Kaye said. “We have a wealth of wonderful music and we need to keep doing it for the sake of the people coming along because they might not know there is actually some beautiful music in the American Songbook.”