Photo by John Pai.
by MK Scott
It is hard to fathom that it has been 20 years since I first attended a Seattle Men’s Chorus concert.
The Jingle All the Way show this past Sunday (December 9th) was one of the best in years. Caldwell’s energy was relaxed, and he seems to realize that what pleases Seattle audiences is a balance of inspirational and fun.
Gone are the days of Captain Smartypants (which never really caught on, even after 17 years), but there is a new subgroup in the form of the Supertonics, which is mixed-gender and a capella in the tradition of Zipper and a great representation of both the men’s and women’s choruses. Their renditions of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and “Song for a Winter’s Night” were pitch-perfect. In act 2, they proved they could still do comedy (like Captain Smartypants) with a Rudolph/Hamilton mash-up.
Act 1 is usually the serious/traditional part of an SMC holiday concert, so it was fitting that it was balanced between spiritual and traditional by using “Silver Bells,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and a soulful “Hallelujah Chorus.” Act 1 also had one fun number (it should have had two), “Te Deseo Feliz Navidad,” featuring a drag number by soloist Rene Salinas.
Act 2 started with the campy “Manger 6” by the one and only Bob Rivers, and then Irving Berlin’s “Happy Holiday” was followed by Seattle actor Paul Flanagan as Vic the Elf in the “Virtual Intelligence Chorus,” the most creative holiday sketch in years.
To honor Hanukkah, “Miracle” was a fitting choice. This was followed by “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “Welcome Christmas” (from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas). The annual tradition of the audience sing-along got a much-needed makeover, with a medley of seven songs instead of three full ones.
The finale was fun and exciting, with a built-in standing ovation for “Disco Santa” and a Christmas parody of “Y.M.C.A.” using “N.O.E.L.”
I’m glad to have entered the Caldwell era at last!
See SMC’s Jingle All the Way at Benaroya Hall through December 23rd, Click HERE for Tickets and Information.