Choral jubilee rides down Memory Lane
by Green Bay Baylander Chorus
4 stars = Excellent; 3 stars = Good;
2 stars = Fair; 1 star = Poor;
By Warren Gerds
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Sunday, April 22, 2001
The Green Bay Baylander Chorus' 56th annual Harmony Jubilee was another lively affair. The theme was "Jukebox Saturday Night." Tremendous singing by a guest quartet and hilarious humor from local groups competed for highlights.
At the first of two shows Saturday in Ralph Holter Auditorium of Green Bay West High School, the audience of about 1,200 sent up cheers three times.
Once was for Excalibur, a quartet from Minnesota. Members particularly baritone Brent Graham can hold notes an incredibly long time. The group is extremely fine in the first place. Add in super notes clocking from 20 to nearly 30 seconds, and the sound is wowing. Among Excalibur's shimmering material, a medley from "The Sound of Music" stood out.
Another cheer arose for the other guest group, an unusual one for the Jubilee: St. Norbert College's Knight Shift. The nine women singers accentuated the positive in their bright show/jazz performance. Pretty singing of such tunes as "Mr. Sandman" was capped by a lullaby encore of breathtaking beauty.
Another cheer erupted for GQ4, a new quartet from the ranks of the Baylander Chorus. That came after the lead singer Chris Nimmer led the creamy chords in a doo-wop version of "In The Still of the Night." GQ4 and Knight Shift gave the show a fresh breath of youth.
The local barbershoppers are no match vocally for the sensational Excalibur, but they had astounding moments, too.
The Too Old Four quartet's version of "Side by Side" was a knee-slapper. In the final verse, a groom finds out his bride is less than meets the eye, what with her wig, glass eye, false teeth and fake arm and leg.
Then there was an outrageous scene in which four guys performed "Heartaches" with their bellies painted up as big faces. Their navels served as the pucker part of their mouths in the whistling tune.
Also high on the goofy scale as "Cocktails for Two," a Spike Jones tune sung by the full chorus, complete with gunshots and zany sounds.
Many songs were introduced with historical notes by emcee Jim Emmel. This was another plus for the already nostalgia-filled show that asked listeners to remember a time when, for a nickel, folks could plug a jukebox and hear a hit. On stage was a real jukebox, golden glow, bubbles and all.