Arts and Entertainment

Bainbridge ensemble gives a performance to bank on

Side by Side in rehearsal. Catch them in concert next weekend.  - Courtesy Photo
Side by Side in rehearsal. Catch them in concert next weekend.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Hard times can mean easy listening.

“We thought it would be sort of fun to do a local representation of the times,” said Denise Harris, member of the long-standing vocal ensemble Side by Side. “Actually, it’s a very fun program, and there’s quite a variety of songs in it.”

So sure, Side by Side’s “Welcome to Hard Times” concert on June 5 and 6 will feature vintage selections that logically spring to mind: the 1931 everyman Depression tune “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” along with “Big Spender” and “If I Were A Rich Man” from the musicals “Sweet Charity” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

But ensemble leader Chris Kolbegger added some sly humor to the mix. Naughty banks? “Ain’t Misbehavin.” More oversight, please: “Someone to Watch over Me.” And the government? Well, “Send in the Clowns.”

The program’s first half, which also includes selections from the contemporary musicals “Wicked,” “Rent” and “Momma Mia,” gets at the problem. The second half mulls the solution with tunes like Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child,” the 1848 Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” and Madonna’s (yes, Madonna’s) “Back in Business. The group will also perform “Go Light Your World” for group member Kay Watson, who passed away last November.

Harris expressed a cross-generational bemusement at a few of the choices; Kolbegger, as the new Side by Side director and by far the youngest member of the group, has definitely spiced a few things up.

And she’s glad. Who says this veteran crew isn’t capable of belting out “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls.

“It’s kind of a novel way of (dealing with) some of the things we’re going through,” Harris said.

Event details:

Side by Side performs at 7:30 p.m. June 5 and 6 at The Commons, 402 Brien Dr. Admission is by donation.

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