Delaneys Deliver Spectacular Performance

Delaneys Deliver Spectacular Performance

Notes from Dale Jensen

I think it was in 2019 that our indefatigable Program Chairman, Barbara Chertok, first tried to schedule the Delaneys, Kate and Bart, to come to Sarasota from their home in Miami. Then COVID-19 hit, and everybody started staying home. A year ago, as she was working on this year’s schedule, the world was beginning to open up, and she reached out to the Delaneys again. The crowd in the beautiful Oak Street Presbyterian Church on Friday, February 17, definitely benefited from her perseverance: The Delaneys were spectacularly excellent.

After years of performing together on Royal Caribbean and Holland America cruise ships, the husband-and-wife team communicated flawlessly as they worked their way through over a dozen Songs of the Jazz Age, Broadway, and More (their title). Bart is a guitarist of superb skill, and Kate, a soprano with a very flexible voice that was always clear and on-pitch, was every bit his equal. As she was obviously Great With Child (unto them a son is due in early April) I wondered how she could sing long phrases so effortlessly.

Jazz musicians are accustomed to letting each other know in the middle of a performance, with subtle nods or hand motions, when they want to add a chorus or shorten a line. It was fun watching this take place in front of us smoothly, oh so smoothly! Bart’s elaborate sound system occasionally needed tweaking, which either of them could handle without breaking stride. They were unflappable, thoroughly professional.

One way that song stylists will make what is essentially just a short song last longer is by modulating to a new, usually higher, key. The listening ear appreciates the novelty! Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in Bob Crewe/Bob Gaudio’s standard, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, in which Bart threw in not one, but a series of modulations, landing in unexpected new keys, with Kate unerringly landing precisely in the same new key. Beautiful!

Way to go, Chertok! You and your band of Merry Music-Clubbers pulled out another winner, as the SMC has been doing for the past 90 years!

Speaking of winners, less than a week after the Delaneys, I heard Maria Wirries and Alan Corey again, in a Selby Garden setting. Wirries and Corey performed for the SMC several years ago, in the Sunnyside Village auditorium, a good example of SMC’s longtime commitment to the development and encouragement of young musicians. [Maria won a music scholarship from Sarasota Music Club in 2015.] Wirries has now finished college and has a strong start on a career in New York City’s Musical Theatre scene. Way to go, Sarasota Music Club!

Next up, on March 17, will be a budding jazz trumpeter, Luca Stine, whom we heard perform a couple years ago when he was awarded a Suncoast Music Scholarship. You won’t want to miss it!

And the beat goes on….