At 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, the Palace Theater was only about half full, but as performers dressed all in black clattered onstage and more audience members slowly filtered in to fill most of the seats, it was clear that everyone who hadn’t come to the Broad Street Behind the Beat Vocal Jazz performance was missing out.
Producer and singer junior Hannah Goldstein introduced the show, welcoming photography and videos before the whole cast got down to business with a serious a cappella-style number: “Days of Wine and Roses.” It was one of only two songs featuring the whole cast, the second, “Something’s Got a Hold of Me,” also being the carefully choreographed end to the show.
“My favorite part is, I think, the last few days of tech. It’s certainly the most stressful part, but when the show is really coming together it’s so exciting, it’s so fulfilling to be a director and see your work coming to life on stage,” Goldstein said after the show.
And everything was pulled together perfectly, from choreography for the final number to excellent lighting in moody colors like red and dark purple. There was an impressive band, with first-years Nicole Chen and Zoey Liu on keyboard, first-years Matt Lee on percussion, senior Zack Dunn on bass and junior Dylan Giustra on saxophone managing all 20 songs in the show. Not only did the band have solo interludes, it stood out with flashy flourishes timed to match up with the singers.
Some of the standout numbers had first-year David Field and junior Brett Christensen singing a melancholy “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and senior Katie Sotos, junior Meredith Clark and Goldstein as an old timey barbershop trio singing “You Call Everybody Darling.” A rendition of “It’s Only a Paper Moon” by sophomore Hannah DeGarmo was reminiscent of Ingrid Michaelson but jazzier, while the audience loved the hopeful “Vegas,” by a quartet of senior Allie Schneider, sophomores Allie Murillo and Lauren Moscato and first-year Sophie Louaillier.
Of course, a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make the night happen.
“We had the show in only two and a half weeks [of rehearsal] this year, but we also had a super talented cast so it came together really nicely,” said Goldstein.
Tech work is also important, with about 30 hours of rehearsal during “tech week.” Another important aspect of the show was funding. The Budget Allocation Committee (BAC) had run out of money by the time they asked for funding, so it was up to the students to raise the funds. She went on to explain her motivation to create the show.
“I’ve been in cabaret every semester since I was a first-year, and I love it, but I really missed doing jazz and there weren’t other vocal jazz outlets on campus, so I wanted to create something that was similar to cabaret. I think jazz is, in terms of the musical endeavor you’re engaging in, a lot more interactive between instrumentalists and vocalists. I wanted people who didn’t have an opportunity to engage in jazz to be able to do that. There have to be musicians tucked away somewhere at Colgate, but I think I was really shocked, initially coming to Colgate, with how underrepresented the fine arts are at Colgate. Broad Street Records is supposed to be like a network and a coalition of musicians, and they do an awesome job, but I think that sometimes people don’t realize, or…don’t end up coming forward to participate, and I think if fine arts were more of a force on campus, or more visible, people would come forward.”
So how does Goldstein hope the performing arts – and Broad Street Behind the Beat – move forward?
“I think it would be fabulous to have more of a centralized performing arts center on campus. I think it has the power to change some of our social or cultural structures on campus,” Goldstein said.