Friday night at about 7:00 p.m. found me posted up in the Barge Canal Coffee Co. eagerly awaiting recent graduate Kathleen Armenti’s live show. I was over an hour early, but already the café was coming alive with preparation for the event. Crew members were running back and forth behind my table, setting up sound equipment and working with Armenti to adjust the microphones (already I could tell this would be a good show…her voice was mind-blowing even in the adjustment tests). A few minutes later, the cast of supporting singers arrived to warm up, instigating a steady flow of fans and spectators that soon generated a really great audience. With more than half an hour to go before show time, the Barge was already busy with an enthusiastic audience of friends of Armenti, faculty members and others just looking for some quality Friday night entertainment.
The show, “My Friends Are More Talented Than Yours,” was performed by vocalist Armenti ’11 and pianist George Zeitler ’10. While at Colgate, Armenti was a part of the Colgate Resolutions, and several of her fellow Resos sang during the show while even more made up a healthy percentage of the audience. Armenti and Zeitler performed this cabaret show in New York and had so much fun with it, they decided to bring it back to Colgate.
It certainly was a fun event. Armenti showed a great sense of humor throughout the show. After admitting to being “actually really nervous,” she adorably donned a giant pair of heart-shaped sunglasses to lighten the mood and kept up a steady stream of witty commentary in between numbers for the entire performance. Her various duet partners added to the show’s light-hearted atmosphere, offering interpretive dance, prompting for Armenti’s chicken sound imitation (no end to her talents, I guess) in addition to their wonderful voices.
Small, intimate and cozy, the coffeehouse feel complemented the fun, interesting set list and the friendly audience. It is also a much different atmosphere than the Palace Theater venue usually used for the larger cabaret musicals. The combination of show and setting worked perfectly for Armenti’s show.
The ten songs in this cabaret arrangement flew by. It was a great set list – several of the songs elicited enthusiastic gasps from the audience, especially “For Good” (a number from Wicked the musical) and “Winter Song.” The other eight songs were all of different genres and moods, which made for a lively and varied concert atmosphere. Some of the other stand-out pieces were “Orange Colored Sky” and “As Free As My Hair” (these both happen to be performed by Lady Gaga. Armenti revealed Gaga as the inspiration for her “Orange Colored Sky” rendition). I should clarify, though, that these were really only stand-out performances because of Armenti’s gorgeous voice. The variety of her songs showcased her incredible vocal range and her ability to belt out the highest notes in an impressive chest voice and then switch over to a delicate head voice in an instant. Her vocal ability imposed her own musical style on the songs she sang, which ultimately was the factor that made “My Friends Are More Talented Than Yours” such a delightful performance to watch.
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