The annual Citrus Singers’ performance is bittersweet every year, as is always the case when a close-knit group says goodbye for the last time.
Unfortunately, this year’s matinee performance was more consistent in spirit than execution.
The normally tightly-executed and well-timed steps of choreographer John Vaughan weren’t evident, including miscues on simple moves like a group mic lean.
And while the Singers had some standout voices, director Doug Austin had to be upset that many couldn’t carry the weight of the more powerful tunes.
For example, third-year Singer Kevin Gasio definitely outshone his singing partner Marcos Hernandez on Barbara Cook’s “Better With A Band.” Hernadez’s inability to carry the big notes was apparent, but he was clearly more comfortable crooning Richard Rogers’ jazz anthem, “My Funny Valentine” later on.
The Motown set was probably the most inconsistent of the bunch, and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” was definitely not the best place to start. Jeremiah Calhoun’s take on the 1971 hit, which called for the nation to reexamine the direction it was headed during one of its most turbulent periods, lacked any of the impassioned emotion that made the song a classic.
Luckily, the same couldn’t be said about Lottie Morgan’s powerful cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” as she sashayed and swayed with all the sass of the gospel legend.
Afterwards followed a smattering of hits and misses in an 80s medley before the first act ended with the Elvis staple “Viva Las Vegas.”
The difficult ensemble piece was the highlight of the night and the Singers knew it, as they pulled it together for a surprisingly polished, high energy performance.
Act Two was slightly better than the first, as Citrus’ long-standing affinity for big bands meant the Blue Note Orchestra was able to carry the show during a Cole Porter medley.
However, the same issues that caused the first act to falter were going to take more than a fifteen-minute intermission to solve.
Brittany Tangermann set the stage with an upbeat performance of “Anything Goes,” but the big voice of Lottie Morgan was a little too big for the sultry “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.”
A “Grease” medley provided a different sound for the second half of the act, with more of the same in terms of hit-or-miss snippets.
Gasio, the student director of the Citrus Singers, gave a closing speech before the finale, mentioning that only three students made it to the third and final year of the program.
But whether it was due to an exodus of talent or just a case of the daytime doldrums, the 2013 Citrus Singers showcase is one best left off future displays.