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You can’t get much more “varied” than the variety show put on by the William Peace Glee Club. On an especially pleasant Sunday evening the singers staged their Spring Concert in Kenan Recital Hall on the campus. Led by Director Julie E. Ricciardi, powerfully assisted by arranger and pianist Michael Santangelo, the troupe mounted some thirty-plus numbers of just about every artistic stripe.
From The Wiz as an opener, the group decided to “Ease on Down the Road.” Various subsets of the ensemble (from one to many) had a “Great Day,” they declared that “I Believe in Love,” and they didn’t care “Where or When.” The five graduating seniors went “Dancing in the Moonlight” and others wondered, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” Solos, duos, and more covered an enormous range of styles. Santangelo pleased the crowd as he accompanied himself on “A New York State of Mind,” and with “Then I’ll Be Tired of You,” Ricciardi proved to be a formidable chanteuse. “When the stars are tired of gleaming… / Then I’ll be tired of you.”
The high talent of the audience was not allowed to lie fallow. They were invited to participate in old standards such as “Them There Eyes” and “Shine On, Harvest Moon.” Also assisting the troupe were a group of thirteen young charmers from the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory.
The full ensemble did fine work proclaiming, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They resurrected the nineteenth-century Neapolitan hit, “Funiculi, Funicula.”
Shrek The Musical provided a moving highlight, “Prayer of the Children,” as the aforementioned Conservatory group joined their elders. “Empty eyes with no more tears to cry / Turning heavenward toward the light / Crying Jesus help me….”
As a traditional and handsome benediction, all singers were augmented by any alumni who had previously participated. The great spiritual “My Life Is in Your Hands” was composed by the contemporary gospel artist, Kirk Franklin. “For there’s a friend in Jesus / Who will wipe your tears away.”
Accompanying all the evening’s selections was a combo whose contribution must not be overlooked and cannot be over-praised. Joining Santangelo were two sterling performers, bassist John Simonetti and percussionist Todd Howard. These three musicians could be said to have “made” the concert, so integral was their work at every turn.