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Mucho bueno! Seattle Men's Chorus' Ole! Ole! Ole!
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Mucho bueno! Seattle Men's Chorus' Ole! Ole! Ole!

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Seattle Men's Chorus'
Ole! Ole! Ole!
April 11 & 12
McCaw Hall


Seattle Men's Chorus had a mucho bueno time last weekend, creating a concert that partnered with Bailadores de Bronces, an exciting local Mexican dance troupe. Just like the mission of SMC, the troupe wants to 'break down cultural barriers and build bridges within the community,' making them ideal performing partners for the Chorus. Efforts to reach audiences in the Latino community were more vigorous than usual, hoping to entice them with a range of Spanish songs, including Ricky Martin's 'Livin' La Vida Loca,' Jennifer Lopez's 'Let's Get Loud,' Selena's 'Como la Flor,' Julio Iglesias' 'Un Hombre Solo,' and Gloria Estefan's 'Conga.'

Dance rhythms and historical stylings were another focus of the concert, including zarzuelas of Spanish opera, tangos of Argentina, and salsas of Brazil and Cuba. The wide range of David Maddux's arrangement talents were on full display, along with an original song of his. Assistant artistic director Eric Lane Barnes arranged a traditional folksong and an interesting full choral arrangement of 'Killing Me Softly.'

The Chorus moved to the beat thanks to the intricate designs of choralographer Kathryn Van Meter and a large contingent of chorus dancers choreographed by Christopher Anderson. During 'Conga,' the Chorus zigzagged in conga lines oppositely from row to row on the stage. At another point, the chorus became a rainforest thunderstorm, starting with hands whispering together, then snapping fingers for the sound of raindrops, then cupped hands for large water drops, and progressing into the slapping of thighs and jumping on stage for thunder and a downpour.

A special interlude included a compilation of songs from the award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights, about a New York neighborhood. Guest singers Bo Mellinger and Heather Apellanes gave us a taste of the musical and story.

Almost the entire program was Spanish or Latin-related, but the variety was impressive. It was a reminder that 'Latin America' includes so many countries. The inclusion of the Bailadores De Bronces allowed for a display of their beautiful costumes and some intricate footwork. During the singing of 'La Bamba,' we were reminded that it was a song for a wedding and the wedding couples are supposed to tie a bow together using their feet. In this case, the two couples on stage were of the same sex, which is probably not their normal performance mode for that particular song.

The small band of accompanists included the unusual addition of trumpets. Kevin Gallagher provided his usual impeccable ASL interpretation, which adds a graceful note to every production. Captain Smartypants was there to provide support and fun, and the numerous soloists were often spectacular, with rather more soloists than usual, all in great voice.

If you happen to be in Bremerton this Saturday, you'll be able to catch performance of Ole! Ole! Ole! at Washington Center for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. The dance troupe won't be attending, but you'll be able to hear the rest of the lovely production. For more information, go to www.flyinghouse.org or call (360) 753-8586 for the Olympia box office.

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