Each year the Turtle Creek Chorale has a presence in the cabaret scene through their chamber group, Camerata. This annual catered performance is one of their most popular fundraising activities. The location changes each year and this time it was in 7 for Parties, a space in the Dallas Design District that formerly housed art galleries.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening was one of Dallas’ smoothest and funniest entertainers, Paul J. Williams. Boys Do Babs was a tribute to Barbra Streisand that featured Camerata and cabaret chanteuse Jodi Crawford Wright. Pianists Jeff Lankov and Scott Ayers, and drummer Drew Lang provided the instrumental collaboration. Musical arrangements were by Scott Ayers.
Opening the program were compositions by John Kander and Fred Ebb. “My Coloring Book” was Kander and Ebb’s first successful collaboration and to that they owe something to the recordings of the day, especially the 1962 rendition by Streisand. The lyricism of soloist Daryl Curry’s voice on this number was magnetic.
Jim Kondysar and Chris Doubet sang a medley of “Starting Here, Starting Now” from the musical of the same title by Kander and Ebb, and “He Touched Me” which is actually a “genderized” presentation of the Drat! The Cat! musical song “She Touched Me” by Ira Levin and Milton Schafer. Streisand recorded “He Touched Me” for Columbia Records.
An evening highlight was Brian Scott Carey’s performance of “Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long.” This song is a Milton Berle parody of the gospel song “Lord, You Made the Night Too Long.” Streisand fell in love with the number and recorded it in 1966.
Another of the evening’s strongest moments happened when Jodi sang “When Sunny Gets Blue,” written by Jack Segal and Marvin Fisher and first recorded by Johnny Mathis. She epitomizes cabaret, a performance style requiring a specific storytelling skill set not easily mastered. Streisand recorded this number on her Simply Barbra album, released in 1967.
Streisand was fluent in French. Her album Je m’appelle Barbra/My Name is Barbra was released in 1966. Later in the same year they released four more songs that were not included on the album. These songs were released under En Français. Non c’est rien/Free Again was one of the four songs. This selection was sung by Curry. Later in the evening Eric Ramsey sang a lovely arrangement of “Beau Soir/Beautiful Evening” which was recorded for Streisand’s Classical Barbra album and released in 1976.
Carey handled Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love” very nicely. That song was written for the musical Wake Up and Dream and included in Streisand’s 1993 concert at the MGM in Las Vegas.
Harmony can be challenging under the best acoustic circumstances. The audio in this space was curious and some of the microphone connections glitchy. This probably contributed to a few of the vocal oopsies. Among the most beautifully secure harmonies of the evening were those between Brian Dixon and Jim Kondysar on Rodger and Hammerstein’s “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” Gorgeous.
Camerata rounded out the evening with disco through “No More Tears/Enough is Enough” by Paul Jabara and Bruce Roberts and recorded by Barbra and Donna Summer for Streisand’s Wet album.
Audio oddities aside, the evening overall was successful. Chamber performances are intended as music among people drawn together by a common interest—friends. For one evening, Camerata and Jodi Crawford Wright loved their audience of friends through the music of Streisand. In that room, the love was all that mattered.