BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University Varsity Singers, under the direction of Dr. Janice Haworth, will perform a community concert 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, in the Thompson Recital Hall of the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature several compositions by Big Band composer and singer Russ Carlyle including a barbershop arrangement of “The Breezy Point Song” as arranged by Dr. Patrick Riley, BSU professor of music.
Three student soloists – Parrat Pokasoowan, choir president, of Thailand; Rachel Goble of Aitkin; and Jon Mansk of Center City – will sing three other Carlyle songs. Also included in the program will be two Hebrew songs, a medley of movie tunes and an arrangement of the “William Tell Overture” set for choir.
The Bemidji concert is part of a Varsity Singers concert tour, which includes performances in nursing homes, churches and high schools in Little Falls, Royalton, Pine River, Pequot Lakes, Staples-Motley and Bluffton.
In addition, the Varsity Singers will perform a concert in tribute to Carlyle at 7 p.m., April 14, at the Breezy Point Resort, where Carlyle’s orchestra frequently performed. Admission is free of charge. Carlyle, retired since the late 1980s, makes his summer home in Breezy Point.
Russ Carlyle got his start as a professional musician after winning an amateur singing contest in 1935. In 1940, he started his own orchestra, but was then drafted into the service in 1943 and left the orchestra under the leadership of his sister. In the military, he met comedian Joey Bishop who eventually introduced him to members of the 1960s Rat Pack, a circle of friends that included Frank Sinatra, who recorded several of Carlyle’s songs. After the military, Carlyle took over his orchestra again and performed in Las Vegas, Breezy Point Resort in Minnesota and in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1951, Carlyle’s orchestra was signed by the ABC/ Paramount label and recorded three albums. Popular among ballroom dancers, Carlyle worked through the 1980s before retiring.
The Varsity Singers
The Varsity Singers, a non-auditioned choral ensemble, includes students from a wide variety of majors and academic pursuits. Primarily a service organization, the choir has been active in sharing its music around the campus and region.
For more information, please call the BSU Department of Music at (218) 755-2915.
FOR YOUR CALENDAR
April 16 — 7:30 p.m. — Bemidji State University Varsity Singers present a community concert. Location: Thompson Recital Hall of the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex, BSU campus. Admission: free.