Fifth Avenue took me back in time!

This weekend, the Suncoast Hotel booked the local vocal group Fifth Avenue as the showroom headliner.

Fifth Avenue member, Jerry Jones, is a friend, and I went to support him, support live music, and simply enjoy the show.. The band was great, Bill Fayne, on keys and Musical Director,  John Wedemeyer on guitar, Mike Meecham, on drums, Jamie Hosmer on second string keys, and last, but not least, the infamous Lenny Lopez on vocals and percussion.

The audience was filled with celebrities and retired gray-haired seniors who live nearby, play the slots and see whatever show is there. The people next to us had no idea who they were seeing. The showroom was filled to capacity.

The show opened with big screen comedic bit on cavemen about how harmony started, featuring Sid CaesarThe cavemen dropped heavy boulders on the feet of people and their screams became a vocal choir. Very funny concept.

Fifth Avenue then sang us through vocalese history and did bits of songs from different decades, another clip from the Music Man with Robert Preston setting up the barbershop music segment.

A significant chunk of the show took me down memory lane. My dad was the drummer for the Hi-Lo’s (which is mis-spelled on Fifth Avenues website). I grew up on the music of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, when Annie Ross left, it became  Lambert, Hendricks, and Bavan. I was singing “Twisted” and “Cloudburst” as a child. So, it was great to hear this music again. Are they as clean and precise as the Hi-Lo’s? No, not all the time, but the performances were superb.

The arranger Rob Hyatt is extremely talented as a vocal arranger, I just felt that some arrangements were unnecessarily complex. At times, less can be more.

I was in a vocal group, Commonwealth, and I know the hours and hours of rehearsal it takes to pull this off. We used to sing the horn parts and use fewer musicians, and had to be perfect every show. It is very demanding and I hope the audience realized just how hard these guys worked to make it happen.

The singers, Jerry Jones, Bryce Robinson, Jeff Celentano and Rob Hyatt, all have great stage presence and are funny, too.  Rob has an amazing range, went from top to bass, and Jeff has a great lead singer voice. Bryce has a great voice for theater and recording. Jerry has the mid-range, root note range with warmth in it.

Together, they do have what it takes to be a great group. Guest and new singer for the band, Tyriq Johnson joined them for Maroon Five’s “Sunday Morning”, the song they did for the TV show “The Sing Off”, they are waiting to see if they come back to do the show this coming season.

They opened with “Come Rain Or Come Shine” one of my favorite songs, and when they got to the 70’s era, Jamie and Lenny sang The Beatles’ “Come Together”.

One of the high points of the nights for me was the Fifth Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away”. Beautiful job on a splendid arrangement.

They spoofed The Jordanaires singing with no lead singer, and brought someone up from the audience to play Elvis, He didn’t know the song and it was pretty  funny when “Teddy Bear” was just back up. They killed it when they did the Four Seasons because Rob had that high Frankie Valli range.

If you get the chance to see Fifth Avenue, You will have a good time.  If you are a music lover, you will love every genre they cover, and that is many.

It all ended on a positive note for me, go on guys, Sing Sing Sing.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Maintaining Your Vocal Health

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