Anthology CD Release Party: An Enthusiastic Crowd and Songs You Can Eat
Reader Craig M. Brandt reports on the lively CD release party of the Somerville group.
Local residents Anney Gillotte, Allegra Martin, Vicky Reichert and Michelle Vachon make up the quartet, whose repertoire spans classical choral music, jazz and pop favorites, Renaissance polyphony, world folk traditions, cutting-edge music from local Boston composers—and the occasional original tune inspired by a recipe found on the Internet.
A professional a capella ensemble, their eclectic performances typically include fresh arrangements of old classics, traditional folk melodies recast, new repertoire in children’s songs, jazz standards old and new, popular music, and anything else that inspires them.
Three sets, an enthusiastic crowd and snacks inspired by the music
Anthology performed three sets, opening with the creative “Rum Cake Recipe” with rousing lyrics taken from a recipe found on the Internet and set to a tune from the 1982 Hymnal. Gillotte arranged the piece—and also invited everybody to sample said cake at the refreshment table.
Another crowd-pleaser was the group’s fiery staccato, scat-singing rendition of “Chili con Carne,” another dish available at the buffet.
Prospect Hill musician and Berklee professor David Thorne Scott contributed his arrangement of Michel Legrand’s “Little Boy Lost.” Always a local favorite, “M.T.A.” had the crowd singing along to help get Charlie off the train.
Reichert’s visible pregnancy added humor as she protested that she was just a girl who “Cain’t Say No” from the musical Oklahoma! Martin, the expressive soloist on the translation of a plaintive 17th century Irish poem, “I Am Stretched on Your Grave,” showed the somber side of the singers.
In the same vein, sopranos Gillotte and Reichert carried “Frobisher Bay,” a modern composition in the style of traditional whaling and sailing ballads.
The evening ended with “Ragtime Lullaby,” a composition by Gillotte, who took three lullabies that her mother used to sing her and wove them into a single work, each providing counterpoint to the others. This musical effect was heightened by Vachon’s rich alto.
A landmark moment for the quartet
The release of the CD is another landmark in the career of these four women. From the enthusiastic response of the crowd, it was a long-awaited step in the quartet’s development. The night’s program demonstrated the group’s ability to shine in a variety of styles as they gain a growing and exuberant following in the Boston area.
During the last two years, Anthology has performed mostly in Eastern Massachusetts and also in Springfield, MA, Cranston, RI, and Farmington, CT. The new CD is a compilation of tunes from their popular rather than their classical repertoire. You’ll find more info here.