_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES _______________________


Swingin’ White Cerritos Christmas with Debby Boone and Michael Feinstein

By Glen Creason

There was a sweet little Christmas tribute concert at the Performing Arts Center over the weekend inspired by and devoted to the late and great Rosemary Clooney. The performers were more than just close musical friends but moreover close personal friends as Debby Boone is actually part of the Clooney family and Michael Feinstein hung out at Ms. Clooney’s Beverly Hills home as a lad. The obvious affection the pair have for the legendary singer made the show a sweet one indeed. Debby Boone has continued singing, decades after her big hit and her voice remains strong but more comfortable than pyrotechnic. This certainly worked perfectly in her readings of the classic yuletide songs “My Favorite Things,” “Christmastime Is Here,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” along with peppy duets with Feinstein on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Sleigh Ride” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” All of these were couched within sentimental tales of growing up within the golden circle of Rosie. Backing the singers was a top-drawer band, the Usual Suspects lead by the fine arranger and musical director John Oddo who learned his craft with La Clooney over many years.
Feinstein, on the other hand has the voice and musical talent to fill up many concerts and concert halls. He too told droll stories and spent time with his excellent musicological knowledge explaining the greatness of the classic American songwriters. This might include Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn and even the superb Tom Lehrer and his “Chanukah in Santa Monica” that was truly a gold star on the tree of this show. To mix things up Feinstein sang a rousing medley of Frank Sinatra gems (on the chairman’s 99th birthday) and a truly magnificent version of “My Favorite Year” that was probably the finest vocal performance I have heard all year. There was more, including duets with Debby Boone and the obligatory “White Christmas” but this one was every bit the traditional Christmas Concert with glittering gowns, velvet tuxedos, a muscular horn section, double towering fir trees and plenty of good cheer.