Fresh faces: Couple bring love for jazz, concerts to Avalon
They came for the cheerful sunshine, milder climate, community and the downtown. They love the downtown.
So, signal the music and get Avalon Theatre ready, because Miriam Singer and John Simpson can’t help but see possibilities.
The couple recently moved to the Grand Valley from Whitefish, Montana, where as Singer & Simpson Productions they promoted a number of concerts in the Flathead Valley.
And while they’ve changed addresses and Simpson is now retired, they see no reason to leave the music they love behind. It’s jazz. The kind that melts in your ear and makes you want to listen to more and more.
It’s the Great American Songbook, music many may not even know is jazz from the ‘20s to the ‘50s made popular by Broadway, Hollywood, great musicians, style and time.
Why not fill the Avalon with it, they thought?
While the Avalon is larger than the venues they booked in Montana, so is the population of the Grand Valley, Simpson said.
The couple also speculates they can’t be the only ones who enjoy going downtown in Grand Junction for a relaxing dinner and a show that inspires or impresses.
“Downtown has so much potential,” Singer said, after describing the inviting atmosphere and buzz created the day of comedian Bill Engvall’s shows at the Avalon in August.
That same kind of excitement could be for a show with Steve Tyrell — think soundtrack of “Father of the Bride” and its sequel — or jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli or pianist Doug Montgomery or any number of musicians whom Singer and Simpson have worked with in the past and whose names can be found at singerandsimpson.com.
There are also educational outreach opportunities that could be explored between musicians who come to Grand Junction to perform and the Grand Valley’s schools and Colorado Mesa University, the couple said.
But while there are plenty of connections to be made as they become better acquainted with western Colorado, Simpson and Singer aren’t content to sit and wait. There is too much good music to be played and heard. Enter: The Four Freshmen.
Singer & Simpson Productions is the promoter of The Four Freshmen concert set for 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, at Avalon Theatre.
Yes, that is the same evening as the second presidential debate, which, while important, could be recorded. Besides, in the case of this concert, “there is no debate. These guys are great,” Simpson said with a laugh.
The musicians in The Four Freshmen are “fun-loving, relaxed, light and entertaining,” Singer said.
“They certainly have humor in there,” Simpson said of the group’s concerts.
The Four Freshmen was started in 1948 by Don and Ross Barbour, Bob Flanigan and Hal Kratzsch. While that group’s four-part harmony and music will be performed in the Grand Junction — hits included “It’s a Blue World,” “Graduation Day” and “When My Sugar Walks Down the Street” — it will be four newer “Freshmen” on stage and carrying the legacy.
The current Four Freshmen are: Bob Ferreira, drums, who joined the group in 1992; Curtis Calderon, trumpet, 2001; Stein Malvey, guitar, 2013; and Tommy Boynton, bass, 2015. As it happens, Boynton grew up in Aurora.
“Their longevity is due to the quality of their music and the arrangements, the uniqueness of their sound, exciting performances that keep the material fresh and their strong musicianship,” according to information about the group at singerandsimpson.com.
“They are delightful,” Singer said.
And Singer and Simpson have hope The Four Freshmen will be the first of many concerts they promote in the area, they said.
Information about The Four Freshmen can be found at fourfreshmen.com as well as singerandsimpson.com.