Singing Great Comes to Sunrise
Sandhills area music lovers are in for a real treat when internationally renowned jazz vocalist Marlene VerPlanck joins Dr. Gregg Gelb and the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra for a special, one-night-only concert.
The concert takes place at the Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad St., in downtown Southern Pines, on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m.
The New York Times has called Marlene VerPlanck "the most accomplished interpreter of American popular song alive today."
With her crystal-clear voice, a vocal range of more than three octaves, and a warm, genuine personality that reaches all the way to the back of the auditorium, she gives concerts that are often described as "musical love affairs with her audience."
Marlene VerPlanck has an impressive background as a studio and advertising singer and has also performed concert and club tours in the U.S. and U.K.
A top jingle and background singer in New York studios, she has a readily recognized voice - everyone has heard her sing "Mm-mm good, mm-mm good, that's what Campbell Soups are..." VerPlanck has also sung back-up for Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Blood Sweat & Tears, Kiss and many other recording artists.
A special North Carolina connection is a longtime association with pianist Loonis McGlohon, who asked VerPlanck to sing on "North Carolina Is My Home," with Charles Kuralt. She toured with that show 11 years.
Today VerPlanck performs all over the world and has just released her 20th CD, "Once There Was a Moon."
The Southern Pines show will feature stunning, intricate 18-piece jazz arrangements written especially for Marlene by her late husband, Billy VerPlanck, a highly respected New York musician, arranger and producer who at one time worked with Glenn Miller and many other great Big Bands of the swing era.
Accompanying VerPlanck will be the 18-piece Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra, the performing arm of the nonprofit, grant-funded arts organization, Heart of Carolina Jazz Society, founded by Sanford's Gregg Gelb almost a quarter-century ago.
The orchestra is based in Sanford and is a labor of love for Gelb and the musicians, who come from as far away as Wake Forest to staff the group.
In fact, the Sandhills area has a long-standing connection with the well-known regional jazz group through the many local musicians who have played with HOCJO over the years. Currently, nearly one-fourth of the performers are local Sandhills area musicians, with Rob Hill (Union Pines band director) on trumpet; Chris Shaw on trombone; Tom Bernett (Swing Street Band) on drums; and Steve Menendez (Moore OnStage musical director) on piano.
Other local musicians, including Alan Daubenspeck, Fred Brush, Dave Byles and Chris Dunn, have served as recent members or as substitute players for the group.
Tickets for the concert are $15 (general admission) and are available in Southern Pines at the Arts Council of Moore County, the Bell Tree, The Country Bookshop, the Sly Fox, and the Wine Cellar and Tasting Room; and in Pinehurst at the Given Memorial Library, Heavenly Pines Jewelry and Gifts, and Pinehurst Area Realty.
In Sanford, tickets are available through the Temple Theatre.
Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the concert.
More information about tickets and the concert is online at www.carolina jazz.com.
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