In the 70’s, The Carpenters, the iconic brother (Richard) and sister (Karen) duo, had tremendous success and recorded a vast catalogue of songs including some very huge and well-known hits that have clearly stood the test of time.
Fast forward to now – Enter Gospo Collective fresh back from their most recent success, Jackson vs Jackson (a Michael & Janet Jackson song performance), with a trip back to the 70’s with ‘The Carpenters Story’ which appeared this just gone weekend at the socially popular urban venue, Plant 4 in Bowden.
The 65 strong choir entered and stood layered, head down in unison. They were dressed in red t-shirt’s with white trim and high waisted blue denim jeans, very 70’s ‘teenagers/seniors’ inspired (Visions of The Brady Bunch &/or The Partridge Family arose).
To the left of the stage – the man at the Grand Piano & The Musical Director was world acclaimed, Chong Lim AM (Musical Director and Producer for Kylie Minogue, John Farnham & Olivia Newton John). The man is a familiar household name and has a gracious, calm energy with wonderful skills, this man knows his craft. To the right of the stage the rest of the band are placed. All extraordinary in playing their instruments and not missing a beat. Solid stuff.
“I remember listening to Richard’s dazzling keyboard arrangements and harmony skills and being in awe of their music,” he said. “So, when Charmaine raised this opportunity to work with her on Superstar ‘The Carpenters Story’ there was no other answer but yes!
The stage was set, they all awaited their gracious leader for the opener. The musicians started playing for the first song…
Now Adelaide has a gem and her name is Charmaine Jones. Gracious and charming and undeniably talented. Her voice is smooth and powerful, clearly from years of good training and natural born instinct, but also her ability to hold a massive number of singers together is seriously next level. She is enjoyable to watch and very animated in movement (think Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Act). Charmaine opened with the first song ‘It’s Going To Take Some Time’ and everything was heavenly from there on. The songs ranged from choir numbers and mixed up with pulled out singers performing solos, duos and/or small groups. The familiar tunes came thick, twined with some (for me) unknown numbers (still stunning). Close To You, Yesterday Once More, Superstar, We’ve Only Just Begun, Ticket To Ride, we expected the big ones, and we got them.
“I am so proud of the musical community we have created. These amazing singers who range from 5 years old right through to 75 will come together to perform Superstar ‘The Carpenters Story.’ We all have an intrinsic love of music – you can’t help but hear the passion and dedication. As an educator it is truly humbling and so rewarding to see them shine and perform in shows like this,” Jones said.
The ‘Jones Chorus’ came out and were jaw dropping in their vocal abilities. Dressed in Red Skivvies and Denim Overalls, they mesmerized the mostly older audience. They popped back and forth from centre stage each giving the other their moment to shine.
But, the ‘Jones Juniors’, melted the hearts. The 5-11 year olds graced the stage and they performed their hearts out. And mostly with adult guts, determination and talent. A noteable mention to Adelaide darling Amity Dry‘s daughter, Poppy, she had her beautiful solo moment and clearly is taking off in her mum’s footsteps.
Another highlight (gosh there were many) were The Big Black Caftans which Jones has been training which includes the fabulous Maggie Beer in the Barossa Valley, every Wednesday for 10-years.
But when you thought it was just Charmaine’s show, her sister, Joanne, steps out, and takes it all to even higher levels with outstanding presence and show-woman ship.
My absolute favorite was though when the entire cast (now equally over 100) burst into Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft. The intro with the kids was superbly timed. I was immersed. Bravo.
The finale was the brilliant and inspiring ‘Top Of The World’ which was the perfect choice to send us off feeling like we just had a really awesome night out hearing quality and beautiful voices. Director Ben Gillard and Charmaine are onto something good. This surely will play again, you need to see it when it does.
Overwhelmingly Gorgeous – Five Stars