The Hit Parade Hits Holstein

by Christine Wiese

The Girl Singers of the Hit Parade glided on stage at the Rosemary Clausen Center for Performing Arts last weekend in a haze of sequins and net overlays. It was prom night circa 1952; it was “Name That Tune”; it was songs on the radio on hot summer afternoons.

The Girl Singers’ performance was outstanding and the crowd loved it. As soon as the band began playing the first few bars of an intro, people clapped in anticipation and when the song came to a close, they applauded their appreciation. These were well beloved melodies from their shared past. Days gone by were there again.

Colleen Raye, her sister Debbie O’Keefe, and daughter Sophie Grimm certainly know how to evoke an era. They didn’t just ape the greats which would have been easy to do. What they did do was to fuse their own interpretations of the grand standards with the sheer delight they took in the music. Their stage presence was simply amazing.

The Singers highlighted hits by Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Connie Francis, Doris Day, and Peggy Lee. Who could resist singing along sotto voce to the likes of “Tenderly”, “The Tennessee Waltz”, “Mockingbird Hill”, “Who’s Sorry Now”, Sentimental Journey”, of the inimitable “Fever”? Certainly not the folks in Holstein’s new auditorium. At times they actually became part of the show.

Kudos for audience participation had to go to the team of Schubert & Schlinz who ably assisted the ladies in “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?”. Beryl took honours as Chief Woofer while the title of Best Arfer in the Entire World went to Kent. Word has it the guys are now sitting by their phones waiting for Hollywood to call. And then there was Leon Klotz from Cherokee who walked off stage in a bit of a daze after having his hair mussed, his leather jacket patted, and three distinct ruby red lip prints smacked on his face. “Lipstick On Your Collar” nearly stopped the show!

The evening’s entertainment came to a close with Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” – possibly the best thing the ladies did all night.

The Girl Singers of the Hit Parade served up a heaping helping of song, sound, and memories. A person couldn’t have asked for or received more if he’d paid $100 for a ticket or traveled 100 miles to see the show. As one lady was overheard to say as she made her way up the aisle and out of the theatre, “I would have loved to have gotten up and danced.” So would we all.