Chart-top­ping hits from the Brits

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY! -

Erna Ferry, vo­cal­ist, ar­ranger, key­board player and big band torch singer is now a mu­si­cal di­rec­tor.

Erna is col­lab­o­rat­ing with di­rec­tor Ian Har­man to present Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre’s Bri­tish In­va­sion.

The show is a trib­ute to the great Bri­tish chart num­bers of the last 60 years, stretch­ing from The Bea­tles to the Spice Girls, Adele, Rob­bie Wil­liams and Amy Wine­house.

Mu­si­cal di­rec­tion is a chal­lenge Erna hasn’t ac­cepted be­fore but she was never go­ing to pass up the op­por­tu­nity to work with cre­ative ge­nius Ian who’s taken this New Zealand based show and fur­ther de­vel­oped it into a fast-paced ‘‘Hits from the Brits.’’

Three weeks into re­hearsal, Erna says the com­pany of 22 singers are ‘‘soak­ing up all the mu­sic like a sponge. We ac­cepted ev­ery­one who au­di­tioned be­cause they were all good.’’

‘‘I teach the songs, al­lo­cate the vo­cals, find the back­ing singers and then Ian chore­ographs it,’’ she says.

Erna de­scribes the mu­sic as the sound­track to her life. She grew up in the 1960s, a decade where the Brits cre­ated a sound that was ahead of its time ‘‘and was then picked up by the rest of the world.’’

She loved Dusty Spring­field, Lulu, the Rolling Stones and, much later, The Bea­tles.

‘‘Dusty had the best rhythm and blues voice for a white artist while Lulu had a joy­ous per­sona. You could hear the smile in her voice,’’ Erna re­calls.

Now she’s teach­ing this mon­tage of mu­sic to a new gen­er­a­tion for whom so many of the songs are fresh and new.

What she’s en­joy­ing is the to­tal cre­ativ­ity she and Ian can in­ject into the pro­duc­tion. Erna says it didn’t come with any in­struc­tions so they’ve had the free­dom to im­pose their mu­si­cal foot­print on the show.

‘‘We’re merg­ing the mu­sic to­gether and them­ing it. We have sec­tions such as Carn­aby Street, Keep Calm and Carry On, The Beau­ti­ful Game and Tonight Matthew, I’m Go­ing to Be…’’

While there’s a strong fo­cus on the 1960s, the mu­sic stretches through seven decades to the present day. Erna is pleased con­tem­po­rary Bri­tish songs still have that ‘‘clean, fresh sound’’ and mod­ern di­vas aren’t re­liant on the trap­pings of dance, back­ing vo­cals and pre-recorded tech­niques that per­vade Amer­i­can mu­sic.

She says Bri­tish In­va­sion is a jour­ney of 40 pop­u­lar tunes which will at­tract many peo­ple be­cause it’s the back­ground to their lives and they’ll re­live an in­cred­i­ble and some­times nos­tal­gic mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

Bri­tish In­va­sion runs from Novem­ber 19 to De­cem­ber 5 at The Au­di­to­rium, Cen­ten­nial Drive. Tick­ets $39 (adults), $34 (se­niors/ stu­dents). Visit AMT’s web­site.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.