Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ah Tempo! singers, Saginaw Elite Big Band perform to benefit The Food Pantry

story and photoby janet i. martineau

A vocal sextet and a 13-piece big band are joining forces to help stock a church’s food pantry.

Ah Tempo! and the Saginaw Elite Big Band celebrate the Christmas season in a 7:30pm “Holiday Magic” concert Friday (Dec. 7) at First Presbyterian Church, 121 S. Harrison.
The members of Ah Tempo1

All those attending are  asked to bring canned goods for The Food Pantry at First Presbyterian Church. 

Admission for adults is $10, a portion of which will go to The Food Pantry. Students are admitted free with a canned good.

The Food Pantry at First Presbyterian Church is stocked by several area churches.  Community members who demonstrate a need may receive seven days of groceries through it.

Ah Tempo! will sing  "Silent Night," "Mary, Did You Know?" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"  and a humorous "The Twelve Days After Christmas."

Saginaw Elite Big Band will play "Christmas Time is Here," "Feliz Navidad," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and a beautiful rendition of "O Holy Night."

The two groups will also join together for "Frosty the Snowman," "Let it Snow" and "Sleigh Ride." And Charlie Rood of WSGW will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Ah Tempo! has been performing together since 2009.  All six are members of the Saginaw Choral Society with their daytime occupations including a fastener salesman, psychology consultant, realtor, insurance litigator and photo processing machine repairman.

Saginaw Elite Big Band has been playing together for about one year, but its professional musicians are veterans of local concert,theater, variety and swing/ballroom dance bands that have performed around the Great Lakes Bay region for 25 years or more. Some members also have national credits, performing with touring Broadway shows and performing with the likes of the Drifters, Coasters, Mavellettes, Supremes, Marcels, Platters and Otis Williams' Temptations. 

Among their daytime jobs are school band directors and teachers, information technology, fireman and  church organist/pianist.

This is the first time these two groups have performed together.  

“Like so many Ah Tempo! ideas, this was collaborative,” says Betty Mayer, the director and accompanist for the group. “The guys were discussing programming a Christmas concert and tying it into a community service for the Saginaw community. 

“Since Ah Tempo! often practices at First Presbyterian it made sense to do something to help there. And the wife of Ah Tempo tenor Dave Stine is a very active volunteer with The Food Pantry and she said they would be grateful for any assistance available, so the link was made.”

As for the big band's participation, Mayer teaches at White Pine Middle School with Matt Wicke, one of the organizers of Saginaw Elite Big Band.  

“When we were both performing at Saginaw on Stage this past spring, we took time to listen to each other," says Mayer, and from that Ah Tempo! issued the invite to participate in "Holiday Magic."

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