Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Citizens Who Care concert has extra-special meaning this year

By
From page A7 | February 20, 2013 | Leave Comment

Check it out

What: “Yes, Indeed! The Great Songs of Bing Crosby”

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Veterans’ Memorial Theater, 203 E. 14th St.

Tickets: $35

Info: www.citizenswhocare.us, 530-758-3704

When the performers step onto the Veterans’ Memorial Theater stage for the 21st annual Citizens Who Care Concert, there will be two big holes in the ranks.

Jim Hutchinson, who, with his wife Pat, was one of the founding members of the group and who took charge of all the backstage arrangements and so much more, lost his battle with cancer in April 2012. Tenor Peter Shack, who never missed a single Citizens Who Care performance in 20 years, lost his own battle with cancer a month later.

“Jim helped launch this idea,” Stephen Peithman said. “His death has been difficult for Citizens Who Care because Jim did so much behind the scenes. People just took it for granted. He did a masterful job. Everything was there when we went into the theater. Ken Wagstaff has taken on many of those roles this year, but it has taken us all a bit of time to make sure all the pieces are in place.”

Of Shack, Peithman says: “Peter was with us from the very first Citizens Who Care show. He was just one of those very interesting people. Such a talented guy, so unfull of ego. He was very confident in what he could do and worked very hard. He always took direction easily.

“His main concern was doing a good performance. He was a joy to work with. He was also a great calming influence, which was important.”

Hutchinson was so central to the annual Citizens Who Care show that in his last days, he was the one who set the program for this year’s show.

As it happened, Peithman’s partner, Larry Fanning, and Hutchinson were both undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the same time.

“Jim’s treatment was much worse, though you’d never know it,” Peithman said. “His brand of chemotherapy was pretty severe, but he was always very supportive of Larry. Shortly after last year’s Citizens Who Care show, we went in for Larry’s chemo and Jim was there with his daughter Kate. Kate sat and visited with Larry while I sat with Jim.

“I told him I was already giving thought to the next show and that I had several ideas. The one that struck Jim most strongly was the music of Bing Crosby. He said ‘I think our audience would like that very much.’ ”

They continued to discuss the possibilities of doing a show around Crosby’s career and by the time Peithman left, he had settled on that for this year’s show. As it turned out, it was Hutchinson’s last chemo treatment and he died shortly afterwards.

“It was totally unexpected,” Peithman said. “You expected Jim to live forever. He was such a gentleman, right to the end. This show was his last gift to Citizens Who Care.

“The audience will have a good time with this show,” Peithman added. “They will come away with a feeling for the amazing career — 50 years — that Crosby had, and so many different kinds of music that he sang.”

Peithman also found a lot of great stories to tell during his research. People may have one impression of Crosby, the crooner, but he was far more than that. He was an architect of 20th century entertainment, a force in the development of three industries that barely existed when he came into the world — recordings, motion pictures and broadcasting.

Throughout much of his career, Crosby dominated the music charts with nearly 300 hit singles to his credit. To this, he added stardom in movies, radio and television. His work helped to transform and define the cultural life not only of the United States, but of the world.

People may forget that Crosby’s career started with jazz, but once he realized how to really work a microphone, that he could modulate his voice if he got very close to the mic itself, he could sound as if he was singing just to one person who was listening. The mic discovery changed everything. It was a different approach to singing than had been attempted before and opened the way for a lot of other crooners, like Russ Colombo — but nobody did it as well as Crosby. He set a whole new standard for ballad singers.

Crosby had a successful radio show that went from the 1930s to the 50s. Radio gave him a chance to sing songs that he never recorded and he gave new songwriters a place to perform their works.

In film, he learned different styles of acting. “He was an instinctive actor when he was comfortable with a role,” Peithman said.

With Bob Hope, Crosby made six different “Road” pictures over 12 years, where the men drove co-star Dorothy Lamour crazy with their ad-libbed insults, but even the insults were scripted by gag writers.

The problem with making Crosby the subject of a Citizens Who Care show is that there is almost too much material. “A big problem is figuring out what not to sing,” Peithman said with a laugh.

When Peithman and Martha Dickman begin putting the show together, they start with list of songs and put them in a logical sequence. The biggest challenge is to make sure each of the singers is well provided for.

“There is no point in doing a song if you don’t have a singer who can do it justice and enjoy performing it,” Peithman said.

“You also need to consider the line of the story you’re trying to tell and how the songs tell that story,” he added. “To me, that’s the secret of all of our shows’ successes, but the ones that have been most successful are where the songs and the story you’re telling complement each other.”

One way to get in a lot of songs is to do medleys, where bits and pieces of many songs are woven together. In this show there is an Irish medley — “Crosby was Irish and recorded a lot of Irish songs throughout his career,” Peithman said — and a medley of Western numbers like “Don’t Fence Me In.” “He loved to do unusual numbers,” Peithman said.

Paul Fearn, familiar to Davis Musical Theatre Company audiences, will be sitting in Shack’s seat and Lisa Derthick will be filling in for Lenore Heinson, whose schedule did not allow her to participate this year. Both were known to the other members of the group, and so they fit right in.

“It’s important when we present ourselves to the audience that they get the feeling these people like each other,” Peithman said.

There is one thing you can count on in this year’s concert — where the blue of the night meets the gold of the day, Jim Hutchinson and Peter Shack will somehow be listening and smiling.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Attorneys at odds over Woodland infant’s death

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
4-H members prepare for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Food insecurity remains an issue for many county residents

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
 
 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

 
Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6