The Four Freshmen unite holiday spirit with jazz sound

The Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center played host to a timeless sound this past Friday as vocal jazz group, The Four Freshmen, took the stage in a festive performance.

The group is composed of members Brian Eichenberger, Curtis Calderon, Vince Johnson and Bob Ferriera, and presented a line of ballads, up-beat feel good tunes and seasonal favorites in an euphonious four-part harmony.

Some favorites included, “Give Me the Simple Life,” “White Christmas” and “Day In, Day Out.”
Tyler Stauffer photoTyler Stauffer photo

The group, originally founded by four freshmen at Butler University in Indianapolis in 1948, has stood the test of time, pleasing audiences for 61 years, even as new performers replaced the originals.

Those original members were first discovered in Dayton, Ohio, and went on to produce over 70 singles and albums, including the soundtrack for “Lucy Gallant.”

When Friday’s performance began, the audience heard the classic sounds that bring up images of big bands, dancing cheek-to-cheek and the proverbial ‘good old days.’

Each band member rocked an instrument, adding up to an instrumental orchestra of drums, bass, trumpets and electric guitar, as well as some very impressive whistling by bass player Johnson.

The band passed away the evening with cheery stories and jokes that tickled the audience. These pleasantries combined with the festive Christmas trees and seasonal songs made for a merry performance. Twice during the performance the singers gathered around a single microphone at front center, creating a very intimate feeling with the audience as they sang out some of their more popular melodies.

The audience clearly enjoyed the performance, cheering loudly for their old favorites and showing appreciation for instrumental solos.

This especially happy audience was composed largely of community members, and hardly any Mercyhurst students were to be found.
This unity in demographic can most likely be attributed to the Four Freshmen’s specialized style of music. However, it is a timeless sound and can be enjoyed by almost anyone.

Sophomore Tyler Stauffer said, “I was very surprised to hear that they have been around for 61 years.”

Though I was surprised by how lively and melodious the music was, the tempo and tone that is necessary to make that beautiful four-part harmony encouraged each number to run together until they all began to sound the same. By the end of the first act, it almost seemed as if it were in monotone.

Despite this repetitive feeling, the group performed so genuinely and with such cheer that the performance undoubtedly brought a warm holiday glow and nostalgia to each and every audience member.