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The Four Freshmen: Sunday afternoon concert at Stoneham Theatre -- January 8, 2012

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  • Mary Curtin
    THE FOUR FRESHMEN presented by Stoneham Theatre Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 2 pm “Vocal Group of the Year” (Downbeat Magazine, Readers Poll, 2000)
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 28, 2011

      presented by
      Stoneham Theatre

      Sunday, January 8, 2012
      2 pm

      “Vocal Group of the Year”
      (Downbeat Magazine, Readers Poll, 2000)

      (Stoneham, MA 02180) Stoneham Theatre presents The Four Freshmen. On Sunday,
      January 8th, at 2 pm. Tickets: $44-55, with $5 discount for seniors, theatre
      subscribers, and Stoneham residents. Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street,
      Stoneham. Wheelchair accessible. For advance tickets and information, visit
      or call the Box Office at 781-279-2200 (hours Tues.–Sat., 1–6pm) or log onto

      Now in their 62nd year of performance, The Four Freshmen continue to bring
      their unique brand of vocal harmony to audiences worldwide. The legendary
      sound that began in 1948 with Bob, Don, Ross and Hal continues on in the
      21st century.

      Brian, Curtis, Vince and Bob have been performing together since 2001.
      Whether performing with a full symphonic orchestra, in front of a big band,
      or playing self-contained, their unmistakable sound continues to thrill
      audiences all over the world.

      Audiences are invited to kick back, relax, snap fingers, and tap toes to
      such timeless tunes as “There Will Never Be Another You,”  “Give Me The
      Simple Life,” “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and “Graduation Day.”

      Current members of The Four Freshmen:

      Brian Eichenberger (lead vocal, guitar) was born near Minneapolis and got
      his first taste of jazz harmonies in high school and then went on to study
      jazz theory and harmony at Phil Mattson's School for Music Vocations in
      Creston, Iowa. In 1996 The Four Freshmen were looking for a new member to
      play bass and sing the second part. Eichenberger got the job and within a
      few years, moved up to lead singer. He is only the third lead singer in the
      Freshmen’s history. When not touring with the Four Freshmen, he works in his
      home studio on recording projects as an arranger, singer, and producer.

      Curtis Calderon (2nd vocal, trumpet/flugelhorn) joined the Freshmen in late
      2001. He grew up in San Antonio, TX and started trumpet at the age 11. He
      won first chair in the Texas All-State Jazz band his senior year in high
      school. After graduating, he went on to play and tour with many big bands,
      including the modern day Glenn Miller Orchestra. Some of his musical
      influences early on were Clifford Brown, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis,
      Dexter Gordon and John Coltrane.

      Vince Johnson (3rd vocal, bass) sings baritone and plays bass, guitar and
      trombone. He was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California. He received
      his Bachelor of Music Degree from California State University Long Beach and
      his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from USC in 1996. His musical
      experiences vary from playing principal bass in a symphony orchestra to
      playing drums throughout his childhood. Before joining the Freshmen in 1999,
      Johnson worked as an accompanist, educator and performer.

      Bob Ferreira’s (4th vocal, drums) music studies started comparatively late
      in life when he started taking drum lessons his sophomore year in high
      school. Vocal training began Bob's Junior year when he joined the Symphonic
      Choir and eventually the vocal Jazz ensembles. He then attended Edmonds
      Community College in Lynwood, Washington where he joined the regionally
      renowned vocal jazz ensemble 'Soundsation' under the direction of Kirk
      Marcy. After 2 years of performing with 'Soundsation' and 1 year playing
      drums in the alternate vocal jazz lab, Ferreira transferred to Central
      Washington University majoring in music education. In 1992 he joined the
      Freshmen and moved to Vegas where he still lives today.

      Further background on The Four Freshmen (source: Bruce Eder, All Music

      The Four Freshmen were one of the top vocal groups of the 1950s, and formed
      the bridge between '40s ensembles like Mel-Tones and harmony-based rock &
      roll bands such as the Beach Boys as well as groups like Spanky & Our Gang
      and the Manhattan Transfer. The group's roots go back to the end of the
      1940s and a barbershop quartet-influenced outfit called Hal's Harmonizers,
      organized at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Butler University in Indiana
      by two brothers, Ross and Don Barbour. Their repertoire centered on
      standards such as "Moonglow" and "The Christmas Song," and they began to
      show an unusually free, improvisational approach to their harmony singing. A
      couple of membership changes brought Bob Flanigan, a cousin, into the fold
      alongside Hal Kratzsch, and suddenly the Four Freshmen were assembled in all
      but name, and that fell into place a little later.

      The group struggled for a long time, living hand-to-mouth while building a
      repertoire and a sound — many people who've heard the group's records or are
      familiar with their sound are unaware that they were also completely
      self-contained instrumentally, each member playing more than one instrument
      and allowing the others to switch off to different roles. They came to
      attention of various jazz figures of the era, including Dizzy Gillespie,
      Woody Herman, and Stan Kenton, and it was Kenton who took matters into his
      own hands, bringing the group to the attention of Capitol Records, where the
      bandleader had a longstanding relationship. Thus began a long and fruitful
      relationship with the label, initially under the guidance of arranger Pete
      Rugolo — gigs followed on The Steve Allen Show (then one of the top-rated
      entertainment showcases on television) and with Ray Anthony's band; they
      also managed to make an appearance in the MGM movie “Rich, Young and

      Their first hit single was "It's a Blue World," released in 1952, and they
      enjoyed further success with "Mood Indigo" (1954), "Day By Day" (1955), and
      "Graduation Day" (1956). They released their first LP, Voices in Modern, in
      1955 (and some dozen more 12" discs over the next five years); that album
      was as impressive a jazz document as it was a vocal pop effort, showcasing
      the group members' playing as well as their singing and showing that these
      guys had lots of complex musical strings in their bow. It was on these
      albums that the quartet also showed itself to be a very smart outfit, not
      just in musical terms but logistically as well. Rather than simply doing any
      12 songs that might have been working well in its stage act, the group made
      these releases into conceptual works, either musically (built around the
      sounds achieved by combinations of the group's sound and specific
      accompaniments, such as Four Freshmen and 5 Trombones, Four Freshmen and
      Five Guitars, etc.) or as thematic arrays of songs (such as Voices in Love
      and Voices in Latin).

      This approach to devising and creating albums (which paralleled the kind of
      work that Frank Sinatra was doing concurrently on the same label) would have
      an influence on groups like the Beach Boys that was nearly as important as
      their harmony sound. (Brian Wilson frequently expressed admiration for the
      quartet as part of his inspiration behind putting together the Beach Boys’s
      sound.). It’s also an important reason why, in combination with their
      virtuosity, their albums have held up so well across 40 years. Their sound
      and range were helped by the fact that their benefactor, Kenton, was on the
      same label, which made it possible for them to record together on occasion.
      Most of their late-'50s albums were good sellers — most have been reissued
      several times on vinyl and CD — and they had no shortage of top bookings and
      top pay to keep them going into the early '60s.

      New lineups of the group have continued to perform into the 21st century and
      are considered an artistically valid ensemble. In 2001, no less a label than
      Mosaic Records — the company that issues complete catalogs of jazz legends
      going back to the 1930s, in deluxe packaging — released a multi-CD box of
      the Four Freshmen's complete 1950s recordings, proudly proclaiming the
      quartet's validity as a jazz outfit.

      --submitted by marycurtinproductions [on behalf of Stoneham Theatre]
      c/o Mary Curtin
      PO Box 290703, Charlestown, MA 02129
      617-241-9664, 617-470-5867 (cell), marycurtin@...
      "dedicated to staging insightful entertainment, particularly in
      non-traditional venues"
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