$5 discount to The Four Freshmen concert on January 8th at Stoneham Theatre
- A $5 discount is being offered to all those on the boston-acappella distribution list. Deadline to purchase tickets January 4th, and when ordering tickets, either online or by phone, use the code 4FRESH. See details below regarding the show.
THE FOUR FRESHMEN
Sunday, January 8, 2012
"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., 16pm) or log onto www.stonehamtheatre.org .
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 Pretty."
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.