Under the Streetlamp to return to Steamboat on Tuesday
Group pays tribute to musical classics from the American Radio Songbook
December 21, 2014
Steamboat Springs — With each performance, one vocal quartet with a unique onstage charisma pays tribute to the musical legends who have gone before them.
Under the Streetlamp’s show Tuesday night in Steamboat Springs will keep up that tradition.
The group will be in town for a concert full of holiday tunes and timeless melodies from the American Radio Songbook that they've revived with their own unique twist. At 7 p.m., the quartet will take the stage at the Strings Music Pavilion.
"Some of the songs were best heard by a couple guys singing under a streetlamp. That was where they had their best sound," said Michael Cunio, one of the members of Under the Streetlamp. "We want to create a sound to try and honor and respect to those singers that came before us in the ’40s and ’50s time period."
Before Cunio, Michael Ingersoll, Christopher Kale Jones and Shonn Wiley were the group known as Under the Streetlamp, they were cast members in the hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Jersey Boys."
A few years ago, they decided to go out on their own as a performance group. Achieving initial success performing in and around Chicago, Under the Streetlamp aired its first PBS special in 2011 and a second PBS special in 2014. Since then, they've set off on a national tour that continues even today. Between them, they have appeared on other Broadway shows, in feature films and on television.
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What adds to their unique performance, Cunio said, is their unscripted show. They welcome the unexpected and find interaction with the audience by breaking down the fourth wall, one of the highlights of their night.
"Many people were not familiar with the group when they were at Strings in the summer," said Cristin Frey, advertising and marketing director at Strings Music Festival. "But they became one of the most loved acts of the year. Their repertoire of songs pulls on your heartstrings, and they do such a great job."
For Cunio, one of his favorite things to do at each show is to look out to the audience and see three or four generations of families coming together because of the music.
"It's incredible to see how this music resonates with people, whether they lived through hearing it for the first time or just decided to go," Cunio said. "The songs we perform seem to hold a place in people's hearts."
Selecting the music for each performance comes in an organic way, Cunio said. They could be driving down the road and then, all of a sudden, hear something in a song they know would be perfect for an upcoming show. Not only that, they rehearse and honor each song.
"We make sure to foster these songs with a lot of care," Cunio said. "We are standing on the shoulders of the artists who created them. It's so important to take the music and the work behind it seriously."
Although the group has been in Steamboat before, this will be their first time performing a winter show at the Strings Music Pavilion. Tickets for the show start at $65 for adults and $30 for youths younger than 18 and can be purchased at the Strings box office or online at http://www.stringsmusicfestival.com.
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