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Melodies, mirth and musical mayhem

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    Easy Listening, a quartet of Coalcracker Chorus members (from left) Delroy Steigerwalt, Ronald Beltz, Albert Hoffman and Dan West, harmonize onstage at the Tamaqua Area Auditorium Sunday afternoon.
Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

It was an afternoon of melody, mirth and musical mayhem that filled the Tamaqua Area School District Auditorium Sunday, courtesy of the Coalcracker Chorus and company.

The Chorus, which is the Mahanoy City Chapter of the national Barbershop Harmony Society, hosted its 59th Annual Harmony Extravaganza, showcasing its exquisite four-part vocal harmonies.

Under the musical direction of LeRoy Scheffler, the Chorus, a 26-member barbershop ensemble, took to the stage wearing their trademark white jackets, adorned with maroon vests and bowties.

After opening with a rousing "Bye Bye Blues" and "Sitting on Top of the World", the Chorus showcased the talents of some of its member quartets.

The first of the quartets, Easy Listening, included Dan West, Delroy Steigerwalt, Ronald Beltz and Albert Hoffman, shined on the barbershop standard "This Little Light of Mine" and the spiritual "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", the latter an arrangement by the late Freddie King, a barbershop singer in the district who passed away last year.

Some younger members of the Chorus got into the act in what master of ceremonies Frank Walton called Generation Y. Teen singers Drew Bonner, Mike Kabana and Dan Clemson were joined by Scheffler and demonstrated their own sparkling singing talents.

The full Chorus returned for a rendition of the Mills Brothers' "Lazy River", also performing "Little Pal" and "I'm Alone Because I Love You" before giving way to their guest quartets.

The first of these, 2nd Generation, included father Mike Feyrer on baritone and sons Drew on lead and Sean as tenor, joining family friend Chip Moyer, who sang bass. The quartet has been racking up awards, including fifth in the Mid-Atlantic District in 2008 and first in the Northern Division contests in 2006 and 2008.

The foursome, decked out in blue long coats, displayed their smooth as silk harmonies on "I've Been Working on the Railroad", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Show Me the Way to Go Home", "That's Life", "Ball and a Jack" and Neil Sedaka's "Calendar Girl". Sean Feyrer added some between song jokes, and the group also injected some humor with "You're Mean to Me".

The main merchants of mirth and mayhem were the four members of Razzmatazz, a comedy quartet that has been making audiences laugh for 20 years, including their last trip to Tamaqua five years ago, when they performed their "Tool Time" skit.

Razzmatazz includes Bill Gable, tenor; Rick Ashby, lead; Ed Ludwig, baritone; and Don McElroy, bass.

To give an idea of Razzmatazz' comical approach, consider the group's motto: "Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?"

At first, Razzmatazz came out on stage dressed as farmers and performed a song that featured the breathless phrase,"Cotton Picking, Finger Licking, Chicken Plucking Man".

The quartet added to the hilarity in the second act, dressing in assorted 50's stereotypical outfits and showcasing their own wonderful harmonies in medleys of hits from that era, including "Rock Around the Clock", "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay", as well as "The Great Pretender", "Duke of Earl", "The Book of Love", "Sh-Boom Sh-Boom" and "Sihouettes."

While there was some clowning around that produced plenty of chuckles, Razzmatazz provided fine versions of "In the Still of the Night". "Tears on My Pillow", "One More Minute With You" and the Diamonds' trademark "Little Darling" in their own comedic style.

The Chorus returned to the stage for "Hello Mary You" before being joined by both guest quartets, as well as some barbershoppers in the audience, for the patriotic and heartfelt "God Bless America" and the BHS theme song, "Keep the Whole World Singing."

Afterglow was held at the Tamaqua Community Center.

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