On a pleasant Conroe Saturday night last weekend a parade of young area talent was spotlighted at the Crighton Theatre in a show aptly titled, “Come Fly with Me.” Hosting the program was popular local singer/actor, Victor Suarez, who had worked since last December on assembling and developing this one-night-only showcase of area performers. Anchoring the enjoyable night of music was the impressive 17-piece onstage orchestra of the Lone Star College-Montgomery Jazz Ensemble, directed by Christina Mendoza, Director of Bands at the college.
With a cast made up largely of young people in the early stages of their performing careers, there may have been some backstage jitters that delayed the opening curtain by fifteen minutes. But Crighton Theatre regular, Carolyn Corsano Wong, was at the ready to warm up the crowd with a bit of fun as she humorously reprised her role as gossip columnist, Dora Bailey, from last year’s Crighton production of “Singin’ in the Rain.” Then it was curtain up and things got off to a sensational start with the four experienced pros making up the wonderful barber shop quartet known as Double Infinity. Dressed in handsome formal attire they would bring deliciously smooth, mellow harmonies and elegant tempo shifts to acapella renditions of the songs, “Cabaret,” “Nevertheless,” and “Yesterday.” The audience roared its approval.
The Jazz Ensemble was next to show its polished skill with a performance of “Infernal Jamnation” that was as glittering as the shimmering silver tinsel of the backdrop behind the orchestra. Fine solo moments from various members of the group during the evening would demonstrate the impressive musicianship produced at Lone Star.
Mr. Suarez was next as he offered “Beyond the Sea,” and a number of Sinatra standards that included, the requisite, “Come Fly With Me,” a “Fly Me to the Moon,” that had some great interludes from the orchestra, and a Spanish version of, “My Way,” (in the style of the Gypsy Kings), that featured fine flamenco flair from guitarists, Magdiel Zuniga and Morgan Van Rensselaer. Gregory Broughton would join Suarez on stage as the handsome gents offered an earnest and passionate rendition of the Sam Smith song, “Lay Me Down.” One additional song on the bill, “What Do I Need with Love?” from the show, Thoroughly Modern Millie, seemed like a number that could have been easily cut from the show.
As the ladies in the cast began to appear, Suarez was joined by Sara Preisler for a perky version of, “You’re the Top.” With talented Richard Kazindzhidi on the eighty-eight, the ensemble followed with a brassy rendition of the tune, “Shirley,” that had fine solo moments from guitar, bass and piano. It is worth noting that Mr. Suarez won 2nd Prize in the recent Montgomery County’s Got Talent Contest. 1st Prize went to Miss Hillary Moore, so it was appropriate that here, the duo would pleasantly team up for the song, “Blue Skies.” A highlight of the evening followed as Lauren Salazar lent her lovely voice in duet with Suarez for the beautiful, “One Hand, One Heart,” from West Side Story.
Double Infinity returned to supply solid back-up as Suarez delivered a fine, “Runaround Sue,” and then the host for the evening had a special Mother’s Day Eve dedication that must have made his Mom & Dad very proud as he sang a, “You Raise Me Up,” that featured nice violin solo moments from Alexa Garza. It was nice to hear Mr. Suarez hopes to organize “Come Fly With Me” as an annual event, and it will be wonderful to see the growth of these young performers. If there were a few nervous moments of too-rapid tempos, fidgety movements or occasional drifting off-key, that just comes with the territory of growing as a young performer. I predict these talented youngsters will continue to grow in skill and self-confidence until one day they will own the stage like the polished old-timers of Double Infinity.