Last week’s launch of the 18th musical season served as an appropriate prelude to the 2012 Relay for Life which attracted 50 teams and thousands of walkers who circled the Courthouse Square over a 24-hour period while raising funds for the American Cancer Society and enjoying some festive musical performances of their own.
Just like in past seasons, another large crowd of music enthusiasts last Friday carried in lawn chairs, picnic baskets, quilts and blankets in anticipation of more vocal variety compliments of Sound of Tennessee, with its succinct barbershop style, and EG Keith, a popular country musician whose interests have broadened just as her talent level has grown.
This week’s musical guests continue the Evening Shade tradition of diverse entertainment.
Taking the amphitheater at 6:30 p.m. will be a young Christian star named Catherine “Catt” Galop. Hailing from Virginia Beach, Va., “Catt” — as she is known by friends and to her appreciative audiences — offers what is best described as an “acoustic sound that breathes life into genuine feel-good music.” Her mission is to “revive the soul” through her music.
She loves artistic expression and she credits the works of others for influencing her brand of entertainment. Her music began as merely a hobby, but after performing her first song, “Fearfully and Wonderfully,” in front of an audience of about 400, she realized then what she felt was merely a personal pastime was actually a calling.
It became a turning point in which she embraced the belief, “When you follow your heart, do what you are called to do and trust in God, and you will find your way.”
Now singing out of Nashville with Christian artists as a backup singer and dancer, Catt is continuing to find her way in the world of musical mission.
We welcome her visit to Cleveland and we anticipate an intriguing message in her spirited words as carried to her listeners in a sweet and soulful voice.
Headlining the evening will be another singer of exceptional talent. He is Jonathan Blanchard, a deep-voiced vocalist who has been trained in classical bass. Like Catt, his warmup act, his talent is unmatched for its artistry and musical interpretation.
Blanchard, whose start in music came in Memphis, is described as a “quick-change vocal artist who moves through spirituals to soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz with ease.”
The talented singer comes to downtown Cleveland having been blessed with a voice comparable in depth and richness to the great Paul Robeson. His creative style allows a deep, rich voice to blend naturally with an instinctive flare for drama. Blanchard is described as possessing a modern, approachable style of singing which captivates popular, classical and religious audiences.
It comes as no surprise this voice of passion earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial music and a master’s in music education from Tennessee State University. His blossoming talents were sculpted at TSU and have matured into an ear-pleasing outreach of soulful arrangements.
This musician and actor offers a long lineup of stage credits whose portfolio includes “West Side Story,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Do Lord Remember Me” and “The Wiz.”
Evening Shade organizer Kyle Elrod’s contagious enthusiasm over the month’s entertainment selection is justified. The performances are free to the public yet their professional caliber is easily worthy of paid admission.
We credit the Allied Arts Council of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, local sponsors and a partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission for making Evening Shade possible.
We thank Logan-Thompson PC for hosting Friday’s performance.
We look forward to a month full of Evening Shade.