Friends and I attended a concert at the Jacksonville Public Library on Thursday of last week. The three entertainers kept us spellbound.
Jenny, who is well known by most Calhoun Countians that love musical performances, is a soprano opera singer. Her husband, a local dentist, often accompanies her as a pianist. He has been a musician since childhood and has a background in performance. Jason Wright is a visual artist who said he developed his singing ability as a baritone only of late. He has made up for lost time.
Jenny studied music in Knoxville, Tenn., and performed there several years before deciding that the domestic life and community performances best suited her. She blessed Calhoun Countians by returning to her hometown where she and her husband reared their five children, all of whom are now adults.
As she sang, Jenny astonished us all as she first sang love songs from Phantom of the Opera. Her effervescent personality enhanced her performance. Several times during the concert, she would speak directly to us and tell us the background of the songs. Also, she danced and acted.
Jason’s voice quality is smooth and clear – perfectly suited to versatility to opera and a wide variety of music. His pleasant and humorous personality suited Jenny’s lead in the dialogue.
The couple has sung together for a couple of years now, and it is evident that both are delighted to perform together. She said specifically that she is always happy to sing with him, and he echoed her sentiments. Jason is a couple of generations younger than Jenny, but he seems mature beyond his years. Their age gap made no difference at all, even when the two sang the selections from Phantom. Two of those, especially, were the ones that deeply touched several of us in the audience.
The three also chose to perform songs from the musical Porgy and Bess. Jenny sang and acted out the role of Bess to “Summertime.” Jenny’s interpretation made the room in the library seem like a humid summer evening. I could almost smell honeysuckles and hear fish jumping in a pond. Jason sang “I Got Plenty of Nothing,” a snappy song during which he danced.
Selections from the musical Godspell rounded out the concert. It was a musical I have never seen, but in which I am now interested. Bill’s virtuosity on the piano provided a spirited background for the singers.
Amazingly, this concert was free, thanks to the efforts of head librarian Barbara Rowell. Afterward, she said she had planned for months trying to schedule the three busy performers. Also, thanks to library employee Brenda Morgan for working the late shift.
Jenny, Bill, and Jason are Calhoun County treasures. They delighted all of us, judging from the comments I heard after the performances. No one, it seemed, wanted the night to end; and the musicians stayed, answered questions, and visited with all of us.
One youngster among us was particularly impressed with Jason. After the concert, the young man spoke to him and gave Jason a brief demonstration of the excellent pitch of his singing voice.
So, if you get a chance to hear these musicians performing together again, pay money, travel, and give up your comfy recliner for at least one night. While at their concerts, you won’t think of your troubles. You won’t be aware of anything negative in the world. You will just go and be entertained.
Email Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.