By LORNA CHEROT LITTLEWAY
COPAKE–The Copake Grange presented the Copake Quintet, who performed a two-set program of Jazz, Latin and bossa nova tunes as well as soft classic rock and selections from the American Songbook, Saturday, February 3.
The program’s repertoire included Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke”; Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “Mood Indigo”; “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” from the American Songbook; Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father”; and several songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim including “Desafinado.” The Copake Quintet has been making music together since 2014.
The ensemble members are: Stephen Sanborn, music director and woodwinds; Constance Lopez, vocalist; Debbie Contini, keyboard; Jeffrey Wurster, bass; Nikolas Vanderhoof, trombone and Steve Turowski, drums. All are residents of the Hudson Valley.
Sanborn, who has played in the orchestras of several musical theaters and is co-founder of Two of Us Productions, is a proponent of a “small group sound” that allows “individual musicians to be featured and play solos,” he said. Another benefit is “regular and better pay.”
Sanborn took up the clarinet in 5th grade and added the saxophone in high school. Through a non-major music program at Widener College, where Sanborn was studying engineering, he connected with John Vanore, a composer/trumpeter who played with Woody Herman. Sanborn received a 4-year scholarship and added the baritone sax to his woodwind versatility.
Vocalist Lopez said, “There’s a photo of me playing the piano at 1½ year old,” adding that she “has been studying my whole life.” Lopez has studied at the NY Conservatory for the Arts in Woodstock, dance at Alvin Ailey and with Rodney Douglas in Poughkeepsie.
Sanborn works regularly with a core group of 15-18 musicians whom he has met through his work with musical theater orchestras. He noted that high school grads, local actors and musicians “don’t have much available.” The Copake Quintet and Two of Us Productions help fill the void.