The Perfect Gentlemen, national a cappella champions, headlined the Covina Center for the Performing Arts on May 17 and 18 where they delivered a family-friendly show with comedy, unique instruments and impressive vocal harmony.
The center, located at 104 N. Citrus Ave. in Covina, was packed this past weekend with eager viewers ready for a fun night. They weren't disappointed. Phil Gold, the first tenor of the four-man group might have an idea why.
"When we come into town people go 'Gosh, I haven't seen that before.' Well, they have, it's just been a while."
Beyond the variety factor, the gentlemen deliver a different show every time.
"We're not a scripted show," said Gold, "because circumstances are always different. You might be in a 100-seat theater or a 1,000- seat theater where you can't see any faces. We tend to adapt, our shows constantly evolve. You put down a set list, but it may not happen that way."
The group performs snippets of an extensive variety of music, from doo-wop, bluegrass and disco, to modern day music. It was formed in 1998 as a spin-off of an entertainment group at Disneyland called "Dapper Dans," which two of the members used to be a part of. Though the group was named "The Best A Cappella Vocal Group" in the U.S. in 2002, this type of singing is not their entire repertoire. They are versatile, and their use of the Deagan Organ Chimes, made by the J.C. Deagan Company in Chicago in 1900, only confirms this.
"When the economy is tough, people want to laugh," said Gold. "They want an escape. We give them upbeat fun with a lot of great harmony, some corny jokes and hopefully they'll come out with a smile on their faces."
This is not far off from what the theater in Covina seeks to do, according to Jacqueline Tatum, the administrative supervisor.
"They get to get away for a night," said Tatum about the shows performed at the theater. "They get to come and be entertained and think about something positive. And get some laughs."
With The Perfect Gentlemen, viewers not only laughed, but were amused by people who truly enjoy their jobs - and this seemed to translate.
"We've had a lot of wonderful experiences together," said Jim Campbell, the bass of the group. "It's sort of like a brotherhood. We try to engage the audience in a way where they're a part of the show. We just love entertaining, it's what keeps us going."
That, and the actual enjoyment viewers get from their performances.
"The smiles and laughter we hear on stage is very satisfying," Campbell said.
The entertainers have done several tours to Brazil and England and performed on cruise ships and in concerts around the country. They found a unique niche and capitalized on it. It doesn't hurt that they thoroughly enjoy it.
"Variety entertainment as a genre really doesn't exist anymore," said Gold. "Over time we tend to find that there aren't a lot of groups like what we do. We're getting these opportunities because what we do is unique."
In addition to concerts, they also perform educational shows in schools where they teach kids about the history of music within their performance. They will be playing a free summer concert in Pasadena on August 13. They will also perform at The Grove Theater in Upland near the end of June - the date is still being determined. For more information on the group, visit their website at theperfectgentlemen.us.
The Covina Center of the Performing Arts will feature a performance on May 31 and June 1 by Mark Bennett in Revisiting the Orbison Years, a tribute to Roy Orbison.
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