The H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center was transported back in time Saturday night as The Doo Wop Project took street corner a cappella to the big stage.
With a five-man ensemble consisting of current and former stars of Broadway’s smash hits, “Jersey Boys” and “Motown: The Musical,” The Doo Wop Project brought the ‘60s into 2017. It featured hits such as Thurston Harris’ “Little Bitty Pretty One” and The Capris’ “Morse Code of Love.”
Donned in black pants, teal jackets and shiny dress shoes, the doo-wop group spun, shimmied and tapped their feet to the beat of the music as they energetically performed their set list. The group wasted no time to take lengthy breaks as they jumped from one song to the next. However, when they did stop to catch their breath, they used the time in between sets to share where their interest in doo-wop music began.
Charl Brown, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Smokey Robinson in “Motown: The Musical,” credited his father for his love of the doo-wop genre. His fellow performer, Matthew Scott, attributed his interest in doo-wop to movies of the same era such as “The Godfather” and “A Bronx Tale.”
No matter how their interest in doo-wop came about, the members of The Doo Wop Project recreated the doo-wop genre of music with tight harmonies that flowed effortlessly throughout the Luhrs Center. Russel Fischer and Dominic Scaglione Jr. hit the falsetto range with ease while Dwayne Cooper practically lived in the bass range, hitting notes so low that his voice seemed to be vibrating.
Although the crowd consisted mostly of older generations, the doo-wop group made sure to please younger audiences as well with songs such as Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” and Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” The group also performed songs recognized by all ages, such as Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
Not only did The Doo Wop Project have outstanding vocals, but it had a band that matched the talent of the singers. There were several times throughout the performance when the electric guitarist or the saxophone player would burst into a solo of intricate chords and notes, which always received applause from the audience. The doo-wop group’s music supervisor, Sonny Paladino, also accompanied the group on piano and had a few solos of his own.
In an age in which hip hop and rap music dominate the Billboard Top 100, The Doo Wop Project reminded the Shippensburg area that the doo-wop music style is far from being a thing of the past, and that a group of harmonious voices still has the ability to attract people of all ages to a quality show.