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The String Queens sold out two performances last Friday at AMP, Strathmore Hall’s performance venue in the Pike and Rose complex. Violinist Kendall Isadore, cellist Élise Sharp and violist Dawn Johnson, dressed in different styles of emerald green attire, played a setlist that did not disappoint. They included their arrangements of songs by the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, a 90s R&B medley, ending with a faith medley.
Coming out strong, the ladies started with a patriotic medley of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Lift Every Voice,” and “America the Beautiful.” A tribute to the late pianist Chick Corea came when his jazz standard “Spain” was played. The range shown by The String Queens deserves respect.
Method to the Rhythm
Not unlike what they do full-time as school teachers, The String Queens took the time to explain their song selections and approach between each song.
Their popular mash-up of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and “In the Deep,” by Adele blended perfectly with upbeat rhythms. Why did they put those two songs together? The answer was simple.
“They both were in the same key,” said Isadore receiving a laugh from the audience.
The More, The Merrier
While most of the set consisted of The String Queens, the group was then joined by some of their collaborators.
Pianist and composer Anthony “Tony” Walker, like the ladies, performs many music genres. During the concert, he arranged and performed a well-known classical piece, Frédéric Chopin’s “Prelude in E Minor.” That was followed by a cool, outstanding intersection of classical and jazz music called “Neo Mozart.”
Following Walker, the ladies introduced their band, including drummer Charles Wilson, bassist Mike Mooney and pianist Chris Lewis, who also produced The String Queens’ last album “RISE.” This set opened with the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “My Favorite Things,” from the soundtrack of “The Sound of Music.”
Instruments Can Do ‘A Lot of Things‘
“For those of you who have not been to our concerts before, you see, we love all the music,” said Isadore. “We realized early in life that there’s a lot of things these instruments can do, not just in the traditional sense.”
The evening ended with songs of praise and worship. A medley with an opening solo by cellist Sharp, was followed by “Amazing Grace,” “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry” and “Total Praise.”
Isadore sang a powerful opening for “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” a rendition that seemed to connect to what society has gone through during the past few years.
Learn more about The String Queens on their website at https://thestringqueens.com