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Music: Carpenters’ music to be featured at Carlisle Theatre

Jess Hayden
For The Sentinel

Music of the Carpenters will be featured when “Top of the World – A Carpenters Tribute” comes to the Carlisle Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday, April 28.

The group brings the incomparable music of the Carpenters back to life thanks to the magnificent vocals of lead singer Debbie Taylor. Audience members will be transported back to the 1970s with hit songs such as “Close To You,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days And Mondays,” “Please Mr. Postman” and “Top of the World.”

Tickets range between $39.50 and $49.50 and can be purchased at carlisletheatre.org. The Carlisle Theatre is located at 40 W. High St., in Carlisle.

Tribute bands face the often-difficult task of authentically replicating the studio recordings of well-known bands, and adapting them to the stage. Because of the versatility of the musicians involved, Top of the World – A Carpenters Tribute is very successful at showcasing a true Carpenters sound.

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First off, fans of the Carpenters will be amazed at how closely Taylor’s voice resembles the relaxed, beautiful singing of Karen Carpenter. While listening to her, it is clear that Taylor has made a study of Carpenter’s style, and has a deep admiration for it. Secondly, the seven-piece backing band surely has the chops to recreate Richard Carpenter’s complex arrangements. They are all top-notch, professional industry musicians who have had amazing careers in their own right. The winning combination of great vocals and fine musicianship will make for an exciting evening of music from nearly a half-century ago.

Taylor started her career on stage at the age of 7 performing in children’s theater. She directed numerous children and community theater productions before becoming a professional singer 20 years ago. Her sweet, contralto voice is in the perfect range for singing Karen Carpenter’s songs. Aside from fronting the tribute band, she leads the Debbie Taylor Band, which specializes in private parties, corporate events and entertainment on cruise ships.

Taylor’s backing band is made up of a selection of excellent musicians and educators from the South Florida region. Guitarist Paul Stewart has been a professional musician for more than 40 years, both in New York City and Florida. When he’s not performing, he can be heard as co-host of the show “Jazz Lounge” on Miami public radio.

Pianist Felix Gomez has performed with prominent artists such as Gloria Gaynor and Julio Iglesias. He has won several awards, including for Best Composition at the North Texas Jazz Festival. Saxophonist, flutist and keyboard player Ross Goldman is an in-demand freelance musician. Onstage he plays an electronic wind instrument called an EWI, which allows him to synthesize the sounds of other instruments heard in the Carpenter’s original recordings.

Drummer Jack Ciano excels at just about every genre of music from country and western music to bebop jazz. He has performed or recorded with many prestigious artists including Gloria Estefan, John Secada, Natalie Cole and Be Bop innovator Dizzy Gillespie. Bassist Rafael Valencia served as the bass player at Univisión television network from 1987 to 2015 and has performed or recorded a wide variety of Latin artists including Celia Cruz and Marisela Verena.

Singer Alvaro Rosario began his musical career in the U.S. Army performing in the Fort Benning Infantry chorus. He has traveled across the United States singing for generals, military hospitals and various community functions. Vocalist, trumpet player and percussionist Diana Hernandez has been involved in music her entire life and is an ardent fan of the music of the Carpenters.

Beyond performing at the Carlisle Theatre, upcoming engagements for Top of the World – A Carpenters Tribute will take the group to Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexica, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois and Georgia.

The Since U Been Gone star announced on Monday that she will perform 10 shows across July and August in support of her upcoming album Chemistry. “I am so excited for these shows and couldn’t think of a better place to get back on stage than Las Vegas! The crowds in Vegas are such an amazing collection of people that simply want to have a great time and that’s what we’re going to do!” “So many of my musical idols have had, and still have, incredible residencies on The Strip, and I’m so excited to create my own!”

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