Pop diva Taylor Dayne, David Benoit and the Glendale POPS bring holiday cheer to the Alex Theatre
By Carl Kozlowski 12/08/2011
While countless other 1980s pop singers have completely disappeared into obscurity, dance-music diva Taylor Dayne has managed to keep scoring hits on the dance music charts and selling out concerts around the globe.
Yet, even as her songs continue to be radio staples nearly 25 years after her debut and as she looks forward to her Broadway acting debut in “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” and competing in the new “Celebrity Cookoff” show on the Food Network next year, there’s still one challenge that Dayne has never taken on until now.
On Friday night, she’ll be singing with a live orchestra for the first time ever, joining the Glendale POPS Orchestra and acclaimed jazz pianist David Benoit for the GPO’s first-ever HolidayPop! concert at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Speaking from her home in New York City, Dayne discussed the thrill of still having new experiences in her third decade as a professional singer.
“I’ve never done an orchestra show before, so I’m really looking forward to that,” says Dayne, who just finished a weeklong tour of Australia. “The orchestra’s working the [orchestration] charts and redoing my songs for that format. I’m the guest artist, so I’m doing four songs, with three of my own: ‘I’ll Always Love You’, ‘Love Will Lead You Back’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Baby.’ Plus, I’m doing a holiday song for the encore with Benoit and the chorus.”
The chorus she’s speaking of is the Glendale POPS Orchestra Youth Chorus, which will be making its debut at the show. Since GPO conductor/artistic director Matt Catingub decided to keep the holiday POPS show as fresh as possible, he created the youth chorus from scratch by hosting three auditions and a slew of rehearsals throughout the fall.
All the hard work with young talent will pay off when they join Benoit for a rendition of the classic tune “Christmas Time Is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Blending the youthful voices with Benoit’s Grammy-winning rendition of the song should provide a moment of haunting magic in the historic venue.
“The chorus is a special group, because all of this was coming together so fast and we wanted kids to be involved,” says Catingub, who is leading the GPO through its first season of performances. “We could have gone out and found an established group like the LA Children’s Choir, but when I heard Glendale had a youth orchestra but not a youth chorus, we put one together. It’s amazing how fast and how well they came together.”
While Friday’s show marks the first time Catingub has ever worked with Dayne, Benoit has been a long-time friend and collaborator in holiday shows at his prior posts, with groups like the Honolulu Symphony, throughout the past 15 years. In considering the range of styles that Friday’s show will encompass, Catingub proudly realizes he’s maintained his career-long tradition of keeping each holiday show he does fresh.
“I’ve been a POPS conductor for 15 years, and I can design these shows literally from the ground up, because I can orchestrate for the strengths of each orchestra I’m with,” says Catingub, “It will be a very unique concert to do and different from everything I’ve ever done. We hope to keep doing it with a totally different creation each year, making people want to ask ‘what are they going to do this year?’”
The Glendale POPS Orchestra presents “HolidayPop! with David Benoit and Taylor Dayne” at 8 p.m. Friday at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Tickets are $36 to $80. Call (818) 243-2539 or visit Alextheatre.org.