George and Ira Gershwin. Cole Porter. Irving Berlin.
These names remain forever etched in gold on the cover of the Great American Songbook.
Solvay-based musician Blair Frodelius was raised in Fayetteville. He returns to his old stomping grounds to perform a free concert of music by that imposing composing triumvirate and others at 7 p.m. Wednesday Aug. 8, at Johnson Park in Liverpool.
The free concert is part of the 2007 Liverpool Is The Place summer concert series. The rain date is Thursday Aug. 9. For information, call the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce at 457-3895.
"I like all styles of music," Frodelius said, "but since I mainly play for seniors, I focus on the music they remember from about 1925 to 1955." It's what he calls "the Your Hit Parade era."
'Precious music heritage'
Frodelius, a graduate of Manlius-Pebble Hill High School and Onondaga Community College, has been performing music throughout Central New York for the past decade. He specializes in popular American tunes from the mid-20th century, creating new arrangements of classic songs for guitar and voice.
During his performances he shares biographical anecdotes about the composers, lyricists and recording artists. Blair performs more than 300 shows annually at senior communities, hospitals, schools, libraries and festivals.
"He's keeping our precious musical heritage alive and well for audiences of all ages," said Roberta Hampson, curator of the Motto Music Collection Archive at Fayetteville Free Library.
The ascendancy of song
Frodelius often performs tunes associated with crooner Big Crosby, such as Dream, a Little Dream of Me and I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five-and-Ten-Cent Store.
"Those songs are actually not Crosby tunes per se, but he did record versions of them," Frodelius noted. "The interesting thing about popular music up until the advent of rock'n'roll, is that the song was more important than the artist. You could have several versions of the same song on the hit parade on any given week. And of course, the great songs are rediscovered by new generations.
"Bing Crosby, for instance, recorded 'Dream a Little Dream of Me' in 1957, some 26 years after the song was originally recorded by Wayne King. Then Mama Cass recorded it in 1968."
Well, here's to more revivals of the best American music ever made, the hit-parade tunes resurrected and renewed by artists such as Blair Frodelius!
For artist information, visit box.frodelius.com.