BWW Reviews: Time Well Spent at MISS JUBILEE AND THE HUMDINGERS at the Sheldon
I decided to take in one of the Sheldon's coffee concerts earlier this week, and though some snarled traffic kept me from enjoying the coffee portion of the bill, I arrived in time for the concert. I was rewarded for my efforts by witnessing the performance of a tremendously talented group of musicians collectively known as Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers. This was, indeed, time well spent.
Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers was formed by drummer Dan Connor and vocalist, ukelele, and kazoo playing Valerie Kirchoff. They added Lawrence Welby (bass), Jacob Alspach (guitar, ukelele), Mary Ann Schulte (piano), and Kellie Everett (saxes, comb), applied a kind of jumping jazz circa 1940's vibe, and the results are simply inspiring. For this particular event (10 am shows on 10/15-16), they also featured a couple of swingin' cats on trombone and trumpet which fleshed out the horn section and spiced up the mix.
Kirchoff danced and sang up a storm, confidently conducting her ensemble with considerable style and grace. She has a charm and enthusiasm that seems to bring out the best in her fellow musicians. Whether contributing vocally, taking a kazoo solo, or strumming along on ukelele, Kirchoff is a force to be reckoned with.
It's always fun to watch someone perform material that they absolutely adore, and the music on this occasion featured a number of locally penned tunes. After a rousing opener, the band launched into a spirited take on "St. Louis Blues", which had the joint jumpin'. Songs by Red McKenzie and Victoria Spivey, Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards, Patricia Stewart, Elizabeth Washington and Katherine Baker followed, filling the Sheldon with the strains of a past largely forgotten, but warmly remembered.