Songs I’ve Always Loved at PCA
by Anne Glasser
Our beloved Prescott Center for the Arts (PCA) is waking up after a slow 2020.
From April 8 through 18, PCA will show a two-man play, RED, written by John Logan and directed by Don Langford.
May will bring us Songs I’ve Always Loved by Sandy Vernon, who brings to bear a broad range of experience and skills, including as an actress, stage technician, music director, singer, teacher, proofreader, editor, and director.
Vernon performed in high-school shows and in college majored in music education in college. For many years she was a high-school choir director, introducing kids to some of America’s greatest artists and composers.
As Vernon described some of the songs she will be performing, her eyes lit up and a small smile came across her lips, apparently bringing back fond memories. For her production she has chosen a mix of inspirational and uplifting songs. Vernon will use local talent for her production, as well as performers from Las Vegas and Phoenix.
The production will feature Laura Taylor on piano, Dale Lamphear on bass and Karen Masco on percussion.
The songs Vernon will perform are from the Great American Songbook, including “Night and Day” by Cole Porter, “I’m Beginning to See the Light” by Duke Ellington, “Undecided” as popularized by Ella Fitzgerald, and “The Very Thought of You,” a hit for Nat King Cole.
“Undecided,” written by Sid Robin and Charlie Shavers and published in 1938, brings back special memories for Vernon, who introduced the song to her choral students. The students frequently asked to hear it, which delighted Vernon.
To honor Vernon’s late husband, who was British, she includes “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington,” created by Noel Coward.
Vernon smiles, “I have included a couple of Rogers and Hart songs (“Johnny One-Note” and “Falling in Love with Love”) because I love the lyrics so much.”
Vernon says she “prefers to let the music and words speak for themselves. The real art is to make it look like anybody can do it.” Vernon’s hope for creating Songs I’ve Always Loved is threefold: to pay homage to the artists who made these songs famous, to reach the older audience with songs they remember, and introduce these songs to younger people who may not have heard them.
Vernon will perform May 6-9, with a different guest artist each night. Ed Gates will do a scene from his play The Baileys as part of the opening show. Friday’s show will feature Michelle Grubert and daughter Lily singing. On Saturday April Manchester-Miller will sing a duet with Vernon, then a solo. Sunday will finish the production with Rob Kaufman doing a couple of duets with Vernon.
A PCA insider confirms that Vernon is a major asset to the organization: Sandy “is always there whenever we need a volunteer, and always does it with a smile.”
Vernon says, “I hope people will come out, enjoy the songs, and get back out and live safely, because we sure want them back at PCA. Speaking for all the venues, we want our people back safely.”
Vernon’s hopes to help keep the music alive: “I’d sure love to see these songs live another generation.” With this production she’s doing her part to make that happen.
A Prescott resident for over 20 years, Anne Glasser is the mother of two teens and passionate about equal rights, especially involving LGBTQ+ issues.