Vocalist in cabaret show at the DeYor

Vocalist in cabaret show at the DeYor

Staff report


Easy Street Productions’ cabaret series will continue this Friday when Tania Grubbs presents “Words & Music” in the lobby of Ford Family Recital Hall at the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

The Pittsburgh-based Grubbs has put together an evening of music by composers who wrote their own music and lyrics. It will feature standards by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Frank Loesser, Stephen Sondheim, Joni Mitchell and others, presented with a fresh approach. She will be backed by a small ensemble.

The spacious lobby and adjacent Overture Restaurant will be transformed into an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of the golden age of cabaret. A variety of beer, wine and cocktails can be paired with an a la carte menu prepared by Chef Jeff Chrystal.

Table seating is $25 per person. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. show. For reservations, call 330-744-0264 or go to YoungstownSymphony.com.

Grubbs, a Salem native who works as a professional singer in the Pittsburgh area, discussed her career and the upcoming show in this exchange:

Q. How did you get started in music?

A. Music was always around our home growing up. I remember singing and cleaning the house on Saturdays to “American Bandstand” and “Soul Train.” My older sister, Pat Pshsniak (now Pat Sciaretta), was also in a rock band in the ’60s called Sound Barrier, and I would say was a major influence. The clothes and hair were so cool.

I developed a tremendous respect for the style of music that I will be performing on Friday from Tony Leonardi when I attended Youngstown State University. He was the head of jazz studies at Dana School of Music. He took me under his wing and taught me so many valuable lessons that I still use today. Also, to this day I thank [Youngstown Playhouse director] Bernie Appugliese for turning me on to his Ella Fitzgerald LP collection. I have always considered them to be gold! He lived close to me at the time and trusted me to borrow them from him so I could make cassette copies. I then sang to them over and over and over, trying to phrase just like Ella. Theater came to me while in middle school. I was in a community production of ‘West Side Story’ in the summer of my seventh-grade year, which led me into performing shows in high school, then college and working with Easy Street Productions.

Q. Do you have a favorite style of music?

A. I love so many styles of music, but what I gravitate to most is music that moves me. Lyrics, melody – any good composition will do. This may sound silly, but when we listened to the radio back in the day, I remember often having to pull my car over to take a second because a piece of music moved me so. It had that kind of effect on me. It still happens to this day.

Q. Why did you move to Pittsburgh, and what are you currently involved with musically there?

A. My husband, Jeff Grubbs, landed a prestigious position with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1996. We have raised our family there. For the last six years, I have been working as the co-music director with Daniel May, who will also be playing with me on the 20th at the Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel. Jazz at Andys is a four-night-per-week music series that takes place in the hotel lobby and wine bar. You may also catch me singing with our group TRAVLIN’. I’ve had the pleasure of singing at several venues throughout the city, such as James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy, the Pittsburgh Winery, Smallman Street Gallery, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Jazzlive Series and Wigle Whiskey.

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