A Carpenters Christmas

A Carpenters Christmas (4 out 5 Stars)
Around the Town Chicago
December 18, 2012

Many of my age group fell in love with Karen Carpenter during her years on TV and recording some great music. We all know the struggles she had with what we were told was an “eating disorder” that took her life while she was in her prime. None of us really know the reasons for her disorder, but it is thought that her fame may have been involved. Despite that memory, we have another memory of her- the beautiful musi that she and brother Richard brought to us with their sound.

I have been witness to Karen being kept alive by Lisa Rock ,who travels the country bringing this sound and story to those who loved, and still love, Karen! The “Close to You” concert is a masterpiece of CABARET work!, and now, her new show, “A Carpenters Christmas” brings back fond memories of the Television Specials of the 1970′s. Yes! It has been a long time, and yet in my heart, listening to Lisa bring her music to life, I have the eerie feeling that Karen is looking down at her and smiling that warm smile she brought to the tv screen. Last night at The Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights, a perfect space for this intimate show, I was able to recall those find memories of “long ago, and oh so far away” when Karen would delight us with her holiday music; Sant Claus is Comin’ To Town” and “Merry Christmas Darling” and many more. In fact, two hours of clorious memories handled by the delightful Lisa Rock who has assembled an incredible group of musicians to back her up ( with vocals as well ).

While this show was only a one nighter, and I am sorry if you were unable to catch it- be aware that Ms. Rock will be back with this show ( I am in hopes as an annual event, and maybe more than one performance). But she also has her other concert, “Close To You” which I understand will be back in 2013. Ms. Rock, in no way tries to imitate Karen carpenter. She understands the inner feeling of Karen and her voice has the same quality. One can see ( or hear) from her performance the love and adoration that she brings to each line of every song. To keep up on her concerts, you can check out her site- www.closetoyouonline.com and of course, www.metropolisarts.com which will fill you in on an entire year of plays, concerts, comedy nights in beautiful downtown Arlington Heights with lots of free parking.

I will also keep you posted on this valuable asset to our community.

I spent some time conversing with Ms Rock to learn more about the production. She tells me that from the time she was 13, Karen carpenter was her “absolute favorite” singer. We talked about the voice and sound of Ms. Carpenter- the way the notes and words came across to the listener and the magic that one felt from hearing this young woman make the music come alive. I asked her how the Cabaret show would be performed as I know many Cabaret singers imitate or mimic the “real thing” (some do this well, others fail badly) and Lisa assured me that her show is in fact, NOT a Cabaret type show, but instead should be considered a concert- a concert to

Lisa Rock and Ken McMullen-“Close To You” celebrate the life and music of Karen Carpenter so that despite the tragedy in her life that caused her early death, her memory and music will continue to live on, in our hearts and our souls.

We spoke about some of the music and touched on the subject of the inner struggles that Karen had with her body appearance, the thing that led the way to her early death. While many people don’t talk about this, it is still an important part of a young woman’s life as the social pressures mount. The more aware they are, the better off they will be ( as long as they have parents and friends that will help them along the way) Paying Tribute to Karen carpenter, a voice that still brings chills up my spine whenever I hear one of her recordings. I don’t admit it often, but I fell in love with her from the first time I heard her sing ( along with her brother Richard of course) and when she sang, she was beautiful- in face, mind and heart. In speaking with Lisa, I think she felt the same thing I did ( except, many years later).

The concert will take place on Sunday, October 24th at 7 P.M. at The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre located at 111 West Campbell. It may already be sold out, but you can still check it out by calling 847-577-2121 or online at www.MetropolisArts.com. Downtown Arlington Heights is filled with lots of fun and affordable dining and there is loads of free parking.

If you cannot get into this special evening, a TRIBUTE ( yeah, I guess that would be the best word) to Karen Carpenter, filled with 20 PLUS songs like “Rainy Days and Mondays”, “We’ve Only Just Begun” . “Close to You” ( I am getting chills just writing this article) and many more. Be a pert of this event, or stay tuned for my review and future dates for Ms. Rock and company. If you do get in on the 24th, say hello! I will be the guy who appears to be in heaven!