, Salem, MA


December 6, 2012

In the Christmas swing

Beantown Orchestra brings live music to Cabot Street Cinema Theatre this weekend

BEVERLY — Christmas will swing into Beverly this Saturday night, when the Beantown Swing Orchestra plays holiday tunes at the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre.

The 18-piece orchestra will be fronted by vocalists John Stevens and Jen Hirsh, who both appeared on “American Idol,” and scat singer Laura Brunner.

“Stevens specializes in Sinatra,” said Frank Hsieh, who has managed Beantown since founding the group in 2006.

“His nickname was ‘Teen Martin’ when he was on ‘Idol,’” because he sounds so much like singer and actor Dean Martin, Hsieh said. “He joined the band in 2008 and brought a whole new dimension to the band.”

The orchestra’s musicians also include many recent graduates from Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, and they will be joined onstage by the Endicott Singers from Endicott College.

“The Endicott Singers will perform our big band version of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ with us,” Hsieh said, “as well as their own special arrangement of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ a cappella.”

While they are entertaining the audience, the Beantown Orchestra will also make local history, as the first new act to appear at the Cabot in 35 years.

Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company, which first performed at the Cabot on Feb. 20, 1977, appeared there continuously until shortly after founder Cesario Pelaez’s death this March.

The only other performers to appear onstage have been guest magicians who occasionally joined the troupe in a performance, said David Bull, who appeared as Le Grand David.

“I can count on one hand, but certainly no more than two hands, the number of times that happened,” said Bull, who is president of White Horse Productions, which manages both the Cabot and another theater in Beverly, The Larcom.

Bull has given up performing as Le Grand David for now, but he will act as master of ceremonies Saturday, when he introduces the Beantown Swing Orchestra.

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