Multi-Grammy Award-winning vocal icons The Manhattan Transfer will share the stage with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, February 8, at 7:30 pm at The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College. This special engagement is the third collaborative presentation between The Mendel Center and the SMSO in as many seasons.
Beginning with their first performances in the early 1970s, The Manhattan Transfer has become the cornerstone of contemporary music. Originally launched by Tim Hauser in 1969, Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, and Laurel Masse were the group by 1972. Cheryl Bentyne joined the group in 1979 after Laurel Masse left.
Known for their amazing harmony and versatility, incorporating pop, jazz, R&B, rock and roll, swing, symphonic, and a cappella music, the group was signed by the legendary Ahmet Ertegun to Atlantic Records. The group made their recording debut with their self-titled album in 1975. Known primarily as an East Coast cult act, they expanded their following by starring in their own 1975 CBS-TV variety series as a summer replacement for the Cher Bono Show. Starting as an underground group in New York City, The Manhattan Transfer garnered international popularity when “Chanson D'Amour” from the 1976 Coming Out album became a number one hit in Europe.
The group’s newest member is bass vocalist Trist Curless. Curless began subbing on the road for the late band founder Tim Hauser in 2013, officially joining after Hauser’s passing in late 2014. Welcoming Curless – a founding member of famed Los Angeles a cappella group m-pact – to the fold, Janis Siegel (alto), Alan Paul (tenor) and Cheryl Bentyne (soprano) embrace a new dynamic and fresh possibilities for their legendary sound that artfully incorporates his low range into their established blend.
Defying easy genre categorizations, The Manhattan Transfer became the first act to win Grammy Awards in the pop and jazz categories in one year (1981) for “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” for “Boy From New York City” and “Best Jazz Performance Duo or Group” for “Until I Met You (Corner Pocket).”
In 1985, their album Vocalese made history as the single greatest Grammy nominated album in history in one year with 12 nominations. Vocalese earned two Grammys: “Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group”; and “Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices” for “Another Night in Tunisia” (won by Bentyne and Bobby McFerrin). This album, which featured jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Ron Carter, and the Count Basie Orchestra, changed the perception of The Manhattan Transfer from superstar pop artists to formidable jazz singers.
The Manhattan Transfer has performed at the White House twice, at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, and with musical greats Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Bette Midler, Phil Collins, B.B. King, Chaka Khan, James Taylor, and Frankie Valli of The Four Seasons.
Tickets for The Manhattan Transfer with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra are on sale at www.TheMendelCenter.com, through The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-8700, option 1, and in person weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm at the box office located in the Grand Upton Hall lobby of The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.
Tickets start at $45. Discounts are available for seniors, students and children, veterans, and groups of 10 or more.
This performance is sponsored by Sunny 101.5, 98.3 The Coast, SuperHits 103.7, and the Hanson Family Foundation
About the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra
The Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra has been an integral part of the cultural fabric of our community since 1951 and is known for presenting innovative programming. In recent years, summer concerts have been introduced with concerts at the Shadowland Pavilion, Jean Klock Park, and the Heritage Center. This year, the Symphony will perform or sponsor more than seventeen concerts, providing a varied mix of live classic and popular music to cultivate and inspire a diverse audience through professional musical experiences.
About The Mendel Center
The Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since that time, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million patrons. This is in addition to the hundreds and hundreds of other performing arts, national and international speakers, ceremonies, and community events hosted by other groups and organizations on the Mainstage. The 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre offers state-of-the-art acoustics and comfortable seating in elegant surroundings. Amenities include free parking, handicap accessibility, and an array of special services including catering and bar service for private pre- and post-show events, assistive listening devices, non-spill cups for beverages inside the theatre, and premium seats in the Stage Side section.
The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.