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MP3 Helen Breen - Visions Of What Used To Be

Popular songs and duets from World War 1 with authentic accompaniments. "The delivery is perfect and one almost feels that the radio is on. Nothing 21st Century about this CD. Bravo." Bob Brier-historian and TV host.

20 MP3 Songs

Visions of What Used to Be is so evocative of a long-lost period that I wanted to put on a smoking jacket and have a martini! The selection of World War 1 songs is ideal. There are a few that quickly evoke the era, but there are plenty of unknown ones that are real discoveries. The delivery is perfect and one almost feels that the radio is on. Nothing 21st Century about this CD. Bravo!
Bob Brier, historian and TV host

I sensed immediately that however lovely the voices are on Visions of What Used to Be (and they are) the lyrics would be given equal weight—lending clarity to what each number had to say. And that’s the way I like songs, and the reason I like songs.
Jimmy Roberts, composer
(I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change)

Visions of What Used to Be focuses on popular songs from the era of World War I. The songs on Visions of What Used to Be portray American’s range of hopes and concerns from those years—from the most frivolous flirtations to the serious worries of wartime. Songs such as Memories and Beautiful Ohio are nostalgic for a simpler time. Other songs show America’s fascination with the world beyond her shores (Hindustan) and “our boys” fighting in Europe (Madelon, Keep the Home-First Burning, K-K-K-Katy). Popular love songs affirm the devotion of separated lovers (Till We Meet Again, Roses of Picardy). And comic songs celebrate the joys of returning home from war (I’ve Got My Captain Working for Me Now, Oh Johnny! Oh Johnny! Oh!, How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm). The optimistic dreams of young Americans are expressed in the hit song Till the Clouds Roll By, while the song Smiles lifts everyone’s mood! Using authentic accompaniments, Visions of What Used to Be recreates the spirit and sound of popular music from this complex, energetic time.

About the Artists:

Helen Breen, mezzo soprano and producer: This CD is a result of her fascination with World War I and her love of popular music from that time. This project, the realization of a dream, involved researching the artists, instruments, and arrangements of the time in order to perform the songs in a style true to both the period and to her own vocal gifts. As a performer, Helen has participated in more than 300 Gilbert and Sullivan performances throughout the United States and in concerts in New York City with companies including the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players. In 2006, Helen collaborated with Susan Young to found Vocal Spa, a resource center for singers that offers vocal training and performance workshops. This CD is her first title with Vocal Spa Productions.

Earl Wentz, musical director and pianist, began his professional career at the age of 12 and his performances—in every medium—have taken him to 48 states. He has worked as pianist, organist, actor, singer, director, conductor, arranger, composer and teacher. Earl’s credits include guest appearances with the Nashville, Charleston, Glen Miller, and Jan Garber Orchestras and at such varied venues as the Fontainbleau Hotel in Miami, the Greenbrier, and the United Nations. He received his education at Wingate University, Queens College, the University of North Carolina, and through extensive private studies. He is the music and artistic director for the ongoing American Composer Series, which he created in 2000.

Susan Young, contralto and recording supervisor, is a master teacher of vocal technique. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Peabody Conservatory and a master’s degree in Music in Voice Performance from Indiana University. At Indiana University, she worked as a teaching assistant to opera legend Eileen Farrell. She has taught vocal technique in music schools in Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and New York. Susan has performed as a soloist throughout North American and Europe, and in her own cabaret show in New York. In 2006, Susan co-founded Vocal Spa with Helen Breen.

Colin Roberts, tenor, has performed in opera, operetta, musical comedy, and cabaret, and does choral and concert work. He has performed solo shows at Danny’s Skylight Room in New York City and showcased the songs of composer Joyce Hope Suskind. Colin began studying piano as a child in his native Texas and continued his music studies at the University of North Texas.

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