Review: “Love Notes: A Springtime Festival of Song.”

Review: “Love Notes: A Springtime Festival of Song”
By Robert P. Griffiths

Sadly this critic missed ‘Urinetown’, but the campus buzz about the heavy-hitting singers that were taking part of this excellent showcase made me excited for this show in April 24th. The performance in the Gordon Theater featured a wide array of styles; from Broadway to Doo-wop, from Rock and Roll to African music. It was incredible and very enjoyable from beginning to end.

‘Holding out for a Hero’

This song was performed by the Women’s Ensemble, and immediately kicked things off with a bang.  The featured women soloists were equipped with both powerful voices and amazing energy. I was drawn in from the first note. These very talented women not only rocked their solo parts but took it to another level when they combined forces. The choreography that was provided by the male singers was a perfect complement and just the right amount of comic relief to keep things entertaining. Well done.

‘A Boy Like That/I Have Love’

Right away, I noticed great expression and character in the faces of Ms. DeJesus and Ms Turcios and excellent use of body language. Both performers demonstrate a kind of ‘fierce’ (in a good way) falsetto. They displayed excellent polyphonic/polyrhythmic technique and showed not only power, but exquisite control, dynamics and tenderness during the slower parts. I couldn’t help but notice one of the vocalists holding her hand on her stomach to connect with her diaphragmatic support which supplies power to the voice.

‘There’s a Fine, Fine Line’

I just wanted to get lost in the music and enjoy every note. I absolutely adored the phrasing and intonation in Ms. Bate’s voice. Lots of beauty and energy in her voice.

‘Belle Mama’

I loved the use of the djembe in the opening conveying the African feel and style, as well as the layering of the tambourine. The ensemble had great blend and power with well executed ‘call and response’. I loved the Banaha dancing and clapping. Very enjoyable!

‘No One Else’

I loved Ms. Eccles’ stage presence.  Her delivery and commitment to the lyrics were extremely moving.  Her vocal quality and control of her vibrato are effortless. She managed her voice seamlessly from the chest voice to the head voice. She sold the song 100%, while displaying excellent dynamic contrast throughout. I love the power and control she has over her instrument.


Right off the bat, Mr. Goldman and Ms. McDonald delivered a heartfelt mood. I loved the handling and control of their ranges and their ability to express both great power and tenderness.  Excellent harmonies and vibrato.

You Make Me Feel So Young

Mr. LeBron delivered a perfect ‘Sinatra style’ crooning in his delightful performance. He displayed smooth style, confidence, and great stage presence. Excellent handling of the style and material.

“When you’re Home”

Both Mr. Yhap’ and Ms. DeJesus’ demonstrated great emotion and control. With masterful confidence, they exhibited a masterful palpable chemistry between them. I loved Mr. Yhap’s handling of the vocals in double time. Their dancing was an excellent touch– they switched mics without missing a beat and without any difference in sound. Perfectly done. Especially impressive was the handling of all key and mood  changes. I loved the high energy and excellent ending.

‘It’s a Blue World’

In this piece, the Men’s Ensemble was joined by guitar, snare drum and ride cymbal. The Doo-wop style and harmonies had perfect phrasing, impeccable blend and intonation. Each line was well delineated.  Excellent handling of the tempo change at the end.

‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’

Ms.Gaines-Fields’ smooth and sweet voice began the song.  I love the blended full ensemble entrance for the repeat of the chorus. The improvised harmonies from the ensemble were also excellent and blended.


The chemistry between Ms. Rivera Mills  and Mr. LeBron was irresistible. Both of these excellent performers have great confidence and beautiful voices–their character work and vocal trade-offs were executed flawlessly. The incorporation of the ‘prop’ champagne bottle was fun.  The song ended with great intensity.


One immediately feels the energy and mastery of this artist. Mr. Merkle has flawless technique.  He delivered a performance of with impeccable enunciation, beautiful phrasing, and great dynamic contrast. His stamina –in holding high notes for a very long time–controlling his crescendo, adding vibrato and then arriving at the next section with a pianissimo dynamic shows masterful control.

‘Shiksa Goddess’

Mr. Yhap demonstrates   complete mastery of his range and power, his instrument and the material.  He owned every second of the song, including his masterful recovery from a momentary slip. I adore his voice from bottom to top.


Here, there was again a flawless layering and blend between the solo groups and larger ensemble.  The soloists delivered great power and emotion in their lyrics. I am stunned and humbled by the incredible versatility and talent of Rutgers-Camden’s Musical Theater program  from the bottom to the top! I can’t wait for next year!