Singing about the wind

2011-01-13T09:51:00Z Singing about the windBy SALLY ANN SHURMUR Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

On a blustery evening, the 55-voice Singing Statesmen from the University of Wyoming and the group's dynamo conductor, Dr. Nicole Lamartine, were well worth venturing out.

Clad in dark suits, gold shirts and gold silk ties and pocket squares, they entertained for exactly an hour. And another hour would have been great.

Tonight, the group performs in the Lander Valley High School Auditorium and on Friday, they'll be at the Star Valley High School Auditorium. Both concerts start at 7 p.m., and both are free.

They'll take their talent to the All-State Music Festival in Cody from Sunday through Tuesday before returning to UW.

Ten of the Statesmen form the Happy Jacks, a student-led group that sings pop music without accompaniment. They are worth a Vegas contract -- or at least should have a shot on "America's Got Talent."

The Jacks' first number left me stunned -- and then exuberant.

Frankie Valli's "December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)," perhaps reminds me of my carefree high school and college, disco-crazed days more than any other number.

And it's a great one to belt out in the car, where I do my best karaoke.

Will never forget cruising down CY Avenue with Skinny Son when he was in junior high, and the dance remix of that came on the radio. Although it was dark and cold, I opened the window and started singing along.

Just one of numerous times when Skinny Son was mortified, but one of only a few when he threatened to jump from a moving vehicle.

So after that, the Jacks sang "(I Can't Help) Falling in Love with You," which was the centerpiece of my mid-December story about Casper's Stephanie Sundem and her visit from Elvis.

The Jacks' numbers closed with Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline."

So the tiny Lamartine is in her third year at UW, and her conducting is as much fun to watch as the men are to listen to.

They concluded their performance with a subtle weaving together of two pieces, "Do You Fear the Wind?" and the best song in the universe, "Ragtime Cowboy Joe."

A FREE, awesome night -- Lander, Star Valley and Cody take note. And get there. You won't be sorry.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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