The Four C Notes
Give A Barn Burner Performance
The Four C Notes
At Vinegar Hill Music Theatre
Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18
Reviewed by Bobby Franklin
Vinegar Hill Music Theatre has kicked off their second season with the return of the Four Seasons tribute group The Four C Notes led by John Michael Coppola. I attended the Saturday night performance at Vinegar Hill Music Theatre, and if this show was any indication of the upcoming season it is going to be a hot and lively summer in the converted barn that is one of the most beautiful venues for musical performances in Maine.
Dressed in vintage clothing and backed by a terrific seven piece orchestra, Mr. Coppola was joined by Aaron Davidson, Adrian Aguilar, and Tyler Ravelson. The Four C Notes do not impersonate the Four Seasons. What they do is put on a wonderful evening comprised of recreating the still very popular music of the group led by Franke Valli. They do this with energy, enthusiasm, and humor. Mr. Coppola sings the lead with his wonderful falsetto voice and he has what it takes. He also allows the other members of the group to showcase their talents, they all have theatrical backgrounds that add to their performances.
The show opened with Oh What A Night, and then the gang moved right into a medley of Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, and Walk Like A Man. The crowd was already feeling excitement as they were clapping and singing along. This was a high energy performance. As the Cs sang Sunday Kind Of Love a cappella I thought that much of the Four Seasons’ music is actually a cappella with instruments added to it. This led into the very popular Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.
In case you are thinking this was strictly a concert with one song after another being performed, that was not the case. There was quite a bit of showmanship involved. The Four C Notes were beautifully choreographed as they moved about the stage with precision but also with an ease that was very natural. The banter was funny and informative. Each member had a distinct personality and they all had fun playing off one another. Tyler Ravelson was the self proclaimed “Bad Boy” of the group, and on top of his marvelous bass voice he also showed his acting ability. He shined when taking the lead on Beggin’. Aaron Davis stepped forward for the Doo-wop number Cry For Me and put it over smoothly. It brought the audience back to the days of street corner singing.
Adrian Aguilar, who had been in Rocky, The Musical on Broadway, led on My Eyes Adored You. It looks like Adrian developed a knock out of a voice while in Rocky and he was in championship form on this night. I will pass on the Yo! Adrian jokes as I am sure he has been hearing them long enough.
In an interesting medley called The Ones That Got Away, the group showcased a number of Four Season Songs that never made it to number ten on the charts. These included Save It For Me, Opus 17, Tell It To The Rain, and Girl Come Runnin’. While I was not familiar with these songs they had the unmistakable Seasons’ sound that drove so many other songs to the number one spot.
The band was showcased at the beginning of the second set as they performed an instrumental version of Grease. With one exception, they were made up of local talent drawn from the Maine and Boston areas and all were excellent. Two favorites of mine were there and were absolutely solid as usual. Rob Doquette on drums and the remarkable Tom Snow on keyboards. They are Maine’s gift to the music world.
In the second set things didn’t slow down a bit. The Four Seasons had a lot of hits and they were included here. Dawn, Big Man In Town, Workin’ My Way Back To You as well as Rag Doll triggered the nostalgia nerve in everyone there.
John Michael Coppola, who was in the Chicago production of Jersey Boys, is just superb in so many ways. He has made this show special in that it was really a night of great entertainment that left the audience shouting for more. His dedication shows alongside his gift as a performer and a singer, a gift that he has made great use of.
With the crowd on its feet there was certainly going to be an encore, and much like the finale of a Fourth of July fireworks display, the boys let it all rip out with Grease that featured each performer, and a reprise of Oh What A Night. What a finish to a great night, and Oh! What a night it was!