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Review: The Capital Hearings at AMP by Strathmore

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I came to review the venue as well as the performance so I need to share a bit about both. First of all AMP by Strathmore is a swanky nightclub nestled at the corner of Montrose Road and Rockville Pike in a new neighborhood dubbed “Pike & Rose.” The ongoing transformation of this former strip mall location is on full display this season with festive holiday lighting. METRO and ample parking make it easy to be here. The live music and dining concept seats up to 240 at tables for a performance and features a 2,800 square foot concert space and adjacent 1,100 square foot lounge. Patrons order drinks and food at the bar in the lounge and return to their table for delivery.  I recommend you arrive early for your show so as not to let your dining distract you from the artistry on stage. There is not a bad seat in the house and the acoustics are amazing owed in part to Kenny – the sound engineer.

The Capital Hearings performed An A Capella Holiday. They refer to themselves as a group of friends who love to sing. As Baritone Matthew Cooke and narrator for the evening explained to a packed house, “We make music to move people.” And we (those gathered here tonight) were indeed moved.

During an evening of Christmas music celebrating “the Birth of the Baby Jesus” there were popular carols: “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “All I Want for Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

There was also an ancient chant: “O Magnum Mysterium”;  haunting and joyous hymns:” Carol of the Bells,” “We Three Kings,” “White Winter Hymnal,” “Gabriel’s Message,” and “Come Darkness, Come Light.”

Of course there were a few singalong opportunities to join in on “Deck the Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Silent Night,” for those inclined. We were treated to beautiful solos and harmonies by sopranos Heather MacDonald and Fiona Vella; mezzos Allison Echard and Lyndsey Gore; altos Jamie Alvis and Chrislyn Laurore; tenors Luke Capizzo, John Hazangeles, and Dileep Srihari; baritone & vocal percussionist Mike Rowan, and basses Justin Quam and Kyle Whitaker.

Allison Echard,Lyndsey Gore and Jamie Alvis treated us to a World Premiere Performance of an original Mike Rowan creation “Next Christmas” which sounded like a warm and hearty bowl of soup after a holiday spent ice skating with a loved one. Pure goose bumps!

The evening ended with me thinking, “More, please!”

Photo courtesy of The Capital Hearings.

Photo courtesy of The Capital Hearings.

Running Time: About 90 minutes, with no intermission.

The Capital Hearings performed for one-night-only on December 4, 2016, at AMP by Strathmore – 11810 Grand Park Avenue, in North Bethesda, MD. For information about upcoming shows, go to their website.

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