If you go
What: "Sinatra and Beyond" with Tony DeSare
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Admission: $29 to $72; FWPhil.org
Singer and pianist Tony DeSare will join Fort Wayne Philharmonic on Saturday to perform the pops show "Sinatra and Beyond." Tunes performed by the crooner will include "My Way," "Night and Day" and "I Love a Piano."
DeSare, who is also a composer, has performed with orchestras across the country and has released several albums. He answered some questions via email. Responses have been edited.
Q. Several generations now have been drawn to songs from Frank Sinatra and his contemporaries. Why do you think that is?
A. It is amazing for me to go around the country performing this music made famous by Frank Sinatra and his peers and see people of all ages and backgrounds in the audience. First of all, Sinatra is an American legend and icon on the level of others like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson. His fame and celebrity extends beyond music and has been interwoven into our culture.
The biggest factor, though, in Sinatra still winning new fans is the fact that in addition to the celebrity, he was a bonified great artist. He was a perfectionist about his singing, song choice and arrangements and produced recordings that continue to defy the passage of time. There is a universal quality to great art that appeals to people regardless of age or background and Sinatra's music has that in spades. Also, the era in which Sinatra came up the focus was on a great melody and lyric and there were scores of great songwriters all competing to write a better, more sophisticated song than their cohorts. This fostered a catalog of songs that are, as of yet, unparalleled.
Q. Is there any single song that you know is going to get a big reaction from the audience every show?
A. What I love about doing this show is there are great songs that people know and a few surprises to keep the show feeling fresh and to remind the audience that we are viewing these through the lens on 2017. Of course the classic songs like "My Way" and "New York, New York" get a huge reaction because those songs are so meaningful to people. However, it's fun when something like my version of the Bee Gee's "How Deep is Your Love" gets a big reaction during the show.
Q. When creating your own music, from where do you draw inspiration?
A. No matter how much anyone who writes or creates anything may try to fight it, inspiration often comes when least expected and almost always through whatever happens to be going on in life at that moment. I had to write a radio ad for a piano dealership a few years ago during the time my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby so the radio ad became about having a baby and teaching him how to play the piano.
Q. Do you remember your first time performing? What was that experience like?
A. Yes, I think anyone who does this remembers well the first real performance. I had been onstage before playing violin recitals or in band concerts but the first time I really sang and played piano for an audience was my junior year of high school and it was terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I got a surprise ovation from my whole high school and it really gave me the confidence to work harder and was the first seed planted that I could maybe do this for a job someday!
Q. What is the last thing you do before you walk out onto the stage?
A. Not a glamorous answer, but an honest one: I check my fly. :)