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Four Freshmen bring talents to Three Stages

By: Eileen Wilson, Telegraph Correspondent
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Though the adjective, “freshman” implies that someone is a novice at his or her art, the Four Freshmen, who will appear for one performance only at Three Stages Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Feb. 12, are anything but amateurs. The Four Freshmen group was formed more than 60 years ago as a barbershop quartet. Through experimentation with jazz harmonies, the group has influenced the music world, including groups like the Beach Boys in the 1960s. Today’s incarnation of the long-time group include Bob Ferreira, Brian Eichenberger, Curtis Calderon and Vince Johnson — talented musicians who have been performing together for more than ten years. The years spent rehearsing and performing together really shows. “We are the second longest tenured group in the Four Freshmen’s history,” said Bob Ferreira. “We really blend musically.” Craig Burnett, president of Folsom Lake Community Concert Association, is thrilled to bring the renowned group to Folsom. “They were a last-minute add to our season — Three Stages actually held the program printing for us until we were able to secure the group. They are just great, and we’re really excited about them coming here,” Burnett said. “We have sold over 800 tickets.” Many Four Freshmen enthusiasts are excited, also. “I’ve had so many people call, saying they are huge fans, and asking for tickets,” Burnett said. It’s easy to see why the group has developed a following that crosses generations. Burnett describes the men as “gentlemen”. “They’re well dressed, well spoken, and hold the tradition of the original Four Freshmen,” he said. But it’s the music that keeps fans coming back. From the stirring harmony of the Beach Boys’ iconic Surfer Girl, each member adding crystalline notes, to the jazzy, up-tempo There Will Never be Another You, a blast back to the 1940s, no group has better tonal quality, matched by a charm and charisma that can thrill an audience. While Burnett said average fans are in their 50s, there’s something in the group’s repertoire for all ages. “We use the Great American Songbook — classic, standard songs that everyone will know,” Ferreira said. “The audience will love the music — they are wonderful arrangements. Half of our songs are older classics, and about half are songs that have been arranged by the current members of the group. We cover a lot of tunes in our hour and a half show.” While the harmonies are exquisite, the group is comprised of masterful musicians, as well. “It’s hard to classify ourselves. We are a four-part harmony, but we also have a jazz-based sound,” Ferreira said. “The harmony is intricate, complex, and we back ourselves up instrumentally.” However you classify them, the group is renowned for their enthusiasm and passion for a good time. “We have a lot of energy. We have a lot of fun. We love what we do, and that really shows,” Ferreira said. “We’re really excited to come up to Folsom and we hope the audience will enjoy us as much as we enjoy them.” * * * KNOW AND GO What: Four Freshmen When: 3 p.m. Sunday Where: Three Stages, Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom Tickets $25-$35 Information: FLCCA.org or Fourfreshmen.com