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Vocal Quintet Five By Design To Perform Feb. 8 with LSU School of Music Interim Director Willis Delony at Union Theater

01/30/2012 10:43 AM

BATON ROUGE – On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the LSU Union Theater will be transformed into a nightclub during vocal quintet Five By Design’s “Club Swing” event.
The program begins at 7:30 p.m.


Accompanied by an eight-piece band that will be conducted by LSU School of Music Interim Director Willis Delony at the piano, the program will transport the audience to the time when swing was king and the greatest names in music hit the touring circuit to at ballrooms and nightclubs all across the country.


Minnesota-based Five By Design features the vocals of Lorie Carpenter-Niska, Catherine Scott, Kurt Niska, Michael Swedberg and Terrence Niska. Inspired by the music of the Great American Songbook, the quintet has created several productions that showcase the group’s “signature, aged-in-wood harmonies” and today they are among the number one symphony pops attractions throughout the United States and Canada. In September 2011, Wisconsin Public Television recorded a six-camera shoot of “Club Swing” and it is set to air as a pledge special in August 2012. The ensemble is also making plans to premiere their newest production for the 2012-13 season, “Ultra Lounge.”


The success of Five By Design’s Club Swing lies with the group’s penchant for detail. The quintet painstakingly searched hundreds of vintage clothing stores for just the right authentic fashions required for the show’s multitude of costume changes.


The setting is the fictional Club Swing, a soon-to-be shuttered nightclub built during the heyday of swing. As construction sounds filter through the Hotel Crosby, a news report echoes the impending demise of the once popular nightspot. But before the wrecking ball falls, Joe Sullivan, the club’s former mixologist visits the establishment one last time. As drop cloths are removed, the neon marquee flickers and then begins to glow as Club Swing is transformed to its former splendor.


From the frenetic paced opening of Benny Goodman’s “Bugle Call Rag” to the show’s blockbuster finale featuring Louie Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing,” Five by Design celebrates the swing movement from 1937-1955. The repertoire embraces a rich harmonic treatment of Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” while a Steve and Edye-styled arrangement of “Somethin’s Gotta Give” foreshadows the club’s closing, paralleling the decline of swing in the ‘50s.


The stage design evokes the ambiance of a nightclub cut from a vintage movie. The club’s marquee floats above the orchestra surrounded by palm trees, an art deco bar and linen covered tables. Each decade highlights the songs, events and personalities that defined the era. Whether listening to Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine” or the musical depreciation of Spike Jones “Cocktails for Two,” Five by Design’s “Club Swing” personifies American popular culture during the swing era.


Celebrating more than 20 seasons in the performing arts and symphony pops market, Five By Design has established themselves as one of the nation’s most sought after vocal groups.  With its productions of “Radio Days,” “Club Swing,” “Stay Tuned” and “Cool and Swingin’,” the vocal quintet has appeared with more than 175 symphony orchestras and more than 500 performing arts centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Five By Design, call 1-800-449-7345 or visit


Tickets for the performance are $25 for general admission and $15 for faculty and staff. LSU students receive free admission to the event. To purchase tickets, call the Union Theater box office at 225-578-5128 or visit the LSU School of Music website to purchase tickets online.

LSU Media Relations