Cheryl B. Engelhardt - “The Listening”
Review by Aaron Cloutier & Staff
Listeners are greeted with flawless vocal performances, angelic harmonies, piano stabs and scant hip hop instrumentation upon stepping into the musical experience that is “The Listening.” A classically tinged chorus production calling for change and social justice amidst the chaos of current times will lock your ears in from beginning to end.
As I listen through the first section, I’m brought back to the first time I saw Hamilton on broadway as I hear soaring choir vocals juxtaposed with rap verses. With a strong theatrical flair and a powerful message depicted in lyrics, listeners will be mesmerized.The singing is tight and precise with impeccable phrasing showcasing an ensemble with an impressive range of emotion and dynamic control.The introduction is captivating as the 4 part harmonies of vocal sections ping off each other with the words "silence" and "violence" creating syncopated rhythms as tenors and sopranos weave in melodic phrases.
"To be on the right side of the revolution means it’s time we shift our view of peace so we can alter our evolution.” And, “I turn my back when I hold my tongue, I cannot be silent. I cannot stand by and leave these words unsung. I cannot be silent.” "The Listening" is composed by musician and “In the Key of Success” founder Cheryl B. Engelhardt and was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther's 1967 speech King' "Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence". Donzaleigh Abernathy, who is the goddaughter of the late Dr. King, is featured as a soloist on the piece which certainly adds a very special and noteworthy inclusion to an already notable cast.
In short, “The Listening” is a much needed counterbalance to the seemingly unstable times we are all living in today with a universal message that is worth listening to over and over again.
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About Cheryl B. Engelhardt
Cheryl B. Engelhardt is a composer and singer/songwriter with dozens of film and commercial scores, four piano-pop albums, 20 tours, and 40+ TV placements under her belt. Her fifth album, "LUMINARY", landed #1 on iTunes and Amazon in the New Age category. The New Yorker graduated from Cornell University, studied orchestration at Juilliard, and began her tenure as a composer for films, ads, theater, and social justice choirs. Her success as an independent musician made Engelhardt a sought-after speaker who has presented multiple actionable and often-hilarious talks at SXSW, ASCAP Expo, and multiple colleges around the country. Committed to helping other independent musicians garner extraordinary results in their careers, Engelhardt provides programs and resources on her site In The Key Of Success.
Recent career highlights include performing on stage with Sting, the premier of several of her social justice-themed choral pieces in Jerusalem, Mexico City, and universities, and the first staged production of her musical "Boiler Room Girls" based on a Kennedy event in the late '60's. Engelhardt lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with her mountain guide husband and their pooch.