Musical invasion

May 14, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Fourum's afternoon show at Girls Inc. might be the senior-center version of the British invasion.

The United Kingdom-based quartet is booked for a 1 p.m. show Thursday, May 21, at Girls Inc., and will cater to older patrons who have been taking advantage of the Washington County Commission on Aging's senior-oriented programming there since September, organizers say.

But the kind of nostalgia the guys are trying to evoke isn't that of the screaming and hollering fan. They'll be doing pop, Jeff Blewett, the group's 66-year-old high tenor, said.

But it's pop as done by The Ink Spots or The Lettermen - four-part, close-harmony, men's singing. The guys perform standards from more than half a century of pop music, and also "The Animal Quartet," a humorous song more than 110 years old that Blewett discovered and arranged for Fourum.


Blewett is a classically trained vocalist who teaches piano and voice from his home in Scunthorpe, England. His father was a tenor in the church choir in Scunthorpe; Blewett joined the same choir at age 7.

Fourum was birthed 11 years ago after the guys performed together in the United States for what they thought would be a one-time only thing. Since then, they've toured the States every other year. It's sort of like a vacation for the guys, who fund the trip themselves and bring their wives along.

Blewett said he considers the quartet to be a welcome diversion to the "serious" oratorios and recitals he does.

"To sing this pop stuff, it's so much different. I want to say more enjoyable," he said. "There isn't the pressure. Particularly with three other people singing at the same time."

Q&A with Jeff Blewett of Fourum

Had you ever tried any other genres like blues or rock, things that are more stylistic and not so structured?


Why not?

It's never interested me sufficiently to do it. I enjoy listening to different genres of music but not necessarily to perform.

What are some of those genres that you do like? Say if you were to pick a blues guy, do you have a favorite?

Well, I suppose I'd go back to the old blues performer and say Muddy Waters, that sort of vintage.

Where do you see yourselves 10 years from now? Are you guys still going to be recording?

I don't see any existing four members of the group anywhere at all, except for some old-folks home. But if the group were to continue, we'd do similar sort of stuff.


High tenor -- Jeff Blewett

Tenor - Keith Ellis

Baritone -- David Hand

Bass -- Roger Wilkinson

Hometown -- Scunthorpe, England

Upcoming show - 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Girls Inc. of Washington County, 626 Washington Ave., Hagerstown. Free, but organizers are requesting a $5 donation.

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