Arts

The Lettermen tradition continues at the Bankhead

Trio hope to bring their energetic love song renditions for old and new fans alike

The Lettermen's latest lineup will perform the generational group's greatest hits, and more, at the Bankhead Theater on Oct. 14. (Photo courtesy LVA)

The Lettermen, an American pop vocal trio, are coming to Livermore next week -- they are hoping to electrify the audience with their energetic arrangements of old and new love songs.

The latest lineup of the famed harmonic trio will be performing next Friday (Oct. 14) at the Bankhead Theater stage in downtown Livermore at 8 p.m.

Originally formed in 1959, The Lettermen were primarily known for their 1961 hit single "The Way You Look Tonight," but over the years they solidified their spot in the music world by performing light renditions of close-harmony pop songs.

More specifically, love songs, according to Donovan Tea -- the second longest-tenured member in the 60-year history of the group.

"The Lettermen have always primarily done love songs, and excuse the cliche, but love never goes out of style," Tea told the Weekly. "So love songs never go out of style. It doesn't matter what genre it is; if it's a love song, it's going to touch you in a certain way."

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Tea first joined the trio in 1984 and has been performing ever since. All of the founding members have either died or retired -- there have been a total of 17 singers throughout the span of the group.

Currently, the rest of the trio is made up of Bobby Poynton, who started from 1990-95 and then came back in 2011, and Rob Gulack who replaced one of The Lettermen founders, Tony Butala.

But for those who might be expecting some sort of slow, love song-centered show, Tea said they should think again.

"We move on stage, we have banter on stage," Tea said. "It's a very entertaining show. We promise you that you will laugh -- you may cry some happy tears -- but you'll definitely walk out the door feeling like you've got your money's worth."

He added that because the group is treated more of a trio of soloists, rather than just one soloist with backup singers, that it adds that much more dynamic to the songs and the show.

Some of what fans can expect from the October show is what Tea described as "Lettermen-ized" renditions of new and old songs.

He said they're going to take songs from musicians like Elton John and Elvis Presley, and even songs from movies like the 2017 movie, "The Greatest Showman" starring Hugh Jackman, and add their own style.

Tea added that while the group does take some credit for their songs, most of the credit goes to their music arranger and producer Justin Avery.

"You can be a great vocal group, you can be a great soloist, but the arrangements that you do can make or break the song as far as whether it's popular or a hit or not. And we have the best vocal arranger since 1965, which was Capitol Records," Tea said.

He added that he wants to put on a good show because music is the "tonic for humanity," and with everything going on in the world right now, it's good for everyone, young or old, to take a break.

"It goes across any age group ... we even see teenagers in our audience," Tea said. "Sometimes they've been dragged there and they'll come up to the autograph tables and say 'I had no idea. I was prepared to just fall asleep and hate this whole thing.' And then we'll go to their area next year and they'll bring friends of theirs. Music just has no boundaries."

For tickets and more information, visit livermorearts.org.

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Christian Trujano
 
Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education. Read more >>

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

The Lettermen tradition continues at the Bankhead

Trio hope to bring their energetic love song renditions for old and new fans alike

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 6, 2022, 5:38 am

The Lettermen, an American pop vocal trio, are coming to Livermore next week -- they are hoping to electrify the audience with their energetic arrangements of old and new love songs.

The latest lineup of the famed harmonic trio will be performing next Friday (Oct. 14) at the Bankhead Theater stage in downtown Livermore at 8 p.m.

Originally formed in 1959, The Lettermen were primarily known for their 1961 hit single "The Way You Look Tonight," but over the years they solidified their spot in the music world by performing light renditions of close-harmony pop songs.

More specifically, love songs, according to Donovan Tea -- the second longest-tenured member in the 60-year history of the group.

"The Lettermen have always primarily done love songs, and excuse the cliche, but love never goes out of style," Tea told the Weekly. "So love songs never go out of style. It doesn't matter what genre it is; if it's a love song, it's going to touch you in a certain way."

Tea first joined the trio in 1984 and has been performing ever since. All of the founding members have either died or retired -- there have been a total of 17 singers throughout the span of the group.

Currently, the rest of the trio is made up of Bobby Poynton, who started from 1990-95 and then came back in 2011, and Rob Gulack who replaced one of The Lettermen founders, Tony Butala.

But for those who might be expecting some sort of slow, love song-centered show, Tea said they should think again.

"We move on stage, we have banter on stage," Tea said. "It's a very entertaining show. We promise you that you will laugh -- you may cry some happy tears -- but you'll definitely walk out the door feeling like you've got your money's worth."

He added that because the group is treated more of a trio of soloists, rather than just one soloist with backup singers, that it adds that much more dynamic to the songs and the show.

Some of what fans can expect from the October show is what Tea described as "Lettermen-ized" renditions of new and old songs.

He said they're going to take songs from musicians like Elton John and Elvis Presley, and even songs from movies like the 2017 movie, "The Greatest Showman" starring Hugh Jackman, and add their own style.

Tea added that while the group does take some credit for their songs, most of the credit goes to their music arranger and producer Justin Avery.

"You can be a great vocal group, you can be a great soloist, but the arrangements that you do can make or break the song as far as whether it's popular or a hit or not. And we have the best vocal arranger since 1965, which was Capitol Records," Tea said.

He added that he wants to put on a good show because music is the "tonic for humanity," and with everything going on in the world right now, it's good for everyone, young or old, to take a break.

"It goes across any age group ... we even see teenagers in our audience," Tea said. "Sometimes they've been dragged there and they'll come up to the autograph tables and say 'I had no idea. I was prepared to just fall asleep and hate this whole thing.' And then we'll go to their area next year and they'll bring friends of theirs. Music just has no boundaries."

For tickets and more information, visit livermorearts.org.

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