SHIRLEY -- First on the playbill for Shirley Shines! A Shirley Talent Review, Janice Yancey's gorgeous soprano voice and subtly skillful style graced a Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite, "Hello Young Lovers," from the musical "The King and I."
Next, Jodie Rachman belted out a hauntingly memorable rendition of Suzanne Vega's "Luka," accompanied by Butch Bazillion's slick and soulful guitar.
With a minimal set and maximum attention to comic detail, Littleton High School students Bobby Morse and Ethan Rambaucher presented "The Bookstore Sketch," a screwball routine made famous by the British comedy ensemble Monty Python.
Marie and Peter Elwyn, self-accompanied on ukulele and bongo drums, sang a quaint ditty called "One Meatball," followed by a three-song sing-along with "The Ukulele Ladies," Marie Elwyn, Victoria Landry and Meredith Marcinkewicz.
Emilie Faucher sang an a capella Michelle Shocked tune, "Over the Waterfall," with audience backup on the chorus. Endowed with a silky voice as well-suited to string accompaniment as it is to none at all, she called for the same backup singers again later in the evening as she strummed an acoustic guitar and sang "Buono Sera," a vintage Louis Prima love song.
Rachman and Bazillion teamed up again on "Dear Prudence," a Lennon/McCartney composition that echoed with childhood whimsy, layering sweet, soaring harmonies on the simple tune like frosting on a cake.
In another class act, Victoria Landry and Holly Haase donned a conical witch's hat and a glitzy tiara, respectively, for their duet, a delightfully nuanced interpretation of a duet from the musical "Wicked," in which the beautiful, golden-haired "good witch" spars with thegreen-skinned "wicked witch" in the song "What is this Feeling," by Stephen Schwartz.
Among the many gifts shared that evening, perhaps the most surprising moment was when Shannon Mountford sang "Rolling in the Deep," by Adele and Paul Epworth. Just 12 years old, the lithe blonde singer showed unfaltering stage presence worthy of a pro as her clear, strong voice rang the rafters in the venerable church.
Korean-American "Shirleyite" Bok Syun Joly, dressed in a colorful costume from her native land and gracefully swirling a pair of spectacular fans, interpreted in dance a joyous philosophy of life: "Why be angry; life is short; enjoy life; be free; enjoy life while you are young!"
Storyteller Mary-Ellen Jones re-spun a traditional Abenaki tale: "Gluskabi and the Wind Eagle."
After the show, performers and guests were invited to meet and mingle at the Old Center Town Hall next door, where light refreshments were served.
An annual event, Shirley Shines! was sponsored in part by a grant from the Shirley Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; with "special thanks" to the Shirley Charitable Foundation for their support.