Helen Welch to sing the music of the Carpenters at Akron Civic Theatre

Arts / Article

The Akron Civic Theatre, a Knight Arts grantee, is beginning a new series called Club @ The Civic. It’s to be an intimate cabaret-style setting taking place on the main stage where other performers have worked successfully.

To kick it off, the first Club @ the Civic will feature now Akron area artist Helen Welch, who will be singing the music of Karen and Richard Carpenter in an event called “Yesterday Once More: The Music of the Carpenters” on October 2.

Helen Welch has appeared at the Civic before – several times, if memory serves – with a pretty recent and highly regarded Christmas event with a show choir as her backup group.

Helen Welch, singer. Photo courtesy of Akron Civic Theatre

That’s going to happen again. Joining Welch and her talented musical group with be the vocal talents of the local Miller South Show Choir (a learning institution for the arts).

Welch’s repertoire is quite extensive – running from music of the 1930s through the big band era, show tunes and apparently the 1970s with the music of the Carpenters.

Welch is a native of England, where she was reportedly well-known throughout the United Kingdom for both musical theater roles and one-woman shows.

The singer moved to the Akron area in 2003, and has been appearing in various venues throughout northeast Ohio. She has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Columbus Orchestra and the Akron Symphony Orchestra, among other big venues. Yet she is known for making smaller, more intimate settings work to showcase her musical talents. She will get that chance in the intimate main stage setting being prepared for her.

It has been said of Welch that her unique talent for choosing songs that stand the test of time and making them her own, and her ability to intimately engage her audience, quickly earned her a large and devoted following.

Choosing the music of the Carpenters certainly fits the category of well-known and much loved music that is still played on pop music stations and sung by singers everywhere, including in many a karaoke bar.

The early 1970s were the Carpenters’ best and most musically abundant years. In 1976 alone, the duo had 16 consecutive Top 20 hits. With their light, airy melodies and meticulously crafted, clean arrangements, the Carpenters stood in direct contrast to most pop/rock music of those days. Helen Welch’s distinctive alto voice should match the timbre of Karen Carpenter richly. Her tone should, as promoters say, settle in perfectly amidst the precise, lush arrangements provided by Carpenters – namely, songs such as “We’ve Only Just Begun;” “I Won’t Last a Day Without You;” “Yesterday Once More;” and “Close To You.” It’s been said that Welch will likely include popular favorites like “Rainy Days and Mondays;” “Goodbye to Love;” “Hurting Each Other;” and “On Top of the World.

Helen Welch and the Miller South Show Choir will perform “Yesterday Once More: The Music of the Carpenters” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 2 on the main stage of the Akron Civic Theatre, 183 S. Main St., Akron; 330-253-2488; www.akroncivic.com. Tickets are $25; seating is limited.