Note: this article first appeared in the March 2nd, 2017 edition of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune.
The 2017 Showtime concert series wrapped up on Saturday evening, with a final performance by Angela Marie Cross, Steve Pollard, and Leaha Passaro.
The trio took the stage at Vicki’s Backdoor Club to put on a show that ranged from soft a capella to gritty rock. Pollard performed on guitar, Passaro on percussion, and Cross on flute, guitar, saxophone, and bass, with all three sharing vocals. The group played original compositions by both Pollard and Cross, as well as a range of covers.
Throughout the night, Pollard’s earthy vocals were complemented by Cross and Passaro’s ethereal harmonies – though Cross showcased some vocal grit of her own, as on her passionate cover of “Origin of Love,” from the rock-musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Before the trio performed his original song, “Life Is Good,” Pollard paid special thanks to the Friends of the Oroville Library, acknowledging them for their work leading to this year’s library renovation.
“It was great to play “Life is Good” as a tribute to the Friends of the Library,” Pollard said after the show. “It’s a song I wrote about sharing life with friends, and it really fit well. You share books, you share movies – it’s really in the spirit of the library.”
Another highlight of the show was Cross’s solo cover of Elvis Presley’s hit song, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Cross’s rendition included the crisp, expansive sounds of her 12-string guitar, paired with a vocal performance reminiscent of Fiona Apple and Norah Jones. With her unique rhythm and altered melody, Cross put her own soulful spin on the romantic classic, and her final notes were met with more than a few misty eyes in the audience.
The crowd at Vicki’s Backdoor Club, which featured patrons of all ages and was at times standing-room only, was particularly special for Cross, who currently teaches music at Oroville Elementary for the kindergarten through 3rd-grade classes. “It was a huge treat for me to see some of my students in the audience,” Cross says. “Getting to play for them outside the classroom really set my heart atwitter.”
As with previous Showtime concerts, the evening raised funds for future renovations and programs at Oroville’s local library. The Oroville Library recently celebrated its grand re-opening after extensive renovations, made possible in large part thanks to the fundraising efforts of nearly two decades of work by the Friends of the Oroville Library – as well as countless other community members.
Barbara Pollard, Oroville’s librarian, is excited for this year’s line-up of activities and programs made possible by the newly renovated space. “Our first new event will be this March,” Pollard notes, “when the schools are on spring break. We’re bringing in the Book-It Theatre, a performance group based in Seattle, to put on a free show geared towards kids. We’ve always loved having cultural and educational programs in the library, and we’re excited to hold this first one in the new space.”
With the library taking a leap forward in its renovations this year, sights are set on keeping the momentum alive towards further improvements. “We’re continuing to raise money for Phase 2 of the library renovations,” Pollard says, “which will include things like some additional new windows and upgraded heating and cooling.”
Saturday’s performers were among those excited by the library’s progress and future goals. As Cross says, “I know a lot of hard work and devoted effort have gone into getting the library to where it is now, so it’s an honor to give my musical talents into continuing that. It’s amazing that a small town like Oroville has such a great library.”
Before David Wolosik, President of the Friends of the Oroville Library, drew the winners for an array of local prizes, Cross, Pollard, and Passaro closed out Saturday evening’s music with a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Around and Around.” Pollard’s boisterous guitar and vocals combined with Cross’s passionate saxophone to create a raucous and joyful conclusion to this year’s Showtime concert series.
Those looking forward to the trio’s next performance can catch Cross, Pollard, and Passaro performing at Esther Bricques Winery on March 30th.