Midnight Starlight in Concert July 2, 2004

Kirsten Angell
(copied from Midnight Starlight website)

"I am attracted to a wide variety of music from various cultures and eras. I am most drawn to the female vocal styles of Flamenco, Jazz and Soul music. It's the passion and suffering I hear in this music that most inspires me. The emotional quality of the music is what attracts me and I strive to share this with my audience by feeling my way through each song.

I began my singing career around the piano with my Mom's family, usually at Christmas time. My brother plays piano and guitar and would often get my Mom and I to sing with him around the house. My highschool choir teacher encouraged me to sing solo for special concerts and graduation. College friends talked me into entering a talent show and I won second place. After graduating, I sang back-up vocals for Julie Larson, a singer/songwriter in the Pacific Northwest.
A friend played wonderful Flamenco guitar and knew some other talented musicians so we put together a Flamenco band which gave me the opportunity to sing in two of my favorite languages, Portuguese and Spanish. The music was rich and passionate and it was a great experience for me.

I relocated to Anchorage, Alaska with my husband, Ethan and our son, Caelan. After the birth of our second son, Oscar, I was given the opportunity to audition for Tom Lambert to become part of Midnight Starlight. I was very excited and more than eager to start singing again, especially the musical styles and songs that Midnight Starlight perform. There was an
instantaneous musical chemistry between Midnight Starlight and me."

Now Kirsten and her family are moving to Spokane, WA. We hope to hear her beautiful song in Alaska again one day!

Elizabeth Santoro
from Midnight Starlight website)

"In High School when I was a freshman, the orchestra director asked me if I would like to play the double bass in the orchestra. I had always loved the sound and ‘feel of a bass and could always hear the bass lines floating around in the music. The rest of high school and through college I continued playing in an orchestra.

For 30 years my husband and I lived on Kodiak Island, Alaska. We retired from the Kodiak Island Borough School District, he as and administrator and I as a teacher. While living there I enjoyed playing with a chamber ensemble, 20 or more pit orchestras for the spring musicals, a little Celtic band and a Balalaika band playing the domra, a Russian instrument somewhat like a mandolin.

When our children were grown and I retired from teaching, playing jazz was like a craving. The great tunes of the jazz genre done with such creativeness and feeling are exciting, stimulating and relaxing all at once. Listening to improvisations on beautiful melodies, chords and rhythms to me is ear candy. A retired friend who plays quality jazz piano tutored me, starting by writing out bass parts using his keyboard and computer. We played in a combo for a few years before my husband and I moved to Anchorage last year. Within months I was fortunate enough to meet Tom through a mutual friend. Tom invited me to play with him and we have been having a wonderful time playing and expanding our repertoire ever since.

Tom Lambert
(copied from Midnight Starlight website)

When people ask me how long I've been playing, I usually answer, "Since the 5th grade," and that my mom made me take lessons. As a young teen, my older sister listened to what was called race music at the time. Folks like Johnny Otis were on the radio playing rhythm and blues and our mom let us listen to it. In high school, growing up in Southern California, we were fortunate enough to live near a group of liberal arts colleges around Claremont during the great folk music scare. They had a folk center where people like Chris Darrow, David Lindley, and Taj Mahal were hanging out and teaching. It's not that I learned a lot from them, but I did learn the importance of seeing and hearing the real thing. Muddy Waters came to Los Angeles to play at the Troubadour when I was a teenager, an experience that changed my life forever. Even though Paul Butterfield was around, and Taj had a band called the Rising Sons with Jesse Ed Davis and Ry Cooder, Muddy was the real thing and this young, naive boy was never the same.
Ray Charles was (and still is, really) my idol. Most musicians know that the blues can be played with only 2 or 3 chords. It took me awhile to figure out how to make those few chords sound convincing. I'm still trying to voice chords like he does. What sounds right to a person is what's most important. There may be some satisfaction from having technical skill but it means little if it's not pleasing to the ear.

I love swing music because it's something that's alive. It's a style that has to breathe. We can't force music to swing, we have to let it. A lot of energy can be spent running along side a carousel, until you make that step onto the platform. I don't consider myself a jazz musician per se, but rather a student of modern music, although my favorite pianists are: Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Hank Jones, Junior Mance, Les McCann., plus countless others. I don't think it's ever too late to expand your musical horizons. The great Benny Goodman learned to play classical music in his seventies. Music for me is a life-long journey.

Photos by Mary Glover