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A Night Of Drink And Song With The Kansas City Baroque Consortium

Julie Denesha

The Kansas City Baroque Consortium is an ensemble specializing in early music. For the past five years, audiences could usually find them playing in area churches. But on Friday, the group performs ribald, or downright naughty, English songs...at a bar.  

Interview Highlights

On the merit of a "good dirty joke"

Victor Penniman, singer and musician viola da gamba: This evening is a night of bawdy English song from the 16th through 18th century. The English felt that laughter actually was the best medicine, and nothing beats a good dirty joke, and that is what this is all about.

On the music of the people

Trilla Ray-Carter, director of Kansas City Baroque Consortium: This is very different from what we usually do and we all can blame Vic Penniman for bringing this all together. This is a show that he created when he was up in New York several years ago. This is a really fantastic area of music from 16th century up to 18th century music. But instead of the music that is being presented in the palaces or the King's court, this is music that one heard in the pubs and the taverns. So this represents, in essence, the other side of life.

On secret messages in songs

Victor Penniman: One of the composers that we will actually be featuring is Henry Purcell. He was quite possibly the most popular English composer until Lennon and McCartney, and I mean that quite seriously. But he also was a member of a catch club which was basically just a bunch of guys who could sing really well that hung out at the local pub and they would write these catches. Catches are like rounds, so that the text as it's set, once all three or four parts get going, a new text appears inside the other ones and it's often completely filthy.

On burping on cue:

Beth Byrd-Lonski, artistic director of Byrd Productions Physical Theater: There will be belching on cue, there will be other sounds on cue, bodily functions on cue, who knew? With any luck, the patrons will join in, no (laughs). The whole thing is called Come Let Us Drink!, so get there, have a drink, have a seat, get another drink. We'll have an intermission, so you can have yet another drink, and so yeah, drink (laughs)!

On life not so different from our own

Trilla Ray-Carter: We love the opportunity to go out and socialize, to share drinking and eating with friends. This is a chance to take a peek back into old English taverns. They did it the same way then that we do now.

Kansas City Baroque Consortium presents Come Let Us Drink on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 8 p.m., at the Uptown Arts Bar, 3611 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.

Julie Denesha is the arts reporter for KCUR. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
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