Rhapsody Players perform ‘blasts from the past’ at Bay Ridge church
The Rhapsody Players vocal group, under the direction of founding member John Heffernan, performed their “Blasts from the Past” hits from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s program on Saturday at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox church located at 81st Street and Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge.
“This is the fourth time we’ve performed here and it feels like our second home,” Heffernan told the audience. He then introduced the church’s pastor, the Rev. Michael Ellias, who called the Rhapsody Players St. Mary’s house band because “we truly enjoy having them perform here, they are like family.”
The members of the Rhapsody Players are Heffernan, Anthony Marino, Colleen Martin-O’Donnell, Donna Heffernan, Kevin Sweeney, Kiernan Hamilton and Renee Titus. The guest vocalist for the evening was St. Mary’s own Connor Mayrose. They were accompanied by a six-piece band.
The well-received concert featured a selection of pop and rock songs from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. There was something for everyone, from the Mamas and the Papas and the Ronettes to the Bee Gees, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye.
They opened the show with a rousing rendition of the Drifters’ “This Magic Moment” before introducing Mayrose, who delivered a remarkable cover of Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone.” Later in the program Mayrose performed Jackson’s classic “Ben” to a standing ovation.
Other highlights included a stunning rendition of the Etta James standard “At Last,” performed by Titus, Hamilton’s take on the Bread favorite “Guitar Man” and a Bee Gees medley that included “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “To Love Somebody” and “Lonely Days.”
The Players ended with a powerful take on the McCoys’ 1965 hit “Hang on Sloopy,” as Marino left the stage and ran through the audience encouraging guests to dance and sing along.
The money raised from the concert was donated to St. Mary’s. While the church has been at its current location since 1950, its roots reach back to 1917 when the Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral, now known as St. Mary’s Church, came into existence and took up residence in a former synagogue on Boerum Place in Downtown Brooklyn.
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