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Lead: Liz Hardcastle. Tenor: Shelly Sweet Rubenic. Baritone: Sandi Wright. Bass: Diane Huber.

This six-month-old quartet won its regional competition in the spring of 1986 and lost its bass immediately afterward. With a new bass, the members of Ambiance were as astounded as everyone else when they won the 1986 international quartet championship just six months later. It was their first international competition and it has been said that they owned the stage - everyone knew this was no ordinary quartet.

Ambiance soon became a Sweet Adeline legend, maintaining a full performance schedule for the next nine years before retiring in 1995 with a sold-out, farewell concert at New York's famed Carnegie Hall. It is fortunate that the quartet's unforgettable Fats Waller package, and their impressive vocal gymnastics on Rhapsody of New York (an adaptation of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue), are preserved on cassette and CD. Ambiance was named first runner-up in the 1992 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards in the category of best recording by an unsigned professional. The award was for their 1991 recording, I Hear a Rhapsody. The awards are given by the Contemporary Society of America (CASA).

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1986 - Sweet Adelines Queens of Harmony

Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.

Ambiance : Ain't Misbehavin' : 1 CD

Ambiance : Ain't Misbehavin'    Out of Print

"Ain't Misbehavin'" was recorded in 1986, just after Ambiance won the Sweet Adelines championship, and features many of arrangements that were part of their repertoire at that time. Vintage material, including several Fats Waller compositions from the era of jump and stride, dominate, recognizing the stylistic contributions of jazz and blues to barbershop. Whether the old-fashioned sentimentality of "No One Loves You Better Than Your M-A-DOUBLE M-Y," "I Never Knew - I Could Love Anyone Like I'm Loving You" and "Handful of Keys" - sung with lightening bolt energy - or the slower ballads, "I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling," and "All By Myself," which are conjugated with laserlike focus, Ambiance combines passion with incredible chops.

Songlist: Ain't Misbehavin', Lookin' Good But Feelin' Bad, 'Taint Nobody's Bizness If I Do, It's a Sin To Tell a Lie, I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling, Handful of Keys, (Oh Suzanna) Dust off That Old Pianna, The Joint Is Jumpin', I Never Knew - I Could Love Anyone Like I'm Loving You, You Were Meant For Me, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans, All by Myself, No One Loves You Better Than Your M-a-double-m-y, Kiss Me One More Time

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4210c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella

Ambiance : I Hear a Rhapsody : 1 CD

Ambiance : I Hear a Rhapsody    Out of Print

Ambiance's best-known and most requested arrangement, "Rhapsody In Blue," is the CD's opener ("rhapsody" denotes an epic work in one movement). With words by David Wright, also the CD's musical coordinator, the track begins with a siren call, beckoning all to gather round. What follows is a rendition of Gershwin's classic, unlike anything heard before: symphonic in scope, a virtual vocal orchestration of relentless intensity and chutzpah. Barbershop chords and vertical harmony dominate, but the character of what may be Gershwin's greatest instrumental work is maintained. After such an introduction, one might be speechless, but not Ambiance. They follow with another Gershwin composition, finished by George's brother and lyricist Ira after George's death: "Our Love Is Here To Stay." The mood is sweetly somber, sliding gently from voicing to voicing, sometimes in unison, sometimes with solo embellishments. It's subtle, stylistically completely different from the track preceeding it. Changing the mood again, the Everly Bros. "When Will I Be Loved," has a doo-woppy flavor, the bass asserting itself with brisk authority. This diversity and willingness to try anything continues through Chopin's "Minute Waltz," Fats Waller's "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now" and Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Sun," concluding with a piano-accompanied "Ave Maria." It's a thrilling ride!

Songlist: Excerpts form Rhapsody in Blue, Love Is Here to Stay, When Will I Be Loved, Gospel Medley, Friends, Ann MinhaneEverything Old Is New Again, Keepin' Out of Mischief Now, Let's Sing Again, Pal of My Cradle Days, Something's Coming, The Minute Waltz, Canticle of the Sun, Ave Maria

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4211c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella

Ambiance : Jazz Ladies : 1 CD

Ambiance : Jazz Ladies    Out of Print

Their last recording. The Ambiance sound, which must be credited to David Wright, their musical coordinator and arranger, as well as the group themselves, is fully developed. The interpretation of their material is as important a component as the songs themselves, and their expert showmanship is evident, translating effectively even on CD. This a quartet of high-wire walkers, and songs such as "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" and its opposite, "Steal Away," show their versatility and fearlessness. "Love Of My Life," popularized by the rock group Queen, is a modern aria, requiring maximum range and control. Sondheim's "More" and Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" (with lyrics by David Wright), are accompanied by percussion and piano, respectively.

Songlist: Jazz Ladies Ride, Lounging at the Waldorf, A Bundle of Old Love Letters, Find Out What They Like and How They Like It, Love-Eyes Medley: I'm In Love Again, Them There Eyes, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Steal Away, Angel of Music / Phantom of the Opera, Love of My Life, More, Never Let No One Man Worry Your Mind, Moonlight Sonata

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4212c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella

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