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Sammy Strain & the Imperials, 1964 -, Part 4 in the series

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Choice @ The Franklin Township Public Library

Somerset, NJ, August 6, 2009

By Pamela Horner

 

Choice is an acappella vocal group that has been performing for 30 years.  First formed in the Greenville section of Jersey City, NJ, Choice has built quite a reputation as one of the most polished and versatile groups around.  I first saw one of their impressive performances at the United in Group Harmony Association (UGHA) some years ago.  They are professional in every way.  When Erin Blatt, Franklin Township Public Library’s Programing and Outreach Librarian, first asked us to suggest a doo wop acappella group to perform at the library, we suggested “Jersey City’s Bad Boys of Acappella” -- Choice.  Charlie and I arrived early at the library to find that Choice already setting up.  They displayed a great deal of professionalism setting up and throughout the concert.  Erin introduced Charlie who introduced WFDU Radio’s Christine Vitale who in turn introduced Choice.  The quintet appeared in dark pants and green shirts with great stylish hats.  Their easy dialogue made the audience feel relaxed and welcome.  Choice sang a mix of Doo Wop, Gospel, Rhythm & Blues and Soul harmonies.  They opened up with “Stormy Weather” with EZ on lead.  I was impressed with their version of Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers’ “Touch The Hem of His Garment”.  Next was Dion’s “The Wanderer,” followed up by “A Brighter Day,” a song that we know by Charm that is probably rooted in an earlier Gospel tune.  Choice harmonized to Otis Williams’ “That’s You’re Mistake”.  A great falsetto on the Temptations’ “The Girl's Alright With Me” made this song special.


Charlie Horner welcoming the audience.
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


Christine Vitale of WFDU's "Group Harmony Alley" introducing Choice.
(Photo by Pamela Horner)
 


Choice. Left to right: Tony, Sly, Ira, Rahib and E-Z.
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


E-Z (right) leading Choice

 

Taking a short break, the members of Choice fielded questions from the audience.  They named some of their influences, which were not surprising.  Some of them included North Jersey groups like the Royal Counts and Manhattans, while other influences were Motown groups like the Temptations and Jackson Five.  As the group’s harmonies matured they began listening to pioneer groups like the Larks, Ravens and Orioles.



Choice at the Franklin Township Public Library

 

In their second set, Choice started playing Kazoos to “Happy Birthday” and then went onto singing the song in harmony to audience member Judy Haskins who was accompanied by the Del Larks’ Ron Taylor.  Some other notables in the audience were original founding member of the Duprees, Tommy Bialoglow (the Duprees were also from Jersey City!) and our Philly area friends, Jim Bakay, Carl Tancredi, and Steve Applebaum.  Also in attendance was was Stu Weiss of the Internet radio show, “The Pop Shoppe.”  Choice closed with the Cleftones “Little Girl of Mine” and Spaniels “Everyone’s Laughing”.


Charlie with Tommy Bialoglow, founding member of the Duprees
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


Ron Taylor of the Del Larks
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


Choice with Erin Blatt, Pam & Charlie Horner


Franklin Township Library's Erin Blatt with Choice
(Photo by Pamela Horner)


Choice's Business Card


 

For more info on Choice, including their schedule of upcoming appearances, visit their website through our Links Page.  We hope the Franklin Township Public Library will sponsor more acappella concerts in the future.  We enjoyed helping the library bring Choice to the people of Somerset, NJ.

Here's a YouTube Video of Choice singing the Crows' song, "Gee".



Here's a message from Choice advertising the August 6 event..
 


 

You can also visit Choice's website by clicking Here.


Choice at UGHA, 1994
(Photo by Pamela Horner)
 



 

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