Dave Klinger and Friends will play the third in their Great American Songbook concert series at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville on Nov. 6. (PQB News file photo)

Dave Klinger and Friends will play the third in their Great American Songbook concert series at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville on Nov. 6. (PQB News file photo)

Musicians will play famous tunes by lesser-known songwriter at MAC in Parksville Nov. 6

Dave Klinger and Friends will play selections by Johnny Mercer

Dave Klinger and Friends will play the third in their Great American Songbook concert series at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville on Nov. 6.

Jeanie Paterson (vocals) Klinger, (pianist and arranger), Brian McMahon (bass) and Michael Wright (drums) will perform at the arts centre (133 McMillan St.) at 2 p.m.

The show, called ‘Johnny Who?’, will include renditions of songs by Johnny Mercer, the songwriter behind standards such as ‘Moon River’, but whose name is not as well known as his contemporaries, according to a news release.

“This is due to the fact that he collaborated with over 200 different composers throughout his career,” the release read. “At various times, he worked with Jerome Kern, Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, Henry Mancini and Barry Manilow, so he kept excellent musical company.”

Mercer originally pursued an acting career and moved to New York City in the late 1920s, but by 1932 he was singing with the Paul Whiteman Band on NBC Radio.

In the mid 1930s he moved to Hollywood and began an association with cinema which would last for much of his life. On a 1936 road trip through Texas to New York, he was inspired to write the tongue-in-cheek ‘I’m An Old Cowhand’ when he saw cowboys driving pickup trucks, rather than horses.

He also wrote hits such as ‘Autumn Leaves’ (1945), ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ (1946) and ‘Moon River’ and ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ in 1961 and 1962, with Mancini. The latter two songs won Academy Awards.

READ MORE: Artists share ‘Visions’ exhibit at McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville

In 1957, Mercer received a letter from an Ohio grandmother named Sadie Vimmerstedt, suggesting an idea for a song. She told him she had been inspired by Frank Sinatra divorcing his first wife, Nancy Barbato, in order to marry Ava Gardner, only to then be dumped by Gardner. Vimmerstedt suggested the title ‘I Wanna Be Around to Pick Up the Pieces When Somebody Breaks Your Heart’.

Johnny wrote both words and music to the piece and agreed to share one-third of the royalties and credits with Vimmerstedt.

Tickets are $20 and available from the MAC website.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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