EVANSTON — The Davis Middle School auditorium was overflowing with people on Wednesday, April 24, for the final concert of The Arts Inc. Concert Series. The Kingston Trio took the audience down a fun and energy-charged memory lane for two hours.
The original Kingston Trio began in the 1950s and rose to fame worldwide. They performed a variety of styles and became the kings of an acoustic musical genre that still exists today. They received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and they held a debut album sales record that remained unbeaten for five decades.
They were a popular trio and judging by the audiences’ response at Davis Middle School, their music still remains popular today. The current trio wear the striped shirts and play banjos, bongos and guitars that were a signature of the original group.
The current Kingston Trio is made up of Mike Marvin, Tim Gorelangton and Don Marovich with Paul Gabrielson on bass. They all have links to and experience with the original group of Nick Reynolds, Bob Shane and Dave Guard. Marvin is the adopted son of founding member Reynolds, who also taught him music. Gorelangton, a close friend of Marvin’s since they were boys, is one of the few musicians outside the trio who has recorded with Reynolds. Marovich, who performed with the original trio, plays the guitar, banjo and mandolin.
Marvin, Gorelangton and Marovich took turns telling stories, jokes, and lead-ins to songs. When they sang “A Hobo’s Lullaby,” Marvin told how Reynolds had sung that to all of his children and Marvin had carried on the tradition with his own children. The lyrics, “Can’t you hear the rails a singin’ that’s a hobo’s lullaby,” stay with the listener long after the song ends.
“When we sang that song in San Diego recently to a bunch of millennials, I think they thought it was naptime,” Marvin said as he laughed with the audience.
Marovich told the story of the “Sloop John B” ship that was sunk by the Germans in 1941, with 100 men going down and only 24 surviving. The trio dedicated that song to all Navy personnel past and present, which brought cheers and applause from the audience.
Many of the Kingston Trio’s most popular songs were on the program, including “Flowers,” “Greenback Dollar,” “Tom Dooley,” “MTA,” “Reuben James” and 20 others.
Marvin and bass player Gabrielson performed a lovely rendition of “Scotch and Soda” to dimmed lights.
Audience members were singing along to songs they remembered, and when the trio finished their last song, “I’m Going Home,” the audience gave a standing ovation, encouraging the group to return for an encore. They performed several more songs and ended with “My Dream – Put an End to War.”
After the show, the musicians joined the audience in the commons area for pictures and conversation.