Steve Lippia is passionate about what he does, and what he does is bring authenticity and soul to the great American songbook of pop standards, and specifically in this show, the songs of "Ol' Blue Eyes." At 7:30 p.m. May 4 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., he will bring his vocal artistry to Williamsport with the songs of Frank Sinatra.
Lippia is not an impersonator, not a tribute artist; he is a successful performer and a powerful vocalist whose voice brings new life to the classics of Sinatra. A native of Southington, Conn., Lippia's mother, who sang professionally as a young woman in the Baltimore area, introduced Lippia to the songs of Sinatra and his contemporaries, such as Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald.
He said being around this type of music at such a young age allowed him to interpret the music and the style naturally.
Steve Lippia will perform the songs of Frank Sinatra at 7:30 p.m. May 4 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
he will bring his vocal artistry to Williamsport with the songs of Frank Sinatra.
"I was exposed to these songs so young that I never had to learn or fake it. It has always been a part of me," Lippia said. "My voice lends itself to this style."
Getting the notes right is not enough to capture the style of Sinatra or his era. It is about authenticity, approach and interpretation, and it is with that focus and respect that Lippia regards the material.
"Audiences can relate to a good voice and the telling of a story with music. Instinctively, they just know that," he said. That is what he brings to the stage in "Simply Sinatra."
Lippia is based out of Las Vegas, Nev., and averages about 80 to 100 shows a year. He has performed with well over 50 major symphonies across the country, including Harrisburg and Allentown, as well as the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City, the European Jazz Festival Tour and extended engagements at the Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City and the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, not to mention fundraising and television appearances.
He also has released three CDs, one of which was recorded with the Vincent Falcone Orchestra. Falcone was Sinatra's conductor from 1978 through 1983 and still works with Tony Bennett to this day.
Clearly, Lippia is good at what he does.
He admitted that being on the road so frequently, up to 15 shows a month, can "try a man's soul," but doing what he loves has made him a willing traveler.
"I'm extremely blessed to be doing this at this level, to inspire people, to help them put their troubles aside and fill a hole in our soul ... To be able to do that is what keeps me going," Lippia added.
In addition to the power of Lippia's voice, a 10-piece local swing band with music direction by Steve Sigmund, who worked with Ray Charles for more than 17 years, also will add to the energy and drama of the evening. The show was arranged by Bob Friedlander, a legendary swing and big band arranger, composer and conductor in his own right and former associate of Frank Sinatra. Friedlander has arranged music for such musical notables as Harry James, Sam Donahue and Johnny Long, and Lippia considers him the "gold standard" in music arranging.
Lippia described the show as offering a mixture of energies, styles and moods. It isn't an entire evening composed exclusively of slow love songs, but a generous mix of many toe-tapping, get-you-out-of-your-seat numbers as well.
According to Lippia, "Fly Away" and "Summer Wind" are the most popular songs from the show, but he thinks "The Lady Is a Tramp" always is a big hit.
" 'That's Life' really knocks them out of their socks," he said.
It is a show for all ages, longtime fans and new afficionados. Whether you know every syllable from every song Sinatra every recorded or are hearing them for the first time, there is something to appeal to everyone.
"It [the concert] is not only lush, rich, moving ballads, but high-powered, high-energy songs, too," he said. "Come ready to dance, have a great time and hear an amazing 10-piece band perform some of the best music this country has ever produced."