Rick Bean Trio will join the Davidson College Jazz Ensemble for a
public performance on Friday evening, April 29. There is no charge to
attend the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Duke Family
The concert will be a must-see for fans of vocal jazz and big band
music. It will open with numbers featuring the Jazz Ensemble, followed
by several intimate pieces featuring VerPlanck and the Rick Bean Trio.
The highlight of the evening will be a collaboration between
VerPlanck and the Jazz Ensemble, playing a variety of songs from her
Widely hailed for her clear, smooth voice, VerPlanck has been a noted
performer in the fields of jazz, big band and popular music for a half-
century. She has performed many times in the Charlotte area, most
frequently with her friend the late Loonis McGlohon. She described him
as "one of my Renaissance men….He could do everything and do it
VerPLanck's career began in the 1950s with studio work with greats
like Perry Como, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. She teamed up with
big band musicians Charlie Spivak and Tex Beneke in the 1950s, and met
her husband, the late composer/trombonist Billy VerPlanck, during a
stint with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. He created all her
arrangements for the next 52 years, until his death in 2009.
In the 1960s, Marlene VerPlanck was perhaps most widely heard in
commercials as the voice behind jingles for products like Campbell's
Soup, Michelob beer and Winston cigarettes.
She and Billy settled in Clifton, N.J., and recorded their first of
many albums together, "A Breath of Fresh Air," in 1968. They produced
a total of 21 albums, including the 1983 Glenn Miller Orchestra album
"In The Digital Mood," which sold more than 100,000 copies and was the
first big band album to go gold.
Her most recent album is titled "One Dream at a Time." A writer for
"Jazz Journal" wrote of it, "the bell-like freshness of her voice is
as good as it has ever been and she brushes aside the decades with
ease. She sounds so fresh, in fact, that it is tempting to think that
there might be a Dorian Gray-like tape in the attic. But that suggests
a pact with the devil and she is much too nice for that."
Over the years, VerPlanck has appeared on radio shows like "Alec
Wilder's American Popular Songs" and "The American Popular Singers."
In late March NPR's American Popular Songs series reran a segment
featuring VerPlanck, which was hosted by Alec Wilder and Loonis
VerPlanck has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Rainbow Room in New
York City, and has appeared on "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Today
Show." She continues to tour widely, and has just completed her annual
month-long tour of England, which always receives rave reviews from
the local press.
VerPlanck said the secret to her half-century career in the field is
taking a voice lesson every week from her teacher, Maria Farnsworth.
"Singing is the hardest instrument of all," VerPlanck said. "It's easy
to get into bad habits, but Maria is there to constantly oversee me
and help me avoid them."
In addition to the performance at Davidson, she and the Rick Bean Trio
will perform the following evening, Saturday, April 30, at CPCC's Tate
Hall. Reservations for that performance are available by calling
For information on her appearance at Davidson, call 704-894-2848 or