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GCAC Presents: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

 Julie Roth GCAC Presents: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
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…In Columbus, Ohio.

As a twenty-something, there are many trends that describe my generation: boy bands, Tamagotchis, jelly shoes, and who can forget TGIF—the best night of television! While small reminders of childhood and teenage fetishes are often a source of embarrassment, blasts from the past can also offer comfort and nostalgic thoughts of a simpler time. A time in which FUN was the highest priority.

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Photo by Rick Buchanan Photography.

In preparation for ProMusica’s New Year’s Eve concert, I was recently reminded of a personal childhood craze. Especially for us non-cable-subscribing families, PBS’s “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego” was an after school must-watch. Following the successful release of the Carmen Sandiego computer game (which I received for Christmas on a 5 1/4” floppy disk), the game show version combined everything exciting to a third-grader: sleuthing to solve the mystery, capturing the cartoon crooks, and winning the prize money. And I could play along with my siblings in our living room! Each day a new crook would be revealed, making each episode a bit like collecting baseball cards. Some characters would rarely appear, so catching every episode was essential.

My mind is flooded with fond memories of make-believe characters, such as The Chief, Penny Larceny, and Vick the Slick. But the most memorable characters where the hot vocal group ROCKAPELLA whose members acted as a house band and comic relief for the show, singing their way through the mystery. The catchy theme song and colorful 90s-inspired outfits will not be soon forgotten.

When the ProMusica announced its New Year’s Eve lineup, I had no instant reaction. The concert would feature Steve Keyes and Sean Altman, two tenors from the a capella group, The Groovebarbers. I’ve known Steve Keyes for a few years now. He’s a local Nationwide employee and member of ProMusica’s Board of Trustees, so I made no lofty expectations for his vocal duo. A few weeks ago, upon creating the concert program, several lines of Steve and Sean’s biographies caught my eye; Steve and Sean are founding members of ROCKAPELLA and Sean co-wrote the “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego” theme song! I may have called my mom to share the unexpected news. My make-believe television friends have become real-life acquaintances!

The Two Tenors of the Groovebarbers: Steve and Sean.

This exciting surprise restored my faith that childhood dreams can come true. As I’m listening to the smooth harmonies of Sean and Steve on New Year’s Eve, I may close my eyes and pretend I’m a gumshoe in the “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” live studio audience. Even though I’m now an adult and after school game shows are a thing of the past, I may even have some FUN.

Want to celebrate the New Year and dive into nostalgia with me? ProMusica Chamber Orchestra will collaborate with “The High Street Stompers” and “The Two Tenors of the Groovebarbers: Steve Keyes and Sean Altman” on New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, 2012 at 8:30pm at the Southern Theatre. More information and tickets are available at promusicacolumbus.org or 614.464.0066.

GCAC Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.

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