NME After Print: We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered

My musical repertoire is too eclectic to pick a favorite genre or song. But many would not guess that I have a love for the Carpenters. There’s just something about their music that brings such joy to my heart and touches me when I need to cry. When Popejoy Hall announced their season included an evening with the Carpenters, I had to see it first hand. Most importantly, I needed to see who would be brave enough to take on the beautifully textured vocals that Karen Carpenter was known for that matched perfectly with Richard Carpenter’s brilliant, multilayered arrangements. I had the opportunity to interview Michelle Berting Brett prior to the show, “We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered.” While she showed me that her love for this amazing duo ran deep, I still had reservations about what I would witness on February 23rd.

I sat myself down in the theater to a packed house. It wasn’t a surprise to me. The Carpenters envoke emotions for so many. I was spending the next two hours with hundreds of individuals with the same goal - celebrating a love for the Carpenters and the gift they provided the world. The show opened with the band’s musical montage of Carpenters songs. When Brett walked into the stage, the applause erupted. This was the moment many were waiting for. What would we expect when she put mic to mouth? Would we be inspired? The intro began for “We Only Just Begun” and Brett’s voice poured out the love she has for her musical icon that she grew up wanted to sound like. This crystal clear vocal carried throughout the theater, letting us know we were in for an entertaining evening.

But it was when Brett sang “Superstar” that I truly realized the power of her voice. Her rich, smooth vocals made me feel like I was listening to Karen live on stage. Transporting back to when I was a kid listening to their songs on the radio, shedding a tear for the nostalgia. Those feelings continued with her performances of “Raining Days and Mondays,” “Goodbye to Love,” ”Top of the World,” and “Hurting Each Other.” But it was when “Sing A Song” was performed that the audience expressed their admiration, singing along with Brett the minute the song started. It was a lovely moment to experience. All of this as well as stories and history of the brother and sister musical team.

Brett and her band gave me one of the greatest evenings I’ve had at Popejoy and while there will always ever be one Karen Carpenter, I can honestly say that Brett has fulfilled that goal of sounding like the vocal genius she continues to idolize.

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