Vocal virtuosos

The male Golden Gate Quartet will perform in Acre and TA.

Golden Gate Quartet (photo credit: PR)
Golden Gate Quartet
(photo credit: PR)
When you get past a certain age and the world begins to look a mite complicated and even volatile, in an increasingly evolving technological age you can find solace in the fact that there are some things that don’t change.
The Golden Gate Quartet has been around for 83 years, performing for audiences of all ages, creeds and cultures across the globe. That includes several appearances in this country over the past four-plus decades. Now the foursome is coming back to perform in Acre (August 6) and at the Opera House in Tel Aviv (August 8).afterwards. It is difficult to categorize what we do. There are lots of genres that we can sing from.”
All of which makes for a more entertaining and varied offering from the quartet, which now takes in first tenor Frank Jerome Davis, bass singer Thierry Francis and second tenor Timothy Riley.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Brembly imbibed the band’s source music from a very young age, with some added extracurricular seasoning.
“I grew up in the church and sang spirituals and gospel; and in my early years, I also sang in an r&b group,” he recounts.
Even so, Brembly’s path to a berth in the quartet came about serendipitously, with a little shove in the right direction from a relative on the inside. Forty-plus years ago, Brembly was thinking about a very different bread winning line.
“I always knew I was going to do something in music, but I was actually studying computer technology at the time. That was what I was training to be. But, since I grew up in the church, music was always part of my life,” he says.
After Brembly completed his studies, Uncle Orlandus got in on the act.
“As a graduation present, he gave me a ticket to go to Europe because the group was touring in Europe then,” Brembly recalls. “They were touring in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. It was my first trip to Europe. At the end of the tour of Switzerland the baritone became ill, and they asked me if I wouldn’t mind stepping in and replacing him for the rest of the tour. That’s how I became a member of the quartet.”
Even with four years of computer studies under his belt, Brembly never thought twice of turning his formal studies into a career.
“It was so fascinating, and being in the group was like going to school. People of my age who sang didn’t sing like we did in the group. So I had to learn, and it was captivating for me,” he says.
Like any stage act, the quartet has had its up and downs in the popularity stakes over the years but has chalked up a host of memorable appearances during the course of the last eight decades. In 1941, the group was on hand in Washington, DC, to sing at the third – and last – inauguration of president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Almost seven decades later, Brembly and his then colleagues sang for president Obama in Paris, where Brembly has been based for a number of years.
On a local note, Brembly fondly remembers singing one of the band’s staples “Josh Fit the Battle of Jericho” at the eponymous location.
“We did that in 1973, the first time we came to Israel. That was amazing, having read about that place in the Bible and actually being there and performing that song. My uncle really enjoyed that too,” he recalls.
Thirty-six years after he was first co-opted into the group, Brembly says he is still taking new material and ideas on board.
“You can always be inspired by the things you hear. That’s life,” he asserts.
The Golden Gate Quartet will perform on August 6 in Acre; and August 8 at the Opera House in Tel Aviv.
For tickets, call *9066 or (03) 511-1777; or go to http://www.eventim.co.il/golden.