BERLIN — The cabaret act of Ben Sear and Brad Connor will be performing a Veterans Day tribute this Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. at St. Kieran Center for the Arts. The vocal duo will be singing the songs that won the war — World War I, that is.
Sears and Conner have been performing together since 1989 and are among those rare performers who combine entertaining performances with outstanding historical research. They are especially known for their research in the music and lyrics of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and Hollywood.
In 1996, they rediscovered a long-lost Irving Berlin song from 1916, "Santa Claus: A Syncopated Christmas Song," which they subsequently gave its modern premiere and first recording. During their search for the Berlin song, they also found an unknown Jerome Kern tune, "A Syncopated Christmas Carol," which they also premiered and recorded. Other research has led to the creation of a program of songs by "Girl Gershwins" including Dana Suesse, Kay Swift and Ann Ronell.
In 1997, they made music history with "Oh Kay, Oh George," a first-time concert pairing of songs and music by romantic and musical colleagues Kay Swift and George Gershwin, featuring many rarely heard Swift songs along with premieres of two unpublished George & Ira Gershwin songs.
Their reputation as Gershwin performers was honored by the selection of their recordings to be part of the interactive kiosk at the new George & Ira Gershwin Room at the Library of Congress.
Sears and Conner are the first cabaret act to be featured at Boston's Emerson Majestic Theatre, and at Boston's Wang Centre for the Performing Arts, they revived a show-biz tradition by presenting a pre-show concert of Irving Berlin songs for a showing of Berlin's classic film, "White Christmas."
With members of American Classics, they sang the National Anthem at the second game of Fenway Park's 100th birthday season in 2012. In 1999, they joined forces with voice and piano duo Valerie Anastasio and Tim Harbold to create and tour a Noel Coward centenary program, "Noel and Cole — Together With Music." In 2001, they created a new show, "Fred & Ethel — Great Songs of Astaire and Merman."
Sears’ first book, "The Irving Berlin Reader", was published by Oxford University Press in April 2012, and Connor is editing the new edition of the classic "American Popular Song, 1900-1950" by Alec Wilder.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for those under 18 and are available online, at the door on the evening of the show or at the art center’s office.
In addition, the Material Girls of the Berlin Quilters Guild are currently exhibiting their works in the main hall.
For more information, contact the Arts Center at (603) 752-1028; or go to stkieranarts.org or facebook.com/stkieranarts.