The romance of the early 20th-century Paris streets will be alive and kicking in Queens over Valentine’s Weekend.
Musica Reginae Productions will present the Gavroche Jazz Band for an evening of time-honored love melodies at The Church-in-the-Gardens in Forest Hills on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m.
Singing mostly in French, Gavroche adds its unique style and rhythm to many of the West European nation’s iconic crooners, such as Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, and Yves Montand, while also cranking out favorites from the Gypsy Jazz Era.
Vocalist Valentine Biollay leads the way with her sultry, expressive voice which fits in with everything from straight-ahead jazz to cabaret to spirituals. She was the resident performer of Fête Paradiso, the Parisian festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels on Governors Island.
On this night, the band plans to premiere new arrangements of classical French art songs — by impressionist composers Georges Bizet, Claude-Achille Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Erik Satie –arranged by pianist Sunny Knable, who is the church’s music director. A composer in this own right, Sunny and his brother, Jimmy, created “The Magic Fish,” an opera for young audiences.
After the concert, Finback Brewery, which is located in nearby Glendale, will sponsor a reception.
Tickets are $20 for adults, but $10 for students. Those under 13 can attend for free if they are accompanied by a paying adult.
The word “Gavroche” can be translated from French as “newsboy,” “street urchin,” or “mischievous child.” The fictional character Gavroche Thénardier is a boy who lives on the streets of Paris in Victor Hugo’s novel “Les Misérables.” He helps his father escape from prison and later dies from a gunshot wound during a student uprising.
Founded in 2000 with The Church-in-the-Gardens as its base, Musica Reginae organizes family-friendly concerts — mostly classical, chamber, opera, jazz, and contemporary — in Queens.
Top photo: Michael Perlman; other images: Gavroche Band