It wasn’t “all day and all of the night,” but Math and Computer Science Professor Steve Kass devoted two evenings last fall to performing with Ray Davies, lead singer of the Kinks. Kass, a tenor and member of the New York City-based Dessoff Chamber Choir, which backed up Davies for the Town Hall performances to promote his new recording, The Kinks Choral Collection, says that singing British Invasion megahits like “You Really Got Me” isn’t exactly typical for the choir.
“We usually do standard classical fare,” says Kass, who confesses he suffered from an initial fuzzy recollection of the Kinks. “My brother’s more of a fan,” he says, “but when we got started, I realized the songs were in my head from high school.”
While Kass is rather low-key in person, his enthusiasm for the performances is evident in the title of his blog entry about the gig: “I’m a Rock Star Backing Up Ray Davies.” “The audience really liked ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and ‘Shangri La,’ says Kass, but his own favorite was a group of four songs from the Kinks’ initially ignored and later revered album, The Village Green Preservation Society. “I thought it was a great medley.” –Renée Olson, Editor, Drew Magazine