Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships
that go sailing.
–From Bobby Darin’s hit “Beyond the Sea”
Inside the Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii, longtime friends Gerald Ishibashi and Richard Natto, veterans of the entertainment industry, joined onstage for an impromptu jam session.
It had been a while since they had last performed with each other, but they soon fell into their comfortable banter. With the gentle trade winds blowing and the tropical drinks flowing, the atmosphere was magical.
After a dreamy rendition of crooner favorite “Beyond the Sea,” the impromptu jam session soon turned into a full-fledged party. At the end of the night, after two encores – and a standing ovation – Ishibashi and Natto knew they had something special on their hands.
Though the two musicians had a great dynamic together, they felt that adding another person to the mix would round out the group and give the project that extra “something” to raise it to the next level.
The trick would be finding the right voice to fit the “island crooner” vibe. They soon found that missing link in their own backyard.
L.A.-based singer/actor/ producer Angelo Pagan (“The King of Queens,” “Leah Remini: It’s All Relative”) was recruited for the project, turning the talented duet into a powerhouse trio.
Originally dubbed “The Three Crooners,” Ishibashi rechristened the project as “The Island Crooners,” a much more fitting moniker for the ultra-cool, multiethnic vocal group.
After a few years of well-received shows, another longtime friend joined the crew. “Little Albert” Maligmat, of Rocky Fellers and Society of Seven fame, reconnected with Ishibashi during the inaugural 2017 Stonebridge Rhythm and Blues Fest. His camaraderie with Ishibashi, Natto, and Pagan, both onstage and off, led The Island Crooners to welcome another talented member into the fold.
Musical director Don Randi of the Wrecking Crew has worked with the Sinatras, Elvis, the Beach Boys, the Righteous Brothers, Sonny and Cher, the Monkees and more.
“Imagine if Bobby Darin and Don Ho met the Rat Pack” was one description of the stage show.
More reviews have sung the praises of the production:
“The Big Band music with the Modernaires were great, great, great, but The Island Crooners were hot, hot, hot!” (Margie K.)
“Great sound. I’d like to see you guys perform at the Blue Note.” (Former Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano)
“Wow, very very cool!” (Carole Kai)
“You guys look and sound terrific!” (Ronee Martin, “America’s Got Talent” finalist)
“Nice concept. Love it!” (Rena P., Newport Beach)
The Island Crooners and the Mighty Stonebridge Band will perform dreamy favorites and hits from the Great American Songbook, Saturday, Jan. 4, at the La Mirada Theatre, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Tickets for the 9 p.m. show start at $10.
For more information, visit www.IslandCrooners.com.