UPDATED (March 10, 2020)
Johnny Mathis’ Thursday, March 12, concert at Dayton’s Schuster Center has been postponed until the summer, the Victoria Theatre Association announced this morning.
“Due to Mr. Mathis’ specific travel and health advisements, this Thursday’s, March 12 Johnny Mathis show has been postponed and rescheduled to Thursday, August 13. Patrons are encouraged to keep their tickets, which will be honored at this new date in August,” the VTA said in a statement.
Refunds are available by calling the ticket office at 937-228-3630 for those unable to attend the new date.
Contemporary songs have always been part of the repertoire of Johnny Mathis, who brings “The Voice of Romance Tour” to the Schuster Center in Dayton for a Vic-150 Music Series concert on Thursday, March 12.
However, it was still surprising to hear the music legend gamely tackle songs by Pharrell Williams, R. Kelley and Bruno Mars on his 2017 album, “Johnny Mathis Sings the Great New American Songbook.”
“What I set out to do in the beginning was not only do songs people hadn’t heard before but also sometimes songs that were contemporary, and that still holds true,” Mathis said during a recent telephone interview. “It’s nice to sing popular songs of the day but the only problem is to make it meaningful because some of them are pretty far out.
“The only thing I tried to do was sing songs that utilizes my voice in a way that’s meaningful and that people will enjoy a little bit,” he continued. “That requires, in my situation, a nice melody but sometimes a song just really talks to you.”
Those instincts have served Mathis well throughout his career. The Texas native, who grew up in San Francisco, was only 20 years old when recorded his debut album in New York in March 1956. He scored his first No. 1 hit with “Chances Are” the following year. He went on to become the number six all-time artist on Billboard’s pop album charts and has placed 50 singles on the Adult Contemporary Chart.
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The singer’s current tour takes its name from the 2017 career-spanning boxset documenting his 57-year relationship with Columbia Records. The live show mixes his well-known songs with deeper cuts.
“I try to get the attention of the audience by singing songs they’re familiar with,” Mathis said. “Then I introduce them to songs I think might be fun for them. I’ve been able over the years to travel to different countries, and they all have their hit-parade songs. The ones that are the most interesting to me are from South America and often times from Brazil. They’re a little more flavorful in some way, and the audience seems to enjoy that.
“A lot of the younger crowd haven’t heard some of the incredible songs written for the Broadway stage,” he added. “A lot of times those songs were wonderful in the production but never got popularized. I like to sing those songs because a lot of them have wonderful melodies and really good lyrics and they’re quite new and interesting to the younger audience.”
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