In Harmony's Way

Way out west where the avenues are numbered in the triple digits, there sits ASU's Sundome Center for the Performing Arts. Through the years, this massive performance space, located in the heart of the retirement community of Sun City West, has played host to any number of bus-and-truck productions of old favorite Broadway crowd-pleasers and middle-of-the-road crooners. In the coming months, for example, it is featuring the likes of Steve Allen, Roger Whittaker, Engelbert Humperdinck and the McGuire Sisters alongside a production of Camelot and a tribute to Al Jolson. But that's not the whole story to this season. Shaking up expectations a bit this year are shows by madman rocker Little Richard (in Sun City!), tap-dance guru Gregory Hines and a live national broadcast of National Public Radio's Prairie Home Companion -- featuring Garrison Keillor -- plus a most interesting collection of shows called the "You Don't Know Me, But . . ." series.

This series will be presenting budget-priced shows by up-and-coming and slightly off-center performers who are currently building national names for themselves. Among the acts being featured are the hard-core ragtime orchestra Elite Syncopation, and the comedy a cappella quartet Three Men & a Tenor. Kicking off the series this coming Sunday are The Chenille Sisters. These three women have been compared to singing sister acts named Andrews, Boswell, McGarrigle and Roche, but a better comparison might be to the Brothers Ramone, since the Chenilles are really only sisters in song.

Cheryl Dawdy, Grace Morand and Connie Huber have been performing together for almost 15 years now. Their music mixes tight three-part harmonies, soaring solo vocals, classic folk trio style and perfectly syncopated swing, all tossed in with their trademark humor. They are decidedly one of a kind. Dressed in thrift-shop chic and the occasional really big wig, they sure don't look like the average act playing the Sundome. Song titles like "Big Hair," "Help, I'm Turning Into My Parents" and "I Am a Can of Tuna" give some indication of the unique quality of their original material. Over the course of nine CDs, they have recorded a diverse mixture of swing classics, contemporary parodies, children's music and torch ballads. It's an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon -- some great music and a lot of laughs!

The Chenille Sisters are scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 7, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. For details call 623-975-1900 (the 'dome) or 480-503-5555 (Dillard's).