Kelly Caufield and Matthew Small returned to the stage at the North Union Windham Church on Saturday, July 26th, in a lively concert entitled “Broadway and Beyond.” The show was the 16th in the church’s Music With a Mission series.
Caufield and Small are familiar in the community, and performed as part of the series last summer as well. Small is a Windham High School graduate, and Caufield graduated from Gorham High School. Both said they were excited to be back, and enthusiastic about both the concert series and the nonprofit they selected to benefit, Special Olympics Maine.
“It’s wonderful to be back, as always, in the community that I grew up in,” said Small. Not a professional performer, Small says he considers himself lucky to have the opportunity to perform with Caufield and pianist Laura Artesani. “These are two professional musicians who are very seasoned, and are really top notch, and I get to just step in and be their friend, and they let me sing with them,” he said.
Caufield said she was also thrilled to be back in Windham. “I love singing with Matthew. We’ve been friends for a really long time, and Laura is fantastic. We just have a really good time together on stage.”
Small is now a school counselor at Lexington High School in Lexington, MA. Caufield is the Director of Vocal Studies at Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine. She also maintains a busy performance schedule, including her Legends Series, which chronicles the music of one legendary performer. She has performed with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and at the Good Theater in Portland, among others.
The camaraderie between Caufield and Small was apparent throughout the performance. It’s hard to believe that the show was accomplished with just a few hours of rehearsal time. Small and Caufield planned via telephone and Google docs, meeting in person for a couple hours on Friday, and then with Artesani for four hours on Saturday. “We’re all in the same boat, and we’re all helping each other through it,” said Caufield. “It’s kind of like the Special Olympics,” she said. “We’re just a group of people getting together with the same goal.”
Being familiar with and recognized in the community also helps, said Small. The pair performed a Night of Broadway at another church in the area for nine years, and has a supportive and appreciative following of community members, he said. “We walk in there knowing that even if we make a mistake they’re still going to have a good time and look at all the positives.”
The pair has known each other since their high school years, when they met at the Schoolhouse Center for the Arts, performing in Narnia, the Musical. Small was in the Windham Chamber Singers, and Caufield in the Gorham Chamber Singers. They did All State together, and both ended up at the University of Maine in Orono. It was there they met Artesani, singing with the University Singers. “We’ve all remained in contact and been friends for years,” said Small. Because of these longtime connections, he said, performing in the concert didn’t feel like a job, but more a chance to reconnect and spend time with old friends.
From the moment they entered, singing and joking with each other about who was the host, Caufield and Small had the audience engaged in their performance. The enthusiasm and personality each displayed remained throughout both sets, and the music included a little something for everyone.
The first set featured a nice mix of show tunes. Caufield kicked it off with a powerful rendition of Cabaret. The set included some humorous pieces, and some slower, more poignant songs. To the delight of the audience, Dr. Rick Nickerson joined Small on stage in a beautiful duet from The Secret Garden. Caufield and Small finished this set with “The Song That Goes Like This,” a spoof of musical theatre from the show “Spamalot.”
The second set opened with Caufield singing an incredible rendition of the song “Let it Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.” From there, she and Small ran through a selection of songs that perfectly showcased their talent. This was a more serious and moving set, including standards from Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra, as well as some more contemporary choices.
As with all the Music With a Mission concerts, the performers were allowed to select the nonprofit that would benefit from the concert. Caufield and Small selected the Special Olympics because both have personal connections to the organization. Caufield’s brother has participated in Maine for many years, and Small’s sister-in-law participates in Colorado. “Special Olympics is just one of those organizations that everyone loves, and there’s a reason for that. It’s because their mission is so pure. It’s to help young people and adults have the chance to just shine,” said Small.
“It’s near and dear to our hearts,” added Caufield. Towards the end of the second set, Caufield called her brother Sean, proudly wearing a Special Olympics medal, to the front to introduce him. She then performed One Moment in Time, a past Special Olympics theme song.
The set ended with Bridge Over Trouble Water, but the crowd wasn’t ready to let them leave yet. After enthusiastic applause, Caufield and Small, joined by Artesani, began an encore. The sentimental Goodnight Sweetheart/Blue Moon mix added a touch of humor when Caufield piped in with an over the top snippet of “I’ll Always Love You.” The evening ended with laughter and applause all around.