Whether you understand French or not, Elsie takes the listener on a guided tour of ones own heart. Elsie Parker and The Poor People of Paris are the perfect compliment to a party of friends or a concert attended by strangers because by the end of the performance she's made everyone friends.
Elsie Parker and The Poor People of Paris has recorded three albums, “Elle se souvient” (She Remembers) 1997, “Entre nous” (Between Us) 2000, “Je t’aime encore”(I Love You Still), 2007.
The group is made up of professional talented musicians with vast experience.
Keyboardist Michael Carosello brings a fresh improvisatory pop/jazz approach to the ensemble while still retaining the charm of the more traditional French pieces. Master drummer/percussionist Alan Schilling, whose experience includes decades as a substitute with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, provides the many textured grooves. Former Ray Charles band member Wayne Coniglio is on string bass.
Elsie Parker, the group's founder/vocalist and woodwind player, first became enchanted with the voice and songs of Edith Piaf, and especially loves singing Piaf's early songs. Elsie also performs (in French) songs associated with Charles Aznavour, Hervé Vilard, Mireille Mathieu, Michael Legrand, Patricia Kaas, Axel Red, Jaques Brel, Leo Marjane, Eddy Mitchell, Vanessa Paradis, Gilbert Becaud, Serge Lama, Sylvie Bernard, and Charles Trenet, as well as performing her own original material.
Elsie Parker has traveled to Paris, France to be featured on French television’s “La Chance aux Chansons”. Pascal Sevran, the host of the show, dubbed her: “Une chanteuse originale…une vedette.” (“An original singer…a star.”)
Elsie has also performed as vocal soloist and clarinet soloist with orchestras in Missouri, Illinois and Florida. Elsie owns an entire library of orchestrations for her songs in French and English.
Elsie is an extra clarinetist for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as well as a tenured member of the St. Louis Municipal Opera Orchestra (The MUNY) as clarinet/saxophone/flute doubler.
Elsie is a member of the St. Louis FOX Theater Orchestra, the Kevin Kline Awards Show Orchestra, The Crusell Quartet, Trio d’anches, and Trio Eclectique.
A clarinet master,Elsie leads two other ensembles that perform classical chamber music.
Trio d'anches and The Crusell Quartet. The Crusell quartet has recently been signed to Centaur records and will have it's debut album out by 2010. Please see our other listings for these groups.
In July 2008 The Poor People of Paris performed for the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens with a crowd of ten thousand in attendance. Elsie Parker and the Poor People of Paris have become regulars at music festivals, concert series and private functions around St. Louis.
Elsie and The Poor People of Paris were featured in a segment of the HEC television network’s show “State of the Arts” which aired in March 2009.
Quotes and Reviews -
"Elsie ...sings as strongly as the great Edith Piaf of bygone days." - Folkfire Reviews
"Parisians went wild over hometown singer Elsie Parker's recent appearance on the Paris television program "La Chance aux Chansons" - Paul Hample, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Elsie's beautiful vocals are perfectly matched to a wide variety of French popular songs... with more than just a touch of jazz." - Steve Pick ~St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Cabaret singing that will make you think you're in a Paris cafe..." - First Night, Grand Center
“…Parker then launched into Michel Legrand's catchy hit, "I Will Wait For You", from Jacques Demy's charming movie musical,” The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”. Parker switched to flute for a splendidly improvisational attack on Barbieri's main theme from his score for the film” Last Tango in Paris.” Parker broke out her tenor saxophone to wail in bluesy fashion to "Elle Danse Seule", a tale of woe featuring a woman who dances alone…
…After a few more fine and memorable numbers, Parker began the last section of the show with a tribute to the legendary Edith Piaf. First up, was an instrumental piece from composer Christopher Gunning that appeared in the acclaimed bio-pic, La Vie En Rose. Emotionally rendered takes on "Milord", "La Vie En Rose", "Fais-Moi Valser" and "Padam...Padam..." brought the evening to a close on a powerful and uplifting note.”
- KDHX critic Chris Gibson reviewing a live performance June 27, 2008 at The Cabaret at Savor
“Parker can be breathy and coy on one song and strident and forthright on the next; her changing tone enhances the drama. As a saxophonist and flautist, Parker plays sweet, sonorous lines that never step over her backing trio.” – Christian Schaeffer The Riverfront Times
“Elsie Parker is gaining a great reputation and following for her work, often being compared to legendary French singer Edith Piaf. Her success lead her to appearing on French television to rave reviews and finishing two CDs entitled Entre Nous (Between Us) and Elle se souvient (She Remembers). There was no problem if you didn't speak French, her music was complimented as being accessible to non-speakers as well”. – KDHX Reviewer
“These four musicians have recently released a strong CD, “Je T'aime Encore” (the third Poor People album, but the first with this group)…"I'd like it to be that people who don't understand a word of French can enjoy it," said Parker, "and be transported to a different place where it's a language of love, and there aren't any problems and it's just a beautiful place. It's a land of love and mystery and beautiful sounds."” - Steve Pick – St. Louis Magazine July 2008