Elsie Parker, the group's founder, 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 perform 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.
Since 2000 The Poor People of Paris has grown from a duo to a quartet with some personnel changes. Keyboardist Michael Carosello was introduced to the group bringing a fresh improvisatory pop/jazz approach to the ensemble while still retaining the charm of the more traditional French pieces. Further expansion includes master drummer/percussionist Alan Schilling, whose experience includes decades as a substitute with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Since 2006 The Poor People of Paris has welcomed the addition of former Ray Charles band member Wayne Coniglio on string bass.
The current The Poor People of Paris performed for the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in July 2008 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.
1 Nos sentiments (Sentimento) - G. Servillos / D. Ciaramella - G. D'Argenzio - F. Mesolella - M. Tronco - F. Spinette
French adaptation - H.Vilard - Sugar SRL
This song’s purpose is to rejuvenate and rekindle our sentiments of passion we felt in our youth.
2 Boum!... - C. Trénet / Breton from the film "La route enchantée" SDRM France Music Corporation
Originally from the 1938 film "La route enchantée”. When you’re in love your heart goes “Boom!...
3 Manque d'amour (Lacking Love) - H. Spitz - ART Music France Trema
Previously recorded by The PPOP, enjoy this new live version featuring great solos from
Mike on keyboard and Elsie on tenor sax.
4 Le Temps - C. Aznavour / J. Davis SDRM
Aznavour’s up tempo and jazzy viewpoint of Time. Enjoy the amusement-park-like feel created
by the band playing in 3/2 and 6/4 at the same time.
5 Last Tango in Paris - G. Barbieri, Dorey Previn EMI Unart Catalog Inc
As sensual as the day it was written by the wonderful Gato Barbieri, this music from Bertolucci’s notorious
1973 film remains a classic. Some cooking solos by Elsie on flute, Ken on piano and Mike on keys.
6 La foule (The Crowd) - M. Rivgauche/A. Cabral Bourne Co / Bourne Co. Sadaic Latin Copyrights, INC
This song was a tremendous hit for Edith Piaf. She finds the love of her life in a crowd at carnival
time. Just as quickly as this once-in-a-lifetime love appears, he is as quickly swept away by the cruel crowd,
never to be seen again.
7 La vie en rose - E. Piaf/Louiguy Paul Beuscher-Arpège WB Music Corp Paul Beuscher SA
Everyone’s favorite French love song. "When he takes me in his arms and speaks softly to me,
I see life in rose color."
8 Mon légionnaire - R. Asso/ M. Monnot Chappell & Co
(My Légionnaire) describes a young woman’s brief but very passionate encounter with a soldier
with mystifying tattoos and whose name she never even knew. Her handsome lover is now buried
under the hot sand of the desert and it is too late to let him know how much she cared and of
her plans of a wonderful life together. This tragic song was written for Piaf by her music promoter,
lover and former member of the French Foreign Legion, Raymond Asso.
9 Lisieux - C. Gunning Légende Publishing
From the Olivier Dahan 2007 film "La vie en rose" in which the lovely Marion Cotillard won an Academy
Award for Best Actress for here phenomenal portrayal of the great French singer Edih Piaf. This music is
from the scene in which the blind child Edith is taken to the thomb of Ste. Thérèse of Lisieux to pray to
regain her eyesight. Miracles do happen! Piaf did regain her vision and was devoted to
“The Little Flower”, Ste. Thérèse of Lisieux the rest of her life. Elsie plays alto flute on this number.
10 Milord - G. Moustaki / M. Monnot Salabert SDRM Universal Music MGB Songs Salabert Inc
Now that you have lost everything Milord, (the beautiful woman you’d always had on your arm...
your grand fortune), you can come with me to my kingdom where I walk the streets. Destiny plays
it’s tricks, and now you are with me. Go ahead Milord - Sing! Dance! Bravo! Encore, Milord !
11 Vénus des abribus - E. Depardieu/D.Perrier, F. Bernheim SDRM Sony/ATV Songs LLC
(The Goddess of the Bus Stop). A song about an every-day Venus.
12 Martina (Les enfants qui pleurent) - Michel Legrand SDRM
"The saddest, most unloved children of the world don’t know half of the pain I know." Ken plays
a beautiful piano solo and Elsie sings both the French and English lyrics.
13 Elle se souvient (She Remembers) - M. Toussaint/E. Parker
A very young but worldly girl sadly remembers her first love.
14 Straight into the Sunrise - P. Saisse, C. Bell Buppie Music Universal-MCA Msic Pub Sen-Saisse-Tional Music
A sleek and sexy number, originally recorded by Gato Barbieri.
15 La vie est belle, le mond+++e est beau - Fogli, Morra / Fabrizio French adaptation: H. Vilard / D. Barbelivien
S.I.A.E. Direzione Generale (Life is Beautiful, The World is Beautiful)
16 One at a Time - A. & M. Bergman / M. Legrand EMI U Catalog INC
The best part of the 1969 film "La piscine" (The Swimming Pool). We're big fans of Michel Legrand.
Simply put, he's the best.
The Poor People of Paris are...
Elsie Parker - (vocals, flutes, tenor sax) Elsie & The PPOP are a constant attraction at festivals,
concerts, clubs and private venues in and around St. Louis, Missouri. Elsie has recorded three other CDs featuring
The Poor People of Paris. She has appeared throughout the USA and Europe most notably as a guest artist on the
French television program "La chance aux chansons" in Paris. Elsie has performed as vocal and clarinet
soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the US. Elsie is a tenured member of the St. Louis MUNY
Orchestra where she has performed for 11 seasons as a woodwind doubler on flute, clarinet and saxophone.
As a classical clarinet artist her CD "Elm" (Centaur 3055) displays her moving and masterful musicianship
as well as her adept arranging skills. Elsie has served on the music faculties of St. Louis University,
Webster University and Augustana College. Ms. Parker has a Master's in (Music) Clarinet Performance from
The Univsity of Iowa where she studied with clarinet icon Himie Voxman. Her Bachelor's degree is from
New Mexico State under the tutelage of clarinetist Charles West.
Wayne Coniglio - (string bass, trumpet, arranger, producer) is former bass trombonist for Ray Charles.
Wayne provides the firm foundation upon which the PPOP grooves. An in demand arranger/trombonist/bassist and producer,
he has prepared much of the music that the PPOP performs. Wayne has played extensively with Toshiko Akyoshi,
The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Chico O'Farrill's Latin-Jazz Dream Band and Scott Whitfield's Jazz Orchestra.
Wayne is a Yamaha Artist/Clinician. He is an adjunct faculty member at Webster University.
Michael Carosello - (keyboards, piano on "La vie en rose") is a graduate of North Texas State and a prolific
synthesizer player. He works with some of the top entertainers in St. Louis lending his special brand of cool.
Mike provides a wide pallette of tones for The Poor People of Paris, especially in pop music settings.
Ken Kehner - (piano) holds a degree in Piano Performance from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
This is his sixth year teaching jazz piano and improvisation at University of Missouri - St. Louis. He has backed such noted artists
as Bill Watrous, Bobby Shew, Buddy DeFranco, Pete Christlieb, Eric Marienthal, Louie Bellson, and Clark Terry.
Also an accomplished classical pianist, Ken has been featured as soloist with orchestras in the Midwestern United States.
Allan Schilling - (drums, percussion) is the music director /accompanist for the dance program at Webster University
Alan began his musical career at the age of four as a tap dancer, and is a graduate of the St. Louis Conservatory of Music.
As a freelance player he performs regularly with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and MUNY Orchestra
of St. Louis.
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