Though she came of age during disco’s heyday, vocalist Maureen Christine has a special love for the music of the Great American Songbook.
The St. Charles resident, who often performs with her husband, instrumentalist Michael Bazan, adores the lush pop standards of the 1930s through the 1960s, including the works of George and Ira Gershwin, songs of the Big Band era, and the Broadway melodies of Rogers and Hammerstein.
“The lyrics are timeless, romantic and often happy. I’m not a singer that gets into darker material or the blues,” she said.
She also has a heart for the generation that calls the music their own. “I love performing for seniors. They appreciate great lyrics and soaring melodies, which is what I love to sing,” she said.
Throughout her adult life, music has been Christine’s primary career, as a recording artist, performing in concerts, at weddings, events, and as a singer of commercial jingles and the National Anthem. This year, she’ll perform about 150 shows which she books herself, though her company, Crystal Clear Music. She also schedules backing musicians as needed. “I have an organized personality, I’m detail oriented and not a procrastinator,” she said.
Upcoming local performances include “As Time Goes By,” a concert of movie music Nov. 10 at the St. Charles Public Library, and “Songs That Inspire Us,” Nov. 24, at Wheaton Bible Church. For more information, visit www.maureenchristine.com
Since her childhood in McHenry, she’s known that singing was what she loved to do the most. “I had a solo in music class and this big voice came out, and something happened. I knew that this was what I would do. That day, I went home and told my parents I wanted to be a singer,” she said.
She also learned to play guitar and write songs. Early influences included ‘70s icons John Denver, Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand, and she often performed their music live, beginning with a senior gathering at the McHenry Country Club when she was fourteen. At sixteen, she was invited to sing with the City of McHenry’s Big Band, by its director, who also taught at McHenry High School.
After high school, she was eager to begin her music career, but not eager to leave home, so she pursued opportunities locally. She sang commercial jingles, was chosen as a finalist for Star Search, a TV talent show that was a precursor to American Idol, and performed at Six Flags in Gurnee, here she met her husband.
“We would perform five or six shows a day during the week, then on weekends we had a wedding band,” she said.
As she matured as a performer, she embraced the classic pop genre and has recorded two albums. Her 2002 release, “My Romance,” received a Grammy pre-nomination in the Traditional Pop Vocal category, which also included releases from Keely Smith and Harry Connick, Jr.
When she’s not singing, Christine works as the business manager for Imperial School of Music, the Geneva music school she and Bazan have owned for 25 years, and manages their real estate company, Andante Properties.
“My music teachers encouraged me at a young age, and I really believe in the power of music education. Music gave me purpose confidence and a sense of belonging, and my husband and I want to share that with our students,” she said.