For two evenings this November, the Sage Sound Singers choir will bring live music and entertainment to Ashcroft when they perform a Tribute to the Music of Fiddler on the Roof.
The concerts take place on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23 at the Ashcroft HUB. Both shows get started at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m., with tickets ($15 each) available online (http://bit.ly/32x4rXi; service fee waived), at the HUB office, and at the event.
“A lot of people don’t know the story of Fiddler on the Roof,” says Michelle Reid, longtime musical director of the Ashcroft choir.
She is excited to bring the story of Tevye the Dairyman and his daughters to life this fall. “There’s quite a bit of humour [in it],” she says.
The production’s plot is fictitious but historically based, and the choir’s staging will be suitable for all ages to enjoy.
“All the vocal parts are going to be highlighted… It’s the entire musical score, minus a few little pieces,” says Reid. The choir’s performance will include live versions of the original music by Jerry Bock with lyrics from Sheldon Harnick.
Set in Imperial Russia in 1905, Fiddler follows the story of a father of five strong-willed daughters and his attempts to maintain the family’s Jewish traditions as outside influences attempt to encroach upon them.
Reid wrote a narrative script to tell the story for this performance, since the choir was unable to obtain the licensing to stage a full production of the original musical.
“What this is all about is the interpretation of the story through narration and music,” she says. “[The audience] can expect a lively interpretation of the music.”
Some parts of the story will be acted out and the performance will last about two hours, with a short intermission.
Accompanist Dimiter Terziev, who provided music for the 2015 production of My Fair Lady, will also provide live piano accompaniment for these two performances.
There are nineteen members in the Sage Sound Singers choir, including Reid herself, and members range in age from just 15 to 70 years old.
“I have people who do not read music at all,” says Reid. “I have people who have never sung in a choir and they came on board this time.
“It’s quite a challenge to accomplish what we have accomplished.”
Some choir members began rehearsing for the Tribute to Fiddler on the Roof back in July, but the production’s official rehearsals began in earnest this September.
“This is the fall production,” explains Reid. “We usually put a Christmas concert on, but we are stepping back from the Christmas concert this year so that we can really pull this one off and give a good performance.”
Reid has been the musical director of the Sage Sound Singers choir for a decade.
“Since the beginning,” she says. This year marks her 10th anniversary as the group’s director, but she has also been the conductor for about three years.
“Come and see [the show]. It’s a new venture and it’s very exciting… This is something I’ve wanted to do all my life.”
Reid says that putting on local performances is good for the community, and at almost 70 years old, the experience is a dream come true for her.
She started singing when she was just a child and has been instructed by world professionals in the time since. She was once a member of the Bach Choir and also plays the piano.
After the fall production, there won’t be another Sage Sound Singers performance for some time.
Reid said that the group makes an effort to coordinate its performances with other theatrical events, such as those put on by the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society (WRAPS), since the village of Ashcroft is so small, she explained.
WRAPS will put on a spring production, she said, so the choir won’t perform during that time, but will be at work on another future project.
“We’re starting to work in May 2020 on a huge production for 2021, which is called ChorFest,” she says. “There’s going to be 257 singers here, so that’s what I’m working on at the moment, too.”