The Sage Sound Singers are in their seventh year, and have performed more than 80 different pieces at concerts over the years. But on April 22 and 23, the choir will be putting on a concert unlike any other they have done; and musical director Michelle Reid is very excited about the upcoming “Tribute to Broadway”.
“It will be very different to previous performances,” she says; and while the idea of a concert honouring great Broadway show tunes had been in the back of her head for some time, it took a suggestion from long-time choir member Ken Platz—that the group should do some Broadway songs—to make the concept a reality.
“I went from there,” says Reid, who used her knowledge of musical theatre to track down songs and the right arrangements and put them in order before presenting the idea to the choir. While a handful of the songs are ones the choir has performed before, most of the 22 numbers—drawn from 19 different musicals—in the concert were new to the singers.
Reid said she had performed many of the pieces, either in theatre or in concert. “They’re all songs I knew; they were very familiar to me, and will be to most people.” It has taken a year to get the concert organized, and Reid says that during that time people have been stopping her and asking what songs will be included.
The pieces selected run from the intimate (“Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, and “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess), to the dramatic (“Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime, and “All That Jazz” from Chicago). But Reid says that of all the songs the choir will be performing, the one that touches her most is “Ol’ Man River”, from Showboat.
“‘Send in the Clowns’ is another one I love,” she continues. “It’s such a beautiful arrangement. But how can you pick a favourite? I love them all.”
Michelle Reid with pianist Dimiter Terziev. Photo by Barbara Roden.
She notes that the nature of the songs being performed means the choir has to be a lot more theatrical than in previous concerts. “There needs to be lots of movement on stage.” Director Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan was brought in to help with staging, and coaching the choir members on movement. And there will be props and costumes; something the choir has not had to deal with in the past.
“The props and costumes started with a few things, and then started evolving,” says Reid. “Getting the costumes was challenging; assembling everything and getting things made.” Her neighbour Pat Gauthier was able to help out by making some of the costumes.
“I’m hoping that the audience will appreciate the gift of music,” Reid continues. “These are songs that have become classics and stood the test of time. And what we are doing is amazing for a community choir. We’ve come a long way, and I’m so proud of everyone.
“Music is almost mandatory for well-being. Even just singing in the shower is good. I’m so pleased, for myself and the community, that this has taken shape. I do this for the joy of it, for the journey.”
The Tribute to Broadway concert will be at the Ashcroft HUB on Saturday, April 22 at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m. Admission is by donation.