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Hinton choirs to shake things up with Curtain Call

Masha Scheele

Spirit of the Rockies women’s choir and the Foothills Male Chorus are switching things up with their third annual combined concert this January.

Curtain Call, a Broadway concert, will not only include different Broadway songs but will also have choreographed and costumed numbers.

Choir director Christina Oliver really wanted to step out of the choir’s comfort zone with this performance.

A choreographer helped teach specific moves, but each member has to make adjustments that work for them, said Oliver.

“There’s not choreography in every song, but we made sure to really put emphasis on the songs that need it,” said Oliver.

A few years ago, when Oliver suggested combining the two choirs in one concert to showcase their talent, she already had the idea for a Broadway Disney concert.

“We thought let’s put our heads together and this way they share the load. Half the choir takes some songs and the other half takes some, and we also sprinkle in some small group stuff and solos and duets. Just to give more variety,” she said.

She decided to wait until the Performing Arts Theatre in Hinton (PATH) was up and running before presenting the idea of a Broadway concert with dancing, a little bit of acting, and a few costumes. 

“We’re not going all out like a Broadway show, but we want to add these accents, whether it’s choreography or acting or lines here and there, just to do something a little bit different,” she said.

Curtain Call will use the lights in the PATH to their full potential, and there will be no risers on stage for the chorus to stand on.

“This concert is going to shock a lot of audience members in the sense that we’ve really stepped outside of what our cookie cutter has been throughout the years,” said Oliver.

Oliver dug through some entertaining arrangements that could work for the choirs, and that might just tug at a few heartstrings. 

Some of the men haven’t been too keen on dancing, but have had quite a few choreography sessions with Melissa Pattison, who’s active in Hinton’s performing arts scene.

“They were very very hesitant at first but they’re laughing and getting into it and it’s going to be a great show,” said Oliver.

Oliver already promised the men’s choir they won’t have to dance at the spring concert after they mentioned meeting their dancing quota for a couple of years. The ladies have also worked on their choreography, especially one big number which will have everyone on stage dancing and singing. Oliver was impressed with the ideas that have come forward.

“Everybody literally between both choirs has had an idea or input into this concert,” she said.

Instead of their usual one night concert, they’ve also extended the show to two nights. With the amount of work they’ve put in, Oliver feels it’s worth doing it twice. The concert has attracted a decent audience in past years and Oliver hopes this doesn’t split their audience in half.

“It’s kind of a family show, there’s one song that’s a little bit more risque but I promise to follow it right up with some fun and bouncy and bubbly Disney. There literally is something for everybody in this whole show.”

Without giving away specific numbers, there will be songs from musicals including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Cats, Guys and Dolls, Jersey Boys, The Wizard of Oz, Oliver!, Oklahoma!, Wicked, and Bye Bye Birdie. 

“I’m so proud of all members of the choirs because I presented an idea, and there was a little bit of hesitance but you can see now they’re really having fun and enjoying it,” said Oliver.

Oliver has been with the Foothills male chorus since 2011, finishing her eighth season with them this year.

She joined the women’s choir in 2008 as a member, a year after she moved to Hinton. As a trained vocal coach, she was asked to do a few workshops, help out with warm ups, and directing before taking over as director of the women’s choir in 2013.

The concerts are on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 at 7 pm at the PATH. Tickets are available at The Wild Orchid and the Library, with youth rates available.