Local singing group brings energetic act to campus
Eddie Solis Jr.
THE SANTA CLARA
April 17, 2014
The Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus performed a medley of classic Broadway hits during their latest concert over the weekend at the Santa Clara Recital Hall.
Santa Clara is full of opportunities to attend exciting events that showcase all kinds of talent, ranging from dancing to painting to spoken word.
It’s not common, however, for a performance to highlight talent from groups other than Santa Clara students. This concert was a chance to check out a unique troupe of skilled singers from outside the campus bubble.
For three shows, the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus performed a variety of famous show tunes from musicals such as “Cats,” “Wicked” and “Les Miserables.” The chorus sang two acts of over eight songs each. The crowd, which averaged about 200 members each day, enjoyed these fun Broadway favorites.
“The musical theater has so much history, so my artistic advisory committee put all the songs down that we really liked,” said Artistic Director Shawn Reifschneider. “We wanted a variety of style to represent musical theater. We got the jazz style, fun pop music and new musicals like Wicked.”
The chorus is made up of approximately 30 members and their performance included soloists, pianists, a drummer and a bassist.
The show began with “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast,” which set the tone for an engaging and entertaining set.
The chorus performed a variety of songs and styles. Included were hits like the foot-tapping, crowd-pleasing, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray,” to the bluesy “Feeling Good” from “The Roar of the Greasepaint,” to “The Sound of Music’s” classic title song.
The first act ended with a game in which the chorus performed brief snippets of classic songs to see if the audience could recognize the famous show tunes.
“There were so many songs that I recognized, but also a lot that I was discovering for the first time,” said audience member Ruth Dodd, who had never before seen the chorus. The prize for winning was season tickets for the SVGMC.
The second act continued with a medley of songs from “Ragtime,” “Les Miserables” and “Man of La Mancha.” Each performance displayed a range of emotions, from energetic to somber to hilarious. The rambunctious and sassy performance of “Everybody’s Girl,” guest starring Mary Melnik, had the crowd in uncontrollable laughter.
“(Melnik) is well-known in the theater community here in the Silicon Valley, so when we saw this song, we knew we had to include it, but who do we think could do it?” said Reifschneider. “And I knew that (Melnik) could pull that one off because you have to have stage presence to really make it happen.”
Besides having fun and entertaining the audience, SVGMC also strives to serve a greater purpose.
“Our organization is really here to provide a community, a place to belong,” said Reifschneider. “We are holding auditions for anyone who wants to join our community. We want to show a positive, visible image for LGBT choruses.”
The SVGMC’s next performance will be in June at Santa Clara. It will be a musical-type storyline with three actors. The show will focus on their relationships and lives. Those interested can visit their website, SVGMC.org, for audition information and a schedule of future show times.
Contact Eddie Solis Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org .