One part comedy, 99 percent singing
A comic storyline runs through the multiple acts in Rogue Valley Harmonizers' a cappella extravaganza.
"There's a little bit of acting in the concert," says Michael Biggs, the show's chairman. "It has a slight whodunit theme to it. It's 99 percent singing, but we add a bit of comedy. Actor Russ Mitchell plays Sam Scoop, a private investigator who keeps the action moving and provides comic relief between the sets."
The Harmonizers, along with spin-off quartets Spare Parts, Lytning, women's quartet Passing Notes and gold-medal-winning St. Louis barbershop quartet Vocal Spectrum, will present "Songs of Broadway" at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford. Tickets are $20 or $25, $15 for students, and can be purchased at rvhsings.com or craterian.org, at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., or by calling 541-779-3000.
Spare Parts Quartet will open the show with "Ain't Misbehavin" from the 1978 musical review of the same title. Quartet Lytning will form an octet with women's group Passing Notes to sing "Lyda Rose" from "The Music Man."
Next up in the first act, the Harmonizers will sing a lineup of Broadway show tunes. Look for "Aquarius" from "Hair," "I Got Rhythm" from "Girl Crazy," a comic take on "Hello, Dolly!" and a medley of five songs from "South Pacific."
"The medley will really be the highlight of the first act," Biggs says. "It's well arranged, and every song in 'South Pacific' is well remembered."
Biggs and his fondness for comedy come into the limelight, along with his quartet Tone Deaf.
"I am playing the villain in our show, and I will make appearances throughout the concert in my chicken suit," he says. "We're comedy first and we sing good, too."
Tone Deaf has donned chicken suits to perform in the past. On this night, the foursome will dress in '70s bell-bottom tuxedos with ruffled dickies to open the second half of the show. The set will be replete with parodies and hi-jinks.
"We're leaving the amazing singing to Vocal Spectrum," Biggs says. "They are incredibly gifted musicians. Tim Waurick, their tenor, has a company called TimTracks. He creates learning tracks for four-part harmonies. He has enough vocal range to sing from the lowest note to the highest note. There's a YouTube video of him singing the entire piano.
"The baritone, Jonny Moroni, is co-director of Ambassadors of Harmony, which is one of the best choruses in the world. Based in St. Louis, Vocal Spectrum is the current gold medal international champion of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the largest male singing organization in the world."
Vocal Spectrum — tenor Waurick, baritone Moroni, lead Eric Dalbey and bass Chris Hallam — arranges familiar songs to sing in four-part harmonies. Look for a range of songs from the Beach Boys' hit "Good Vibrations" to "Bring Him Home" from "Les Misérables" before the conclusion of the show.
The quartet also will sing music from its newest album, "Vocal Spectrum V." Released this summer on Naked Voice Records, it includes an arrangement of "Zuit Suit Riot," written by Steve Perry of ska and swing band Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and "Music of the Night" from "Phantom of the Opera."
"We're so excited to have these guys coming," Biggs says. "It took us two years to work out a schedule to get them here. It's an absolute honor to share the stage with them."