Tickets are on sale for the Marshall County Arts Cooperative’s annual musical revue fundraiser “It’s All in the Numbers at the Replay Lounge” Friday and Saturday, January 25 and 26, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, January 27, at 2 p.m. at the American Legion Post 163, Marysville.
Advance tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Advocate, Chamber of Commerce office, CJ Express East and West, Marysville; Elsie Grace’s Gift Shoppe, Frankfort; and the State Bank of Blue Rapids, Blue Rapids. Tickets at the door are $20.
This is the twelfth year for the cooperative’s signature event that features local singers in a two act cabaret-style performance. Over the years the performers have refined the way they put together the revue. The event is held the last weekend in January; the process to create the next show starts almost as soon as the last show is finished.
“We perform the show in January, take February off, and start throwing around ideas for the next show in March,” said Brian Cook, a member of the musical ensemble. “One of the ensemble members might host everyone for supper, and we’ll gather lists of songs for several themes. We decide which list has the stronger songs, and that’s how we get the theme.”
During these meetings the musicians look at songs and whittle their way through the list. They keep the songs they know will be a hit with the audience, scratch off songs they can’t replicate musically, or eliminate a song that sounds great on a recording but doesn’t work well for their show. Overall, they look for a balanced lineup of songs. They know the audience will appreciate hearing the oldies, but they try to keep things modern with a few contemporary songs. By August the group sets up a regular rehearsal schedule.
“Each year, about late October, I’ll have someone ask me if we’ve started to pick songs for the January show,” said Julie Popejoy, another member of the ensemble. “I gleefully reply, ‘We’ve already chosen the songs for the program and have been rehearsing for several months.’ Most people do not realize the time and effort that goes into producing a show like this one.”
Over the years the singers have refined the flow of the show to determine how many fast, medium, and slow numbers should be performed. Popejoy likens the process to a fashion show needing a good mixture to keep the audience’s interest.
“We have also found that bringing a guest artist can certainly increase the size of our audience, but we have grown our numbers more by including more local talent in the show,” she added.
This year’s show features twenty-six musicians. Nine members are part of the core musical ensemble: Pat Breeding, Cook, Mandy Cook, Brian Fragel, Wayne Kruse, Rachel Massoth, Popejoy, Todd Sandmann, and Matt Wassenberg.
Seven local singers will be featured performers in the show’s first act: Ashley Kracht, Bryan Kracht, Laura Thoreson, Shane Thoreson, Adam Turner, Annamarie Wagner, and Brandon Wagner.
Cindy Voet is the musical director and conducts the nine-member band.
“We’ve added a new instrument, the violin, to the band, which will give us musical layers we haven’t had before,” Cook said.
To accommodate the new voices in the core musical group and the additional guest artists, the ensemble is putting together a larger stage to meet their needs. They have also added an extra performance. Last year’s performances were sold out and several people were turned away due to lack of seating.
“We’ve added a show so more people can join us at the Legion, be comfortable, and enjoy the show,” Popejoy said.
As the show’s title suggests, the ensemble will sing songs with numbers in the title: “Seven Bridges Road,” “Summer of ‘69,” “409,” and “At Seventeen.”
“It’s a fun theme,” Cook said. “It has allowed us to sing some great songs that might not have ever come up in any future themes. But in the grand scheme of things, the most important number is the dollar amount raised by this event in support of the arts in our community.”
For more information about the event people may visit the group’s website at marshallcountyarts.org.