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Queen City Voices Concert Celebrates Music of the 50s and 60s

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(Poster design courtesy Queen City Voices)
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Queen City Voices is described by spokesperson Amy Hoogstraet Safley as "a non-profit community choir in Springfield. We are an all-inclusive choir--we're open to anyone in the community who wants to join, as long as they're 18 or older, as long as they like to sing, and as long as they can commit their Monday evenings to us during our seasons. And that's all we ask.  You don't have to audition. We just come together, united by our love of singing.

The group presents their Spring 2018 concert "Rockin' the 50's & 60's", featuring a selection of classic hits from the 1950's and 1960's, on Sunday April 22nd at 2:00pm in the auditorium at the Springfield Art Museum, 1111 E. Brookside Drive next to Phelps Grove Park. Admission is free.

As a contrast to their Christmas concert a few months ago, Safley says in the spring concert the group can do "whatever we want.  Our Artistic Director Jonathan Raney has chosen music of the 1950s and 1960s--so how can this not be a fantastic concert, right? We're starting it off with 'At the Hop,' and we're just doing all kinds of wonderful hits from those two decades."

One of those hits may technically be PRE-1950 (1949 to be exact), but Queen City Voices' small ensemble "The Voxtet" created a clever arrangement of it, paying homage to the classic Tennessee Ernie Ford version of "16 Tons," which can be heard during the sound file above.   The size of the main group has grown about a third since their Christmas concert, says Safley, now numbering about 42 singers.  In addition to the Voxtet (usually 8 voices from the choir, seven for this concert) and various solos and small vocal combos, the concert will feature local operatic soprano Jennifer Forni in a solo.  "16 Tons" is the only unaccompanied number in the program; otherwise there will be percussion, bass and piano accompaniment. One song, "I Believe," will have a string section as well.

"In addition to the music," adds Safley, "this concert is going to be a treat for the eyes as well."  The choir members will all be dressing in '50s and '60s attire, with stage sets reminiscent of both decades.

Also included will be a silent auction in the Art Museum lobby, with bidding before the concert and during intermission on a variety of gift certificates and other items donated by area businesses.  Says Safley, "If you'd like to bid on things, please show up early."

And Queen City Voices will hold a fundraiser at the Panera Bread location at National and Elm (500 S. National) the day after their concert, Monday, April 23 from 4-8 p.m.  Queen City Voices will receive 20 percent of Panera's proceeds during those four hours, but there is a flyer that must be shown during those hours in order for your purchase to benefit the choir.  It's available online on Queen City Voices' Facebook page, and will be inserted in the program at the Sunday afternoon concert.  For more information email queencityvoices@gmail.com.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning "Arts News." Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's "Ozzie Award" in 2006.