Feel the love: Mancos chorus may have best show yet

Director Kriss Larsen and the Mancos Valley Chorus will jump-start its season with a May 4 performance in Mancos. Enlargephoto

Courtesy Photo

Director Kriss Larsen and the Mancos Valley Chorus will jump-start its season with a May 4 performance in Mancos.

If you're looking for an energy boost, an infusion of spring fever, or just a good time among friends, catch one of this spring's upcoming performances by the Mancos Valley Chorus.

On Sunday, May 4, the Mancos Valley Chorus will jump-start its spring season in their home venue - the Mancos Methodist Church - with a 3:30 p.m. performance, the first of four local shows.

The season's program is titled Can You Feel the Love Tonight, named in part because it features several selections from the long-running Broadway show, The Lion King, and because the chorus revels in sharing the love and the fun of music-making.

Director Kriss Larsen has a long track record of crafting well-designed, well-paced, entertaining shows that have wide appeal. Even so, this show may be one of the best yet. The show will open and close with selections from The Lion King, including the popular Elton John/Tim Rice collaboration Can You Feel the Love Tonight and the Circle of Life as well as lesser-known selections from the Broadway version of The Lion King, Shadowland and He Lives in You. Studded with African lyrics and rhythms and strung together with powerful melodies, these songs will wash over you like a Saharan wind and leave you smiling.

Says Larsen, "There's a reason why Lion King has been playing on Broadway continuously for 10 years. It's more than a children's show. There is a life philosophy inherent in these pieces."

In between these Lion King bookends more musical treasures await. A challenging arrangement of Come Fly With Me, made popular by Frank Sinatra, and Something's Gotta Give, a perennial Sammy Davis Jr. favorite, lend a 1950s Vegas-style schmooze to the mix. Blue Moon and I Only Have Eyes for You in fresh arrangements will also be featured. And rounding out the season's theme of love is a chorus favorite, Seasons of Love, from the Broadway show Rent.

Accompanying the chorus on piano will be its longtime professional performer and Mancos resident, Lee Bartley. Bartley will be joined by two additional musicians, both from Durango.

Spencer Church on bass and Mike Morris on drums should add depth and drive to this exciting program. And as always, sprinkled throughout the show will be an array of soloists who tender up their individual voices for our enjoyment.

There's a reason why the Mancos Valley Chorus has such a loyal following: Now in its 16th consecutive season, their shows are well-rehearsed and highly enjoyable; they deliver audience-centered performances without a drop of pretense or affectation; and its 36 members work hard to ensure that you have a good time. This show guarantees that you will.

Wendy Watkins is owner/operator of S'more Music, LLC., a private Suzuki piano studio. She can be reached at (970) 565-4129.