Edmonton Columbian Choirs Bring Broadway Back

Kd lang impressed the world when she sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during the opening ceremonies of the recent Olympic games, so this song is still quite fresh in many people’s minds.

For the Chanteuses Ladies’ Choir, one of three groups within the Columbian Choirs, this song is also a signature piece that the ladies have been performing for years. The Chanteuses will, of course, sing it at the Columbian Choirs’ upcoming annual Night on Broadway event, explains Heather Bedford-Clooney, the Chanteuses’ conductor.

“We do a slightly different one than she does—we do the one that I’m sure was done in Shrek—the lyrics to the original Leonard Cohen are little more risqué than you want for a family show. But kd lang does a fabulous job of it, and of course, she’s in everybody’s mind when those women sing it,” explains Bedford-Clooney, who also enjoyed lang’s performance at the Olympics.

But there’s something else that audiences continue to enjoy, too: musicals. Bedford-Clooney offers several reasons for the popularity of music from Broadway shows. For starters, it’s a lighter genre; furthermore, many people grew up with these tunes by going to movies and hearing the music there. And a current program on television has also added to the genre’s appeal.

“They’re even more popular now with the advent of Glee,” Bedford-Clooney observes. “And I think people are travelling more and they’re going to see more shows in big centres, and there are more travelling productions of those shows.”

Not surprisingly, the music itself remains in people’s memories long after the shows are over.

“So [audiences] become more familiar with the music, and when you look as well at the Baby Boomer generation—they’re still the largest percentage of our population—they have very fond memories of Rogers and Hammerstein and those kinds of shows.”

Clearly, musicals can create wonderful nostalgia for most people. But music certainly isn’t the only medium that can bring back memories of the past. So can fashion.

For performing the song “Always a Bridesmaid,” each woman in the choir will wear a dress that she once actually wore as a bridesmaid. These singers are between 18 and 65, so some of the dresses will be quite old, Bedford-Clooney adds. Bouquets and rubber boots will round out the ladies’ ensembles.

This particular work will be done as a melodrama, involving both singing and acting.

“We’re doing it as a melodrama, so when they shoot their mister, they shoot their mister. So it’s a bit of a play.” V


Fri, May 7 and Sat, May 8, (6:30 pm)
Edmonton Columbian Choirs

Night on Broadway
Royal Glenora Club, $47 – $53

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