Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society presents ‘A Night on Broadway’Oct 04, 2021 11:23AM ● By Katherine Weinstien
Aathaven Tharmarajah, Alan Babcock, Connor Lee and Nick Crapo sing a number from “Jersey Boys” in the 2018 Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society concert, “A Night on Broadway.” (Photo courtesy Sherri Jensen/Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society)
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
For many people, nothing lifts the spirits like a well-loved song from a Broadway musical. "It's the best music ever," said Sherri Jensen, artistic director and conductor for Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society. "It makes people happy."
Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society will present "A Night on Broadway" Oct. 8 at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City and Oct. 9 at Brighton High School Auditorium in Cottonwood Heights.
The community orchestra and choir last performed an evening of show tunes in 2018. "It's time to revisit it," Jensen said. "I picked songs that are uplifting and will get you tapping your toes. This music lifts the load of life a little."
The program for the concert will include dozens of songs spanning the history of Broadway. Audiences will hear music from shows such as "Les Misérables," "Phantom of the Opera," "Man of La Mancha,” "Hello, Dolly!," "Wicked," “Annie,” "Dear Evan Hansen" and many more.
“A Night on Broadway” will include theatrical elements such as costumes for the soloists and tap dancers performing to “Singin’ in the Rain.” “We have so many soloists, some of the best vocalists in the state,” Jensen said.
Tenor Gregory Jack will perform “Corner of the Sky,” from “Pippin” and is also part of a quartet of singers performing a medley from “Jersey Boys.” Being a member of the Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society has afforded him the opportunity to sing, which he greatly enjoys. “It’s just fun to be back on stage,” Jack said. “High school was the time I was on stage the most, seven or eight years ago. I just love singing.”
Hillary Anne Hopson, an alto in the Choral Society, echoes the sentiment. “When I got the opportunity to sing with Sherri’s choir, it was liberating,” Hopson said. “I could sit there and sing for three hours! It’s very engaging and I love it. It was a heartbreak when we had to stop during the pandemic.”
Flutist Heather Wiseman also spoke of how difficult it was to not be able to play and perform last year. “Not playing was lonely, it was like a hole in your life,” she said. “Since they started up again, it’s been wonderful. I love going to rehearsals. Playing with others is fulfilling for me.”
Wiseman is looking forward to “A Night on Broadway.” "I love the 'Wicked' medley that we're doing," she said. "It takes you through the entire show. It's a really high-energy, fun piece." The song "Bring Him Home" from "Les Misérables" is another one of Wiseman's favorites. "It's so heartfelt," she said. "The singer almost brought us to tears."
“I’m such a Broadway nerd, it’s hard to choose a favorite song,” Hopson said. “The ‘Wicked’ medley—that show has a special place in my heart. Also ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’”
Michelle Wadsworth, first violinist, has been playing with the Draper Philharmonic for two years. “I love the pace of ‘Seventy-Six Trombones,’” she said. “That one is very energetic because of how quickly we can play it.”
Some of the pieces in “A Night on Broadway” can be a little demanding for the musicians and singers, but they are up to the challenge. “Sherri pushes us to get the sound she wants,” Wadsworth said. “But she is so kind about it that we all want to work hard.”
Wadsworth is thrilled to be performing again. “Playing again brought back a sense of normalcy. This music has really helped us bring the old part of our lives back, it’s been very stabilizing in an unstable time,” she said.
Jensen expressed gratitude over the fact that Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society is still going strong in spite of the pandemic. “We’re doing really well,” she said. “I just consider it a huge blessing, having so much support and being able to find venues.”
Draper Philharmonic is currently seeking more musicians. Jensen specifically mentioned that she is looking for brass players, including trumpet and trombone as well as more violins. “We also have room for violas and cellos,” she said. “We would like to have two percussionists as well.”
Musicians who are interested in joining Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society can visit draperphilharmonic.org for more information. Tickets for “A Night on Broadway” may be purchased via the website as well.
“I hope we can get a lot of people out to see the concert,” Jensen said. “It will make them feel better.”