Summertime technically isn’t here yet, but local choir group the Southwest Singers is ushering it in early with its upcoming show “Summer Is in the Air.”
Choir director Ruth Wilson Francisco said attendees of this season’s concert can expect big band music with “a smattering of popular guys like Andrew Lloyd Webber.”
Southwest Singers will be performing “All I Ask of You,” Webber’s popular “Phantom of the Opera” tune. Big band classics like “Putting on the Ritz,” as well as other recognizable tunes like Cole Porter’s “In the still of the Night” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” are on the program, and the choir also plans to premier one of its most difficult pieces to-date: a medley of George Gershwin songs.
“Our most challenging piece is the Gershwin medley. We’ll be doing the most recognizable Gershwin tunes: ‘Swanee,’ ‘Rhapsody In Blue,’ ‘Embraceable You,’” said Francisco. “We have a great library of music, but as a small, chamber choir there are some things I can’t do that require a lot of voices. Gershwin kind of does, and it shows that even thought we’re small we don’t want to limit ourselves to things that are kind of easy.”
All in all, Francisco says concertgoers are in store for a “conglomerate of songs that people are going to enjoy.”
The choir will be accompanied by Joyce Steffen and also features new member Tom MacIntosh, who joined the choir in January after moving to the area from Nebraska.
“We had to push the concert up by two weeks, but I wasn’t worried. Even during the first three weeks, they were picking up the music so quickly. We really work on a lot of harmonies, and they do beautifully.”
After the concert, attendees are encouraged to hang around for the informal reception and meet some of the Southwest Singers and their neighbors. The reception will feature light snacks.
“Summer is in the Air” will be performed May 1 and May 2 at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Cortez, followed by the informal reception. The concert is free, but donations are accepted.