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Caliente Community Chorus adapts annual Broadway for Brunch fundraiser to virtual format


Farmington choral group goes digital, gets creative

FARMINGTON — The annual Broadway for Brunch fundraiser presented by the Caliente Community Chorus won't be exactly what people have grown accustomed to, but chorus director Virginia Nickels-Hircock says that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"It should be a totally different thing than we have ever done," she said, noting how the virtual format for the event has allowed her organization to get creative. "Even though it's Broadway for Brunch, it's really Broadway for Dinner this time."

The fundraiser typically takes place on a Saturday morning in the commons area at Piedra Vista High School. Chorus members perform show tunes for patrons, who are served a variety of breakfast foods. That approach was out of the question this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, so Hircock decided to do what so many other performing arts groups have done — go digital.

Chorus members have gotten together in small groups to record their performances of Broadway songs against a green screen while dressed in costume. Video editor and producer Taylor Woodard, son of chorus co-director Robyn Woodard, is crafting a series of video backgrounds for the performances that range from a starry sky to a kitchen setting to a library to match the theme of songs.

"I think people are going to be surprised when they see what Taylor has done," Nickels-Hircock said. " … It's pretty fun. It's pretty creative."

Of course, the chorus won't be able to serve food to accompany the video presentation this year. But Nickels-Hircock hopes viewers get in the spirit of the thing by preparing their favorite breakfast-for-dinner combination before sitting down to enjoy the music over their meal.

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Broadway for Breakfast will be streamed at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 27 on YouTube. Those interested in watching it can visit the chorus website at calientechoir.org and click on the link to the show. The link will remain active on the website even after Saturday, Nickels-Hircock said, so anyone who misses its debut can still watch it at their leisure.

The chorus received a grant from the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation that covered the production costs, she said, so the presentation — which lasts approximately an hour and features 20 acts — will be free. But it is intended to serve as a fundraiser for the organization, and viewers will be encouraged to make a donation to the chorus via PayPal or through a credit or debit card.

"Normally, people would pay $15 a ticket (for Broadway for Brunch)," she said. "If you're going to watch this, think about throwing $15 or $20 into the kitty."

The lineup for the show includes a mix of classic and contemporary Broadway and Hollywood material, some of which has been adapted for comedic purposes to fit current events. It includes selections from "Phantom of the Opera," "The Music Man," "Oliver!," and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," but it also features tunes from "La La Land" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and even a pandemic-inspired adaptation of the Bee Gees' hit "Stayin' Alive" from "Saturday Night Fever" called "Stayin' Inside."

"I hope people will watch and enjoy it and have a few laughs," Nickels-Hircock said. "I think we all need that. I know I do."

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Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.