The vocal ensemble is one of three Reed choirs performing this week for the choral program’s spring concerts.
Fresh off the performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” the vocal ensemble started rehearsing an eclectic mix of pop songs for its Thursday and Friday night shows barely three weeks ago.
“I spend a lot of time looking for the right songs for the group,” choir director John Lorentzen said. “I look at it from and educational and audience perspective.”
For the vocal ensemble Lorentzen chose performance quality songs, which include “Love Today” by Mika, “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles and “Joy” by Janis Ian.
“I started toss song ideas around and ‘Love Today’ is one that my daughter played for me on the drive back from Las Vegas.”
“Love Today” and “Love Song” have been popular Billboard chart toppers but have difficult rhythms and melodies to perfect. Nevertheless, the vocal ensemble quickly catches on to the catchy tunes during a class rehearsal.
Lorentzen explained that he picked “Joy” because he felt it was a perfect graduation song, and he does have many of his talented students graduating in June.
In the Intermezzo choir, which incorporates song and dance, more than 20 seniors will graduate next months. Senior Anna Golbov used her time under Lorentzen’s direction to pursue her dreams.
“I want to be on Broadway,” Golbov said. “ I definitely want to perform.”
Golbov will be attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the fall to continue her music education.
“She was born humming,” said Golbov’s mother, Jean Gage. “She started with voice lessons two years ago.”
Golbov not only joins classmates in the vocal ensemble, but also participates in the Intermezzo choir. Intermezzo will also perform Thursday and Friday nights and will sing and dance around Reed’s stage to music from “Sweeney Todd,” “Hairspray” and “Mary Poppins,” during which Golbov will showcase her solo abilities.
Lorentzen explained that he picked some of the song choices, such as “Sweeney Todd,” because of the timeliness of the music, especially since “Sweeney Todd” was just made into a movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Deep.
Nevada Dance Academy instructor JoAnna Wager helped choreograph the “movements,” as Lorentzen calls it, to the Broadway songs.
“The ‘Sweeney Todd’ medley is very complex,” Lorentzen explained. He said this was the reason Wager decided to choreograph slow movements to music than actual dance moves.
Lorentzen has been directing Reed’s choir for 20 years and in addition to leading the vocal ensemble and Intermezzo, he will also conduct Prima Voce during tonight’s performance.
Prima Voce is an all-women choir and will sing a medley of songs from the Broadway musical, and 2006 movie, “Dreamgirls.”
“It’s a great new medley for women’s voices,” Lorentzen said.
He explained that it is difficult to find choral music to complement a woman’s voice but that the “Dreamgirls” medley was perfect.
While Lorentzen directs five choirs at Reed, the three performing this week require auditions to join.
“I’m proud of the students because they sing Broadway and pop stuff but they also know choral literature,” Lorentzen said of his talented teens. “It’s a very broad spectrum.”
Prima Voce will perform tonight at 7 p.m. in the Reed High School auditorium. Admission is $5 at the door.
The vocal ensemble and Intermezzo will perform on Thursday and Friday nights at 7 p.m. and are also $5 at the door.