The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
The Smith Mountain Lake Arts Council's Lakeside Singers chorus is putting the finishing touches on a special concert planned for its devoted fans for the past 25 years.
"The Best of the Lakeside Singers" will be presented at Trinity Ecumenical Parish on Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. and again on Saturday, June 8 at 2 p.m.
The 20 numbers being featured all have received audience approval during former concerts -- going back as far as the group's beginnings in the late 80's. Songs will include "Thee Choral Society," "Celebrate America," "Lights, Camera, Action," "How the West Was Sung" and "Savor the 70's."
"Salute to the Greatest Generation" show in 2001 was conducted by founding Director Wayne Gibson, who continued to lead the group through its 2004 performance. That concert saw the debut of The Lakeside Trio singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" in Andrews Sisters fashion. Trio members Denise Gregory, Marion Wetcher and Stubelt, who sang as "The Trio" at each show through 2010, will reunite to perform again this year.
Other concert themes have been celestial, romantic, Broadway, movie themes and even beach music. Each show, built around harmonious renditions of well-known tunes, gets done up with costumes, props, humorous skits and ample audience participation.
"We always try to have surprises everyone will enjoy," said Liz Stubelt, who served as artistic director from 2000 until 2009.
Two of her favorite tunes from those years -- "Sincerely" and "Sugartime" -- will be featured in this year's retrospective.
"We can guarantee a great time for everyone in the audience," said Valshera Johnson, who became Lakeside Singers' director in 2007.
Ken Nagel and Ned Coryell took over from Stubelt as artistic directors for the 2010 show "Kids at Heart," which included several Disney tunes. Coryell left that role three years ago and was replaced by Chris Collins, a veteran of every Lakeside Singers concert since 2001.
"Working on 'The Best Of' concert has been a very rewarding experience," said Collins, who's been immersed in planning and rehearsals since the group's second annual fall Gospel Concert was performed in November 2012. "We have extremely talented singers who really enjoy performing for their Smith Mountain Lake neighbors. We're all very grateful for the way the lake community turns out to support this arts council presentation."
The 55 singers, many of whom also work on committees that handle tickets, decorations, refreshments, graphics and other production details, will be accompanied by pianist Susan Spataro and her son, J.T., 19, who is known by Lakeside Singers audiences for his guitar solos.
Tickets are $8 in advance from any Lakeside Singers member or at Radio Shack, Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center or The General Store. Tickets are $9 at the door.