Comedy Tonight! shows off lighter side of choral music 

Sea to Sky Singers team up with Vancouver comic Ross Dauk for two nights of music and laughter

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - CHORUS OF LAUGHTER The Sea to Sky Singers are teaming up with Vancouver comic Ross Dauk to show off the lighter side of choral music at Comedy Tonight! in Squamish on April 27 and 28.
  • Photo submitted
  • CHORUS OF LAUGHTER The Sea to Sky Singers are teaming up with Vancouver comic Ross Dauk to show off the lighter side of choral music at Comedy Tonight! in Squamish on April 27 and 28.

Veronica McPhee will be the first to admit that most people wouldn't associate choral music with side-splitting belly laughs.

"A lot of people have an image of choral music as something maybe related to the church or something that has a serious side to it, which it does, in fact," explains McPhee, musical director for the Sea to Sky Singers. "But with this concert, we wanted to highlight the joy of singing together and the funny songs that are out there."

The Sea to Sky Singers have teamed up with award-winning Vancouver comedian Ross Dauk to show the lighter side of choral music at Comedy Tonight!, scheduled for this weekend at Centrepoint in Squamish.

The adult choir will run through a series of humorous humdingers, including "Make 'Em Laugh" and "Be a Clown" from the 1952 musical, Singing in the Rain; "When You're Smiling," recorded by Louis Armstrong; and even a Latin version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Dauk, in turn, will provide commentary and share bits that relate to the songs in some way.

Needless to say, it's an unusual format for Dauk, voted as one of Vancouver's best comedians in the Georgia Straight.

"I think it's unique in my comedy career so far," he says. "I wouldn't normally tailor my jokes too much to a crowd, but for almost every show, I'm thinking about what I'm going to say and how I'm going to frame my jokes. With this one, it just means that what I'm going to joke about is already pre-decided a little bit. How it's going to go, you never really know, but they might be very into it."

Dauk sees the concept for the show as something of a throwback to an era when "comedians and musical acts were more combined.

"That's how I'm approaching it."

More than just a musical performance, McPhee consistently strives to deliver an eclectic experience at her concerts that offers a little bit of something to everyone.

"A goal that I always have is to create more of an event for people, that they're not just going to a concert that's delivered at them, but they feel like it's a big event," she said. To that end, Comedy Tonight! will feature a photo wall of choir members posing in different positions with a rubber chicken that attendees will have the chance to caption. The performance will also culminate with a "simple song" that audience members will be able to sing along to, McPhee said. Past Sea to Sky Singers' shows have incorporated poetry, acting and dance, proving that a choral concert doesn't have to have the staid, sombre tone of Sunday mass.

"Personally, when I go see a performance, and it doesn't really matter what it is, I think a multimedia show always enhances the experience for people and gives different points to connect with the audience," McPhee says. "Over the past few years, I have attempted more of that. It's always with the goal of enhancing the music."

McPhee also has an ulterior motive to her multimedia approach: growing interest in choral music across the Sea to Sky.

"I wanted to explore an expanding audience," she said. "I'm curious to always reach out and find people who might think they don't want to go to a choir concert, but usually once they're there, realize how much they've connected to the music."

Comedy Tonight! runs April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and April 28 at 2 p.m. at 38014 Fourth Ave. in Squamish. The Saturday show will also include a cash bar.

Tickets for the all-ages show are $20 and are available at Anna's Interiors and Concrete Blonde in Squamish, as well as at the door. Admission is free for children 12 and under.

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