Local choral group to perform tunes from The Beach Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Katy Perry and more

Calgary’s choral sensation Revv52 is preparing to unleash the sunny sounds summer with their latest performance, California Dreamin’, at River Park Church Auditorium June 2-4.

The group, founded in 1952, features more than 50 Calgarian choral singers from various walks of life and backgrounds.

The ensemble has performed across Canada and North America, including a run of performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City, featuring renditions of some of the Big Apple’s most iconic music.

Artistic director Brian Farrell is responsible for creating the theme of each performance, from the music selection to props and stage arrangements. He says the California theme was deliberately chosen to complement their previous New York performances. Photo courtesy of Totem Photography

Revv52’s artistic director Brian Farrell said the California Dreamin’ theme was chosen to build off the New York production, touching on the influx in musical talent from New York to California.

“We build our shows so they complement each other,” Farrell said. “What happened in New York, at the end of the 60s, a lot of groups were finding the work they would get in New York was drying up, and they thought the answer would be to move to California. It really prompted this whole westward movement of amazing talent that came to Los Angeles.”

Aside from the historical reference, the California theme is a great way to kick off summer in Calgary, and there are hopes the mellow, laid back sounds of California beach music will provide some comfort to Albertans currently going through rough times.

“We believe that music has healing power and during this difficult economic time for our city we are excited to have the chance to take Calgarians on a summer vacation without having to pay to leave the city,” Farrell said.

“Music is great therapy, it’s probably the cheapest and safest drug that anyone can take,” Farrell said. “Communities which come together around music are very supportive, and music has a way of drawing people away from the things that might inhibit them. There is often a great sense of hope in music.”

The popular songs performed by Revv52 are re-written to be sung by more than 50 singers, giving them a very distinctive feel from recorded versions listeners might be familiar with. Photo courtesy of Revv52Teddi Cutler, a soprano singer with Revv52, said her experiences with the group helped her to stay positive after being diagnosed with heart problems.

“Two days before my audition with Revv52, I had been diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia so I can honestly guarantee that my heart was probably pounding harder than most when I went in for my audition,” Cutler said. “I ended up having to get my heart surgery a week before my first performance.”

She says practicing her songs and thinking about the group’s upcoming performance helped keep her mind from wandering to dark places.

Revv52 soprano singer Teddi Cutler says the power of music helped keep her thinking positive despite health challenges, and hopes this upcoming Revv52 performance can offer the same sort for others. Photo courtesy of Denise Brown

“It was something for me to look forward to, and that’s very important. Preparing for my heart surgery was probably the most anxiety-inducing experience of my life. But something I held onto and looked forward to was performing with Revv a week later,” she said.

“It was therapeutic to be around the music, and everybody was so encouraging. Music isn’t just therapeutic for the people listening to it, but also for us performing it.”

Revv52’s California Dreamin’ performances are set to begin June 2 and carry through to June 4 at the River Park Church Auditorium located at 3818 14A St., S.W. Tickets are available online at Revv52.com.

“We will also be sharing a free performance on June 1 during our dress rehearsal,” said Murray Ord, one of Revv52’s directors. “Some of those hit hardest by the changing economy will receive a special invitation to kick back and enjoy some California Dreamin’ on the house!”

Thumbnail image courtesy of Revv52 

jbrak@cjournal.ca