On April 30, at the Ed Stafford Theatre, 7 p.m. Otero Junior College Student and Community Choir presents an unforgettable musical story-telling fest


The OJC Student and Community Choir will present a show with a difference, i.e. songs and ballads that tell a story. The songs will be drawn from a diversity of sources such as G.F. Handel’s Samson, Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Lyn Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, Gordon Lightfoot, Kristin Chenoweth, the Beatles, A Chorus Line, and many Disney movies and musicals. Each song’s story will be put into context by Master of Ceremony Tom Seaba.

The show will take place on Monday, April 30 at the Ed Stafford Theater at OJC. It begins at 7:00 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30.

Going back to the time of the Homer and the Greek poets stories have been told through song and epic poetry. The concert will feature music with dramatic narratives. It will open with a trio of songs from G.F. Handel’s Samson, telling of the story of the biblical hero Samson, his fall because of the deception of his Philistine wife Dalila, and his redemption through self-sacrifice for the sake of the Israelites and his God. The music of this oratorio is even more richly orchestrated than his familiar Messiah, and the songs will be accompanied by Greg Ludwig and James Lind (trumpets) and Christi Ludwig (violin). The familiar tune of the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore by Verdi will feature Tim Austin on anvil!

Dean Rees, OJC Choir Director, has long admired A Soldier’s Tale, a Russian folk tale that will be brought to life by a trio of actors and the talented trumpeter James Lind. Striking music by the composer Igor Stravinsky underlies a story of a soldier and his misfortune when temptation leads him to make a deal with the devil. Tom Seaba will play the role of the soldier and Austin Kurtz the role of the devil, and James will play the very difficult trumpet part. The music is notoriously hard because of its constantly shifting time signatures.

Another highlight of the concert has Matthew Beard, music and art teacher at Jefferson Intermediate School in Rocky Ford, performing the part of Alexander Hamilton in the song My Shot from the Broadway smash hit Hamilton. The musical, with amazing rhyming lyrics by Lyn Manuel Miranda, tells the story of an immigrant from the Caribbean making his way to America and becoming one of the founding fathers and our first treasury secretary. The show is absurdly popular and is still extremely difficult to get tickets for, both in New York where it opened in 2015 and in Denver where it is appearing for the first time. People trying to get tickets from our area found themselves put on a waiting list tens of thousands long within minutes of tickets going on sale. Matthew performs the rapid fire lyrics with aplomb.

Joining the men of the chorus in Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is Lex Nichols, an award winning guitar and Indian flute player. He has been playing guitar for over 30 years and has been honored by a Native American Music Award. The song tells the true story of an ill-fated ship traversing the stormy waters of Lake Superior only to be lost in the night. Christi Ludwig, a music teacher from Lamar, will also play cello during this song. Mr. Nichols will sing a solo, Hard Times.

Prominently featured during the concert will be music from Disney movies and stage musicals. The gorgeous melodies of Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins will warm the audience’s hearts. An extended medley entitled Disney On Stage will include music from The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Aida, Tarzan, and even High School Musical.

Other music during the concert will have Amanda Rusher singing a fun solo as a starry-eyed, silly romantic girl at Starbucks entranced by the boy behind the counter in Taylor, the Latte Boy. The Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby and the nostalgic Once Upon a Time from the Broadway Musical All American round out the program.

Mr. Rees sincerely hopes you will join us for an evening of gorgeous and entertaining songs that “Tell Me A Story."