By Megan Wadding, Dec. 4, 2014.
To mark the 20th anniversary of its annual holiday production, Reveille Men’s Chorus presents a festive concert — aptly titled “Tis the 20th Season” — Dec. 5-7 at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tucson.
In support of its mission of “changing lives through music,” the chorus promises a show filled with music and laughter and even a few surprises.
“This year’s theme is basically a celebration of Reveille’s holiday’s performances that have happened for the past 20 years,” said Shawn Cullen, the artistic director and conductor of the chorus for the past six years.
According to Cullen, the show will feature classic holiday songs, a selection of songs that have been rewritten, a few Broadway tunes and some tongue-in-cheek humor.
“It’s a collection of holiday music from the traditional, to the not so traditional,” he said, adding that the performance is a great kick-start for the holiday season and attendees should expect a “one of a kind spin.”
The group will perform both traditional religious songs, including “The First Noel” and “Do You Hear What I Hear,” but, Cullen said, there will also be pop/secular holiday selections as well.
“Of course, there will be humor,” he said. “I can’t give away some of the specifics, but I will say it includes a set of nuns’ costumes for one song and women’s heels for another.”
Planning for the holiday performance begins months ahead of the actual show, so according to Cullen the chorus has been the holiday spirit for quite some time now.
“These guys have been singing holiday songs for the past four months,” Cullen said. “Some of the music just puts you in a great mood and involves sparking some great memories of holiday’s past. The holidays are also a time for being thankful, grateful, spending time with friends and family. That’s what we do every week in Reveille.”
The chorus, which holds concerts year round, began in 1995 as a gay men’s community chorus and has grown into a group that focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention, among other issues.
The chorus consists of 50 gay and straight men, ranging in age from early twenties to over 70, from all over the country and the world, representing many education levels, career fields and ethnicities, who volunteer their time and talents to make a difference through song, according to Cullen.
The show will raise money for the Joel Meister Scholarship Fund to help support current and future chorus members experience the GALA Festival in Denver in 2016.
Reveille Men’s Chorus presents “Tis the 20th Season”
8 p.m. Dec. 5-6; 3 p.m. Dec. 7
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
2331 E. Adams St., Tucson
Tickets: $25; 520-304-1758
Up-close and Personal with Reveille Men’s Chorus Member Tony Stovall
In his fifth season with Reveille Men’s Chorus, Tucson transplant Tony Stovall shared some of his experiences with Echo.
Echo: How did you get involved with Reveille Men’s Chorus?
Stovall: I came to Tucson to attend graduate school at the University of Arizona, and joined Reveille a few weeks after my arrival. It was a welcome transition from Los Angeles, where I had been involved in theater for almost 14 years. I get to make music every week with 50 great guys. Reveille is dedicated to musical excellence, but we have great fun while doing it.
Echo: What is your favorite part of being a part of Reveille?
Stovall: I love the age range of the group, I also love our ethnic diversity. We have more diversity than choruses from cities more than twice as big as Tucson.
Echo: What would our readers be surprised to know about Reveille and the show?
Stovall: We put all this together with only one three-hour rehearsal per week. The shows are generally Shawn’s vision rounded out with suggestions from chorus members who propose solo numbers and duets. So come see us! You’ll love it and it will get you in the holiday spirit.