For the first time, The Noteables and You’ve Got Male choral groups will perform a locally written song, “We Are the Song,” as part of their spring concert series. Written by Cotopaxi singer and songwriter Mark Rostenko, “We are the Song” is also the music series’ theme.
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5, at Clearview Community Church in Buena Vista; 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 6, at Salida SteamPlant; and 2 p.m., Sunday, May 7, at Salida’s First Presbyterian Church.
Choral Director Linda Taylor said when she first heard Rostenko’s song, she thought it would make a wonderful choral piece. Taylor gives Rostenko voice lessons and often has an opportunity to hear the beginning stages of his songs. When she asked if the choirs could have permission to sing “We Are the Song,” Rostenko was excited.
“As Linda puts a lot of time, effort and consideration into the song choices for her programs, I was, of course, touched and honored to have my song featured,” he said. “And I happily agreed.”
Taylor said she nearly gave up on arranging the piece, however, because the process of arranging a solo for a three-part chorus is a bit complicated – especially when trying to make the piece sound similar to Rostenko’s rendition. Taylor admitted the effort “stretched” her compositional skills.
When Taylor voiced her frustrations to Rostenko, he told her she was free to do with it as she wished. “I know that Linda is quite passionate about music and her work, so it was an easy choice for me to let the song go and trust her to make it great,” he said. “In fact, I was thrilled because once she planted the idea of a choir version of the song, I immediately began to hear it that way and realized the song needed a choir and multiple voices to do it justice. … Now it’s a little unsatisfying for me to do the song on my own.”
While he has yet to hear the piece performed by a choir, Rostenko is looking forward to hearing it at the May 6 concert at the Salida SteamPlant.
Taylor said Rostenko’s song will be “one of the many highlights of the show” as well as a tap dance performance by Jan Justis and Tudi Pesch to the jazzy Broadway song “42nd Street.”
Taylor said The Noteables and You’ve Got Male Christmas concert series are the most popular, both in attendance and chorus participation, but the spring concerts are growing in popularity. “It’s more than a concert – it’s a show.”
The men’s and the women’s choruses rehearse separately all season until a few weeks before the concerts and then they rehearse together a few times. Taylor said people often ask why she doesn’t combine the two choirs, and the reason is that the women resist the idea. “They like having their own time.” The men are willing until they start rehearsing their “fun” song, she added, “and then they wish to keep it all to themselves.”
You’ve Got Male sings one fun song per season that usually involves costumes. This year the song is “The Pirate’s Life,” and the men have been “arrgh-ing” and “yarrr-ing” often, she said.
Everyone involved in the concert is a volunteer, including Taylor, and the choruses rely mostly on word-of-mouth to boost attendance at their performances.
“I love bringing people together to sing,” Taylor said. “Singing together has the power to heal. Music is a universal language. Whether we sing in a chorus, play instruments on the front porch with friends or harmonize on a bus with strangers, barriers are transcended and differences are softened.”
Taylor likened the concerts to “icing on the cake” and climbing a mountain. She said anyone can climb from bottom to top, but she’s most interested in the adventure. “The magic happens in the rehearsals. I don’t want just the icing on the cake. I want the journey, too.”
Each performance has a suggested donation of $10.