Dressing The Part
Community Choir Jazzes up Costumes for Roaring 20’s Concert
Story and photos by Jane Drake
Brenda Huckins-Bonter is the enthusiastic force behind an effort to jazz up the attire of the Newaygo County Community Choir members for their upcoming concert of “Roaring 20’s Music” on Sunday, April 29, at 3 p.m. at the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts in Fremont.
She has been scouring her own closets, local merchants and a theater company for costumes that will evoke a vision and feeling of the 1920’s. As an art and theater teacher for 35 years for Grant Public Schools, Huckins-Bonter also knows the importance of costuming in any performance.
“When people are in costume,” she said, “They take on a different persona. I just know the choir members are going to feel the music more when they look the part.
“Joseph has done an amazing job of putting together a great program of fun music, and helping us singers really enjoy and feel it,” she went on to explain, “But I think when we’re on the stage, the visual is a really important element that will enhance the audience’s enjoyment, too.”
Huckins-Bonter said she was excited when she learned choir director, Joseph Jennings, selected music of the 1920s as this year’s spring concert theme. “It’s one of my favorite eras,” she said. “I just love the whole style of it – the clothes, the music, the jazzy feel, and of course, Art Deco design.”
Jennings said he was glad Huckins-Bonter was willing to take on the job of coordinating costumes for the concert. “She’s gone at it with a real drive and flair,” he said. “She’s been really helpful to everyone explaining the types of attire people wore then, and the styles that make you know the clothes are from that decade.”
Huckins-Bonter said she enjoyed her search for costumes, and was grateful for the assistance she received from Lion Heart Productions, Costume Craze, and Sally Hetler of Steep in Time.
The concert of choir arrangements will also include music performances and accompaniment by Shaunna Baker on piano, and the Fremont High School Orchestra strings directed by Julie Anderson. Also, for the first time in the choir’s history, professional dancers will also be featured. Paul Carryer of Detroit, and Julianna Schoon of Lansing, will perform period dances like the Lindy Hop and Charleston.
Admission to the concert will be free with open seating. A free-will offering will be collected during intermission. A punch reception and opportunity to meet the singers, dancers and musicians will follow the concert.
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