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IMC spring concert reveals its A-list status

"Indianapolis Men's Chorus"
"Indianapolis Men's Chorus"Laura Nedig

Indianapolis Men's Chorus

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As it approaches its 25th anniversary next season , the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus demonstrated during its spring concert, “From the B-list,” at Marian University Theatre, that it has earned its spot as one Indianapolis’ premiere performing arts organizations.

Ryan Smith with the Indianapolis Men's Chorus
Ryan Smith with the Indianapolis Men's ChorusLaura Nedig

Aside the fact that its membership is chock full of first-rate talent, much of IMC’s success is due to the creativity of its visionary artistic director Greg Sanders who has taken the organization well beyond a mere singing chorus. Based on its performance, seen Saturday, the IMC is practically a full-scale musical theater company now.

“From the B-list” was the clever theme for the program chosen by Sanders, which included songs with a connection to the letter B, whether through titles, singers or composers. Along with D.J. Smith on keyboard, the chorus was accompanied by a big brass band consisting of ten musicians, led by Sanders. Assisting him in conducting the IMC was assistant artistic director David Barnhouse.

Adding to the high entertainment value of the revue-style concert was the choreography of former Broadway performer Anne Beck, which was deftly executed by the IMSwing, the chorus’ outstanding triple-threat corps of dancer/singer/actors. Impressive indeed were their production number performances of “Officer Krupke,” featuring the irrepressible John Strachen, and “Cool” from West Side Story. They also shone while tap dancing in “We’re in the Money”—a tribute to film director and choreographer Busby Berkeley—and during selections from “The Book of Mormon” which included “Hello,” “Two by Two” and “Turn it Off.”

It was a fast-paced, never a dull moment concert jam-packed with plenty of high points. Many occurred during a tribute to Burt Bacharach which included “Do Know the Way to San Jose,” “Always Something There to Remind Me,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “What the World Needs Now.”

In contrast to the high energy content of “From the B-list,” this writer also enjoyed those reflective moments that arose while listening to an exquisite arrangement of “Ordinary Miracles” by Marilyn and Alan Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch as well as a moving a cappella rendition of Billy Joel’s “And So it Goes.”

One of the evening’s most electrifying moments took place when Ryan Smith, one of the IMC’s most natural talents, sang an R & B and soul tinged solo in Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

During closing remarks, Sanders mentioned that he grew up listening to the music of the Beatles. Acknowledging his boomer parents, who are both retiring, he dedicated a medley of the Fab Four’s music to them. Selections included “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “All My Loving,” “Yesterday,” “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude.” At his father’s request, Sanders also included an a capella version of “When I’m Sixty-Four,” beautifully rendered by IndyVisible, one of IMC’s small groups.

Aside from a few solos performances that fell short, as well as some missed sound cues and mic issues, the concert overall was artistically and technically among the IMC’s finest.

It can’t be overstated how far showman Sanders has taken the IMC, as evidenced by its upcoming collaborations with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” and with the ISO in “Anything Goes,” both in May. Based on the professional quality of what was seen and heard during “From the B-list” it’s no surprise that the IMC’s trajectory continues upward.

For tickets and information about the remainder of the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus 2012-2014 season, call (317) 855 – 8706 or visit www.indychoruses.org.

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