Showboat Chorus Leaves Vicksburg on a Bus Trip

By Sue Moore

For those who love the sound of male voices melding in perfect choral harmony, there is no better place to experience it than at the 64th annual Rotary Showboat, said Ken Franklin, the stage director. This year as in the past, a chorus of nearly 30 male singers will take the stage to set the Showboat on course to travel to some of the more exotic destinations they have experienced in recent years.

The Showboat departs on Friday, March 3; Saturday, March 4; at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m. from the stage at the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center (PAC). It never fails that there are plenty of jokes on the road to somewhere. The cast and crew will invite the audience along as they are hired for a concert tour of the United States.

To make an evening of it, the Boy Scout Troop 251 will be offering a spaghetti dinner before each evening performance and a brunch on Sunday before the matinee. This will take place in the High School cafeteria from 5 – 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The scouts and their leaders prepare the meals, help with the seating and serving, then clean up afterwards. It is a fundraiser for the troop but they aim to make the meals tasty and as much as a person can eat, said Todd White, who is the leader in charge of this event.

Chris Garrett is in his eleventh year of directing the chorus and has rehearsed the basses, baritones, tenors and leads on some dramatic four-part harmony featuring several new songs and some of the old tried and true pieces that the audience just loves, Franklin said.

The crew expects luxury accommodations on their concert tour, but quickly discovers that is not exactly true. The luxury concert RV is actually a rickety school bus, built by legendary prop designer Lloyd Appell. He and Warren Lawrence will perform their new and old newspaper jokes, and several old and new soloists will offer their fine voices to the mix in each act.

The Rotary Club of Vicksburg has been sponsoring the Showboat as a community endeavor every year of its existence. It brings volunteers to sing, act and build sets from the various segments of the greater Vicksburg area, and not just members of the club itself. All the proceeds are given back to the community in the form of grants, underwriting activities, and sponsorships.

Mike Tichvon, the general chairman for the Showboat, promises an engaging show that will have the audience laughing out loud, with toes tapping to the music as the script takes the busload of characters to concert venues nobody would ever expect.

Tickets are available at Hill’s Pharmacy beginning February 10 and are all general admission at $10 each. They can be purchased at the box office at the high school on the day of the performances.

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