The wedding is in Kansas City, which shouldn’t be that difficult to find.
But a traveling family can get lost, even when using GPS. And let’s face it, the Baton Rouge Chorus of Sweet Adelines’ trip wouldn’t be nearly as fun if there weren’t a few detours along the way.
Well, a lot of detours.
Because audience members will be traveling alongside the family to this wedding, and the Sweet Adelines will guide them from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., to Atlantic City’s boardwalk to the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
And this is only part of the story of On the Road Again — Are We There Yet?, the Sweet Adelines’ first summer production since 2009.
There will be two performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, in Trinity Lutheran Church. And the best part? Both performances will be followed by an ice cream social.
The social is part of the story, but to find out exactly how it factors in, you have to attend one of the performances. To tell about it here would reveal the twist in the story.
“And we want to leave that as a surprise,” Jan Daly said.
Daly is the chorus’ team coordinator. She was joined on this rehearsal evening by chorus director Cate McRitchie and show chair Donna Robinson in a discussion about the upcoming production.
And it’s accurate to call it a production, because this isn’t just a concert.
There are hand motions and footwork, along with narration by WAFB-TV’s Diane Deaton. Deaton also plays the part of the mother in the traveling family.
“I wrote the script,” Daly said. “They have a GPS, but they’re still lost.”
And if they weren’t lost, there wouldn’t be a story.
“We perform around the city, but we really only do one show like this a year, and that’s usually at Christmas,” McRitchie said. “We decided to do a summer show this year, because we have a new lineup of songs.”
A chorus of “Rock Around the Clock” in four-part harmony flowed from the rehearsal room and into the hallway. It’s one of the songs the chorus has added to its lineup, and chorus members clearly are having fun with it.
They later rehearsed the moves that go along with this song, stepping off the risers, walking through a smaller version of the Charleston.
It’s upbeat and performed, as always, a cappella.
“It’s a little more difficult to sing in our style, because not all singers are used to singing barbershop style,” McRitchie said. “And that’s what the Sweet Adelines do — they sing in barbershop harmony.”
The Baton Rouge Chorus of Sweet Adelines is part of Sweet Adelines International, a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education, competition and performance.
“You can go any place in the United States, and you’ll find a Sweet Adelines group either in the city or a city nearby,” McRitchie said. “I’ve been singing with the Sweet Adelines for 22 years.”
McRitchie has been a member of choruses in Huntsville, Ala.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Riverside, Calif.
“My husband and I have itchy feet, and we’ve moved a lot,” she said. “And before we decided to move to a city, I’ve always checked to see if there was a Sweet Adelines group in the city or nearby. It’s always a group of ready made friends who I haven’t met yet.”
And when coming to Baton Rouge, McRitchie not only made instant friends but took the Sweet Adelines International training in directing. The former director eventually moved, and McRitchie became director.
“It’s so much fun,” she said. “And this is a great group.”
“And we’re always looking for new members,” Robinson said. “We have 25 members now.”
The group number has increased and decreased through the years. Membership is through audition, and anyone is welcome to try out.
“We can’t teach someone to sing, but we can teach them how to be a better singer,” McRitchie said. “We are an educational group, and we can teach them the exercises to improve.”
Visitors are always welcome, and prospective members can sit in on a rehearsal, then arrange a test audition.
“Once they’re ready, we’ll schedule the actual audition,” Daly said.
For now, though, the chorus members are in place for the upcoming performance. The Bayou Brass Quintet will provide music during the intermission, and Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, Inc., is providing the ice cream for the social.
“Actually, it will be ice cream sundaes,” Daly said. “The ice cream will be vanilla, and everyone can choose which toppings they want to put on their sundaes.”
There also will be a silent auction, and audience members are asked to bring a non-perishable food item, for which they will be entered to win a door prize.
And in the end, getting lost on this trip doesn’t matter. It’s the journey that counts, especially when it’s a musical journey with the Sweet Adelines.