HUNTERSVILLE – Long before the advent of the flat screen TV and its place of prominence in the American home, radio music filled living rooms across the nation, providing entertainment, news and information to the average family.
In a salute to the legacy of American radio, the North Mecklenburg Community Chorus will present its annual spring concert series, “Radio Daze,” May 17-19.
“We attempt to recreate a radio show from the 1940s,” Daniela Sims, a chorus member, said. “The performers dress like they’re from that period and sing songs that everybody knows, but no one sings anymore.”
Belle Banks began NMCC in 1971 as a vocal class at Central Piedmont Community College geared toward singers who wanted an alternative to church music. Its two key components are the main chorus, which has about 35 members, as well as a vocal jazz ensemble, Left@25, with eight members.
Sims, a native of Romania, joined the chorus in 2002. She’s sung professionally in Europe and Japan and appeared on TV and radio shows across Europe.
“Radio Daze” will feature golden oldie hits such as “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” “Give Me the Simple Life,” “Embraceable You” and “On The Sunny Side of the Street.”
“It’s like a giant puzzle,” Chorus Director Sandy Rogers said. “You work on music and choreography and researching radio shows, and it all comes together to make a great package.”
Audiences will recall or be introduced to the advertising jingles that brought shoppers to corner grocery stores in search of Ovalteen and Halo Shampoo decades ago.
“Everyone is welcome to come, and I think everyone, no matter their age, will find something they’ll enjoy,” Sims said.
The show will also include tunes from various soap operas and comedy skits that symbolize radio’s prime, according to Sims.
“Back then, the writing was fabulous, and the tunes are so memorable,” Rogers said. “They’ll never grow old. They’re delightful songs people remember and enjoy hearing over and over.”
Rogers likened the performance to “A Prairie Home Companion,” the musical variety show introduced in Minnesota in 1974. She said it will include a twist on the 1930s radio show “Little Orphan Annie,” which touched on themes like communism, the New Deal and organized labor. A radio host will keep the mood light and fun.
During a special number, the host will invite audience members to get up and dance their way straight into the past.
Rogers said she’s excited to offer the community a unique show. “Radio Daze” will allow those watching the stories unfold see exactly what type of work went into creating the programs that flowed across the airwaves and drew families and friends together so many years ago.
Want to go? The concerts will be at Huntersville United Methodist Church, 14005 Stumptown Road, May 17-18 at 7 p.m. and May 19 at 3 p.m. For tickets, call 704-644-7368 or visit www.nmcchorus.org. Admission costs $12.50.