Island songstress Grace McCune is directing an ensemble concert of epic proportions.
To celebrate Orcas Center’s 30th anniversary, she is bringing together music, monologues and movement to explore what it means to live in a small town.
“I treasure living here,” said McCune. “It’s never lost its magic for me. I still fall in love with Orcas all the time.”
“On This Island” will be performed on May 13, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. on the Orcas Center main stage. Tickets are $30 and $15 for students at www.orcascenter.org. A special dinner at New Leaf Cafe will be offered on May 13 for $72 per person (price includes a ticket).
This will be the third year that McCune has directed a benefit concert for Orcas Center. Previously, she led her Rock on the Rock choirs in “Moulin Rouge” and “Across the Universe.” This time, she knew she wanted to work with professional performers because of the “vast talent pool” on Orcas.
In addition to McCune, the line-up of musicians, dancers and actors includes: Noah Racey, Susan Osborn, Martin Lund, Sea Stars, Jim Bredouw, Jake Perrine, Gene Nery, Carolyn Cruso, Melody Funk, Laura Ludwig, Kara O’Toole, Tiffany Loney, Stormy Hildreth, Jeffrey Horton, Deborah Sparks, Corey Wiscomb, Cali Bagby and The Rock on the Rock Choirs. The sound engineer is Kevin Colomby.
“I am so grateful to have been invited to participate in this celebration of our island home, the artists who flourish here and the center that we built and sustain to support our community and the arts,” said Osborn. “As someone who participated in one of the many benefit concerts the community did to build the center 30 some years ago, I am delighted to be a part of this celebration of its long and continuing success.”
McCune calls Orcas “one big extended family” that shares love, grief, success and sadness together. She chose to use the four seasons to structure the show because they “metaphorically represent the cycle of life.”
Each season starts with a monologue written and performed by a local artist. The music and dance that follows will be related to the season it is paired with. The performances will be a mix of covers and original songs with just about every genre represented. Threading it all together is a projection backdrop of Orcas “throwback” photos set up behind the musicians.
“It’s a way of bringing the community on stage with us,” McCune said.
She is also welcoming her Rock on the Rock Choirs into the evening’s program. McCune and Racey, who is a Broadway performer and part-time Orcas resident, will teach a choir intensive workshop one week before the show. The kid and adult groups will sing and perform dance numbers.
Racey, who is coming straight to Orcas from his role in “The Bridges of Madison County” in Arkansas, says he is elated to be a part of the concerts.
“I am so excited to see a larger circle of people who are going to be in it,” he said. “This is going to be really wonderful. I get to listen to the island sing and hear all these voices together.”