Orcas: get ready to Rock

Grace McCune believes that anyone with a desire to sing should be given the opportunity to do so.

With that in mind, she launched the Rock on the Rock choirs in 2008 and has watched the ensembles grow every year.

With co-producer Jake Perrine, McCune is presenting her most ambitious endeavor yet: a journey down memory lane to the 1980s when hair was big and love was tainted. “Rock of Orcas” will run May 11-13 and 18-20 on the Orcas Center main stage.

“When I began teaching the Rock in the Rock choirs, my main goal was to create a joyous and encouraging space for people to express themselves through music,” said McCune. “There is such power and healing in bringing people together to share in that. Watching not only the choirs grow but the people involved grow along with it has been a honoring experience that I couldn’t have imagined when I first started out teaching. I’ve worked with kids who were barely old enough to attend school who now have starting roles in shows. Adults who not only have challenged themselves in ways they never thought they could but arise to the occasion again and again. It’s been like one big extended family that just keeps growing and growing and I can’t help but feel blessed to be a part of that.”

Perrine and McCune have teamed up for two other wildly successful productions: “Moulin Rouge” and “Across the Universe.” Like Rock of Orcas, both were fundraisers for Orcas Center.

The concerts will feature three choirs led by McCune. Classes will meet on Thursdays starting Jan. 26 in the Madrona Room at Orcas Center: kids choir, ages five to nine, 4:15 to 4:45 p.m., tween choir, ages 10 to 15, 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.; adult choir, ages 15 and up, 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. Tuition is $120 for the adult and tween choirs or $80 for the kid’s choir. Scholarships are available.

The choirs and soloists will bring their swagger to such tunes as “Purple Rain,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “I Love Rock And Roll.” In addition to the vocal ensembles, there will be kids and adult dance classes by Tiffany Loney. Sessions start Feb. 14 and will be on Tuesdays at the Odd Fellows Hall. Kids meet from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. and adults dance from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. The cost is $120 for all sessions.

And to fully complete the musical extravaganza: singers and dancers will be accompanied by a live rock band with local favorites.

There are no auditions to participate in either the choirs or dance classes; all skills levels are welcome. There will be no rehearsals during school vacation, and rehearsals ramp up in April and May. To register for Rock of Orcas, show up on the day and time of the first rehearsal. If you are unable to make the first rehearsal, you can still join by emailing rotrchoir@gmail.com.

“While Across the Universe was as big of a success as any of us could have ever hoped for, I like to remind people – and ourselves – of why we are doing this: it’s not simply for the sake of spectacle entertainment, but rather to empower the participants by enlarging their idea of themselves and what they are capable of,” said Perrine. “As well, Grace and I love the Orcas Center, dearly and deeply, and entreat the entire community to engage with this cultural jewel that belongs to all of us, whether from the stage or from the audience, as a volunteer or as a donor. These events are the best way we know how to keep that magic swirling throughout the building.”