The band is back together.
Rock on the Rock Choir has not performed on the Orcas Center stage since 2019 in “Cirque-US.”
Since then, creators Grace McCune and Jake Perrine have tried to restart their all-ages concerts that bring together singing, dancing and theatrics. It’s now a reality with “What Dreams May Come,” a post-COVID exploration of what it means to be alive on planet Earth.
“We’re finally here,” Perrine said. “Audiences and cast members have been hesitant to participate, and we hope this is a turning point for audiences to come out. We can be reunited as a community.”
Shows will run over three weekends, May 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at www.orcascenter.org.
With 30 songs, including many original compositions from islanders, multiple dance numbers and live music, it’s also the creative duo’s most ambitious project to date. “What Dreams May Come” features nearly 100 performers from ages 8 to 80. Rehearsals and dance classes began in January.
“It’s more of an introspective show than we’ve done before,” McCune said. “There are moments of laughter and tears. The show is about looking towards the future, towards hope. A lot of these songs are abridged versions, so it’s going to be engaging because it’s one scene right after the next.”
McCune originally launched Rock on the Rock to offer singers of all experience levels a chance to sing together. After collaborating with Perrine, who is also Orcas Center’s artistic director, they began staging elaborate shows like “Moulin Rouge,” “Across The Universe” and “Rock of Orcas.”
While “What Dreams May Come” includes songs familiar to audiences, the setlist also has original pieces from Orcas musicians. Perrine and McCune sought submissions and selected a handful for the show. The featured songwriters are Jim Bredouw, Alice Evans, Melody Funk, Joel Gamble, Stormy Hildreth and McCune, The Burned, Tow Away Zone, Jonathan Wilson and Robert Keene of Fian, Corey Wiscomb and Grace Zwilling. Many of them will be performing their own music.
“We’ve wanted to include original work in the shows for a long time. There is so much talent here,” according to McCune.
She and Perrine wrote choral arrangements for 25 of the musical numbers. Hildreth, a student at Berklee College of Music, took the scores and turned them into sheet music. Dance instructors Tiffany Loney, Chelsea Sherman and Katie Zwilling choreographed pieces for the Orcas Dance Collective, Junior Dance Collective, Mini Co and Orcas Center musical theatre classes. The band is comprised of Gamble, Keene, Funk, Gene Nery and Jeff Horton, who is also the band leader. Deborah Sparks has designed set pieces, Brooke Meinhardt’s art class students created 100 masks and Stephanie Iverson and Kyler Townsend designed a large sculpture.
“Everyone is so enthusiastic,” Perrine said. “The audience is the missing piece. We want to reunite with you.”