What happens in Vegas comes to a church in Saanich.
The Starlight Pops are returning to St. Aidan’s United Church later this month with Vegas, Baby!, adapting songs from some of Las Vegas’ biggest hitmakers to the 75-voice choir. The winter concerts are set to feature music from such artists as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Wayne Newton, Cher and Celine Dion.
“Both our singers and our audiences have a real affinity for the classic music that comes from the artists who played in the showrooms and the lounges of Las Vegas,” said Sue Doman, director and founder of the Starlight Pops. “The Rat Pack, Bobby Darin, Judy Garland – that kind of material really resonates with our singers and our audiences.”
Currently in their eighth season, the Starlight Pops have been wowing audiences with their outstanding voices, performing everything from show tunes to close-harmony vocal jazz to ’50s doo-wop. Doman started the group in 2008 to put a bit of a spin on your usual classical choir.
“It grew out of my desire to present popular music in a choral setting,” said Doman, referencing the style of conductor Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.
“Previously, orchestras had been perceived as presenting all classical music, and a lot of the choirs in town present classical music, but I wanted to do something different in terms of having the choir sing popular songs that they love to sing and that the audience loves to hear. The concept has caught on and we’re just roaring into our eighth season.”
The choir typically performs two sets of concerts per year – one in the winter and one in the summer – either based on one genre of music or on a theme, like the Las Vegas show.
“We need to find choral arrangements that will fit into the theme that’s been chosen, and luckily, there was a lot of great material for this kind of music,” said Doman. “We’re not the only ones who enjoy performing these songs.”
This month’s concerts will include performances by small ensembles and soloists. The choir features soprano, alto, tenor and bass singers, backed by a four-person combo made up of bassist George Koenig, guitarist Sean McCool, drummer Matt Pease and pianist Lara Oberg.
“These are pro musicians who support us in our performances and just lift us up to the next level,” said Doman. “The choir really looks forward to those final few combo rehearsals and the performances because it’s just such an awesome experience. It’ll just put that shine on it.”
The Starlight Pops have two shows scheduled: Friday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 31 at 2:30 p.m. While tickets are still available, Doman said they’re going fast for the Sunday matinee, so there may not be any at the door.
“A lot of folks who’ve been coming to our concerts from the beginning, they may prefer to come out in the daytime,” she said. “We usually have pretty heavy demand for that, so if folks are interested in those tickets, they may want to get them pretty quickly.”
Tickets are $20 each for both shows at St. Aidan’s United Church, located at 3703 St. Aidan’s St. To purchase tickets in advance or for more information, visit starlightpops.com. Tickets at the door can only be purchased with cash.