Events include Appleton Boychoir, Mardi Gras
By Angie Landsverk
The Appleton Boychoir will present “All That Jazz” at Weyauwega’s Gerold Opera House on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The Ambassador Choir concert, featuring guest singer Jamie Lynn Fletcher, will begin at 7 p.m.
The doors of the opera house will open at 6 p.m.
Seating is reserved with a ticket price of $15.
Tickets will only be sold at the door if seating is available.
People may purchase tickets online at www.appletonboychoir.com/events or by calling the Appleton Boychoir office at 920-955-2224.
The performance is being presented in collaboration with the Appleton Boychoir and Wega Arts.
“It’s a wonderful after school program. They do lots of concerts in the (Fox) Valley. We think it’s great they’re coming here,” said Kathy Fehl, who is the artistic director of Wega Arts.
Founded in 1979, Appleton Boychoir consists of three choirs: Repertoire, Concert and Ambassador.
The boys begin in the Repertoire Choir, and the Ambassador Choir is the program’s flagship choir.
Members of the Ambassador Choir sing more complex pieces and tour nationally and internationally.
Hilary Armstrong, executive director of Appleton Boychoir, Inc., said there are boys from the Fremont, Weyauwega and Waupaca areas in the choir.
Logan Foster, who is a student in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District, is one of them.
Foster will sing a solo in one of the songs, said Kevin Meidl, artistic director of Appleton Boychoir.
For Foster and other choir members from the area, the opera house is right in their backyard.
“When we learned of the Gerold Opera House, we were very intrigued and thought it would be a great place to have a concert,” Armstrong said.
Meidl described the Gerold as an intimate space with great acoustics.
With the choir traveling throughout the world, the boys sing in a variety of settings.
In Appleton, the choir often sings at Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
“We’re very excited about singing in the opera house in Weyauwega,” Meidl said. “We will get up and close with the audience. We’re looking forward to that as well.”
Night of jazz
This is the first time the boys are performing a jazz concert, and he said they are having fun exploring this American form of music.
Jazz involves improvisation, Meidl said.
He enjoys teaching the choir how to do that.
“We started introducing the boys to the concept of jazz at the summer camp in August,” Meidl said.
Then the choir prepared for its fall and Christmas concerts.
In January, the choir returned to working on the songs for this weekend’s concert.
The concert will last approximately 1 1/2 hours.
The first half of the concert will feature the Ambassador Choir.
It will sing such songs as “Tuxedo Junction,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “Johnny One Note” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”
Meidl said the choir’s portion of the concert will also include a jazz arrangement of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
“It will be fun for the audience,” he said, as it will involve some funny gestures made by the boys.
The choir will then collaborate on a piece with Fletcher and her trio.
Fletcher and her trio will then perform during the second half of the concert.
Armstrong said the Appleton Boychoir is fortunate to work with Fletcher and her band on this concert.
Fletcher, a vocalist and keyboardist, won the 2016 Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award for Keyboardist of the Year and was also nominated for Jazz Artist of the Year.
Her album “My Desire of You” was a 2015 Independent Music Awards nominee in Jazz with Vocals.
“She’s this great artist who makes her home in northeastern Wisconsin, by Green Bay,” Meidl said.
Fletcher has traveled the world, singing for presidents and dignitaries, he said.
“She’s been growing in popularity. It’s neat to have someone of this stature,” Meidl said.
For the boys who live in the area, this concert offers the opportunity for them to sing for their family and friends.
Meidl invites everyone to support them.
“It should be a fantastic evening,” Armstrong said.
The annual Mardi Gras Bash will return to the Gerold on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The opera house will open at 5 p.m., and the evening will include appetizers, a Cajun dinner, the music of Copper Box, King Cake and raffle items.
The price of the ticket is $35 when purchased in advance.
After Feb. 22, the price of tickets will be $45.
Tickets include the appetizers, dinner and King Cake and are available online at wegaarts.org.
There will be beads and masks for those who attend and a full cash bar, featuring Hurricanes and Central Waters beer.
Fehl said the Cajun dinner will be at 6 p.m.
There will be gumbo and also a vegetarian version, she said.
Copper Box will begin playing at 7 p.m.
The band’s music is described as a mix of Zydeco, Rock and Blues.
“We just love them. Michelle (Jerabek) is a great woman. She is a versatile musician, great with the crowd and a mom,” Fehl said. “They’re lively. They really take the winter blues away.”
The band also include’s Jerabek’s husband, Danny, as well as Dan Cable and Dave Chyla.
Mardi Gras is additionally called Shrove Day or “Fat Tuesday.”
It always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian church.
Mardi Gras refers to the end of the festival season before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season begins.
King Cakes are a part of the Mardi Gras celebration.
Baked inside of the cakes are tiny, plastic babies.
At a Mardi Gras party, the person who gets the plastic baby in a piece of the cake typically becomes the king or queen of the party.