By Heather Greene
Dr. Renée Baptiste and the members of Encore!, the Jacksonville State University show choir, are gearing up for their annual spring concert taking place this week. However, there is one slight twist to this year’s performance - it will be a twenty-fifth year reunion inviting back every single past member of the ensemble.
Dr. Baptiste, JSU professor of music education and director of the Encore! show choir, explains that the choir will be singing and dancing to pop hits between the years 1989 – 1990 as a tribute to the very first group of ENCORE! singers.
“Many are returning,” confirms Baptiste as she explains that she has had various mailings, e-mails, and Facebook messages from former members who have confirmed they plan to return for the reunion concert.
In fact, former Encore! conductor Mrs. Jane Holloway is expected to be in attendance at the event.
Baptiste explains that former members will actually be joining the current members for one musical selection.
This is the very first time that the show choir has done anything like this and there is a great amount of anticipation, especially among the current members who look forward to meeting members of times past.
Among the current Encore! members anticipating this event is Aaron Martin, who is a twenty-one year-old tenor in the choir and junior at JSU majoring in theater with a concentration in performance. Martin hails from the small town of Adger, Alabama and has been a member of Encore! for two years now.
“I’m really excited about meeting the old members -- the ones that I have never gotten to meet. The ones that went on and got their jobs,” says Martin. “I’m also very excited about seeing the recent members who have left as well because we do stay in touch. We are always inviting them to concerts and they are always texting us asking us how show choir is going. So, I’m very excited to see them as well. I’m very excited to see what the older show choir members think about our show and hear what they did back then and I’m very excited about seeing them.”
The ensemble is comprised of twenty – twenty-two singers and three instrumentalists. The friendships forged in this small group hold fast and create a sense of “family” for many of the singers.
When asked what he enjoyed most about being a part of this ensemble, Martin explained, “Definitely the ‘familyhood’…it makes us an entire family.”
“I was in show choir as a high school student,” explains Baptiste. “The students bond readily through the music and develop lasting friendships. The choreography is a great workout as well.”
The Encore! reunion concert will take place on Thursday, April 17, 2014, 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in the Mason Hall Performance Center. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to come participate in this milestone event, which is sure to entertain. Admission is free.
In the words of Dr. Baptiste, “Everyone come out and let’s pack the Performance Center!”
For more information, please contact Dr. Renée Baptiste at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256)-782-5873.
This article originally appeared in the "Town and Gown" of the Jacksonville News.