Tellico Village Singers and Tellico Voices, accompanied by members of the University of Tennessee music faculty and staff, will perform some of the greatest hits of the 20th century next month as part of a concert series at the Community Church at Tellico Village.
The shows, taking place at 2:30 p.m. March 5 and 7 p.m. March 7, will feature No. 1 hits from the 1930s to the 1980s performed by more than 100 choral singers and a 10-piece UT jazz band.
“We cover all the way from 1930 to 1980, so we have songs that have been No. 1 hits in all those decades,” Dennis Loy, conductor, said. “One of the reasons I did it this way is because with the demographic seen in Tellico Village, we’re going to hit at least one or two songs that they’re going to remember growing up with. It’s going to be a favorite for a lot of people, whether it was in their grade school, college or high school.”
“That’s something that really all the different age groups would be able to enjoy and make a connection with with their past,” Jan Sampson, TV Singers vice president, added. “Music is one of those things that truly connect us throughout our life and it’s wonderful that we’re trying to address all the different age groups that will be visiting with us on that day.”
The concert series runs September-April and features notable acts such as The Vienna Boys Choir, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and the Knoxville Choral Society. TV Singers have participated in the series on a couple of occasions already, including last year with the “A Night at the Movies” show.
Preparations for the latest concert have been underway for roughly six months, with the choir meeting once a week to rehearse. Loy said one of the toughest decisions was picking the songs, though a few criteria helped narrow choices.
“I wanted to make sure every piece we selected was a No. 1 hit, then I have to find out if there’s a choral piece of it, and then I need to make sure … they also have excellent instrumental parts,” he said.
The result is a wide variety of songs and artists, ranging from Duke Ellington and the Beatles to Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder. While most will be performed by the full ensemble, a couple will feature Tellico Voices only when the song is not suited to a larger group.
Loy said he has been careful to balance such performances, alternating tempo throughout the show to give concertgoers the best experience.
The program will include basic facts and trivia on each song, and big screens will highlight key information during the performance, notably displaying which artist made the song popular.
“Basically, my objective is to take the audience through a journey through all of this music,” Loy said.
The big screens, though not as prominently used as during the choir’s previous performance, will still come into play on a couple of occasions, Sampson said. The stage will also have two large jukebox cutouts, complete with sound effects of coins going in and music being dropped into the machine, to give the experience a retro feel synonymous with the era.
Tickets are $10 and go on sale Monday at the church. The space sits upwards of 850 people, but precedent suggests spots may not be available long. Last year’s event sold out both performances, leading to an additional show, which filled 75% of the room.
“Every time we’ve done this, and this has got to be our fourth or fifth time that we’ve been in the series, all our concerts are sold out,” Loy said. “And the sanctuary seats between 850 and 900, so that’s tremendous. I’m very honored and humbled by the fact our responses have been so great, and who knows? If the tickets sales go great, we’ll consider a third concert.”