Songs and spoken word bring the river to life

VocalEssence ensemble singers along with Don Shelby (former WCCO anchor) as Mark Twain bring the songs and stories of river towns to the stage of The Reif, on Wednesday, April 4.  The 7:30 p.m. show VocalEssence: “River Songs and Tales with Mark Twain” will include local singers from the Itasca Community Chorus for several renditions.

“Minnesota is proud to be the state that claims the headwaters of the Mississippi,” said Mary Ann Aufderheide, Exec. Director of VocalEssence. “Unarguably the most iconic body of water in our country.”

According to Aufderheide, the show will highlight the stories and songs made famous by great writers and composers. Some of the songs include: Shenandoah, Down by the Riverside and Shall We Gather at the River. In addition to the great music, Shelby brings to life the humor and wisdom of Mark Twain, an undeniable icon of Americana.

The best of two worlds

“If you love great theater,” said Shelby. “If you love wonderful music, unlike anything you’ve ever heard, even on Broadway; you might want to come to the theater and watch this wonderful, wonderful show.”

The show incorporates local singers throughout its travels which reinforces the power and community embodied in the show’s narrative.

“In addition to public performances,” said Aufderheide. “We are committed to engaging students, singers, and community members in every town we visit, celebrating the uplifting spirit of the choral art form.”

The show is sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio.