June 25, 2018
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‘It makes you want to sing’

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

Ah, let’s go to the hop

Let’s go to the hop, (oh baby)

Let’s go to the hop, (oh baby)

Let’s go to the hop

Come on, let’s go to the hop

John Grover is a classically trained singer. That kind of music never lets him sing falsetto.

This weekend, the tenor will be warbling quite a few high notes in the fourth annual Bangor Rotary show “Music Off Broadway — At the Hop!”

The organization’s goal is to raise $18,000 that would be shared by four local groups that focus their services on the elderly and youth: the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross, Maine Discovery Museum, Challenger Learning Center of Maine and Acadia Hospital.

“This is a lot of fun,” said Grover, 54, of Corinna, after a recent rehearsal for the show, “and there’s a great feeling of camaraderie.”

Kevin Bate, the show’s director, wrote some dialogue around a high school reunion theme to tie the songs together.

“This music pulls people together,” said Bate, 40, of Bangor. “It was a simpler time at the birth of rock ’n’ roll. We want to fall back into that time period. And if people feel compelled to, they should get up and dance.”

Well, you can rock it you can roll it

You can stop and you can stroll it at the hop

When the record starts spinnin’

You chalypso when you chicken at the hop

Do the dance sensation that is sweepin’ the nation at the hop

At 17, Heather McKay of Bangor is the youngest performer in the show. Every song in the show was written long before she was born. She’ll be performing with her father, Tyke McKay, 46, of Bangor.

The younger McKay decided to participate in the show because “I actually get to be onstage with people who enjoy doing what I do. And I love ’50s music. I heard it all the time around the house growing up. These songs are some of my favorites.”

For Colin Graebert, 24, of Bangor, who plays keyboards for the show, working on the production is, in a way, just another job. But it’s also very different from his usual gigs.

“It’s a change from the Broadway show music I usually do,” he said. “I hadn’t played most of this music before. It’s a lot of fun.”

Well, you can swing it you can groove it

You can really start to move it at the hop

Where the jockey is the smoothest

And the music is the coolest at the hop

All the cats and chicks can get their kicks at the hop

Let’s go!

“The mood of this music is upbeat and happy, in contrast to the economic times we live,” producer Roger George, 60, of Bangor, said.

George came up with the idea for the fundraiser about five years ago. He pulled together the best voices within about 30 miles of Bangor. Many of the singers are veteran performers with Bangor Community Theater and The Grand in Ellsworth. Others sing in church choirs or small groups. Penny Weinstein and Darlene Mogul of the Memphis Belles will be in this year’s show.

“This music, it makes you want to sing,” said Kurt Schaller, 46, of Exeter.

So, let’s go to the hop

Let’s go to the hop, (oh baby)

Let’s go to the hop, (oh baby)

Let’s go to the hop

Come on, let’s go to the hop



• • •


What: “Music Off Broadway — At the Hop!”

Who: Bangor Rotary

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28; 3 p.m. Sunday, March 29

Where: Peakes Auditorium, Bangor High School

Tickets: Adults, $18; seniors, $15; under 17, $10; available in Bangor at the Grasshopper Shop, BookMarc’s, Mr. Paperback and Patrick’s Hallmark Shop on Broadway.

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