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Pensacola Children's Chorus Ready For 'Showtime'

Pensacola Children's Chorus

The Pensacola Children’s Choruspresents its 26th annual production of "Showtime" this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Pensacola Saenger Theatre.

"Showtime 2016" will be the final show for Founding Artistic Directors Susan and Allen Pote, who are retiring.  But, in rehearsals this week they’re working to make this last show one of their best.

“We open with a number called “Live In Living Color,” which features the assistant director we’ve had for our high school choirs, Micah Roland,” said Allen Pote. “It’s gonna be a razzle-dazzle number and it’ll get us off to a good start.”

The Potes say this show will be similar to past shows, but will provide a little something for everyone.

There will be a performance of “Music Through the Decades,” which involves songs from the past 60 years.  For some of the older generation, music from Judy Garland will be featured. Also, there will be a “Rat Pack Tribute,” including Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady,” and Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” Also featured on the program is “Mr. Bojangles” by Sammy Davis Jr.

“We have a big section of patriotic music, which I think everyone identifies with, especially here in our community, our Navy community,” Allen Pote said.

Additionally, there will be a nod to Broadway, “Broadway Glitz.”

The attention to detail includes beautiful costumes and special choreography for each number.

“It’s gonna be a really fun show,” said Susan Pote, who reiterates the point that there will be music for all ages, including the popular tune “Uptown Funk”  by Mark Ronson and featuring Bruno Mars. With a chuckle, Susan Pote acknowledged it was a song she had never heard. “The kids taught it to me,” she said.

According to Allen Pote, one of the most fun numbers is a piece called ‘It’s a Musical’ from the Broadway show ‘Something’s Rotten.’  Set in the time of William Shakespeare, it’s a spoof on musicals where Nostradamus says “in the future there will be musicals!”  Then comes the question, “what’s a musical?”

The youngest choir, the third-graders, will perform a section called “Color My World.” During their set, the stage will have a huge paint bucket and paint brush hanging overhead. It will feature a montage of songs featuring colors, such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Blue Moon,” and “Orange Colored Sky.”

“Showtime 2016” is the last show the Pensacola Children’s Chorus will perform under the direction of Susan and Allen Pote.

Susan Pote says they’re trying to remain upbeat through to the end. “Definitely bitter sweet,” said Pote.

“It’s just been such a joyous high that we’ve had; so many highs and so many wonderful kids. It’s just been fabulous. So, we’re looking forward to a new chapter, but that does not mean there won’t be sadness that’ll accompany it, I’ll tell you that.”

"Showtime" will be performed Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Pensacola Saenger Theatre.

The Future:

Susan and Allen Pote, who are retiring after more than 25 years as artistic directors of the Pensacola Children's Chorus, discuss the incoming director.

The retirement of the Potes also means a new chapter for the Pensacola Children’s Chorus, which has already hired a new artistic director.

“Alex Gartner is young. He’s enthusiastic. He’s talented and he’s personable,” said Allen Pote of their new director who was chosen after a national search.

Gartner came in early and has taken part in rehearsals for this season-ending performance of Showtime and will take over a well-seasoned staff.

“We feel like we’ve found gold, and we think he’s coming into a gold mine,” added Susan Pote. “We really feel comfortable and excited about the future.”

As one of his first official acts as artistic director, Gartner will hold auditions for the 2016-17 season on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the Margaret Moore Nickelsen Center, 46 East Chase Street.

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.