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Rekindling old times: Once popular high school choir concert moving to Elks Lodge in hopes to restore intimate setting
When Tiffany Andrukat was 10 or 11, she remembers watching her older sister perform in a choir concert at Oak Harbor High School at a time before the school’s major remodel.
She remembers sitting at a table in the old Parker Hall and the sweet feeling she got when Jessica Andrukat, her sister, approached.
“My sister got to serve me cheesecake,” Tiffany said. “It was real hands-on. It was very personal. It had an impression on me joining choir.”
It is that sort of intimate experience that Darren McCoy is hoping to recapture when the high school’s Cupid Song concert is performed at a new venue next month.
McCoy, the high school’s choral director, is moving the annual Valentine’s celebration and choir club fundraiser from the Student Union Building to the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge and changing a couple of other details in hopes to restore the event to its past popularity.
McCoy said the Student Union Building is great for stage performances, however, Cupid Song is both concert and dessert, with choir students serving food as well as musical notes.
“This concert used to be a big deal in the community,” McCoy said.
Cupid Song will be performed on consecutive nights, Feb. 21-22, both starting at 6:30 p.m. The Elks Lodge is located at 155 N.E. Ernst St., win Oak Harbor.
McCoy said in past years, the event was so anticipated that people would begin asking about tickets in November for fear it would sell out.
So he wanted to find a smaller venue, where audiences could sit at tables, to rekindle the more intimate experience the unique event once was.
The concerts will be performed by about 100 of Oak Harbor High School’s advanced choir students and will raise money for the school’s choir club.
Tickets are $15 and can be ordered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 360-279-5829.
Among those singing will be Tiffany Andrukat, now 17, a senior and choir club president at the high school.
“It’s kind of a good memory,” she said of the event.
Each night, Cupid Song will be performed in two acts with choir students serving cheesecake during the intermission. In addition to dessert, hors d’oeurves will be served. Food will be catered by the Elks, McCoy said.
“We’re hoping to pack the house,” McCoy said. “The last couple of years, attendance has been pretty good. We’ve sold at least 150 tickets, usually each night.
“By moving it to the Elks Lodge, we can get back to the original feeling of sit down, enjoy some food and watch a show. It will be the first time in about six years that we’ve had that ability.”
The change doesn’t come without hurdles. For one, a piano must be transported.
“We have a lot of guys,” Andrukat said.
Savannah Wilson, vice president of the school’s choir club, said McCoy does most of the heavy lifting with the program.
“I can’t imagine even attempting to do all the hard work he does,” she said. “He puts his heart and soul into his job.”
Oak Harbor’s choir students have a reputation for excellence at the high school. Last March, two of the high school’s premier choral groups, the Harbor Singers and Treble Choir, earned the highest ratings possible at a district choral festival in Bellingham.
A boys choir also was started last year and there are more boys in choir this year than ever before, McCoy said.
Last year, choir students also took a trip to DisneyLand and performed more for students at lunch and during assemblies, on top of traditional concerts.
“Last year’s success made people feel that choir is cool,” sophomore Katie Lof said.