Ellington Singers perform annual Spring Musicale

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington - posted Sat., Apr. 20, 2013
Pat Stoughton channels Liza Minnelli at the Ellington Singers Spring Musicale on April 18. Photos by Steve Smith.
Pat Stoughton channels Liza Minnelli at the Ellington Singers Spring Musicale on April 18. Photos by Steve Smith.

The Ellington Singers performed their annual show on April 18 at Ellington High School. Director Barbara Caramante said it was her 26th annual performance, but the event predates her by about four years, to her recollection.

“We have a lot of fun,” she said. “Once a year, we sing here.” She added that the group practices every Wednesday, starting in September. The group performs a Christmas show at local convalescent homes, and then debuts its spring show at this event, before taking it on the road to about seven other locations.

“That was the whole reason we started it, to bring it to people who can't get out,” she said.

Caramante, a Tolland resident, said many Ellington seniors come to the show, but many from South Windsor and Tolland come out to watch as well.

She said her singers are very easy to direct. “They're wonderful,” she said. “They love it, or they wouldn't do it. I just make sure they do well.”

One of the soloists, Joy Pikor, performed a soulful version of “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” and got rousing applause.
She said she learned to sing in her church choir over the years.

“I love bluesy, and I always think of myself as more of an entertainer than a singer,” Pikor said. “I love big band music and country.”

The Ellington Ballroom and Line Dancers, under the direction of Amelia Kurpat, also showed off their moves during several of the songs.

“We just do what we normally do,” said Kurpat, who teaches ballroom dance at the Ellington Senior Center. “I tried to get my dancers choreographed, but I saw them laughing, so they messed it up. I told them, if they mess up, not to worry about it.”

The trained singers and dancers aren't the only performers, as the crowd is invited to sing along on every song, especially the patriotic songs at the finale.

“We usually sing one patriotic song, and then always end with 'God Bless America,'” Caramante said. “A couple of my baritone singers really belt it out. This isn't only for us. Everyone sings and it's wonderful.”

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