From the YouTube website:
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Eric Andrist and Jeff Rizzo, founders of The Valley Villagers Choir in Los Angeles, will debut the choir’s first “virtual video,” on social media this Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m, featuring members of their choir and performers from Broadway and regional musical theater from across the U.S.
This past March, the choir was preparing to go into rehearsals for their next season when the Coronavirus pandemic hit and was forced to cease all rehearsals. Having failed to successfully use online video conferencing to continue practicing, they decided to try their hand at a virtual choir video, something that has been taking the internet by storm while the world is locked down.
One of the songs they were preparing to rehearse was a fantastic 8-part choral version of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself,” arranged by Christopher John Chambers in England. Andrist thought, “what better sentiment” considering how many people are being forced to hunker down alone during the pandemic. So, together with Rizzo, the choir’s musical director, they contacted singers from L.A. to New York. Each performer learned the song on their own at home, and then used their computers and cell phones to videotape themselves singing it. Andrist has spent over 400 hours mixing and editing all those videos together. Each performer’s video has to be manually aligned with all the others, a very time-intensive task.
Included in the cast of 51 performers are David Engel and Larry Raben from the original cast of “Forever Plaid,” actress Sharon Lawrence from “NYPD Blue,” Karen Mason from Broadway’s “Sunset Blvd.,” Valerie Perri who played Eva Peron in the Broadway National tour of “Evita,” actress Mary Gordon Murray from “One Life to Live,” Ivan Rutherford who has played Jean Valjean over 2300 times in “Les Misérables” on Broadway and on tour, actor/composer Morgan Hollingsworth from the new folk/Americana band SATIN NICKEL, and tenor sensation E.J. Cardona from the a’capella vocal group VOCTAVE.
Rizzo, who conducted the New York and National Tours of “The Wizard of Oz” (the one that starred Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt among other celebrities), called in two of his Dorothy’s, Kelli Rabke, who starred on Broadway in “Les Misérables” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and Jessica Grové who appeared on Broadway in “A Little Night Music,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and “Les Misérables.”
Rizzo also persuaded Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist, Grant Geissman (of Sherman Oaks) to play along, with L.A. musician Christian Hogan (from right here in Valley Village) on bass and drums. Geissman can be heard playing the famous guitar solo on Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good.” He co-wrote the theme to “Two and a Half Men,” which was nominated for an Emmy Award. Hogan has played and written songs that have been used on various TV shows including NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” CW’s “Hart of Dixie. On piano are Jeff Rizzo and Marjorie Poe (the choir’s rehearsal pianist).
The complete cast of singers includes: Eric Andrist, Karen Benjamin-Chapman, Chuck Bergman, Caroline Bielskis, E.J. Cardona, Kym Chambers, Kristin Charney, David Engel, Danny Gardner, Nancy Gassner-Clayton, Shelby Grimm, Jessica Grové, Morgan Hollingsworth, Connie Jackson, Karen Juday, MacKenzie Juday, Tari Kelly, Katie Lily Lambert, Sharon Lawrence, Kerry Melachouris, Cynthia Marty, Debra McCormick, Kevin McMahon, Karen Mason, Mary Gordon Murray, Gregory North, Joanne O’Brien, Paul O’Mara, Valerie Perri, Cathy Susan Pyles, Larry Raben, Kelli Rabke, Ellen Reiner, James A. Rocco, Justin Robertson, Keri Rodau, Lindsey Rodriguez, Ivan Rutherford, Charles Savinar, Randy Schmeling, Stacey Scotte, Alli Spotts-De Lazzer, Glen Stephenson, Joe Torello, Michael Vaccaro, Diane Vincent, Beverly Ward, Kirby Ward, Ty West, Billie Wildrick, Robert Yacko.
The Valley Villagers Choir is a community choir in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. Started in the fall of 2018 as a one-time venture for a holiday block party in Valley Village, the choir has doubled in size since. They have been performing several times a year at local libraries in Studio City and North Hollywood, and plan to resume once there are safety measures in place to deal with the pandemic.