Ovation West celebrates golden milestone

‘Fiddler’ kicks off organization’s 50th year

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/30/21

When Frank Plaut joined Evergreen Chorale in 1976, little did he know that he would play the rabbi in “Fiddler on the Roof” four times in the next 45 years — including in the group’s current …

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Ovation West celebrates golden milestone

‘Fiddler’ kicks off organization’s 50th year

Posted

When Frank Plaut joined Evergreen Chorale in 1976, little did he know that he would play the rabbi in “Fiddler on the Roof” four times in the next 45 years — including in the group’s current show.

Plaut has been a dedicated member of Evergreen Chorale, which changed its name to Ovation West Performing Arts three years ago, and since he joined, he’s participated in countless choral performances and musical productions. Plus he’s served in a governance role for the organization and is currently its president.

Plaut is one of hundreds who have been involved in choral and theatrical productions over the organization’s 50-year history. Ovation West is celebrating its golden anniversary year starting with “Fiddler,” and the Evergreen Chorale will be singing Handel’s “Messiah” in December.

“It all started with an ad in the Canyon Courier, inviting those interested in forming a singing group of professional quality to meet at the home of Roy and Ruth Seeber on a night in January 1972,” according to “Evergreen Our Mountain Community.” Seven singers responded, and soon the group was rehearsing.

By the time the Evergreen Chorale celebrated its 20th anniversary, “it has given us 54 wonderful concerts and 39 musical theater productions. In all, over 400 people have been members of the Chorale since 1972,” the book explained.

“It was very much a foothills-based group of people,” according to Christine Gaudreau, artistic and musical director, explaiing that now it is a multifaceted organization with several choirs, theater productions, educational outreach and a theater building.

Plaut said the organization’s basic premise of people who love music joining together has stayed the same over the 50-year history.

Refurbishing Center Stage

Performances were held around town for years until 1990 when Evergreen Chorale began renting the space that is now Center Stage.

The Center Stage building on Fireweed Drive originally was a summer meeting house for the Episcopal Church’s Evergreen Church Music Conference, according to “Evergreen Our Mountain Community.”

“There was no plumbing, no heat, no lobby, no green room,” Plaut explained. “If we were in rehearsals or performances, we brought in portable toilets. We brought in construction heaters, and people came in parkas.”

Then the renovations began: lobby and restrooms in 1992, patios in 1993, orchestra pit and costume storage in 1992, green room and dressing rooms in 1995, theater seating and a new lighting system in 1997, gardens in 1998 and a 1,200-square-foot lobby in 2004.

Evergreen Chorale finally bought the property in 2009, and Plaut figures the group has put more than $1 million into refurbishing the building.

The theater’s lobby recently got a makeover, making it a crowning jewel in Ovation West’s repertoire. Those who come up the hill to work with Ovation West always talk about how charming the theater is.

A special group

Gaudreau, who has been with Ovation West for 12 years, said she has come to respect the people who have dedicated time to building the programs and the theater.

“We are producing epic shows with nearly 40 people in the cast and orchestra,” she said. “Directors, designers, choreographers and actors are coming from all over the metro Denver area to work with us.”

Plaut agreed, noting that as productions got better, more singers and stage performers have become interested in performing here.

“Many folks from down the hill audition because they want to do something with Evergreen Chorale,” he noted.

Plaut said Ovation West have been the centerpiece of life after his profession and his family, noting many who are involved with the organization would agree.

“There is so much activity and talent,” Gaudreau said. “We stand on the shoulders of the people who just out of love and passion for performing arts built this organization.”

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