They are one of Calgary’s most popular, acclaimed and, above all else, entertaining vocal groups.
The 50-person singing act Revv52 are known for their high-energy shows that use the familiarity of contemporary music to expand the choral form.
It’s earned them a large local audience, with them also performing during the Stampede Grandstand Show, as well as on the stage of Carnegie Hall, and, for the smaller offshoot ReMix: Powered by Revv52, an invite to perform at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville as part of an event hosted by the Benevolent Artists National Charity at the end of this month.
First, though, the entire group backed by a smoking, six-piece band of local musicians, including Steve Pineo and Kit Johnson, will hit the stage of the Bella Concert Hall in Mount Royal University’s Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts to perform a trio of shows called Day Tripper: Music That Fuels Your Day.
The show, which runs Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12, with a special 2 p.m. matinee, features a wide range of songs from such artists as Queen, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to Bruno Mars, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran.
Prior to what should be another smash, Revv52 artistic director Brian Farrell spoke with theYYSCENE.
Q: Tell me about Day Tripper.
A: The Day Tripper show it’s basically the music you get up to and you go through your day with. From the morning to transit to work and exercise and then you dine and you go out dancing and maybe at the end of the night you just kind of unwind somehow with music.
Q: Who came up with the idea behind it?
A: It’s interesting, my son is a surgeon in Chicago, and I was amazed at how surgeons have playlists and they’re really particular about the music they listen to when they do their work. And then I got looking more into how the brain works with music and it seemed that this was a good match for what we do. The kind of music that we live to, the kind of music that wakes us up and gets in the groove of the day and actually inspires us through work …
There was a guy working in construction and he had headphones on and I said, “What are you listening to?” and he said he was listening to metal … and I know some of the surgeons listen to metal, which is interesting. It depends on who you are and the rhythm of what gets you going. A Parkinson’s group that I work with, there’s so much music that excites them to move, and, again, it’s a different kind of music than somebody else might listen to.
Q: So there’s metal in this show?
A: Well, there’s not metal in this show, but there is a wide variety of music. It’s pretty much five decades of music.
Q: So it was your job to pick the songs for the show?
A: I start with a whack of songs and then we whittle that down with our artistic team trying to stylize it according to what we can do well. And then we have arrangers that harness it into our real focus, something that we can really pronounce well on the stage, so it really (works) well with what Revv52 is all about.
Q: Let’s take you, for example, what do you normally start your day and end your day with?
A: Interestingly, I just have such a wide taste in music and a lot it — I might vocal coach anywhere from five to ten hours a day, so people come through the doors and I listen to everything. It could be something more classically oriented or it could be something that’s rap-centred or it could be something that’s pop from radio or old rock ’n’ roll … country music, new country, old country, you know the old Buck Owens stuff, too, anything. So I’m really eclectic in my tastes and I’m really wide open, I’m not discretionary in terms of, “Well, I don’t like this,” or, “I don’t like that.” For me it’s really important that people open up their ears to a whole variety of music, I think that’s really healthy.
Q: Has the choir, itself, really taken to this show?
A: It has. And, in fact, this group is quite phenomenal, it’s an exceptional group of singers. This is as good as it’s been over the many, many years of Revv52, this is a phenomenal group of singers.
Revv52’s Day Tripper: Music That Fuels Your Day takes place Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 at the Bella Concert Hall in Mount Royal University’s Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts. For tickets and showtimes, please click here.