After being “dark” for two years due to the COVID-19 crisis, Waxahachie’s Old -Fashioned Singing Project is celebrating its 10th anniversary with performances of their acclaimed staged musical, “Heaven’s Front Porch,” on Nov. 5-6 with concerts at 7 p.m. Friday and at 2 p.m. Saturday. As always, these performances will be on stage at the historic 1902 Chautauqua Auditorium in Getzendaner Park.
The Old-Fashioned Singing Project first hit the Chautauqua stage in 2011, presenting shows that feature congregational sacred music from the first half of the 20th Century – that is, music that was sung in brush-arbor meetings and white-framed churches across the southern United States. In fact, the Chautauqua has been filled with this kind of music off and on throughout its history.
“Our intention from the very first was to revive and preserve this dying segment of church music and to make it enjoyable,” said R.G. Huff, the project’s creative director. “We’ve done that now for 10 years, and we’re ready to celebrate it in grand style.”
The hour-and-a-half production of “Heaven’s Front Porch” features 16 on-stage singers who keep the show moving with solos, quartets and group-singing, interspersed with entertaining stories and anecdotes. Melinda Boyd has been the pianist for these shows since the beginning of the project. The audience is invited to sing along at several points during the scripted shows.
“As a local nonprofit, we’ve had to rely on the financial support of the community to stay afloat,” Huff said. “Individuals and businesses have continued to help us keep this project alive. We have a group of local folks who show up every weekend – our ‘groupies’ we call them. These are the people who remember this kind of music and who delight in hearing it again and again.
“Our audiences have been primarily made up of groups and individuals who come into town from all over the country, especially Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana,” Huff said. “From the ticket sales so far for our anniversary celebration, this is holding true. But we very much want people here in Waxahachie and around Ellis County to come and participate in and enjoy these special concerts.”
All tickets for “Heaven’s Front Porch” are $15 and can be purchased online at WaxaOFS.com or at the door the days of the concerts. Tickets go on sale one hour before curtain, and the doors open 30 minutes before the shows begin.
Spring performances are planned for March 25-26.
“If you haven’t been to the Chautauqua in a while, we remind you to bring a seat cushion,” Huff said. “Those 118-year-old benches can make for some pretty hard, uncomfortable seating after a while.”
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