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From Broadway To Estes Park

It’s not every day you get to see and hear a singing star from Broadway in Estes Park, but you can March 1st at 7:00 p.m. or March 2nd at 2:00 p.m. when the musical variety show “It’s Showtime!” plays at Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies, 1700 Brodie Ave, in Estes Park.

“I did some Broadway and off, off Broadway back in the day,” says Betsy Skinner, Show Director and Emcee for “It’s Showtime!” “I’m actually in the cast recordings for Vladimir and another musical called Captive.”

Skinner spent over 40 years performing professionally in operas, oratorios and musical theatre including such roles as Violetta (La Traviata), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance) and Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady). She received both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where she was also on the faculty, teaching classes in voice and vocal performance pedagogy. Prior to relocating to Colorado, she was Professor of Voice, Chair of the Voice Area and Director of Opera at Heidelberg College in Ohio, where she directed numerous operas and musicals. Skinner also has authored several books about voice performance and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences on singing and performance.

After moving to Colorado it didn’t take long for Skinner to find herself back on stage again.

“I came here seven years ago and immediately got involved with the Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies’ production of The Wizard of Oz,” explains Skinner. “They needed a soprano, so I was in the Munchkins Chorus, I was a Jitterbug, and I was in the Emerald City, so within two months of moving to Colorado I immediately was sort of in the center of the people who were movers and shakers who brought this talent together. It was really neat.”

She marvels at the caliber of singing talent in the Estes Valley. “For a small town there’s a wealth of talent,” she says. “You can go to a big city or medium sized city and it would take a long time to really get a handle on how much talent is in that city. But it doesn’t have the feeling of a community. It’s spread out. There’re all these different groups and they’re all doing their own thing. Here in Estes Park, there’s a real sense of familiarity with the different groups and the people involved in them and it’s just a nice kind of family feel.”

She says anyone buying a ticket to “It’s Showtime!” will not be disappointed. “They owe it to themselves just for the sheer entertainment factor. For a minimal amount of money, they’ll be seeing a top-dollar, quality show,” Skinner says. “It really is a special show for the best talent in Estes Park that is available on those two particular performance days. But the most important reason for buying a ticket is that you are helping the kids. Colleges today, being as expensive as they are, this money is essential.”

All proceeds from “It’s Showtime!” go to the scholarship fund of the Rotary Club of Estes Park Foundation which provides more than a dozen college scholarships each year to Estes Park High School graduates.

“I sat on a number of committees at Heidelberg College in Ohio and we were deciding what students got scholarships and how much they were going to get,” says Skinner. “There was just so much money available, and we were trying to match scholarships these students were getting from Rotaries and other groups in their own hometowns. We always felt like it was piecemeal. We couldn’t give what we wanted to, but we certainly wanted to bring those students to our college and help them get through the tuition.”

Joining Skinner on stage at “It’s Showtime!” will be the Estes Park High School Jazz Band, EPHS Major 13 Jazz Choir, Valerie Dascoli and Scott Anderson in a duet, Christy Florence, Colleen Buckert, Lori Burnham, Ruby Bode, Larry Pierce, Randy Boyd, Vic Anderson, Roger Thorp, Steve Smersh, Margaret Patterson, Ted Dumont, Bob Brunson, The OLM Trio, and Elk Hollow.

Skinner will offer up “The Alto’s Lament.”

Those who buy a ticket will be “probably whistling a number of different songs, a number of different tunes as they leave,” she says. “We have such a variety of music. We’ve got the jazz band and the jazz choir. We’ve got Broadway. We’ve got classical music pieces. We have the folk trios. They’ll either be singing along or singing it out the door as they leave to When the Saints Go Marching In. Or possibly even You Gotta Have Heart – our theme song – and we’ll raise those scholarship dollars. You just watch!”

Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. Students and children are free. Tickets are available at Macdonald Book Shop, the Estes Park Visitor’s Center, MedX of Estes, and at the Thursday Noon Rotary meetings.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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