‘Snowed Inn’ brings mirth to SCCA

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, December 12, 2019

Nobody likes to be snowed in for very long, but an upcoming show at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will bring a wintry whimsy to the experience.

The Suffolk Center Children’s Chorus will present the original musical “Snowed Inn” at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Admission is free.

“Snowed Inn” was written by Gavin Harper, Suffolk Center’s education manager and choral director. “I created the show specifically for the Suffolk Center Children’s Chorus students. If you were to take a look at the original script, you would find their names next to the lines that they speak, the songs they sing, or the dance moves they dance,” Harper said.

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The show’s premise provides the perfect holiday backdrop: When an incorrect invitation turns into an unexpected party, suddenly the snow begins to fall and the party guests have to stay a little longer, sing a little more and make long-lasting memories of friendship, laughter, and love.

The original musical features 13 holiday favorites, including “Let It Snow,” “Frosty, The Snowman,” “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and “Silent Night.”

The show was truly a collaboration between Harper and his 33 students. The creative process included students suggesting additional songs and writing scenes to incorporate their ideas, ultimately creating a show that is a true reflection of who the chorus is.

When Harper started at the Suffolk Center, his vision was to start a Children’s Chorus that anyone could join, no matter their cultural background, social status, religious beliefs or even their musical abilities.

“When we started in January 2018, I had no idea who would come, but I wanted it to be a safe and fun environment for those wanting to sing and make music,” he said. “When we started, we had about 15 students. We have 33 enrolled this semester.”

The Suffolk Center Children’s Chorus has blossomed into Harper’s vision. Participating students range in age from 7 to 17, attend public schools, private schools and homeschools and reside in Suffolk, Chesapeake, Franklin, Waverly and Zuni, creating the diverse, inclusive group Harper envisioned.

In November, the Suffolk Center Children’s Chorus performed a few of the “Snowed Inn” songs during the Suffolk’s Grand Illumination. This Tuesday, the children will once again have the opportunity to use their voices in solos, duets, breakout groups and full cast numbers, but with the added occasion to showcase their new-found stage presence. “Snowed Inn” allowed students to cultivate their performing abilities and embrace the theatrical aspects of a musical production by acting, dancing, memorizing lines, learning stage directions and rehearsing as a team.

The Suffolk Center’s Children’s Chorus meets every Tuesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The next semester starts Jan. 14 and runs through May 12. No musical experience is necessary — just the desire to sing.

Also, new this winter is the Suffolk Center Community Chorus, for ages 18 and up, under the choral direction of Toni Cotturone, a retired teacher from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. This inaugural, non-auditioning chorus will enjoy rehearsing and performing various styles of music: classical, contemporary and Broadway. All voice types and skill levels are welcome.

Both choral groups cost $75 per semester. Enrollment is available at www.suffolkcenter.org.

For additional information on “Snowed Inn” or the Suffolk Center Children’s Chorus or Community Chorus, contact Harper at 923-0003, extension 103, or gavin.harper@suffolkcenter.org. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is located at 110 W. Finney Ave.