Stars align for upcoming WHS chorus fundraiser show
Voctave will be the headlining performers at Windermere High’s upcoming ‘Rai$e Your Voice’ chorus concert.
| 4:35 p.m. March 6, 2019
Windermere High Wolverine chorus students have been gearing up for an evening of sweet harmonies and melodies to raise funds for their department.
The Wolverine Chorus will be hosting its “Rai$e Your Voice” concert at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, at the Windermere High performing arts center.
“Rai$e Your Voice is a concert to support our (chorus) program in song,” Chorus Director Linda Boot said. “(Because) we sing, we wanted to — instead of selling candles or cookie dough — do something that supports our students through the magic of singing and music. … We’re hoping to make this an annual event.”
Rai$e Your Voice will feature performances by all four of the different chorus groups at Windermere High as well as other performers. In addition to the chorus department, funds raised also will go toward costs associated with sending 44 chorus students to New York City after the school was invited to sing at Carnegie Hall as part of the Choirs of America festival, Boot said.
“It’s such an amazing opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall and on my first trip to New York City,” said senior chorus student Abigail Brannon. “I’m so proud of our choir and truly blessed to be a part of this special experience.”
The concert headliner will be internationally acclaimed a capella group, Voctave, the members of which recently were named Artists of Residency at Rollins College. The Central Florida-based, 11-member group was formed in 2015, and many of the members can trace their professional roots to Walt Disney World. Their YouTube channel has more than 300,000 subscribers and has garnered more than 26 million views.
“Voctave, of course, is a great a capella group,” Boot said. “Voctave is kind of our headliner group. Voctave is going to do a full (concert). The whole second half (of “Rai$e Your Voice”) is going to be Voctave.”
The other performers at “Rai$e Your Voice” will be Grant Norman, who played the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway; Christine Sivrich, who was in “Grease” and the “Wedding Singer” on Broadway; and Jukebox 4, a national group of performers known for their harmonies and playful choreography.
Billy Flanigan, a longtime performer and iconic host at Walt Disney World for more than 35 years, is the host and also will be singing a song at Rai$e Your Voice. Flanigan’s entertainment career in Central Florida dates back to 1982.
“Right now, I currently do ‘Finding Nemo: The Musical,’ and I have been in well over 650 shows, parades, travel-trade shows, talking-market shows and conventions for Disney over the past 37 years,” Flanigan said. “I’ve had an amazing career, and that’s kind of why I never left.”
When he’s not hosting shows or entertaining guests at Disney World, he is active throughout many different theater and performance communities in Orange County. He previously has done shows with the Garden Theatre, the Mad Cow Theatre and The Abbey in Orlando, He also hosts an open-mic nightat 7 p.m. Thursdays at Pilars Martini in downtown Winter Garden. He helped recruit some of the performers for Rai$e Your Voice, he said.
“I love to give back to the community,” Flanigan said. “I love to volunteer my time and talents. I have a wealth of friends who are so talented, and I love to help put on shows. When she (Boot) had asked if I would host (Rai$e Your Voice), I jumped on it.”
Another goal of “Rai$e Your Voice” is to help establish a fan base for the Windermere High chorus among the school’s surrounding communities, Boot said.
“We have amazing students who are so talented, and we would just like the community to know (that) and to come out to support these students and also to help support the department,” Boot said.