Riverside Choir recently performed in the play Coquitlam Rises, an original production celebrating the city’s birthday.
The city of Coquitlam was incorporated in 1891, making 2016 it’s 125 anniversary. To celebrate this, Mandy Tulloch wrote and directed an original play called “Coquitlam Rises.” Tulloch approached Glenda Ottens, Riverside’s music teacher in June at the choirs’ performance at Evergreen Cultural Center where the choir performed a concert, to ask if they could participate in her play. At the beginning of the school year, Ottens proposed the idea to the Riverside Choir of singing in this play at the same venue.
“I thought this was a great idea, to be invited to do something for a community purpose, especially for the 125th anniversary and the challenge in having the choir involved in not knowing the students that could participate and we only had, not even really a week to figure out if we had any students to participate,” said Ottens.
The choir was incorporated into the story line of the play, as well as singing their own number at the end of the show. “I thought the vision was really neat, I thought it was good. I liked the way that [Tulloch] integrated us throughout the whole production rather than just one isolated number,” said Ottens.
Amy Snalam said the choir only started coming to Coquitlam Rises rehearsals two weeks before the premier. “We tried to fit in as much practice time as possible. We even sacrificed lunches and after school time as we were nearing the shows, “said Snalam.
This play re-enacted many historical events that happened in Coquitlam and demonstrated what life was like throughout the 1900s. The play was very original. With a mix of storytelling, acting and many musical numbers.
“About a year and a half ago,[the district of Coquitlam] approached me and asked me if I would do something for the 125th anniversary that involved youth, engagement and different cultures and bring it together for this particular production,” said Tulloch.
Tulloch said it was the youth that inspired her to write this play. “You’ve got the inspiration, the beauty, the hope for the future. My desire is to engage you guys to try things, do new things,” said Tulloch. She hopes her play will inspire people to try new things, look at different cultures, music and dances,
When asked why she is involved in performing arts, cast member, Kelsea Vance, said “I’ve been doing dance since I was really, really young, but I’ve never been a part of a theatre production. I love it so much. If I could just do this for a living, I would. If I could just be part of Hamilton, I would.”
“If you’ve ever been on stage before, and had applause by a bunch of people after you did something just by yourself, it’s so amazing and makes you feel like Lady Gaga because ‘live for the applause’,” said Vance.
All photos courtesy of Alyson Young