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Ogdensburg’s Showtime chorus celebrates 70 years

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Shannon E. Baker and Darles A. Sovie experienced senior moments, Alfred J. “Bud” Nichols sat on a piece of gum, and Randy T. Livingston said goodbye Sunday as Ogdensburg’s Showtime chorus celebrated 70 years of promoting basic human values and giving back to those who need it most.

“It’s about getting back to the idea that everybody is part of the community,” Gail A. Cater, Showtime director, said after Sunday’s matinee at Ogdensburg Free Academy. “With our theme of ‘Thank You For Being a Friend’ this year, we’re telling people that we’re still here and happy to be doing it.”

Doing it for Showtime for nearly 40 years, Mr. Livingston, who is moving to South Carolina, closed the show with his rousing version of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” belting out the final chorus in his best impression of the famed jazz trumpeter and singer.

“We will meet again somewhere down the road,” he told the jam-packed George C. Hall Auditorium as the curtains fell.

Mr. Livingston got started with Showtime in high school, back in 1975. He began backstage, working in lighting and helping out with directing the show, but soon found himself yearning to take his chances on stage in front of the crowd.

The rest, as they say, is history.

“Randy is just so talented. One of those people who can do it all — sing, comedy, entertain,” Mrs. Cater said. “He has a way about him that just makes it seem like you’ve been friends forever. We’ll miss him. It’s emotional.”

Sunday’s emotional show wasn’t without its lighter moments. The afternoon began with the Younger Generation, a group of nine children sharing the last names of Sovie and George, performing “It’s a Small World.” Later, Cody, Joseph, Tamika, Melody and Tyler George, along with Dylan, Gerald, Jay and Lee Sovie, joined their parents, Matthew A. and Jennifer L. George and Jason E. and Megan M. Sovie, in a hilarious version of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” in which the families described the comments they hear from others during their “12 days of shopping” with all of those children.

Mrs. Baker, Darles Sovie, Mrs. George, Jackie Powers and Megan Sovie donned fake bikini T-shirts and entertained with their water ballet skit, depicting a team of synchronized swimmers training for the 2012 Olympics, according to master of ceremonies Thomas A. Nichols.

Other solos belonged to Carol Nelson, with “Top of the World,” Mike Roach, singing “I Believe in Music,” and Sister Barbara St. Andrews, with “Angels Among Us.”

Showtime’s gospel choir made an appearance, as did the Nichols family, including Tom and Bud, along with Sharon P. and Brian Nichols, performing “In the Garden.”

Special guests included fiddler Donnie Woodcock, guitarist Dan Pearson and Mr. Woodcock’s friend Bob Vallee, another noted fiddler, from Valleyfield, Ontario. Also performing were the Canton Goldenaires and Impromptu, a barbershop quartet made up of Goldenaires members.

Showtime’s mission could be found in Mrs. Cater’s rendition of “Dream With Me,” when she sang that there are “mountaintops to conquer and oceans to explore. Mysteries and magic can be found in simple kinds of things.”

Since the group’s 1943 origin out of St. Mary’s Academy Ladies Auxiliary, the goal, according to Jane M. Fay, Showtime’s publicity manager, has been to raise money for local organizations that help the needy in the community.

Seventy years later, Showtime proceeds continue to benefit approximately 30 local organizations, including cancer services, Ogdensburg Boys & Girls Club, SPCA, volunteer fire departments, Citizens Against Violent Acts, Hospice, Renewal House and Reachout, among others.

The final spring show will be at 7:15 p.m. today at OFA. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for senior citizens and students.

The Showtime chorus consists of Bethany Anderson, Lisa Colby, Jane Fay, Jennifer George, Fran Perkins, Becky LaRock, Randy Livingston, Kathy Morse, Darles Sovie, Megan Sovie, Tim Baker, Bud Nichols, Sharon Nichols, Tom Nichols, Amber Riordan, Jackie Powers, Mike Roach, Shelly Smithers, Carol Nelson, Jason Sovie, Megan George, Shannon Baker and Sister Barbara St. Andrews.

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