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SHOCASE ‘Power of Love’ gala Saturday

By Benny Westcott
Of The New Era/Lebanon Local

Sometimes music best expresses “The Power of Love.”

So goes the theme of the Sweet Home Coalition for Artistic and Scholastic Enrichment (SHOCASE)’s annual gala concert – a night packed with local musical talent and the return of an internationally acclaimed headliner – beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium at Sweet Home High School, 1641 Long St.

General admission tickets are $15, and the VIP experience – which includes an after-concert meet-and-greet reception, hors d’oeuvres and VIP seating – is $35. Tickets are available at the Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce, the New Era newspaper office and at the door. They’re also available online at https://bit.ly/3yxDUvk.

“We’ve got some great local performers,” SHOCASE board member Shirley Austin said. “There’s a couple that have been in the previous ones that are always popular because they’re just that good, and we have some new performers this year that we’re excited about. For those people who missed Doug Webster last time, here’s a chance to see him. He’s just great.”

Douglas Webster, the “Broadway Baritone,” makes a return to Sweet Home Saturday evening at the Sweet Home High School Auditorium. Provided photo

“Broadway Baritone” Douglas Webster is well-known to local audiences, topping SHOCASE’s 2020 gala. Over a 30-year period, the singer has performed with the Boston Pops, the National Symphony and orchestras across 46 states. He’s appeared on Broadway and at regional theaters, leading productions of “Les Mis√©rables” and Leonard Bernstein’s “MASS.”

He’s shifted gears since the pandemic, coaching business professionals on their English presentation skills, the same ones his former theater students are using onstage and while teaching in university and high school performing arts programs. Webster lives in Portland and in South Park, Colo., with his wifeElizabeth Byrd, a cellist.

Also on the bill are:

Stefani Brown

Brown has appeared in a number of local productions and as a member of Divine, an all-women a capella group, while attending Oregon State University. She has been a counselor at Hawthorne Elementary School in Sweet Home and currently works for Greater Albany Public Schools.

Deb Cooley

Although best known in Sweet Home for her visual artwork and her 43 years as a hairstylist, Cooley has recorded four albums of original material she describes as adult-alternative, “along the lines of Norah Jones.” According to a March 1 New Era feature, she plans to perform “When I Close My Eyes” and “Everyday” during the concert.

Praise in 3D. File photo

David Dominy/Praise in 3D

The musician, singer/songwriter and pianist has performed at the Oregon Jamboree, Willamette National Cemetery’s Memorial Day ceremony and Albany’s 9/11 memorial, as well as with the Lebanon Association for Theater Arts (LAFTA), Sweet Home Singing Christmas Tree and at local churches.

Dominy will be performing on his own and joining his father George, brother Cliff, and son Titus as a quartet called Praise in 3D, a Christian collective formed more than 30 years ago.

It began by performing special music at church before adding the Sweet Home Community Singing Christmas Tree, where the entire Dominy family has been a staple for more than two decades.

Praise In 3D has traveled all over the state under the motto “We go where God leads us.”

Alison Hurst

Hurst began her musical education at age six, taking up the cello at 10. She said she enjoys making music with her siblings or playing at special events for friends and family.

John Kluttz

Kluttz has directed the Sweet Home Community Singing Christmas Tree since 2019, taking over for founder Paul Rowton Sr., under whom he studied as both a junior high and high school student.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in choral conducting and a master’s degree in teaching from Oregon State University, where he studied choral conducting and choral music pedagogy with Dr. Steven M. Zielke.

During his time at OSU, Kluttz also studied classical vocal performance and was awarded first place at the National Association for Teachers of Singers. In addition, he was also the President of the OSU chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Men’s Choral Chair for the Oregon chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.

Following his graduate studies, Kluttz taught middle school choir and musical theater with Greater Albany Public Schools. Additionally, he taught private voice and directed both a youth community choir and summer theater camp.

Although not currently teaching, Kluttz is actively involved in music directing and has performed in community choirs as well as several theatrical productions.

Libby Kluttz

The daughter of John Kluttz has been involved in choir and theater programs since her sixth-grade year. She’s now a senior at West Albany High School, where she actively participates in its contemporary a cappella and classical a cappella groups. She’s currently rehearsing as Dorothy in a school production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Kluttz has been involved with community and church choirs as well as theater programs and is a four-year participant in the Sweet Home Singing Christmas Tree. She’s also an active member of the Lebanon Association for Theatre Arts, or LAFTA, taking part in musicals every summer.

Having been accepted into Oregon State University’s music program, she plans to major in music education and eventually teach high school choir and theater.

Melody Jordan Reese

The former Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce executive director has music in her blood. The California native’s father is a songwriter and musician specializing in pedal-steel guitar. She grew up attending his shows and sometimes joined him onstage.

While attending Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria, Calif., Jordan Reese participated in its women’s and varsity choirs and Madrigals a capella choir.

Following her 2008 graduation, she moved to Northridge to pursue music while attending cosmetology school. There she performed as the lead singer of a pop/metal rock band called New Heir, pop/rock outfit The Melrose Band, the indie band Stronger Than Bears and as a solo acoustic artist.

She’s graced stages at such venerable Hollywood Sunset Strip institutions as the Whisky a Go Go, the Rainbow Room, and the Viper Room, and has performed in studios with songwriters and producers who wrote for and toured with Poison vocalist Bret Michaels and other 1980s rock legends.

Scott Swanson

The New Era co-publisher has been playing the piano since he was eight years old. He has provided musical accompaniment at weddings and churches for several decades.

Alex Wilson

From a young age, Wilson has performed both solo and with his sisters. In high school he joined the concert choir, the men’s ensemble and the jazz choir, although he stepped away from public performance afterward, preferring to sing for his own enjoyment. However, his grandmother, who died a couple of years ago, always encouraged him to return.

The show will also feature a special appearance from Hawthorne dancers Logan Shaffer and Shasta Tenbusch.

“We’re here to support all of the arts in all of the forms in Sweet Home,” Austin said of the overall concert, “and this is just one way of showcasing the performing arts and what we support. We wanted to bring that to the community.

“I hope people get joy and pure entertainment out of the concert and find out what kind of talent our community has.”