Offstage Drama Lifts the Chordaires’ Onstage Show

Barb and Kirk Hyder (center front) stepped in at the last minute to direct the Chordaires’ spring show “A Salute to the Music Men.” With 42 years of barbershop harmony experience, including award-winning choruses, they were the perfect solution for the Chordaires in a lurch.

The Chordaires lived up to performance theatre’s motto, “The show must go on,” with a lively, sold-out performance show in April. Just three weeks earlier, their director informed them he was unable to continue due to severe health issues.

The timing of the director’s withdrawal was difficult, not only because it was only three weeks before the show, but it was also two weeks before Easter. Every prospective substitute director from high school, church, or community chorus was preparing for their spring or Easter performance.

With fingers crossed, Chordaires Assistant Musical Director Libby Bender contacted Barb and Kirk Hyder. She knew they are both lifelong barbershop singers who live in Sun Lakes and are involved in the Chorale. He also directs the East Valley Barbershop Harmonizers. She explained the situation and asked if there was any way either of them could help us out. Then she held her breath. To her surprise and relief, they responded, “Yes, we can do it by working as co-directors.”

Libby quickly emailed them the sheet music and line-up for the show “A Salute to the Music Men.” One week later, they arrived at the next practice with energy and ideas. Fortunately, the chorus had already memorized the music, so the new directors could focus on fine-tuning the performance.

But there’s more. The show included the addition of a men’s quartet, which was to have been organized by the original director. However, due to his illness, the arrangements had not been made. Again, Kirk had a solution. The men’s chorus he directs, the East Valley Harmonizers, has a quartet. He talked to them, and they agreed to step in. The East Valley Four joined the Chordaires’ octet, The Ambassadors, in singing “Lida Rose/Will I Ever Tell You” and “Pick-a-Little Talk-a-Little/Goodnight Ladies” from Meredith Wilson’s famous musical comedy The Music Man. The men also sang “Hello Mary Lou” on their own.

The result was an entertaining show that went off without a hitch, thanks to the Hyders’ heroic efforts to learn the musical arrangements and lift the performance to a more exciting level. The show did go on, joyfully.