Nearly 100 years of musical theatre will be celebrated this weekend by a longtime Border singing group that now has a new name.
Songs from the Stage by Murray Concert Choir will present solo, duo, trio and choral performances from shows including Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz, Singin' in the Rain, Cats, Oklahoma, Rent, Godspell and more.
Musical director Lauren Schmutter, a well-known Border singer and teacher, says anyone who loves musicals will enjoy the concerts.
"The program I've put together is contrasting pieces from genres and eras, across the years as well, which gave the choristers a bit of an insight into some different musical theatre styles," she said.
"The songs are ranging from the early 1900s right up to the last 20 years."
Choir president Michele Roberts said the group's former name, Murray Conservatorium Choir, arose in the 1980s when Murray Conservatorium provided rehearsal space for the singers, "a win-win situation for both sides in those days".
But the choir, now in its 40th year, had never been a formal part of the Albury music centre and members last year decided on a new title.
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"Reasonably close to the original name, but it's more reflective of our real status as a community-based choir," Ms Roberts said.
"Certainly the change has been done with mutual understanding and support from the conservatorium."
During COVID lockdowns, the singers moved online, working with one former director Beth Ylvisaker, now in Melbourne, and reconnecting with others overseas.
Already "between directors" when the pandemic began, the choir decided to hold off trying to recruit a permanent musical leader until the end of this year.
But two more concert series are planned during this anniversary year, in September with Paul Tasker and a Christmas concert led by conductor and presenter Guy Noble.
Songs from the Stage soloists include Craig Quilliam, Venetia Heath, Lachlan McIntyre, who all starred in last year's Phantom of the Opera, Jacob McCrohan, Dianne McKie and Niki Strauss, with Sandra Williams as accompanist.
Schmutter said restrictions curtailed her stint as a guest conductor last year, so she had enjoyed returning.
"For me personally it was lovely to walk into a rehearsal with seasoned choral performers that just had a beautiful sound," she said.
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