By Josette Keelor
MIDDLETOWN -- During downtime from performing with the Blue Man Group's yearlong North American tour, Russell Rinker of Strasburg has been humming love songs. It didn't take long before he had everyone else with the show singing them too.
The songs are for a medley he was tasked with orchestrating for the Spring Show this weekend at Lord Fairfax University in Middletown.
As music director of the variety show, Rinker flew in for rehearsals from Portland, Ore., early Tuesday morning. He and his parents, Judy and Rick Rinker, have been with the show most years since he was 4 years old, but he remembered being overwhelmed when he learned of this year's theme.
"Love -- wow, that's so much music," he remembered thinking.
The show will include everything from old standards to pop favorites like The Beatles' "All You Need is Love" and Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Performances of skits, dance numbers and songs will be at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with a pre-show reception of food, free ice cream, cake and candy walks, a moon bounce and face painting in the Corron Community Development Center starting 90 minutes before each show time. Tickets are $2.
Rinker recorded the medley in hotels with a laptop and microphone, uploading it to mp3 files he then sent to Assistant Director Greg MacDonald to use during rehearsals starting in early February.
"That's the tough part is I'm not here," Rinker said. "I just come in for the week."
It worked out that after his week off, the Blue Man Group has another week off while shipping the show to Vancouver, where he'll rejoin them next weekend. The tour continues through June, and next they will perform mostly in the Midwest before heading to The National Theatre in Washington May 6-11.
While in college, Rinker took some years off from performing in the Spring Show, but otherwise he's made time to do each year.
"I was the little kid looking up to these performers," he said. "To be on the opposite side of it is rewarding."
Plus, he said, "It's a nice excuse to come home and be home."
Director Andrea Ludwick started the Fairfax Follies in 1978, and it's continued every spring, later changing its name to the Spring Show. In recent years, it lost participants and now performs in the smaller yet newer William H. McCoy Theatre. Now it's ready for a comeback.
"It's a collaborative effort," she said. "There's not just one person in charge."
The show used to be huge, MacDonald said, but as former students left and new ones came, interest fell.
"There was kind of a lack of knowledge of what it was," he said. Formerly housed in the special events center, the show also fell in size when it moved into the McCoy Theatre, which, though an upgrade, accommodates smaller productions than the events center did.
But Ludwick assured, "Right now we're happy with this because we have great lights, the sound is great acoustically."
"We find a way to do it wherever we are."
The Spring Show will take place at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the William H. McCoy Theatre on the campus of Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown. Pre-shows will begin 90 minutes before each show. Tickets are $2. Reserve them by calling 540-868-7216 or emailing email@example.com.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org