Valley News -

By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

Valley Vocal Ensemble presents 'A Night at the Tony Awards' at the Hemet DVAC


Last updated 6/8/2018 at 11:30am

Tony Ault

The Valley Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of Randy Dawkins, presents "A Night at the Tony Awards" on the Diamond Valley Art Center Stage, 123 N. Harvard St. in Hemet, Sunday, June 3. The ensemble presents four appearances each year, two in the spring or summer and two during the Christmas holidays.

The Valley Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of Randy Dawkins, made a sterling performance of "A Night at the Tony Awards" to a packed audience at the Diamond Valley Arts Center in Hemet Sunday, June 3.

Dawkins with his 15-member vocal ensemble, accompanied by outstanding pianist Virginia Pritchard, brought a fine presentation of the best Tony Awards music through the years and received resounding applause from the audience at the DVAC, 123 N. Harvard St, in Hemet.

The ensemble, originally called the Inland Valley Choral from Mt. San Jacinto College, began by performing "Show People" from the musical "Curtains" that brought the actor David Hyde Pierce of "Frazier" fame a Tony Award for Best Actor in the 70s.

Dawkins, who has been directing the choir for the past five years, said that while the number wasn't a top Tony Award winner, he liked the genre and looked at it for the opening number.

The ensemble continued with their renditions from the best of Tony Award music with three songs from "The Music Man," including "The Wells Fargo Wagon," "Till There Was You" and "Seventy-six Trombones."

Coming back in the first set was "Sunrise, Sunset" from "Fiddler on the Roof," followed by surprise tunes, "Walk Like a Man" from the "Jersey Boys" arranged by Kirby Shaw and "Feed the Birds" from the classic "Mary Poppins" arranged by Cristi Cary Miller.

At intermission Dawkins said the ensemble, with singers from the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley and Beaumont, had been rehearsing for the evening's entertainment every week for months.

It was the second concert of their spring-summer series, with the first held Saturday, June 2, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Hemet. They only have four performances a year; two in the spring and summer and two at Christmas.

Dawkins said the members pay for the privilege of being in the ensemble. He said the group has about 20 dues paying members and will be having auditions for the fall season, 7 p.m., Aug. 29, with the location to be announced.

The second half of the presentation brought a choral suite arranged by Mac Huff from the musical "West Side Story." Soloists Nikki Spencer and Pete Connors sang "Something Coming – Tonight" and "One Hand, One Heart."

They were followed by soloists Madelyn Williams and Maryanne Simmons with "I Feel Pretty Cool, America." Soloist Andrea Daniels sang "Somewhere" to conclude the suite.

Randy Janeway and Nikki Spencer stepped up to sing the popular song "Be Our Guest" from "Beauty and the Beast," while Ed Lojeski arranged a medley from the "Phantom of the Opera."

The ensemble joined in to sing a beautiful version of the "Impossible Dream," taken from the musical "Man of La Mancha" arranged by Mark Hayes.

The finale presented a song taken from the American musical, "The Civil War" arranged by Roger Emerson, bringing a standing applause from the audience.

The remaining ensemble members were Andrea Daniels, Virginia Welker, Jancie Gately, Beth Martin, Cyndi Munden, Cindy Connors, Richard Leitz who sang an introductory solo, Joy Smith-Clark and Clay Panlaqui.

Interested in auditioning or learning more about the Valley Vocal Ensemble? Visit or

Tony Ault can be reached by email at [email protected]


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