The sixth season of Waxahachie’s Old Fashioned Singing Project continues with performances of “Heaven’s Front Porch” at the historic Chautauqua Auditorium in Getzendaner Park at 7 p.m. on March 23 and at 3 p.m. on March 24
As always, “Heaven’s Front Porch” is based around hymns and gospel songs commonly sung in white-framed churches, tent revivals and brush-arbor meetings in the first half of the 20th century. In keeping with the project’s mission statement, all songs included in the show were written prior to 1950.
“We started the “Heaven’s Front Porch” theme in our fourth season, and it caught on so well, we had to stayed with it,” R. G. Huff director of the Old Fashion Singing enterprise said. “The first three years we sort of tried to recreate a country church atmosphere. That worked very well for us, but when we moved onto the porch, people responded so positively we couldn’t let it go.”
“When people call for tickets and we answer the phone ‘Waxahachie’s Old Fashioned Singing Project,’ they typically reply, ‘Is this ‘Heaven’s Front Porch’?’ I want to say, ‘No, this is my guest bedroom which doubles as the project’s office.’ So far, I’ve restrained myself.”
The stage set for this production includes three full-size sections implying the front of a bucolic home complete with windows and of course, a screen door. The porch bannisters, a picket fence and a suspended porch swing complete the basic illusion that the audience is looking in on a front porch filled with rocking chairs and a table set with an iced tea pitcher and glasses.
“Growing up in the small town (at the time) of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I have a definite set of memories of what it was like to gather with my extended family on my grandparent’s front porch after Sunday lunch,” Huff continued. “So much of the set design and the atmosphere for the show is based on that memory. Part of what we’re creating is the family gathering – almost a reunion idea.”
This section of script from the opening of the show sums up the concept:
“If, in that place God has prepared for His followers to spend eternity with Him, there were a place where rural southerners could congregate to share their stories and songs, it might look and sound something like this production. Suppose just for a little while that there – on the south side of Glory – the rich heritage of gospel music can be heard just beyond a screen door that leads outside the jasper walls onto Heaven’s Front Porch."
"This is the kind of music that played such an important role in the lives of God’s people who came together during the first half of the 20th century in white-frame church buildings, at tent-meetings, under brush-arbors. Welcome, y’all, to Heaven’s Front Porch.”
“Gratefully, we usually have a good number of local folks at our shows, helping us make all the out-of-town people feel welcome. While well over half our audience is made up of out-of-towners, we count on the locals to continue their support.”
Two-for-one ticket vouchers for locals are available by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the project and the shows can be found at www.WaxaOFS.com. Tickets for the March shows can be ordered there as well.
Waxahachie’s Old Fashioned Singing Project presents three weekend events each year. The remaining shows for the eighth season are May 18-19, 2018, with performances on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons; the shows are identical throughout each season.
Waxahachie’s Old Fashioned Singing Project is a non-profit 501c3 supported by contributions from individuals and organizations which share their passion for continuing this art form, and supported in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts.