Destination ChesCo: A Musical Night at the Colonial with Orion Communities

Orion Communities hosted their annual Music for All Event, raising funds for Phoenixville Residents. (Image via Kimberton Waldorf School)

I was fortunate to experience the arts from a very young age. We lived thirty minutes outside of Washington, D.C. with easy access to every major concert venue, theater, and stadium.

I saw Neil Diamond live in concert when I was ten, Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center in my preteen years, and numerous broadway musicals in dinner theaters across the region throughout my childhood. I even remember celebrating my eighth birthday with Singing in the Rain at Toby’s Dinner Theater.

Not everyone is as blessed. National theaters are expensive, concerts aren’t always accessible, and dinner theaters are far from affordable.

The Colonial Theater and Orion Communities team up to support Phoenixville Residents in need. (Image via Rachel Stevenson)
The Colonial Theater and Orion Communities team up to support Phoenixville Residents in need. (Image via Rachel Stevenson)

Last night, I had the pleasure of “Celebrating Community” at the Orion Communities’ Music for Everyone Fundraising event.

Fortunately, venues like Phoenixville’s Colonial Theater make the arts accessible and (with assistance from Orion Communities on evenings like these) affordable to everyone.

According to ORION’s website, “Orion Communities believes that every person deserves shelter, food, clothing, transportation and medical support. We help people experiencing hardship due to limited income, illness or disability in the greater Phoenixville area.”

Their annual concert is designed to make the arts affordable to everyone, so people who wouldn’t normally have the means to attend a broadway show, concert, or opera, have that chance, even if just for one incredible evening.

I attended the show with a friend and mingled with locals in the lobby before taking my seat.

The event began with a brief intro from Kris Keller, ORION’s Executive Director, who thanked everyone in attendance.

Julia Chaflin and Cory O’Niell Walker entertained audience members with a mix of modern and classical opera. Image via Orion Communities

When the lights dimmed, blonde soprano opera singer Julia Chalfin greeted audience members in song. As her voice danced around the theater and her midnight blue dress sparkled in the theater’s lights, she made her way to the stage and then introduced her counterpart, tenor Cory O’Niell Walker.

Cory – tall, dark, handsome, and dressed a vintage-stlye orange vest over a brown suit – greeted guests with an airy, yet smooth opera welcome.

Together, alongside pianist Dr. Matthew Brower, Chalfin and Walker sang solos and duets throughout the evening, mixing opera, broadway, and pop tunes. On numerous occasions, they entertained audience members with mashups of incongruent, yet surprisingly cohesive songs.

Between sets, the singers amused us with trivia and prizes. In fact, I won a box of Toblerones for blurting out the answer “Nutcracker!”

At the end of the evening, we tossed our non-winning raffle tickets in the trash and made our to the exit.

I already look forward to attending next year’s concert with friends. At only $20 per ticket for a night of culture, it’s a steal!

To learn more about the Colonial Theater and upcoming events, click here.

To learn how you can help Orion Communities, click here.

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