Divas performance has special meaning to one of its singers
Michelle Sennings will never again take for granted the simple act of coming home from work and flipping on the television.
“When all of a sudden your home is gone, you realize that’s one of the things you’ve been taking for granted,” said Sennings, who lost her home in the Angora fire in June. She and her husband Chris had a house on Mule Deer Lane that was completely destroyed in the disaster.
“That’s what you miss the most; that sense of being home. It’s getting colder now, and all of a sudden we’re rushing out to buy jackets. We used to have tons of jackets, and gloves, and boots. But when you’re starting over, you’re starting over.”
Life was already busy for Michelle Sennings before the fire, but now it’s just crazy. In addition to helping her husband with the two businesses they own and overseeing the reconstruction of their house, Sennings has been rehearsing nightly for the Divas & Decadence program at the Boathouse Theatre and Valhalla Grand Hall at the Tallac Historic Site.
The evening of singing and dancing is set for Saturday, Sept., 22, beginning at 6 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Angora fire victims.
“When all of this happened I thought about quitting the show, I really did,” said Sennings, who, as a singer, is one of the three “divas.” “But I decided to push on with it, and I’m glad I did. I make the long commute up from Minden each day to go to rehearsal, and you know it really takes your mind off it.”
This is the third Divas concert to be held at Valhalla. The first two served to open the Valhalla Arts and Music Festival, but this year’s event – scheduled just days after the Angora fire broke out – had to be postponed.
“The first one included a Tahoe Superstars singing competition, which was kind of like a local ‘American Idol,’ ” Sennings said. Then the next year, the person who won and two of the finalists were asked to come back and perform.”
This year, Sennings, Angie Gooch and Sharon Kerrigan will be performing as the divas. The program includes champagne, light hours dourves and a silent auction at the Grand Hall beginning at 6 p.m., followed by the concert and dancers at the Boat House, then dessert afterwards.
Gooch comes from a family of gifted singers, including her Aunt Dolora Zajic, an internationally renowned opera star, and her dad Al, a soloist in choirs throughout Northern Nevada. She has sung in a variety of choirs and appeared in numerous musicals.
Sennings has been performing on stage since she was 5 years old. Classically trained, the Sacramento native began singing with local and school choirs as well as the Sacramento Master Singers. She has been in many productions, including those at Lake Tahoe Community College, and Nevada Civic Light Opera Company.
Kerrigan is performing for the second time for the Divas & Decadence. She has been seen in many productions at Lake Tahoe Community College, including “Working” and the Tahoe favorite “Guilty Pleasures.”
“It should be a really fun night,” said Sennings, who has been a Tahoe resident since 1993. “I’m really glad I decided to do this. When I was wavering, I thought about it and decided I really needed to do it for my neighbors. Plus it’s a lot of fun. It’s an excuse to hang out with Angie and Sharon and just be silly and have a great time.”
April Mai is the production’s technical director.