The Fun City Chorus of Hot Springs resides in a town that is full of fabulous history. From the founding of the area by Hernando DeSoto, to the colorful history of gambling, mob bosses & such, to the fabulous history of spring training baseball of early Major League days, Hot Springs has a full and rich historical heritage. Four years ago, the Fun City Chorus had its’ first major show in several years entitled- ‘Gangsters, Gospel and Bluegrass’. That show featured many colorful stories about various mob bosses that frequented the Hot Springs area. Also, many people don’t know that the Assemblies of God denomination was born in Hot Springs, that famous evangelist Rex Humbard was born and raised here, and that Billy Sunday, another famous evangelist, played major league baseball here with the Chicago White Stockings.
The Fun City Chorus just completed another highly successful show entitled ‘The Boys of Baseball’, built around the rich baseball history of the area. The show featured Ruth Manning (wife of H. Grady Manning, Hot Springs Hotel Tycoon), Babe Ruth (perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time-who trained in Hot Springs a number of years), Pierce ‘Mac’ McKennon (Arkansas musician and WWII Ace Pilot), Teddy Riedel (piano player from Arkansas who wrote many successful songs and toured all over Europe and the United States), as well members of the Fun City Chorus, who played the part of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. In addition, chorus members played several other parts, Tris Speaker (outfielder and manager of the Cleveland Indians), Jim Dunn (owner of the Cleveland Indians) and Jim Bagby (Ace pitcher for the Indians).
Each year the Fun City Chorus involves public school talent on its’ annual shows. In 2014 over 70 middle school choir students appeared and sang on the ‘Give My Regards to Broadway’ show produced by the chorus. In 2015 the chorus’ ‘Road to Nashville’ show featured 9 very talented high school musicians from area schools. On ‘The Boys of Baseball’ show, a high school girls singing group entitled ‘The Treble Makers’ from Jessieville High School sang on the show.
In addition to involving local public school choral students and groups on their shows, The Fun City Chorus began a scholarship program five years ago with $10,000 in scholarships awarded to date! High school seniors entering a two or four year college to further their musical studies are invited to apply for the scholarships. Each year scholarship applications and instructions are sent to eight different high school choral directors, band directors and school counselors. Information about the scholarships, as well as bios of each years’ recipients are posted to the Fun City Chorus’ website.
The Fun City Chorus is now in the planning stages for its new show in 2017 entitled, ‘The Cigar Box Men’. And you guessed it, the show centers around the somewhat dark history of 1920’s moonshining that the area is known for! In fact, the first United States Park Ranger killed in the line of duty happened on West Mountain in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1927!
The Fun City Chorus is a Barbershop Harmony Society chorus of about 35 men and was founded in 1978. Through the years they have had over 35 Society quartets and a dozen gold medal quartet winners appear on their shows. They are directed by Steve Spakes, and he can be reached at 501-282-6081, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.