Both show choirs to debut their new shows at Premier Concert

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Abby Kempf

RBHS show choir is ready again for the spotlight. This Thursday, Jan. 14 in the Performing Arts Center, both RBHS show choirs will debut their 2016 shows at the Show Choir Premier Concert. Participants are verging on euphoria at the thought of their hard work finally being public.
“I’m really looking forward to see how the audience reacts to our show,” senior City Lights member Kelsey Lyman said. “Since no one other than our parents have seen it before, it’ll be fun to see what all of our friends think.”

Senior City Lights member Kelsey Lyman
Senior City Lights member Kelsey Lyman. feature photo by Sury Rawat
Mike Pierson, the director of both show choirs, shares Lyman’s sentiments. He knows how much his students value performance and responses to their work.
“We’ve been spending the last four months learning and developing the shows and our performance level,” Pierson said. “The Premier helps the students get some real dynamic feedback from an audience. It raises their adrenaline and hopefully their level of performance.”
The all girl show choir Satin n’ Lace’s theme this year is Up a Lazy River: Show Boat on the Mississippi. City Lights, the coed show choir, is taking on a theme of Gershwin’s famous musical, An American in Paris.
“Our theme retells the musical An American in Paris in which a woman, Lise, whom is in love with Henri, a Frenchman, meets an American named Jerry,” freshman City Lights member Alex Schust said. “The rest of the show consists of the men trying to woo Lise and Lise trying to decide between them.”
Lyman said that the costumes for the 50s inspired musical are the true centerpieces of the show.
“The [costumes] are absolutely incredible,” Lyman said. “Victoria [Mangello] has put together this sort of 50s aesthetic with our costumes that works well with the Paris theme and what I’ve seen of the set so far looks really excellent.”
The theme of the shows were painstakingly chosen by Pierson and his creative team. The process was long and hard, Pierson said, and involved bouncing around hundreds of ideas before the carefully chose the final theme.
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Senior Gabbi Schust, freshman Alex Schust’s older sister, sings a solo in last year’s Satin n’ Lace show. This year both Schusts are members of City Lights, the coed show choir. photo by Abby Kempf
“Sometimes it starts with one song and then building a ‘theme’ around that song.  Sometimes it starts with a spark of inspiration such as seeing a poster or ad on TV,” Pierson said. “Once we form the broad idea then comes the process of sorting through music arranger catalogues to see what’s already been arranged that we can use within the theme and/or finding new songs to arrange that are specific to parts of the theme.”
Overall, Pierson is extremely satisfied with the themes that they picked. He thinks the shows exemplify all the necessary pieces of a show, including dancing, singing and aesthetics.
“There are many moments that reveal great singing and there are many real exciting moments of movement and character and energy. The costuming is masterfully designed to fit the themes and the sets should be eye-catching and memorable for the judges,” Pierson said. “Both shows are very classy yet invigorating for the singers and hopefully the audience.  I really like the way the students are singing the ballads especially.  I also think both shows have very good variety and flow to them.
Lyman also loves the show. She believes that there are many “magicial” moments that will hold an attendant’s attention, even pushing them to chills.
“New Year’s Day is definitely my favorite [song,]” Lyman said. “All of our costumes are black and white except for our soloists’ and there’s this incredible moment in the song where we have this really big key change and it just gives me chills every time.”
Grueling hours of practice and determination went into building the “real exciting moments” that Pierson mentions, Schust said.
[quote cite=”Alex Schust”]The hardest part of the process I would say are the weekends where we learn the choreography. It’s very strenuous dancing for on average 7 hours a day[/quote]
“The hardest part of the process I would say are the weekends where we learn the choreography. It’s very strenuous dancing for on average 7 hours a day,” Schust said. “The easiest part of the process is keeping things memorized. After a while, the dances and singing become second nature.”
Show choir teaches its participants a plethora of practical skills, Schust said. He has learned how to be a part of a group and have school pride.
“I’ve learned how to dance, along with breath control for singing while dancing,” Schust said. “I feel I’ve also learned how to really work as part of a cohesive unit and that I feel proud to be a part of RBHS.”
Besides learning skills and developing work ethic, Lyman said that she has gained lifelong friends and enjoys having a family inside of school.

“While I definitely love competitions, I think that my favorite part of it is all the time that I get to spend with my friends,” Lyman said. “We’re all really close and that’s what makes the whole experience so special.”
Are you planning on seeing the Show Choir Premiere Concert on Thursday? Have you been a fan of RBHS’s show choirs for a while? Tell us about your favorite performance in the comments.