Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Variety show to highlight talent

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/28/2014

Ottawa High School’s vocal music department is set to make a joyful noise when it takes center stage Friday and Saturday to present the 2014 Variety Show.

The show — featuring a number of musical numbers, dancing, comedy sketches, and instrumental features — is set to begin 7 p.m. both nights at Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, 302 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. Tickets are $5. The OHS Jazz Band will provide the preshow entertainment 6:30 p.m. both evenings.

Ottawa High School’s vocal music department is set to make a joyful noise when it takes center stage Friday and Saturday to present the 2014 Variety Show.

The show — featuring a number of musical numbers, dancing, comedy sketches, and instrumental features — is set to begin 7 p.m. both nights at Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, 302 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. Tickets are $5. The OHS Jazz Band will provide the preshow entertainment 6:30 p.m. both evenings.

“I have always loved themed concerts and shows,” Lori Underwood, OHS vocal music teacher and the show’s director, said. “I feel you’re given a sense of direction in planning when you have a central theme, and using the ‘Music in the Movies’ theme seemed to open up the possibilities for a wide variety of music, spanning decades.”

Music from such movies as “Ice Castles,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Hunger Games,” “Joyful Noise,” “The Incredibles,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Frozen,” “That Thing You Do,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Lean On Me” and others will be highlighted.

Underwood, in her third year at OHS, said her personal favorite is a combined choir number called “Happy,” the finale to Act I.

“I know people are probably getting tired of hearing it, but it just never gets old for me, even when we sing it all day long in four choirs,” Underwood said. “There’s just something infectious about the song.

“If I were to choose a favorite individual act, however, I would have to choose the song ‘I See Fire’ from ‘The Hobbit: Desolation of the Smaug,’ sung by senior, Tony Martin,” Underwood said. “It’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

Each of Underwood’s four choirs will present three numbers, which constitutes the core of the variety show, she said.

“They began working on their songs in January,” Underwood, who is producing the variety show for the second time, said. “Additionally, there are two combined choir numbers which occur at the end of each act. Students singing in ensembles, and preparing duets and solos have been working all semester-long as well. They’ve done a terrific job of preparing on their own. Here in these final few weeks, they’ve worked with me or my accompanist to fine-tune their presentations.”

Underwood predicted an audience favorite would be numbers presented by the Cytones, OHS’ select choir which is expected to perform its competition show, “Rocker Chicks of the ’80s.”

“They will also sing Dionne Warwick’s ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ and the hit song from ‘Frozen,’ [titled] ‘Let It Go,’” Underwood said. “Senior Allie Schmoe will sing a beautiful rendition of ‘I Hope You Dance,’ and Nancy Kuczmarski and Riley Yount will offer a haunting recreation of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’”

The show is bringing back some favorite acts from last year with “Synchronized Air Swimming” and “The Glowstick Dance,” and a small ensemble will present “John Williams is the Man,” a humorous compilation of music from seven movies that feature works by John Williams, Underwood said.

“The audience will also be treated to a special number by the OHS Jazz Band that features Ottawa Middle School choir teacher Colin Sandall on vocals,” Underwood said. “Dance numbers, comedy sketches and instrumental features will round out the program.”

The program will showcase a wealth of OHS talent, Underwood said.

“The variety show will highlight some of the best and brightest musical talents at OHS, as we offer a bit of everything to the Ottawa community,” she said. “We believe it will be a very enjoyable show.”

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