Singing Their Way to Seattle

The Seattle-bound choir singers, side-by-side with a magician and a hypnotist, performed in the Variety Show on Feb. 21 to raise money for the choir’s trip to Washington to compete in the Heritage Festival.

The Heritage Festival is a competition that showcases the talents of choirs from across the country. “This is going to be the third time we’ve done Seattle. We usually do Seattle every 3 to 4 years,” John Sargent, choir director, said. On April 8, the choir students will fly to Seattle to sing the various numbers they have been preparing for months. The festival focuses on non-contemporary music, requiring singers to try something new.

“After winter break is really when we started working on stuff for Seattle,” said Alisha Patel, freshman and member of Women’s Ensemble. “It’s not really definite yet, but I know we have a Japanese song and an African song.”

When they’re not performing in front of judges, the choir students will be singing at the Seattle Center, enjoying the Jimi Hendrix museum, and learning from a music professor from the University of Washington. “Every day will be some sort of singing activity, but the actual competition is only one day,” Sargent said.

While the music was prepared for the festival, the choir still faced the challenge of taking a group of 110 students on a four day trip to another state. Sargent has been planning and organizing fundraisers since before the school year began.

“At the beginning of the year we had our annual spaghetti dinner, and then we were selling See’s candy … and we also had our Variety Show,” Patel said. Choir students sold Variety show tickets to their friends and family, while parents volunteered to sell concessions during intermission. The money raised will help fund their upcoming trip.

Students who were interested in performing at the Variety Show auditioned a few weeks before the event and five were chosen.

The show began with magician Shawn McMaster calling up audience members to help him perform card tricks and amaze the crowd. Throughout the magic act, the singers took the stage to show off the hard work and talent that the choir program will be bringing to the Heritage Festival. Juniors Megan Masson, Kennedy Moore, and Brett Coker sang, as well as Missy Cortez, senior, and Alisha Patel, freshman.

McMaster closed out the first half of the show and after intermission the hypnotist, Marc Bachrach, captivated the crowd. He instructed the audience to imagine they were holding a balloon, or that their shoe was a phone. Groups of people were called onstage as they fell into sleep and imagined themselves in different places and situations.

However, while some people were up onstage, a large portion of the audience was just watching these people ‘sleep’. “I get the feeling that it wasn’t as entertaining as we really expected it to be,” Patel said.

Despite the negative response to hypnotism, Rista believes the fundraiser “was pretty successful”. Now the students are ready to hop on a plane and soar to Seattle.

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