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Company takes Manhattan

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Lakeridge Company performs “On Broadway” at its spring Variety Show as one of the eight show choir pieces.

When the curtain opens for the Lakeridge Company Variety Show, it may look more like a peek backstage than the opening number of a performance. All 32 singers and dancers are stretching and limbering up in their leotards and sweats as if they are preparing for an audition.

'The show is about us trying to make it in the big city,' said Bill Campbell, choir director.

Campbell is in his second year as choir director and is continuing the show choir tradition.

'I wanted to continue the tradition because it's such a vibrant part of school culture,' said Campbell.

Lakeridge's Company has been doing a variety show since the mid-70s. The previous teacher, Steve Tyson, directed it for 31 years.

This is Company's time to shine. 'It's all about us and showing off our talent,' said senior Matt Brooks.

The students have been practicing on their own and in class preparing song - both vocal and instrumental - and dance.

It's something that everyone sees from kindergarten on, so it's exciting to be a part of it, senior Lily Schauffler added.

'You can do Broadway from the 70s and mix it with a hit single from 1999,' she said.

The audience will enjoy both the opening and closing numbers because they are high energy, Schauffler added.

Company begins performing 'Fame' in their warm-up clothes and ends with 'You Can't Stop the Beat,' which Schauffler choreographed.

Brooks enjoys 'Milkshake (remix)' and 'Don't Fear the Reaper.'

'I just like performing and getting into the character of each piece,' he said.

'Milkshake' is a remix of the hit R and B single by the female artist Kelis. It is sung in four-part harmony by four boys.

'It's really funny,' said Brooks. 'It's good for kids and adults.'

The students turn again to comic relief in 'Don't Fear the Reaper,' a song by Blue Oyster Cult that was covered by Saturday Night Live in 2000. And, yes, there will be a cowbell.

Senior Tyler Elliot also plays drums on that song, a chance he doesn't often get.

Brooks anticipates that another audience favorite will be 'Falling Slowly,' this year's Oscar-winning Best Song from the movie 'Once.'

Natasche Legg and Conor Liguore will croon together on the romantic piece.

In Brooks' opinion, Legg and Liguore sing it better than Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who perform the song in the movie.

Legg also sings the solo 'Angel,' by Sarah McLachlan.

'I didn't select it because it's anything particular to my life. It's just emotionally powerful,' said Legg. 'Every time I see Sarah perform I see how intense she gets and it makes me want to bring the same intensity to it.'

Overall, the experience of putting on the variety show has been rewarding not only because of the students' improvements as musicians and dancers, but it's also been relationally rewarding.

'Spending the time with these people is so worth it,' said Legg. 'We're learning to compromise and work together. This is my senior year, I need to make it a good one.'