It’s simply breathtaking to see the Sequoia campus turn back into just an ordinary middle school and the Civic transformed into our home for the next week. As we set up our lights, risers, and dressing rooms, we stand where music and dance legends have once performed and where graduations, events, and ceremonies have been held. Very few people have the opportunity to see the venue before a show is loaded in, but it takes seeing a bare stage made into a full working “city” in order to realize just how much goes into making our set so functional and unique. The transformation of the cast is incredible as well. Add Stageteam vests, costumes, hair and makeup, and even the shyest of our kids light up and feel at home while performing! We love to see the evolution of the dances and choreography as they grow even closer to perfection, as well. One of the best parts, however, is seeing the soloists really come into their roles and owning the stage while performing.
This week is all about transformations: Put simply, we’ve managed to transform weeks of hard work into a beautiful, fun show! Finally, tons of preparation singing made for dynamic vocal recordings, hours of memorization and practicing of drama skits have evolved into interesting performances, and yards upon yards of fabric and sequins have been converted into gorgeous costumes. Add some stunning lights and crisp sound and you’ve got an awe-inspiring combination.
Next step: Add an audience!
Much appreciation to the staff and administration of Sequoia Middle School for hosting our camp this year! A HUGE thank you goes out to all of our parent volunteers who helped throughout camp, during clean up, and load in. As always a big thanks to the welcoming staff of the Civic for all of their help. Last but not least we thank our great staff, board members, seamstresses, show volunteers, lighting designer, and our fantastic crew.
It’s that time of year again! We are all so excited for this weekend’s solo auditions, as we are every year. People who have never experienced a KU solo audition weekend would probably shudder at the thought of listening to a big group of kids sing the same solos over and over all weekend. That is simply not the case for us. There’s just something about our solo auditions and our performers that make it a fun and inspiring event that people look forward to from day one.
On Friday evening you can feel the excitement in the air as he kids show up looking their best, ready to try out for songs they’ve been practicing for the past four weeks. New participants and their parents never know what to expect, but are pleasantly surprised when they show up and can feel just how supportive all of the kids, judges, and other parents are through the entire weekend.
Why is the task of merely choosing performers to sing solos in our show so awe-inspiring? In line with our mission of developing dignity, character, and a sense of belonging, our auditions event provides a safe and supportive environment that gives kids the opportunity that they may never encounter again in their lifetime –– to perform by themselves without the fear of being mocked or made fun of even if they mess up or don’t do as well as they’d liked. All of the returning performers and judges know exactly how it feels to be so vulnerable in front a large group of their peers and are genuinely supportive and thankful for each student that auditions.
On top of that, there is something to be said about the passion and drive that KU kids have when auditioning that makes the audition fun, and even heart warming. In past years, there have been students as young as 9 or 10 years old who have literally brought the house to tears with their passionate performances. Even if they don’t get the solo, each and every participant should feel a sense of accomplishment an have an experience that they can apply to their life in the future.
All in all, there’s just something about solo auditions: It’s a weekend full of surprises and growth. It’s a weekend full of encouragement and support. It’s a weekend full of fun and entertainment; choosing the soloists who will later perform for hundreds and hundreds of people during our showcases is simply the cherry on top.
Here are a few photos from the past 3 weeks of camp!
Featuring snippets from: Stageteam dance numbers, Crazy Hat Day, Show Your Colors Day, Tap class, Jazz class, Emerald dance team rehearsal, Dance Explorers Classes, Hip Hop, Amethyst dance team rehearsal, Stageteam Friday winning sections.
Two weeks of camp feels like both a second and an eternity. When you think of all that these kids have accomplished for the show already, it’s unreal to imagine that they have been together for only 10 total days. The students have been great about falling into routine and meshing well with other kids in their classes, as well as learning all they need to know in order to put on our show in such a short time. In Stageteam alone, the students have learned most of their dance routines in the show. On dance teams, most have learned 2 or more complete dance numbers in the short time that they’ve been attending camp. Gold and Platinum are kept busy preparing for recording week by learning every single part to each song in our show. Select students are busy perfecting their acting skills as they prepare to perform in the drama skit segues that are featured in the show.
In fact, when looked at as a whole, it’s not only is it impressive that these awesome kids can learn 25–28 vocal numbers as an entire ensemble, learn their own dance team numbers and stageteam routines to nearly every single song, they do it in less than a few total hours a week.
Still not convinced? Here’s a crazy breakdown to consider:
Our show camp meets 5 days a week for 6 total weeks
Week 6 is tech week at the Civic and includes the show –– all material is perfected
Week 5 is recording week when the true performance for the Gold and Platinum singing teams really occurs –– the previous 4 weeks’ work memorizing every part and note is put to the test. This is the week we also begin to put the skeleton of the show together, combining stageteam routines with dance team numbers and drama segues. Almost every routine is learned by this time.
Week 4 consists of polishing stageteam, finalizing dance team numbers, and selecting soloists via auditions during the weekend.
Week 3, 2, and 1 are all about following for our mission of developing dignity, character, and a sense of belonging by way of our enrichment classes and dance team rehearsals. These 3 weeks are when the performers learn the most!
Bring on week 3!