“When you guys land, land on the balls of your feet, don’t land with your feet flat. Then pivot on right foot, but sing the melody,” Dana Van Slyke said. Herndon High School’s Choral Director Van Slyke was speaking to students in the school auditorium practicing choreography for a song from the musical “South Pacific.” The cast and crew conducted a weekend recital to prepare for the annual cabaret show. “The cabaret show is about an hour and a half production of songs from classical musicals all the way to contemporary shows,” Van Slyke said.
The title for this year’s cabaret production is “Broadway Magic,” and will feature numbers from “A Chorus Line,” “Pippin,” “West Side Story,” and others.
“This is the first show in which all the sound and music mixing will be done upstairs at the Herndon sound and lighting booth,” said Adrian Morgan, who has been volunteering with Herndon High School for about 14 years. Dana Van Slyke’s husband, Jim Van Slyke, played the keyboard as students rehearsed the song “Saturday Night in City.”
Dana Van Slyke reviewed the dance routine. “Lets exaggerate the shoulder rolls, please,” she said.
“The kids are so motivated to get the musical together they put in 150 percent effort,” said Dana Van Slyke. Outside the auditorium, members of the Herndon Choral Boosters group were putting together posters for the show. “It is amazing how Dana and Jim work together to create this music opportunity for the kids,” said Boosters president Julie Frederickson, whose son Michael is a senior at Herndon High and member of the school choir.
“We have a great group of people that we can count on,” said Andie Lytle, vice president with the Choral Boosters group. Jerry Vandenberg, a resident of Herndon, was at the weekend rehearsal. “I bring in some of the technical lighting and I do some of the design ideas,” said Vandenberg. Vandenberg has assisted with the lighting as a volunteer for 15 years, and described this year’s cabaret production lighting design as subtle. “You never want to take the attention away from your performers,” said Vandenberg.
“We enjoy putting this production together because we are able to feature so many different kids … We have been doing this production for about 17 years, and this is my 19th year at Herndon. It is something we look forwards to,” said Dana Van Slyke. “I really enjoy the numbers that employ the entire cast, I enjoy those because everybody is on stage and there is a lot of energy on stage, that is inspiring.”
The cast is made up of Herndon High students from the 9th through 12th grade. “It is a mixture of different Broadway show tunes and some ensemble numbers, it is a high energy show that I think people will really enjoy,” said student Drew Lytle, a junior.
“The show is going to be absolutely amazing, it is going to be crazy colorful, an explosion of fun,” said Robin McGrath, a Herndon High sophomore participating in the production.
The production will be Thursday, Jan. 23 (weather depending) and Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door with $10 all admission, $5 for senior citizens and students. The cabaret show is an opportunity for any school student to audition for without any prerequisites.
To learn more about Herndon High Choir, visit www.herndonchoir.com.