LHHS Espree Show – The House is Rockin’

“The House is Rockin” is the theme for this weekend’s Espree show, and I snuck into the LHHS auditorium this week for a sneak peek at rehearsals. High school show choirs are hot on the national radar screen lately after the breakout success of the Fox television show Glee, which highlights the antics of a geeky but talented group of teen performers. Geeky our kids are not, but they are talented and they’re enjoying the added attention that the TV show brings. We have photos.

My favorite was the girls’ rendition of “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You,” made famous by James Taylor. The girls really seemed to enjoy singing together and their combined sound is right on target. I also loved the boys and girls’ take on “Shake Your Grove Thing” from the disco era. You can see by their faces they’re digging the song, though it’s clearly before their time. Expect a flashback to Saturday Night Fever with their Travolta-esque dance moves.

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All the kids have solos and I enjoyed each of them, but I especially loved Max Hearst’s “Don’t You Forget About Me,” the theme from the movie Breakfast Club. Max exudes all the teen angst and youthful rebellion of the movie, and the band is particularly strong on this one.

The boys are delightful in “Footloose,” led by senior Martin White who is clearly having fun. With his channeling of Kevin Bacon, he’s likely to have all the girls hoping he’ll ask them to dance at prom. Just before the intermission, you’ll enjoy the entire group singing “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Keep your eyes on Ryan Berg and Catherine French – they’ll have you convinced this oldie is the first song on their ipod playlist.

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I’m a big Billy Joel fan, and Espree’s rendition of “River of Dreams” doesn’t disappoint. Seniors Carly Anthony and Martin White are great in mini-solos, and that’s Luke Moser on bongos and Havilland Voss on tambourine to complete the ethereal sound.

Show choirs are famous for revamping popular favorites, but I fell in love with one song I hadn’t heard before called “Always on Your Side.” All-State Choir members Tim Davis and Whitney Sides sing the tune recorded by Sheryl Crow and Sting and they make it their own.

This year’s talented crop of Espree vocalists are Colton Williams, Tim Davis, Katie North, Carly Anthony, Whitney Sides, Max Hearst, Kristen Gavigan, Megan Williams, Thomas Mullins, Ryan Berg, Catherine French and Martin White. Band members are Patrick Thornton, Luke Moser, Steven Heger, Rachel Jones, Havilland Voss and Jordan Chumbley. Lee Terry, former Espree member and 2004 LHHS grad, is back from New York to lend his professional lighting skills to the show, and current senior Luke Trowbridge handles sound.

The best part of watching rehearsals was that I got to see the kids make adjustments as they put the finishing touches on vocals, staging, choreography and other details. Without their stage makeup and costumes, they were just a cute group of teenagers in sweats and ponytails, puttin’ on a show.

General admission tickets are $9 and available at the door, or you can purchase reserved tickets by calling Diana French at 214-349-3192. The show starts at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday nights.

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