Falling into the rhythm

VMD competes in first performance at Fall Showcase

Vocal+Music+Department+Director+Michael+Klein+is+keeping+time+as+Music+Machine+Performs+a+choral+number.+They+sang+two+slow+ballads%2C+including+one+in+the+Russian+language.

Eiffel Sunga

Vocal Music Department Director Michael Klein is keeping time as Music Machine Performs a choral number. They sang two slow ballads, including one in the Russian language.

Eiffel Sunga, Opinion Editor

“The moment he announced Music Machine and the curtain opened, I got really excited. I got that adrenaline that I got my freshman year,” Music Machine Assistant Director and senior Alyssa Volk said.

Hundreds of people squeezed through the doors of Bonita Vista High’s Bolles Theater during lunch on Nov. 15. Parents, siblings and friends rushed to find an open seat while others crowded in the edges of the small theater. Similar to Volk, the audience was eager to see curtains roll back for the Vocal Music Department’s (VMD) annual Fall Showcase. 

The showcase was initially scheduled to take place on Friday evening, but instead was moved to Friday at lunch. The VMD was the epitome of ‘the show must go on!’ The Fall Showcase is an annual event hosted by the VMD before beginning their competition season to display their work. 

“We were able to showcase what we do during competition season which is our dance and [song] numbers, as well as a choral piece and [a song] in Russian which was new,” Volk said. 

A lunchtime performance required major changes to be made in the set. The VMD had to shorten a theatrical hour and a half show to a 30 minute performance. 

“The [performance] for after school was supposed to be longer. [We’d have] more songs, more costumes, [and] hopefully more people would’ve shown up,” President of Sound Unlimited and junior Idalis Cecena said. “We had less time to get in and out of costumes so it was pretty hectic.” 

Being back on stage is so refreshing… I get this rush of adrenaline, that’s almost permanent”

— Concert Choir Leader and senior Leilani Sangha

This performance was not only an opportunity to exhibit the skills of the VMD, but it was their first performance since the beginning of the pandemic. After a whole year, the excitement that had built up was setback as the showcase was rescheduled. 

“I was really looking forward to being on stage with a large crowd… I was upset that [the show] was canceled, but glad in the end that I could at least perform something,” Baron Concert Choir Leader and senior Leilani Sangha said. 

However, the VMD learned to adapt. Just two days before the performance, there were rumors heard of it being rescheduled. Only until Friday was it confirmed that they were performing during lunch. 

“I haven’t really seen [a set] change so last minute. This is my first go around of seeing a drastic change,” Volk said. “We all surprisingly went very with the flow.”

Yet again, the COVID-19 pandemic was a barrier between the VMD and the stage. Before their performances, the choir were required to get tested for COVID-19 as per normal protocol. For the VMD, it did not turn out as expected. 

“There were four COVID-19 tests that came out false positives. They were all false so everybody was negative but that really threw us for a loop,” Cecena said. 

Initially, the Fall Showcase was supposed to be a large event. The VMD had planned to create an interactive environment so the audience could be immersed in the performance. Unfortunately, with the allotted time they had, they were unable to do that. 

“It was supposed to be originally outside in the quad [lunch area],” Volk said. “We were going to have concession selling and we were going to have performers meet the audience. So we weren’t able to do that aspect of it as well.” 

The audience demographic changed as well. Parents were invited and were first in line, but the invitation was open to the whole school. Just before lunch, it was announced over the intercoms that all were welcome to watch the showcase. 

“When it comes to family and relatives, people who are close to me… they’re a lot more positive,” Sangha said. “Performing in front of high schoolers is definitely nerve wracking.”

Nevertheless, the VMD pushed through the difficulties they had with sound and audio as well as the challenges of scaling down a large performance. The audience’s cheers and smiling faces encouraged them on. 

“Being back on stage is so refreshing… I get this rush of adrenaline, that’s almost permanent,” Sangha said. “I keep that with me for a while and it keeps me very positive. I always feel good after every single time I perform.”

Nothing, from the setlist, the venue, or the audience, deterred the VMD from enjoying themselves and creating an enjoyable experience for the crowd. The hectic schedule change was not enough to take away from the satisfying experience of performing. 

“It sounds weird, but I love it when people love us,” Cecena said. “They go [to performances], they support us, [and] the cheering; it just feels amazing to be back on stage displaying what [the VMD] worked so hard on.”