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Singers sacrifice schedules for annual Encore audition

Margaret+Uhler+and+Kahler+Wiebe+harmonize.+%22You+have+to+work+on+your+range+and+harmonies%2C%22+Uhler+said.+%22Like+you+have+to+learn+how+to+sing+close+harmonies+around+people+that+you+don%E2%80%99t+normally+sing+with.%22
Margaret Uhler and Kahler Wiebe harmonize.

Margaret Uhler and Kahler Wiebe harmonize. "You have to work on your range and harmonies," Uhler said. "Like you have to learn how to sing close harmonies around people that you don’t normally sing with."

Nicola Santangelo

Nicola Santangelo

Margaret Uhler and Kahler Wiebe harmonize. "You have to work on your range and harmonies," Uhler said. "Like you have to learn how to sing close harmonies around people that you don’t normally sing with."

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160 Juniors and Seniors enrolled in the Free State choral program spent the entire month of January preparing solos and ensembles for an audition on Feb. 5th. They auditioned for the annual choir concert, Encore.

Encore originated as a version of Lawrence High’s annual choral performance, Showtime. Free State’s first choral director, Pam Bushouse, renamed the show while teaching at Lawrence High for one year before transferring to Free State and continuing Encore here. Jeannie Morris is a co-leader of the Encore group “Come On Eileen.” Morris’s group has been rehearsing often to prepare for the audition.

“We spend an hour and a half rehearsing twice a week” Morris said. “A total of three hours a week not including working outside the group.”

Nicola Santangelo
Senior Abby Zenger practices with her group. Student performers auditoned on Super Bowl Sunday.

The students are responsible for choosing the songs to use, arranging them vocally and creating choreography.

“We chose [“Come On Eileen”] because it was in ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower,’” Morris said. “We liked the dance they did so we kind of based the the dance we are doing off of it.”

Free State Choral Director Hilary Morton plays little to no part in the preparation of the 91 pieces that will audition.

I actually quit work this semester for Encore because I was so excited about it”

— Margaret Uhler

 

 

 

 

“It’s all on [the students] right now,” Morton said. “After auditions, I will take over, but right now, they are managing the stress of establishing their groups, [planning] rehearsals, and working around schedules. The biggest thing they learn during this time is how to best manage their time.”

Junior Margaret Uhler maintains that Encore is a time commitment.

“I actually quit work this semester for Encore because I was so excited about it,” Uhler said.

Junior Ryan Wyle said that scheduling and organizing his time has been one of the most challenging things about being in Encore.

Nicola Santangelo
Abby Zenger and Margaret Uhler rehearse their song “Come On Eileen.” Encore has a total of 36 acts in the show.

“It’s helped me a lot with time management,” Wyle said.

However, the pay-off, he insists, makes all of their work worth it.

“Despite the challenges,” Wyle said, “I love singing, performing and being really energetic and happy. I’ve wanted to do Encore since freshmen year.”

Every year, the show concludes with the famed senior song. The emotional high point of the show, the senior song stirs many emotions among friends and family, teachers, and especially the Seniors.

As a senior, Morris imparts that Encore is particularly significant to her.

“[Encore] is especially important to seniors because it’s our last year,” Morris said. “Our last chance to show people what we can do.”

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The School Newspaper of Lawrence Free State High School
Singers sacrifice schedules for annual Encore audition