Platinum equals solid gold
First variety show brings out hit songs
Eudora middle and high school choir students get to shed their tan pants and robes and and kick off their Sunday shoes in favor of popular, contemporary tunes with the first variety show in the schools' recent histories. "Platinum," to be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Eudora High School, 2635 Church St., features recognizable radio tunes from "Footloose" to "What a Feeling," and choir director Angela Yarnell said the students couldn't be more excited.
"The kids are super excited -- they can hardly stand it," she said. "We wanted them to get on stage to do something besides classic (musical) literature."
Middle school choir members Whitney Sutton and Brin McLees shared the enthusiasm.
"It's just totally different," Sutton said.
McLees said she understood why Yarnell was allowing her students to break out of the mold.
"She is exposing us to different types of music to give us a different taste," McLees said.
The first year choir teacher hopes the show, which will feature popular music from the 1950s to contemporary pieces, will become a staple like the perennial events at Lawrence high schools.
"I wanted to start a new tradition for us here at Eudora," Yarnell said. "A lot of other schools do this, and it's popular."
Next year Yarnell hopes to add a second show. In the variety show's inaugural year Yarnell said she chose much of the music, with the exception of the solo pieces, which the students chose.
And in exchange for the tan pants or choir robes the singers traditionally wear during concerts, "Platinum" will feature a few costumes and props, too. The choirs will also be accompanied by a professional combo band.
Another new feature for the singers is choreography, but McLees said Yarnell purposefully made the moves easy to remember while singing.
"She practiced with us, so it made it a lot easier," Sutton said.
Because many of the songs combine middle and high school choirs, students had to cope with singers with whom they didn't ordinarily practice or perform.
Sutton said she was nervous, but McLees said she wasn't intimidated by singing with high school students.
"It feels pretty much the same, except there are different people," she said.