Practice makes the performance
The chorus of high school singers belts out a familiar tune on the stage of Rosemount High School's performing arts center.
"We are family! I got all my sisters with me! We are family! Get up ev'rybody and sing!"
"And again!" Director Steve Albaugh encourages the chorus to try again, "Come on guys, practice makes permanent."
Musical theater, unlike cinema can't be redone for a second take. While on stage, performers must carry out their full talents at all times. "OnStage is basically a glorified talent show," Albaugh said.
The public pays for a good show and expects nothing less when attending a live musical performance. Singers and dancers of Rosemount High School understand the public's high demanded expectations for this year's OnStage show.
"Onstage '09: Delivering a Decade" is a compilation of the past 10 years of OnStage performances done at RHS. It will show in the first two weekends of December. Past years have featured classic songs as well as popular tunes of today, catering to both young and old. OnStage consists of dancing, group choral pieces, solos and small group performances all tied to themes.
Albaugh has been directing OnStage since its first show.
"This year marks the tenth Onstage show that I have directed since coming to RHS in 2000," said Albaugh, who also directs the school's concert choir and extra-curricular men's ensemble. But this is in no way a one-man production. Albaugh needs help to successfully put on this huge RHS production.
Christina Morris, RHS's dance instructor, is the choreographer for all of the songs in the show. Morris and Albaugh must work closely together for both the music and choreography to be in sync. Thom Hoffman is the manager of RHS Performing Arts Center, Chuck Brooks is the scriptwriter, Betty Deming runs the ticket office, Mark Hubbard is the scenic designer/technical director, Steve Olsen conducts the jazz band, and Sandra Sandberg takes care of the costuming.
The performers and backstage students contribute even more talents and hard work along with the directional staff. This year's OnStage production consists of 95 students in the chorus, 47 in a children's chorus, 23 dancers and 27 members in the jazz band. Along with the performers there is another large number of students apart of the tech crew where they help with lighting, sound and stage construction.
Albaugh took in careful consideration of song choices when putting together this year's Onstage '09. The first list of possible songs was five or six pages long.
"There have been so many great things from the past OnStage performances," Albaugh said. "But I had to start seeing how the songs would go together in a show theme. Albaugh said selecting the songs for each theme became easier after the audition process, because he was aware of how the music would sound within the chorus. Rosemount High School's theater program pays music publishing companies the rights to perform the chosen musical pieces.
The public only sees the final result with a show like OnStage, but much goes on behind the scenes to get ready for opening day. Students practice for about three hours a day after school and four hours on Saturdays and Sundays. As the show gets closer, the rehearsals get longer. By the end, the chorus will have rehearsals all day Saturday and Sunday.
The cast and crew are eager for the curtains to open on the first night of OnStage '09.
"I am excited for the show, as it is the tenth one," Albaugh said. "I love all the music in the show. OnStage gives so many RHS students a chance to perform in such a high energized show."
OnStage: Delivering a Decade will be on stage at the RHS Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 6. For more information or for tickets for OnStage '09: Delivering a Decade call RHS Performing Arts Center 651-423-7540 or 651-683-6969 ext. 37540.
Kelsey Penrod is a Rosemount High School graduate and a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She wrote this story about OnStage for a journalism class.