Must See: Burroughs High’s “Once Upon A Holiday Spectacular”

JBHS Sound Sensations bring all the glitz and glamour of a "Winter Wonderland." (Photo By Ross Benson)

The dance, instrumental and vocal music students, teachers and choreographers at John Burroughs High School have done it again – put on another incredible show for the people of Burbank – with “Once Upon A Holiday Spectacular.”

Following a storytelling theme, the show opens with the combined bands of Burroughs High performing “Leroy Aderson’s Christmas Festival.” Powerhouse President Eli Staub then reads “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” accompanied by the combined band.

Band Director Taylor Arakelian leads the combined John Burroughs High School Band to open “Once Upon A Holiday Spectacular.” (Photo By Ross Benson,)

The first half of the show features a variety of collaborative performances including violin, tap, hip hop dance and band for “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In,” a Hebrew rap featuring six vocalists, classical religious and traditional pieces featuring dancers, small ensembles and combined choirs, the narrated story of the Candy Bomber and a rock and roll version of the “Nutcracker” performed by the combined band.

During intermission, a cappella groups Muses and Vocal Ensemble provide entertainment inside and outside the school.

Violinist Eyén Paredes performs “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In” for a rousing performance with tap and hip hop dancers and the combined Burroughs High band. (Photo By Ross Benson)

The second act kicks off with an energetic version of “Christmas Eve,”  featuring vocalist Erin Collins. The jazz bands provide the instrumental music for the second half of the concert.

Muses are joined by hip hop dancers for a spunky version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Vocalist Shaylin Becton shines on a jazzy “Frosty The Snowman.”

Trombonist Noah Semsen funks up “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,” surrounded by Burroughs High dancers. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Performances by the Decibelles, Sound Waves, Sound Sensations and Powerhouse choirs are paced through the second act, showcasing all the style, powerful singing and large group choreography for which the award-winning show choirs are known.

One of the many highlights of the show is Jazz Band A’s performance of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” with dancers and featuring horn players sprinkled about the stage who step up for individual solos.

JBHS Sound Sensations bring all the glitz and glamour of a “Winter Wonderland.” (Photo By Ross Benson)

Vocalist Jillian Flynn scolds the Grinch for a humorous version of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” while Scarlet Lastrapes, backed by Eyén Paredes, Sonya Dadekian and Ellie Mohler, sings “Bring Me Love” supported by a large cadre of dancers and the jazz band.

Vocalists Jordyn Holt and Lauren Duncanson of Powerhouse are featured for “Once Upon A Christmas Song/Happy Seasons,” which includes all choirs, the jazz band and all the dancers.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“Once Upon A Holiday Spectacular” concludes with the combined choirs, choir alumni, jazz band and dancers singing “Silent Night” featuring vocalist Paige Good.

For a full list of all the performers in dance, band and choir, along with all the teachers, staff and supporters who helped produce the show, visit

Burroughs High’s Powerhouse choir sings “Here Comes Santa Claus” at “Once Upon A Holiday Spectacular.” (Photo By Ross Benson)

Just two shows remain: Saturday, December 14, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 15, at 2:00 p.m. at the Burroughs High Auditorium, located at 1920 W. Clark Avenue in Burbank.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 students and seniors and $25 reserved seating and are available at the box office ahead of the show or online via or

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