Tag Archives: burroughs vocal music

Burroughs High VMA Presents “Total Eclipse Of The Stream” Show Online Via Twitch

Students from the John Burroughs High School Vocal Music program will perform popular hits from the 1980s for the Total Eclipse of the Stream show via the Twitch platform on Saturday, June 27, on the VMA’s ShowChoir channel.

Current and recently graduated JBHS choir performers for Total Eclipse of the Stream include Juju Blevins, Darby Nealis, Angelee Valdez, Bridget Barrera, Daniel Coscia, Ellie Mohler, Jacob Levine, Kaylor Toronto, Lauren Duncanson, Lexi Adair, Maddie Flores, Rhett Hemingway, Samantha Gonzalez and Sonya Dadekian.

Image Courtesy Stefanie Enokian

Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools in mid-March, the award-winning John Burroughs High Vocal Music program has had to adjust its approach, which relied heavily on live large-group performances in competitions and shows to raise funds for the program and provide stage experience for choir members.

“Starting the Twitch Channel is really about building a LIVE space,” explained choir teacher and program director Brendan Jennings. “Nothing will ever replace the live theater experience, but other sites (like YouTube Live or Facebook Live) don’t have the same functions to really create a full SHOW and gives the audience the chance to interact in the chat (Twitch really encourages that participation.)”

“Right now, there are a lot of summer camps and activities that aren’t there for kids… we are producing all of these shows to give our students the chance to stay active in the performing arts, while building a platform that will benefit us during the school year,” he added.

“The main strategy for the VMA going into next year is keeping everything flexible,” Jennings continued. “We are making plans for shows in case they have to be virtual and the kids have to rehearse and possibly even record themselves at home, BUT, also planning for gradations of that where we can record small groups at school and set up the stage as a sound stage/recording studio.”

“AND… if at some point of the year we can go back to having live audiences, we want the schedule to be flexible enough to take advantage of that as well,” he also said. “Long story short… the students will have the FULL educational experience no matter what, but the exact details may change.”

Image Courtesy Stefanie Enokian

For those who subscribe to the ShowChoir Twitch channel on a monthly basis, which starts as low as $4.99 per month, the JBHS VMA will receive half of all subscriber revenue. JBHS VMA also gets a small of amount of money for ads that play on the channel when viewers log in, so even just watching the shows without subscribing helps raise funds for the program.

For those who’d like to donate directly to the Burroughs Vocal Music program, there is a donation button on the Twitch ShowChoir page as well.

Burroughs VMA has a concert series planned for the summer, beginning with Total Eclipse of the Stream on June 27. Other shows on the schedule, which feature current VMA students and alumni, are comedy show Up Twitch Creek on Saturday, July 11, at 5:00 p.m., songwriter showcase VMA Originals on Friday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m. and gender-swapped songs in Broadway Backwards on Saturday, July 25, at 7:00 p.m.

The Twitch ShowChoir channel also features weekly shows Suppertime with the Baldwins (Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.) in which JBHS alumni Sydney and Cooper Baldwin lead a weekly comedy cabaret with special guests, Show Choir Famous (Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. beginning July 7) during which show choir students from across the United States compete for the title of “Show Choir Famous” and Show Choir Sundays (Sundays at 5:00 p.m.) which features a different school each week, highlighting each school’s director or choreographer and some of their big performances.

Produced by Blaise and Elisa Hemingway, Total Eclipse of the Stream premieres at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, on https://www.twitch.tv/showchoir. All times noted are Pacific Standard Time.

Burroughs’ “West Side Story” Wows A SRO Audience

Absolutely. Freaking. Awesome.

Burroughs’ performance of West Side Story last Saturday night amazed even fans well acquainted with the high bar of excellence of the Performing Arts Department.

The studio-quality sound, lighting and sets are by now the standard operating procedure. And the live orchestra and the singers routinely rise to college-level.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

But last night was special, even for Burroughs. Arya Desai’s (Maria) angel voice just didn’t rise, it soared. And she navigated the notes with beautiful precision, as in the chromatic lead-in to “Somewhere.” Coen Sosa’s (Tony) rich tenor voice shone in solo pieces like “Maria” and also perfectly complemented Desia’s romantic soprano. Whatever the star-crossed fate their characters were to suffer, their duets were a match made in heaven.

Janina Colucci (Anita) knew how to put fire in her singing, in keeping with her smoldering character. Trenton Rogers (Riff) knew how to convey the right mix of toughness and vulnerability, and gave the show a rousing start.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Everyone—not just the leads—were at the top of their game. They weren’t just singing superbly, they were acting superbly. Usually, it takes men in their early twenties to credibly play teenagers; actual male teens are deemed too immature. Not so with these guys. The men had the chops to own the Jets and the Sharks. And as for the women, you get the feeling any one of them would already be a serious contender for a lead role in a local theatrical production.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

And as if all that wasn’t enough to blow the audience away, there was the dancing. Oh, was there ever. Serious dancing. Dancing that did justice to Jerome Robbins’ demanding choreography: The “Mambo” at the high school gym. The “America” dance off in 9/4 time. The coiled-snake “Cool” scene, the sudden bursts in the rumbles between the gangs. The quiet grace in the “Somewhere” scene. The hilarious “Gee, Officer Krupke” set piece. Throughout the musical, the dancers combined spontaneity with well-defined movements and did not let their tremendous energy flag for a single second.

“This year we’re blessed with a large group of triple-threat performers,” remarked Vocal Director Brendan Jennings during the intermission. And how.