Tag Archives: Glee

JBHS Choir Presents “Burroughs on Broadway”

On Friday, October 13th, John Burroughs High School will open their doors to present their 12th annual three-night show “Burroughs on Broadway,” showcasing the talent of award-winning choir groups, Powerhouse, Sound Sensations, Sound Waves, and Decibelles.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Each show choir will perform a mini-musical based on popular Broadway hits, including selections from Bye Bye Birdie, Rock of Ages, Wonderland, and The Secret Garden.

“What excites me most about this year’s show is watching the breakthrough performances that are happening even in rehearsal,” said Choir Director Brendan Jennings. “The students are really pushing themselves to connect with the music and subsequently the audience.”

“B.O.B.” also acts as a fundraiser for the school’s Vocal Music Association, reducing the costs of local and national competitions in which they participate throughout the year.

For the first time in the 12 years, Burroughs has hosted B.O.B., “premium reserved cabaret seats” will be offered, allowing the audience to experience Broadway-themed performances by students and other groups not associated with choir throughout the show. Reserved seating also provides attendance to a reception buffet prior to the show, with desserts and drinks during intermission.

“This year’s VIP experience is new and improved with our pre-show reception out on the plaza AND we are doing a special raffle for two orchestra seats to Hamilton,” said Jennings.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

An inspiration for the hit Fox series Glee, the advanced mixed choir, Powerhouse has been well-revered over the years as one of the country’s best competitive show choirs. Powerhouse has been featured multiple times on TV, including appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dancing With The Stars, and The Voice.

“Burroughs on Broadway” will have shows on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the JBHS Auditorium on 1920 West Clark Avenue. Tickets are currently available online. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Burbank High Lays Claim to Glee’s Ground Zero

So was Glee inspired by Burbank High or Burroughs High? “Tech dad” Shawn Stevens is sure it’s Burbank High. You see, Shawn’s middle son was in the pilot for Glee., along with Burbank High’s In Sync. “Glee’s producers had heard that Burbank High had the best show choir program in the country,” Shawn explained.

Megan Delbarian and Matt Hiett preform Rising Sun. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Megan Delbarian and Matt Hiett preform Rising Sun. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Shawn, BHS class of ’76, has reason to be proud of Burbank High’s program, which led to wonderful memories and lifelong friendships for his sons and daughter . (And indeed, many Burbank High Vocal Music Association alumni were cheering on Light Up The World cast.) “My sons and daughter learned about being mature, about teamwork. And they traveled all across the country, and to other countries as well,” explains Shawn. Though his youngest son graduated last year, Shawn gets tremendous satisfaction providing technical support for  productions like Light Up The World.

K-POP Medley preformed by Sharon Youn, Tori Park, Elaine and Ellie Harahara. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

K-POP Medley preformed by Sharon Youn, Tori Park, Elaine and Ellie Harahara. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Shawn’s brother Kieth is the “tech dad” for Burroughs, and may have a different notion of what sparked the inspiration for Glee. “We do a lot of trash talking at family gatherings,” says Shawn.

Anyone who’s seen what both high schools have been doing may want to credit the community and Burbank school system for being the ultimate source of “Glee inspiration.”

“Dot” Jones: Tough Gal With A Tender Heart

A lot of Burbankers are huge fans of Glee and Emmy-nominated DOROTHY-MARIE “DOT” JONES, who plays Glee’s Coach Shannon Beiste. And Dot Jones is an enthusiastic fan of Burbank and the Burbank Arts for All Foundation (BAFA). Her appearance at last Friday’s BAFA “Party on the Plaza” gala was one of the evening’s highlights. Afterwards, as BAFA friends and supporters were dancing the evening away, Dot Jones sat down with myBurbank.com and shared her journey from Hilmar to Hollywood: a journey that started out tough and became unexpectedly tender.

Barry Gussow, Dot-Marie Jones, and Karen Volpei.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Barry Gussow, Dot- Marie Jones, and Karen Volpei.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

DOT JONES grew up in Hilmar, California, a dairy town south of Modesto with 1500 people. Her high school class had 80. “If you weren’t in sports or Future Farmers of America, there wasn’t much else to do,” Dot explains. She was in sports, becoming a champion weight lifter and her high school’s female athlete of the year.

But Dot Jones’ foray into the world of music didn’t work out so well. Although she could play the trumpet by ear, she didn’t read music. So her band teacher flunked her. That discouraged her from going further with music. “But I know the teachers in Burbank wouldn’t have done that. They would’ve focused on the positive and worked with that.”

During The Super Show at The Starlight Bowl in 2011. George Pennacchio and Dot-Marie Jones. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

During The Super Show at The Starlight Bowl in 2011. George Pennacchio and Dot Jones. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dot Jones kept her focus on athletics and higher education. She earned a track scholarship that put her through Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, where she majored in criminology.  She garnered All-America honors throughout her college career. And she did so well in the shot put that she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1988 and 1992.

At 19, Dot Jones became a professional arm wrestler, winning her first world title. “I retired from arm wrestling in 1997 after I achieved my goal of winning 15 world titles. My favorite moment from that experience was when Diane Naiad and Lynn Swann covered one of my contests for Wide World of Sports.”

After college, she wrestled with problems of a different sort: troubled youth. She worked as a juvenile probation officer for Fresno County and saw first hand the consequences of young people not connecting with their talents. But in her free time Dot Jones dropped the burdens of her job and took up the easier burden of heavy weights bending both ends of a bar.

During one of her dead weight lifting competitions, Dot Jones became friends with Shirley Eason, who played Skye on American Gladiators. “At that time, I wasn’t thinking about acting at all,” Dot Jones said. “I was expecting to say ‘yes’ to being an adult probation officer in Madera County. But Shirley was urging me to try out for this new show being developed, Knights and Warriors. So I decided to go for it.”

Dot-Marie Jones with  Burbank Business Professional Kevin McCarney owner of  Poquito Mas Restaurants. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dot-Marie Jones with Burbank Business Professional Kevin McCarney owner of Poquito Mas Restaurants. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The first day of trying out for a role in K&G featured various tests of athletic skill, which Dot Jones aced handily.  But she didn’t yet know if she would make it to the next level of the audition, where she’d have to do a cold reading. “What the heck is a ‘cold reading’, I asked myself.” She found out cold reading is when you read lines from a scene with little or no preparation beforehand. That night, she got the call that she was invited back for the cold reading.  “Great!” Dot Jones replied, still a little unsure of exactly what a cold reading involved. “What do I wear for that?”  she asked her caller. “Wear your best warrior outfit,” the caller replied.  “Warrior outfit?” Dot Jones said to herself. So she gamely “wore zebra-print pants.”  Evidently it was the right costume choice. The producers soon asked her, “How’d you like to be a warrior?”

Dot Jones was one of the few female warriors in Knights and Warriors, which lasted only one season. But it was a pivotal time for her career. A fellow actor introduced Dot Jones to his agent, Sid Levin. “We hit it off from the start, and he’s still my agent, 22 years later.” No mean feat in a business where agents often have shelf lives measured in months.

Dot-Marie Jones with Tobi Lippman and some of Tobi's Famous Cookies following a show at Starlight Bowl in 2010. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dot-Marie Jones with Tobi Lippman and gift of Tobi’s Famous Cookies following a show at Starlight Bowl in 2011. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In the years leading up to Glee, Dot Jones enjoyed an extensive acting career of dozens of significant film roles. Television credits include Married…With Children, Dharma and Greg and Desperate Housewives. Movie credits include Patch Adams, Material Girls and Bad Teacher.

She also had roles in Nip/Tuck and Pretty/Handsome (pilot), where she met co-creator Ryan Murphy and co-executive producer Brad Falchuk. Both men were soon to be co-creators (along with Ian Brennan) of the Fox’s smash musical comedy-drama series Glee. “I bumped into Ryan one day at the grocery store and told him I would really like a part in Glee,” Dot Jones related. “Two months later, they created the character of Coach Beiste for me.”

Coach Shannon Beiste is first seen the opening show of Glee’s second (2010) season, and has since made many show appearances. As Glee fans may know, Coach Beiste is a championship-winning football coach who immediately butts heads with the cheerleading coach and the glee club director (they eventually become friends). By the third season, Coach Beiste is co-directing the school musical. Along the way, she also has a romance with an old flame and eventually marries him. Then her story takes a heart-wrenching turn. Coach Beiste becomes the victim of domestic abuse.

Dot-Marie Jones and Alexandra Helfrich who won the auction of a 'Lunch Date' and day at Glee for a group of four. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dot-Marie Jones and Alexandra Helfrich who won the auction of a ‘Lunch Date’ and day at Glee for a group of four. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“When I first read the script about the domestic violence, it got me bawling my eyes out,” Dot Jones said, visibly moved by her memory of it. “And when we did the scenes Eric [who plays her abusive husband Cooter] was telling me how he hated to do this to me. But I told him we could forgive each other afterwards.” And it wasn’t just the physical side of the abuse her character had to contend with. “Words matter,” Dot Jones explained. “Sometimes they can be worse than the physical attacks.”

Dot Jones’ searing portrayal earned her a second Primetime Emmy Award nomination (2012) for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. (She had also received an Emmy nomination the year before, also based on her role as Coach Beiste.) “In my 20-plus years as an actor, I had played every tough-gal role there is,” Dot Jones reflected. “I really appreciated a chance to portray someone who was vulnerable and hurting and struggling with a situation that so many women are having to endure.” And there was an unexpected reward as well, one that for Dot Jones even overshadows her Emmy recognitions:

“I received an e-mail from a woman who told me that after watching my character, she got the strength to get out of an abusive relationship.”

Such is the power of genuine art, a power that Dot Jones appreciates very well. And she knows that Burbank does too.

P.S. Dot Jones is now a proud Burbank resident. She loves the sense of community here, as exemplified by organizations like BAFA.

Burbank High Hopes To Take National Honors After Latest Choir Competition

Photo By Ross A. Benson

Burbank High School once again wowed the judges with three choirs all being awarded Grand Champions at their final competition of the season.  Celebrity host, Dot Marie Jones, who plays football coach Shannon Beiste on television’s “Glee” assisted in handing out the trophies.  As competitions are a showcase for the arts, Dot Marie is a long time advocate for music programs in the schools. She declared on stage to the large audience of students, “You are the ones who inspire us in Glee!”

Nationally ranked number one in 2009 and 2010, the numbers for 2011 are being tallied.   In addition to Grand Champions, In Sync came home with Best Choreography, Best Vocals (tying with Burroughs,) Creative Show Design and Best Male Vocalist, Kentucky Clawson.  A special award was the 2011 Senior’s Choice, given by the host school, Chula Vista.

With 29 choirs performing overall in the two day event, Sound Dogs, Burbank High’s All Men’s Choir, received the first place Grand Champions spot as well.  Additionally, Sound Dogs won Best Vocals, Best Choreography, and Best Male Sound.

Out Of The Blue burst forth with the Grand Champion title as well.  Along with that they received Best Vocals, Best Choreography, Best Acapella, Best Female Soloist, Alicia Patterson and Outstanding Male Performer, Dennis Palacio. The adjudicators agreed that “Out Of The Blue” had the Best Moment.

Choir Director Brett Carroll and his assistant, Donna Dandino are passionate about the choirs.  It is wonderful to bring home the top awards year after year, however Mr. Carroll and Mrs. Dandino are more than high school show choir directors.  As Mr. Carroll reveals, “It’s all about the kids.  Everything is about them.  They learn much, more than how to sing and dance.”  It is through his hard work and that of Donna Dandino, to proritize their guidance of the students to the most important lessons: the magic of acceptance, peer support, confidence, personal growth and the inspiration to be the best that they can be.

These lessons go far beyond the show choir stage.  Mr. Carroll’s enthusiasm, has given hundreds of students the inspiration to generate their own momentum to take on whatever adventures and challenges their lives have now and in the future.  With Burbank High School’s show choirs, these teens find a safe place where they can be just who they are.

Burbank High Choirs will put on their Pop Show open to the public May 18, 19, 20 & 21. Tickets will be available through the music program and on line shortly.

Additionally both Burroughs & Burbank will be on the same stage performing at the Starlight Bowl on June 11th in what will mark the first time they both will appear together in The American Show Choir Super Show.