Students present An Afternoon of Song and Dance at Kepler Theater
Hagerstown Community College jazz dance students perform to the music "All That Jazz" Saturday during An Afternoon of Song and Dance at Hagerstown Community College"s Kepler Theater. (By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer / December 8, 2012)
On Saturday afternoon, in an effort to showcase the results of their efforts, students presented An Afternoon of Song and Dance at Kepler Theater.
Vocal and choral instructor Francesca Aguado-Murray said the event was the first she knew of at the college incorporating students of dance, singing and musical theater in one variety show. She credited musical theater and dance instructor Alyssa J. Foley with the idea to gather the students for a joint performance.
“It’s the end of the semester. The students have been growing. It makes sense to give more performance opportunities to the students,” Aguado-Murray said.
Participation was voluntary among students enrolled in Jazz I and II, Ballet I and II, HCC Chorus, Private Voice and Introduction to Musical Theater. While some of the students were seasoned performers, others were on stage publicly for the first time, Aguado-Murray said.
“Getting on stage can be a very intimidating thing,” she said. “I am so proud of them for taking the plunge.”
An ensemble of jazz dancers kicked off the show with a tangy offering of “All That Jazz” from the 1975 musical “Chicago.”
Vocal soloist Brittany Hult changed channels with a gentle offering of “Ici-Bas,” a piece by French composer Gabriel Faure, who is perhaps best known for his “Clair de Lune.” Hult, 21, of Smithsburg, is an interior design major, but says music is one of her passions.
Rebecca Woody sang to the swirling accompaniment of Franz Schubert’s “Gretchen Am Spinnrade” with accomplished phrasing and dynamics. William Ward followed with an expressive performance of “Amarilla Mia Bella” before teeny-bopping trio Sara Lum, Josie Sornson and April Welte changed pace again belting with abandon, “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” from “Hairspray.”
Tonya Sornson of Hancock attended the event to watch her stepdaughter, sophomore Josie Sornson, 19, perform.
“I’m so excited to see what she has been doing, to see her perform some of her talents,” Tonya Sornson said.
Daniel Roberts brought the house down with his triple-threat offering in the second act, singing, tap dancing and hitting his character with a pow with “I Can Do That” from “A Chorus Line.” Roberts kept time and pitch even as he did a back flip, and added and owned his own verbal tag, “Sizzle!” at the end of his number as the crowd cheered.
Freshman Jakelin Villalta, 18, of Hagerstown, was among the sizable audience as a requirement to attend and critique a performance for her dance appreciation class. Villalta said the assignment was a challenge as she had never done anything like it. It was a good way to learn as opposed to sitting in class or reading, she said.
“I didn’t know there was such talent here. I see some of these people on campus and I had no idea they could sing or dance that well,” Villalta said. “I am really amazed.”
Tina McNeal, 36, of Hedgesville, W.Va., went to the show because her niece, Harley Strakal, 18, of Hagerstown, a freshman dance major, was performing in multiple numbers. Strakal has been dancing since she was 5.
“I like coming to see what she does,” McNeal said. “It gives all the students a chance to get in front of a crowd and perform instead of just doing it in class. And they are doing a really good job. I would hope they will do this at the end of every semester.”