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‘Kind of a miracle’: Burroughs students prepare for annual holiday concert

‘Kind of a miracle’: Burroughs students prepare for annual holiday concert
Four girls sing during a dress rehearsal for the Burroughs High School Holiday Spectacular in 2016. This year's concert, titled "From: All of us, To: All of you," will run from Friday through Sunday in the school's auditorium. (Tim Berger / Burbank Leader)

There are a lot of moving parts in John Burroughs High’s annual Holiday Spectacular — not only because there are more than 450 students involved.

From Friday through Sunday, the school’s auditorium will be filled with various musical acts performed by the school’s renowned bands, choirs and dance groups.

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Brendan Jennings, the school’s vocal director, said this year’s production is slightly larger than last year’s show, both in terms of the number of performers and the stage itself.

Rented stage extensions may take up a few rows of seats, but they were needed to make sure this year’s production has enough room for additional performers, including the Burroughs dance team, led by Emily Pierce, which is participating for a second year, Jennings said.

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The incorporation of dancing accompanied by live music was a big hit last year, so the dancers are now a regular part of the production, he added.

“There’s all kinds of fun collaborations between dancers, instrumentalists and singers — all the different combinations,” Jennings said. “It’s all wrapped up in a big holiday bow.”

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Some of the music featured in this year’s production will be Earth, Wind & Fire’s take on “Joy to the World” as well as an instrument-accompanied version of Pentatonix’s rendition of “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” which is usually performed a capella by the musical group.

There will also be a dance performance to the song “Santa Baby,” which will include a kick line similar to that of the Rockettes.

Band director Taylor Arakelian said the students are also working on a crooner version of “Jingle Bells” and an orchestral piece called “Celtic Carol.”

“It really is kind of a miracle,” Jennings said about the concert. “[Monday] was the first day we rehearsed, where we put everything together, and we worked through the first act … When you have really good teachers, directors and student leaders, it all just fell together.”

He added that, although they did identify a few parts that needed polishing, the adjustments were minor.

Arakelian agreed the production is complex, and it helps that the students are respectful of each other’s space.

“When you have hundreds and hundreds of kids working on this, it can very quickly become unruly if you’re not focused and don’t have a clear plan of attack,” Arakelian said.

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Burroughs High is located at 1920 W. Clark Ave., Burbank.

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