On the Town: Burroughs High vocal group celebrates 35 years

Granted, that little awards show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres over at the Dolby Theater showcased and honored some pretty great talent last Sunday evening.

However, not to be outdone here on the Burbank side of Mount Lee, Sunday also saw the John Burroughs High School Vocal Music Assn. provide audiences with some dazzling singing and dancing as they concluded the last of its four-show performances of "Pop Show 35: Hall of Fame."

Presented as a fundraiser to garner much-needed financial support for the association, the shows also celebrated the organization's 35th anniversary by presenting its competition choirs — Powerhouse, Sound Sensations, Decibelles, Sound Waves, Men At Work and Muses — along with a variety of small groups, duos and soloists performing a mix of pop standards with newly released hits chosen and choreographed by the students themselves.

The evening also included a special performance by the association's Dance Ensemble and showcased the talents of students from the Burroughs Instrumental Music Assn. and the school's tech crew.

With performances on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, more than 1,200 attendees enjoyed the show which showcased the talents of more than 200 students, the association's Music Director Brendan Jennings, Artistic Director Jen Oundjian and Musical Director Dan Scoville.

The event, projected to raise more than $30,000 for the association and was co-chaired by Roni Ramirez and Michelle Goetshe, was also made possible by choir chairs Stacy Adams, Laura Prouty, Karen Hobson, Carrie Brown, Jessica Ritz, Stephanie McCorkle, Amy Phelps, Evelyn Geraci, Michelle Bond, Kim Innocent, Lisa Gerard, Marie Cabrere, Laura Strobl, Debbie Wade, Pam Connaghan and the association's Co-Presidents Linda Cable and Donna Martley.

"We are so fortunate to have parents who have shown so much passion for this program," Martley said. "They see what it does for kids — teaching them how to be a part of a team. Even when their own kids have gone on, the alumni parents still support us because it is such an amazing program."

Launched in 1978 by Mary Rago, who was the association's first vocal music director, the program's advanced mixed choir, Powerhouse, has been recognized as one of the nation's finest show choirs.

An inspiration for the television series "Glee," Powerhouse has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," in China at the internationally televised Chinese New Year Parade, and with top recording artists including Christina Aguilera, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Harry Connick, Jr. and Foreigner. The group was also featured in the British documentary, "Gleeful: The Real Show Choirs of America."

For more information about the show choirs in the John Burroughs High School Vocal Music Assn., click on http://www.JBHSVMA.org.


DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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