On to competition

Burroughs High School Vocal Musical Assn. wraps up its Pop Show 32 at 2 p.m. today. The theme is “I Want it All,” and looking over the past two years, one could say the group has achieved that.

Last year, the advanced choir, Powerhouse, appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” This year, they appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and received a paid trip to Hong Kong to perform in the New Year’s Day Parade. But all the choirs still have one more thing to look forward to.

“The Pop Show is the precursor to our competition season,” said director Brendan Jennings. “They get a lot of rehearsal and performance experience.

The five choirs are performing their 15-minute competition sets. The rest of the show is music they have chosen, and it’s what the kids are listening to now interspersed with some vintage rock selections, he added. There’s everything from the Neon Trees and Rescues to Celine Dion and the 1960s group Shocking Blue.

“They get to be their own director/producer,” Jennings said. “They get the experience of creating their own material, and the other component is they learn to work collaboratively together.”

There is singing, dancing and comedy sets done by duos, trios, soloists and groups as well as a cappella groups and the Dance Ensemble.

Matt Hafezi, 17, a senior in the Powerhouse choir, transferred to Burroughs this year. He was amazed by the performance level of Burroughs choir program compared with the one at his former high school, he said.

“This is a professional show choir — it’s more professional than adults who perform all over the world,” he said. “You don’t realize that we’re high school students and how much work goes into it. To be a part of it — it’s amazing — a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The Pop Show marks the last show at Burroughs for Amanda Alcalde, 18, a senior in the Powerhouse choir. She’s been in the Burroughs choir program all four years of her high school experience.

“This means the world to me. I get to express myself onstage with all my friends. It’s a real emotional experience. Not all schools have a program like this. I’m hoping to give this show my all.”

For John Cutone, 14, a freshman in the Sound Waves choir, the show is an important step before competition season.

“The more shows we do, the more we compete, we’re more prepared,” he said.

Funds raised from Pop Show go back into the program, said Donna Martley.

“It helps the 10% of students who can’t afford the program,” she said. “Through donations from parents and sponsors, we make sure every kid is able to participate.”



What: Pop Show 32: I Want it All!

When: 2 p.m. today

Where: Burroughs Auditorium, 1920 Clark Ave., Burbank

Cost: $25 reserved; $16 general; $11 students/seniors by visiting www.jbhsvma.com or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/145822

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