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Pop rocks

Burbank High School students put on a show at 40th anniversary event that organizers liken to Hollywood.

May 24, 2009|By Zain Shauk

BURBANK — Students sang and danced through a celebration of Burbank High School’s 40th anniversary pop show Sunday, performing on a jazzed-up stage that was worthy of Hollywood, organizers and students said.

Professional musicians and sound and lighting technicians, many of whom are former Burbank High students working in Hollywood, set the scene for the show, putting $2.5 million worth of equipment to work for the 176 performers, director Brett Carroll said.

Carroll, who became the school’s choral director seven years ago, has elevated the program to national prominence, with several competitive teams dominating award ceremonies in recent years.


That success has made the end-of-the-year pop shows increasingly important for students at the end of their high school performance careers, he said.

It has also transformed the show into one loaded with technology and skill that is unheard of at most other Los Angeles-area high schools, regardless of their proximity to Hollywood, he said.

“People don’t expect this kind of professionalism out of a high school production,” Carroll said. “We have as much lighting and more than some Broadway productions.”

The show featured five of the school’s choral groups performing their competitive routines, along with 13 acts from student groups with original music, said Terri Lapwing, co-president of the booster club for the school’s choral programs.

More than 80 groups auditioned for the 13 slots in the show, which many students saw as a unique performance opportunity, Lapwing said.

“It’s when all of our competitive choirs get to do it one more time for our city, and also our kids get to express themselves musically through individual acts,” she said.

Seniors Seychelle Gabriel and Matt Rosell relished the opportunity to belt out tunes on the Burbank High stage one final time.

They both performed with school choirs and their own individual groups, as well as in the opening number, “We Built this City,” a Broadway-style act that incorporated every student performer, with some dancing and singing from the aisles in the audience and others taking on solos from a stage extension.

Performing in the show, particularly with independent student groups, was a special chance, the students said.

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