A Night of Talent

Performances with energy, character, and passion for two hours— it’s the Variety Show.

Gary Luz
The performers gather for a final bow to a spectacular night.

Flor Leon, Staff Writer

A girl with nun-chucks deftly demonstrates her skills, giving the crowd goosebumps. A band raucously rocks on stage, and people sit on the edge of their seat, soaking in the sound and the energy. A girl soulfully sings a Disney melody as the audience moves in time with the familiar music.

 The 2017 Round Lake High School Variety Show had a spectacular two-night event Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4. A total of 22 performances showcased the talents of the Round Lake staff and student body.

There were changes to this year’s Variety Show in terms of entry. Every audience member was charged $2 for entrance. Money from ticket sales will go to making improvements for the theater’s audio system.  Mr. Mike West, RLHS band teacher and Mr. Bobby Olson, RLHS choir teacher, who have directed the variety show for two years now, claimed that they are trying to find something beneficial both for the music department and the theater department. As music teachers, they are very grateful to use the theater. Olson stated that the sound system in the theater is old and they are trying to find ways to improve the audio arrangements, so it seemed like a good idea to raise money for an audio system that both the music and theater departments can enjoy. Last year was the first year since 2015  the variety show did not charge for entry. The 2016 Variety show had free admission and Friday night  became a standing room only show. West and Olson wanted to feel comfortable with the number of people attending the show, and figured it would be a good way to raise some money to improve the audio system, so they decided to charge a small admission fee.

One of the show’s highlights was the various comedy sketches Julia Rodkey and Dana Wojciechowski put on between performances. Particularly hilarious was  the “battle of the instruments” sketch, which resulted in Wojciechowski winning by playing the recorder with her nose against Rodkey’s tuba. The Staff Infection did a spectacular rendition of The Blues Brothers’ “Soul Man.” Who knew teachers can get their groove on with a 80s hit? The Freshman (perhaps an outdated name now, as all members are seniors) played Yellowcard’s “For You,  And Your Denial” in   their farewell performance. The mix of piano, guitar, bass, drums and violin was a killer performance.

 Angel Sanchez, a senior who performed with his band, Third Awakening for the second time as the lead guitarist, said, “The first time I did the variety show was because it was something Marty and I wanted to do since middle school, and it was the right time to do it; better late than never.”  All the performers are good friends; Sanchez said he has known their drummer Martin Luz,  since elementary school.

Most performers enjoy being on stage and supporting one another. Sanchez said he enjoys performing and feels comfortable on stage naturally. “The first time I was kinda nervous and I think everybody is because you don’t know what to expect, but it gets pretty fun,” Sanchez said.

 Some shows do have complications here and there. Sanchez said his amp didn’t turn on the second night, but in the end it did. Olson said tiny complications are common when it comes to the variety show. “With many shows, there’s always details and we typically don’t have much time, so it always feels a little hectic,” he said.

 Regardless of minor complications, Sanchez wanted to try something different this year, so he did an acoustic cover to of The Cranberries’ “Zombie” with senior Angelica Arias. “It’s hard strumming fast, but it felt a little more relaxing playing on the acoustic compared to the electric,” he said.

 Some cultural dancing was something new this year for the variety show. Maythe Salcedo  did a Mexican cultural dance, showing off her roots. Music teacher West said that he was happy seeing more variety and his main goal was to see different kinds of acts.

 Many parents and students agreed that watching the variety Show was an enjoyable time. Tom and Tammie Rovestuso said their favorite act was Salvador Vargas with his original piano composition. Lee Ramirez, who came to support Angelica Arias and Angel Sanchez, said, “A lot of talent, a lot of diversity, performances did do the same things but each performance was unique in their own way.” Gary Luz, father of the drummer Martin Luz said, “The variety show is worth the admission charge. It’s a true variety with the cultural dance, karate, Disney melodies, piano. My son Marty would have never had the courage to perform in front of an audience if he didn’t go forward with the V show. Now he’s more comfortable.”

Of course, many students came to support their fellow student performers. Senior Larry Brown said, “It was really worth watching the show. I came to support to the staff and students. My favorite act was Kathia Torres singing ‘Jealous.’”

 West mentions how he makes sure the students have professional atmosphere when performing, and for those students that want to perform in real life, it prepares them for the next level. West said,“We give them feedback because the majority of the time, they’re practicing on their own and we step in and observe or give them comments.” Olson and West provide performers with outside perspective. Olson claims he loves finding new people and is amazed by how gifted students are. “I see their performances and I think, ‘Why aren’t you in Choir?’ Or, ‘You should join band.’”

West and Olson hope to see many more talents for the future. West hopes to see a duo or drama sketch by students, a magic act or juggling, just other things the crowd wouldn’t expect. Olson said,“Besides the bands, we don’t have any other group performances, so a dance group would be cool or any larger groups.” West and Olson hope to see more students interested in sharing their talents and hope to see around 60-70 acts audition next year. The more people audition the better the show is going to be. West mentioned that he was happy seeing more variety and his main goal is to see different kinds of acts.

It was two nights filled with some gorgeous voices, impressive demos, dynamic rock performances, and  a little comedy in between.  The staff and students definitely entertained a crowd, and 2017’s Variety Show was a huge success. Well done to all the performers.