BY TERRY CHAPMAN WEEKLY REPORTER
The OTHS Choir is nothing short of spectacular, so it only follows suit that the should enjoy a spectacular trip to sunny California.
The trip, arranged by Bob Rogers Travel, was jam packed. The Choir, directed by Cristina Nordin, arrived at LAX on June 10th, and enjoyed a day on the Santa Monica Pier as well as the beach. The second day was spent at disneyland in the Soundtrack Session Workshop, where the group worked with professional music conductor and director Top Griffin, and performed the song “Goin’ Down the Bayou” from the Disney movie entitled “The Princess and the Frog.” The setting of the film called for southern accents that were exaggerated, and the choir also came up with some sound effects for a firefly party.
Recent Graduate Blake Churchill was able to voice over for the main firefly in the song. Churchill is not only involved in the choir, but was also a member of the show choir, chamber choir, and madrigals (a choir that performs renaissance type songs) in which he was able to play the Jester this year, as well as school plays and musicals. He was in every production since his freshman year. In addition to this, he was also the President of the Thespian society. The society, named after the Greek man Thespis, the first person to appear on stage as an actor. Prior to his senior year term as President, Churchill was the group’s Historian.
“It was really funny, because there’s a cajun firefly, and we’re his entire family singing “Goin’ Down the Bayou,” and they needed somebody to play the main firefly, and I got to do that voice,” Churchill remarks with a smile, “I got to use this really funny voice as I was saying the lines,” he adds in an admittedly incredible cajun accent.
Another recent graduate, Tim Cargle, was the other soloist in the song. Timothy was also involved in many groups in the high school. He was in the Choir all four years of his high school career, and was also a member of the swim team, cross country, show choir, fall play, spring musicals, and the Friends of Rachel club throughout his time at OTHS. He remarks that these groups, and those who encouraged him to join them, helped to make him a better person. He also adds that many of the students involved with Choir were involved in several other clubs and programs as well.
The group also performed the background choir from the iconic death of the Mufasa in Disney’s “The Lion King,” where student Dylan Zitnik was able to perform the iconic line “Long live the king,” providing the voiceover for Scar. This additional song is usually not available to most Choirs, but the director was so impressed with the group that he wanted them to perform it.
“It was so much fun! We were in there for about an hour and a half,” Churchill adds.
In that short time, the group was taught the songs, and recorded them, showing how talented the young group is.
Unfortunately, there is only one recording, and only the director was allowed to keep it, because it is still Disney Property.
The trip was made accessible to all members of the choir.
“Each person had to pay,” Churchill says, “The more people that went, the less we all had to pay. Of course, there were people who couldn’t exactly afford it, but through fundraising throughout the year, people were able to put that towards the trip.”
The choir and the show choir were also able to perform in Downtown Disney, where the show choir performed a Michael Jackson melody.
The remaining days were spent visiting Hollywood Boulevard, the Grammy Museum, Sony Studios, and the LA Farmers Market.
To many, especially Cargle, the trip had a definite purpose.
“I would say the main purpose was to show the students that you can continue your musical or theatrical passion and that there are plenty of jobs out there.”
Cargle is planning on attending Southeast Missouri State University to pursue a BFA in Theatre: Design and Technology.
“The trip gave me some better insight on some future jobs. Also, the more time I spent in Disneyland the more I realized that I found and picked the right major for me. One example of this realization would be when we had a workshop at Disneyland’s Recording Studio with Tom Griffin. There we rehearsed and sang songs from actual Disney movies,” Cargle adds, “One song was “Going Down the Bayou” and called for two soloists. I auditioned and was picked for the first solo, while a friend of mine, Blake Churchill, got the other one. Once the workshop was over, our Coordinator for the day asked me if I was going to pursue singing. I was so happy and excited after hearing that! I’m now thinking about joining a choir or an acapella group in college!”
Churchill plans on attending Indiana Wesleyan as a nursing major, with a minor in theater. He does not, however, plan to pursue music.