Local youth and The Young Americans dazzle audience
By Annette Tait
The crowd packed the bleachers and filled several additional rows of chairs, murmuring in anticipation of what was to come. Their children, nieces, nephews, friends’ and neighbors’ children, and many more had worked hard for three long days to prepare for the evening performance, learning new music and choreography, some even mastering solos. Also on the program were The Young Americans, a troop of talented performers with a history of bringing music, dance, and theater education to young people across the globe.
There are talented young people in the community. Everyone was expecting a good show. But they weren’t expecting the high-caliber musical extravaganza that would leave them speechless after intermission.
The Young Americans entertained the first half of the two-hour performance, and gave an energetic, entertaining, and well-received show. The troop’s members are outstanding professionals, their talents and skills well-honed from touring the nation and teaching their craft during this year’s 44-city tour, which is devoted to teaching, funding and encouraging school music departments throughout the U.S.
What the crowd didn’t expect was the level more than 100 talented third through 12th grade youth from Center and the surrounding communities could reach in just a few days’ time, as the combined youth and The Young Americans brought down the house.
The hour flew by in what seemed like minutes, the crowd alternating between perfect silence and explosive applause, with a few bursts here and there to congratulate the soloists on their performances.
Center-Stanton Schools Music Director Lacey Hanson was bursting with pride, having seen the incredible growth in her students and the youth from surrounding communities during only a few days’ practice sessions.
“It wasn’t just music and routines they learned,” Hanson said, noting the teaching style used by The Young Americans. “They learned leadership skills, too.”
The Young Americans performers made personal connections with students, helping them to relax and enjoy the work leading up to their big night, and to enjoy their performances to the fullest as well. Each of the troop members worked with a group of students, guiding and coaching them through the huge production numbers and demanding solos. In a matter of days, the students learned to work in teams across a broad range of ages, and developed greater self-confidence.
Afterward, an audience member was overheard saying, “I thought $10 was a lot for a ticket. After seeing this, it was worth even more.”