CRESTVIEW -- In one of its most dynamic, energetic performances, the Crestview High School chorus wowed its standing-room-only audience Thursday night.
Choral music director Kevin Lusk led nearly 130 vocalists on a musical tour de force, covering territory ranging from Mozart and Smetana to Neil Diamond, Queen and everything in between.
In addition to bringing audience members to their feet more than once, the concert demonstrated the kids' ample talents and willingness to conquer often-unfamiliar turf.
The nearly 100-member-strong women's choir sang songs in Latin, Czech and English, the latter including Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA."
The men's choir revved things up with the "Glee" arrangement of Neil Diamond's classic pop hit, "Sweet Caroline," with the audience joining in the song's final "Bah, bah, bah."
Chorus spokesman Alex Andrews said his classmates wanted a memorable finale to their high school singing careers.
"There were a lot of seniors this year and I think they wanted to make their last concert their best," he said.
Alex praised Lusk for pushing choir members beyond the comfort of familiar music.
"I’ve sung a lot of stuff I never would’ve sung had it not been for him," Alex said. "I don’t know what other setting I might’ve sung ‘Lacrimosa’ in," he added, referring to the Mozart piece performed admirably by Chorale, the large, elite mixed chorus.
Chorale's performance of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody” was an energetic highlight, with grand piano accompaniment and a three-piece rock ensemble, drawing the audience to its feet at conclusion.
Senior Choir Member Brittany Agee was named the Senior Choral Award Winner and will perform the alma mater at graduation. She will return next year to solo at the spring concert, as last year's top senior, Tiffani Souders, did Thursday night.
Though Destiny and Chanticleer numbers included the latter's "Some Nights," which gave otherwise quiet, dependable Paolo Hora a chance to cut loose with an amazing solo, Alex said a favorite song was Chorale's "For Good," from the Broadway hit "Wicked."
"I sang it my freshman year, so it really rounded out my high school experience," he said.
A prank— and gentle reproach
After a standing ovation, the concert ended with a traditional senior prank, this year's being a "Harlem Shake" featuring costumed Chanticleer members and their friends in the 34-second wild dance.
“Mr. Lusk said it was the best senior prank he’s seen since they did ‘Thriller’” in 2008, Alex said.
My sole criticism of the evening was Lusk forgot to include his audience etiquette briefing, resulting in rude people entering through the Pearl Tyner Auditorium's squeaking doors and taking distracting flash photos mid-performance.
Despite distractions, the chorus is to be lauded for a fantastic, enjoyable evening, and I wish graduating members the best.
Let me quote one of their favorite songs: "Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I've been changed for good."
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.