Members of the Whiteaker Middle School choir practice in advance of the upcoming cabaret show, “100 Years of Broadway.” (Keizertimes/ERIC A. HOWALD)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Two years ago, members of the Whiteaker Middle School concert choir were looking up to the eighth graders at the school as they dazzled the audience at the annual Cabaret show.

This year they’re looking forward to assessing the talent of the younger choir members and what they’ll bring to the program after the elder students move on to high school.

“When you’re in sixth grade, you’re in awe of how good the eighth graders are and now everyone’s looking up at you,” said Nick LaFountaine.

The choir is prepping for some of its biggest shows of the year, the Cabaret, slated at New Hope Foursquare Church, 4963 Swegle Rd N.E., in Salem. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13. Tickets are $10 and on sale at the school.

“It’s a glorified concert where we add staging and lighting, it’s a step in between choir concerts and Broadway production,” said Andy Thomas, Whiteaker choir director.

The theme for this year’s show is “100 Years of Broadway.”

“Different choirs are taking different eras and then we’ll have a big, mass number at the end,” said eighth grader Zoe Arnsmeier.

Money raised through tickets, raffles and dessert and beverage sales support choir activities throughout the year, but most of the funds will support the choir’s field trip to a national competition in Orlando, Fla., next year.

In that respect, the Cabaret is a chance to see where the choir can improve over the coming months, said Jordan Emerich.

“We still have time to get better and when we get to watch the performance afterward, we’ll know what can be done,” Emerich said.

In addition to the group performances, several choir members will be trying out for solos during the show.

Arnsmeier and a friend are planning to audition a piece from “The Little Mermaid.”

“We work on those independently, but it’s fun to come up with harmonies on our own,” she said.

So far, choir member Macana Wyatt expects the concert choir’s performance of “Alone in the Universe,” from the musical “Seussical,” to be a highlight.

“It’s a great song and I like how it builds to include all the different sections of the choir,” Wyatt said.

While the show is a boost to the funds needed for the Orlando trip, the choir offers scholarships and assistance for students who can’t meet the financial cost, anyone interested in offering their support should contact Thomas at Whiteaker.

“The Cabaret is a lot of fun, throughly entertaining and great way to support education and music in the Keizer area,” Thomas said.