Dessert Theatre ?bittersweet? for MPCHS seniors

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Mt. Pleasant Community High School?s Jazz Band took the stage Saturday night kicking off the annual Dessert Theatre, which opened to a full house April 14.

Behind the scenes, some of the senior show choir students ran through the dessert set before performing, moving in sync as they counted down the steps.

It was a bittersweet night for the seniors who were performing together for the last time. While they were clearly excited about what the future holds after high school, a note of nostalgia filled the room as they reminisced over their performances of the past four years.

The high school?s Dessert Theatre is a fan favorite and one of the most important fundraisers for the music department. Parents of students and people in the community donate desserts and their time to transform the gymnasium each year, which means the ticket cost is almost all revenue.

Just as importantly, it is the last performance of the year for the show choir and jazz band.

?It is bittersweet,? senior Wyatt Carlston said. ?It?s the last thing, but you get done and a weight lifts off you. No more memorizing. No more rehearsing. A weight has been lifted off you. Makes it a lot easier to get through life after the whole high school thing.?

The theme of the night was burlesque, which emcee for the night Adam Creager described as a ?bootleg, club joint ambience.? Patrons were ushered to the gym through a makeshift hallway, their shoulders brushed with gold streamers as they walked through the double doors.

Soloists this weekend were Joey Holtkamp, Beatrice Fitten, Wyatt Carlston, Meagan Sutherland, Garrett Maddy, Cara Canby, Callie DePriest, Lucas Lee, Levi Puig, and Ellie and Annika Rynders.

The real show stopper, however, was the famed dessert set, which followed intermission. To prepare, students were broken into groups and assigned a song by DePriest. After that, however, they were given free reign of the piece, taking what they have learned throughout the year and applying it to the vocal arrangement and movements.

In the audience, Nelson and Ruth Sutherland waited for their daughter Meagan Sutherland?s solo of ?Hallelujah.? Even though Nelson said that the end of show choir season is always a relief, Ruth said her husband cried during his daughter?s last high school performance.

Before her performance, Meagan said she didn?t have a favorite part of dessert theatre because all of it is fun for the students. ?It?s also very exciting because it?s our last chance to put ourselves on stage and make it a good show,? she said.

While senior MPCHS students Qian Qian Ye, Beatrice Fitten and Katie Ensminger agreed with Meagan, they also all agreed that the performance held some sadness.

Even so, Ye said with such a highlight on which to end her music career, she is OK with moving on and Fitten said it?s a great showcase of what high school students are capable of.

?People underestimate our talent as a group,? Fitten said. ?It?s really nice people are really supportive of us. A lot of high schools don?t have that.?

One example of this talent is Ensminger?s choreography for one of the pieces of the night ?Let Me Entertain You.?

Asked by Vocal Music Teacher Marlene DePriest to organize the choreography, Ensminger said she completed the task in two hours one night and had her sister preview her solo living room performance to make sure it looked uniform.

Ensminger has been in show choir since seventh grade. and according to Fitten, has been dancing ?since she was in the womb.?

The camaraderie of the students continued as they reminisced on all their performances of the last four years and talked about the joy of being noticed as a performer by some of the younger students and people in the community.

?You put good memories into your heart,? Meagan said. ?It always makes you feel good when little kids look up to you.?

Ensminger said that one of the unique aspects of Dessert Theatre as a performer is that the 60 plus students in show choir, band and crew come together to create this show. ?Outside of this, we?re such different people, but in this we come together and get along so well,? she said.

While the four seniors were calm and collected as Jazz Band was busy performing the first set of Dessert Theatre, Ye assured that while it?s fun and enjoyable to watch, moments before the students take the stage, they will be stressed and on unfriendly terms with one another.

?Where?s my other shoe? Who has my other shoe? Where?s my dress?? Ye exclaimed as an example of the chaos that ensues when it?s almost time for the choir to perform.

?Afterward, we?re all friends again,? Ensminger said, looking to Ye with a smile.

Dessert Theatre is also an exciting transition for middle school students, whose show choir performed during the show on Sunday, April 15. The middle schoolers served desserts during intermission and enjoyed imagining themselves in the shoes of the high school students.

?Middle school show choir is like a beginner experience,? said freshman Brock Myers. ?Now we?re part of a bigger team. ? The best part about this is everyone is coming together and doing what we do best. Afterward, we get to eat the leftover desserts.?

?It was a really interesting experience as a first timer being here,? middle school student Chloe Bolin said.