After a hiatus due to the pandemic, The KW Glee Club and the KW Symphony finally managed this week to team up again for a concert.
Due to the pandemic, the concert was postponed three times. The kids will be singing pop song favourites, including music by Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson, all backed up by the KW Symphony.
The young performers are under the tutelage of artistic director Amanda Kind and music director Steve Lehmann.
“The best part about being in Glee is being on stage with your friends,” said Jillian Nunan, a member of the club who recently graduated from Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School in Guelph. This is Nunan’s fourth year with the club. She joined because her older sister was in it, she said
“The whole show week is the most exhilarating part. I would say that it’s the same for any kind of performance art, but specifically for Glee, being on stage and singing with your friends doing what you love most with the people you love most. And the chemistry on stage is crazy every time. It’s so much fun.”
Nunan will be performing a few solos in the show, including during a mash-up of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours as well as the show’s original song, Remember Today, she said.
She’s also looking forward to the mash-up of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston songs, a Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé medley and another medley of Bond theme songs including the newer contributions from Billie Eilish and Adele.
“I want people to know how hard everyone has worked on (the performance),” said Ronan Hayes, a Grade 12 student at Centennial Collegiate in Guelph.
“Amanda and Steve obviously run it and they are a huge part of what makes it really great. But there’s a big team of people working, like choreographers and dance captains. They all help us learn everything. But at the end of the day, it comes down to us to practice at home and practice working together and putting in hours and hours outside of rehearsal.
“If [people] want to come to the show, what they’re coming to see is just the amount of work that we have put in outside of school because of how much we love performing and singing and dancing.”
The concert features more than 150 kids ages 9 to 20 who take turns performing, and then come together at the end, said Kind.
“It’s been postponed three times already, and the third time’s the charm,” said Kind. “So we’re finally back and the students are so excited. I think singing together is something that they deeply missed during the pandemic. The way these kids interact with each other and get to sing together, I have the pleasure of watching them do little videos on social media and it’s really fun.
“I think people when they think about kids’ choir, they just can’t imagine what the talent level might be. But, truly, this area of southern Ontario, we have some of the most talented kids you’ve ever seen in your life and when people come to the show, usually their jaws drop, because they just can’t believe what they’re hearing.”
The show includes full choreography.
Nunan said the choreography of each song is taught on Monday evenings, and each student is responsible for practicing and rehearsing it on their own. “It’s a lot of responsibility.”
Kind says the show is meant for all ages, and that they perform a variety of songs so that there is something for everyone.
As well, this year the group is performing with special gue
st Yaa Yaa, a Ghanaian singer and performer who helped write an original song for the group to perform, as well as coached the kids for their finale performance of The Circle of Life.
Glee started in 2010 as an idea while Kind was teaching at The Renaissance School of the Arts. When they first started, the KW Glee Club had 40 singers and performed their concert in a local church, said Kind.
Since then the group has grown to include more than 150 kids in multiple Glee Clubs divided by age group including grades 1 to 3, 4 to 8 and 9 to 12. In 2014, The KW Symphony had reached out to do their first collaboration, and now this will be the fourth time the organizations perform together.
The Glee Club meets for full rehearsals on Saturdays and the senior group meets on Mondays for practice.
Kind says the older kids rehearse for seven hours a week. “It’s like a sports league, everyone commits and works together.”
Next, Kind says they are launching a Glee Club for adults, and songwriting classes for the kids.
“I can only tell you that we are continually shocked by the demand [for Glee Club] and the joy that people take in it,” said Kind.
“Our organization offers opportunities for almost anybody of any age, and that coming to see the show is the best way to figure out what we do. If you’re interested in it, and are an aspiring singer or you just love music, coming to see the show is a great way to kind of understand what we do.”
“If there’s anyone out there who feels like they don’t belong, and they love to sing and dance and to share the stage with people, they should definitely audition,” said Nunan.
More information can be found online at www.kwsymphony.ca.