The Uptown Music Collective students are ready to take the stage for yet another exciting and unforgettable spring performance - this year's theme: "Killer Queen."
Twenty-eight students between the ages of 9 and 18 will perform various hit songs by the legendary band, Queen, at 7:30 p.m. April 26 and 27 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
"We will be performing most of Queen's best-known material including, 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'You're my Best Friend,' 'Bicycle Race,' 'Somebody to Love' and 'Tie Your Mother Down,' " said Dave Brumbaugh, executive director at the Uptown Music Collective.
Brumbaugh said the students will be paying homage to Queen by dressing in the style of the band and also adopting a few of the individual members' signature moves.
"While we will be doing note-for-note renditions of the songs, we also like to infuse our performances with our students' personalities," he said. "They bring such a youthful vigor and passion to the stage that we try not to muddy that up with specific roles and characters."
The theme of the show was decided and announced to the students last summer and Brumbaugh said director Shannon Cantor and assistant director Tess Marshall, both Loyalsock Township High School seniors, have wanted to do a Queen show since their freshman year. He felt it was a perfect time for them to do this as their final spring show with the Collective.
"This show is especially exciting! Queen is not only one of the greatest classic rock groups, with so many legendary hits, but is also one of my favorites," Cantor said. "Everyone who is playing in the show is amazing and has the ability to rise to the challenge of the music to make this the best Collective show to date."
Dylan Rockoff, LTHS junior, said he was a bit intimidated when he first heard the theme of this year's show.
"I was unsure whether I could do any Queen songs justice, vocally," Rockoff said. "But with hard work, focus and a great deal of study, I think I'm ready to do my best Freddie."
The show's stage set will be one of the most elaborate setups the Collective has put together for any show yet, Brumbaugh said.
"It will, hopefully, rival last year's 'Unforgettable Fire's' rooftop ending, setting a new standard for Uptown Music Collective performances,'' he added.
The light and sound show also will be organized by the students. Twelve "Tech Monkeys," younger Collective students, will serve as stage technicians, spotlight and video operators.
Along with Cantor, Marshall and Rockoff, the Student Leadership Committee for the show includes Nuria Hunter and Gabe Stillman, Williamsport Area High School seniors; Katie Kahn, WAHS junior; Tess Clutter, WAHS sophomore; Jasmine Harlan, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School junior; and Shawn Chism, PACCS sophomore.
"I am excited and proud that my senior show will be a tribute to Queen," said Hunter. "This band is iconic yet often over looked - people don't realize the number of Queen songs that they already know ... This show is a fantastic challenge for us as music students, but I have complete faith we can deliver the greatest Collective show yet."
The students are given more time to prepare and rehearse for the spring show than their other performances throughout the year. They rehearsed about two times a week for the first two months after learning their show assignments, with practices intensifying as the show got closer, Brumbaugh said.
"I definitely enjoy having more time than most things we do to prepare," Chism said. "But on the other side, the complexity of the music going to be performed is a challenge for even the most experienced kids around, I am sure."
Stillman said he likes all of the songs chosen for the show, but they also are challenging enough to keep the student performers "under pressure."
"As far as the music goes, anyone who is a fan of Queen knows their songs are no cakewalk," Stillman said. "The vocal melodies have a tremendous range and the instrumental parts to many of the songs are incredibly intricate ... I think that this show will once again set the benchmark as to what the Uptown Music Collective students can accomplish."
Tickets for the performances may be bought at a discounted rate in advance at the Community Arts Center box office, the Uptown Music Collective, 848 W. Fourth St., Alabaster Coffee Roaster and Tea Co., 410 Pine St., and K&S Music, 1116 W. Southern Ave. Tickets also will be available at the Community Arts Center both nights of the performance.
For more information about "Killer Queen" or the Uptown Music Collective, visit www.uptownmusic.org or call 329-0888.