AHS music department earns rave reviews for Shrek production

All who experienced the Aurora Music Department’s presentation of Shrek the Musical left the theater thoroughly impressed last week, not only with the musical talent they heard, but also the passion and shared energy these young people brought to the stage.
It was funny. It was entertaining. It was uplifting. And in a sense, art reflected life, or vice versa, as it shared messages of hope, friendship and being yourself, much like the jolly green ogre discovered on his musical journey.
The bar has been set high for the Aurora musical, and Shrek cleared that bar with ease. AHS has been blessed for years to have such strong vocal and instrumental music programs, which we see year in and year out with quality performances from the marching band, pep band, Rhapsody and other ensembles. What’s so cool about the every-other-year musical is that it shines the spotlight on the entire music department and gives younger students something to look forward to in another couple years.
Some of the students we have come to know as active teens stepped up big time under the Shrek spotlight, hitting the high notes while also falling into character. Director Jason Frew and Co. could not have selected a better script, as the Shrek cast seemed a perfect match for this year’s vocal talent. Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and Lord Farquaad, in particular, were spot on in terms of matching personalities and voice with the well-known animated characters made famous by the 2001 fantasy comedy.
Putting on a production of this scale takes a whole lot of focused attention and just plain hard work, which was a valuable lesson in itself for young people. There were surely moments during repeated late-night rehearsals that some wondered: a) Are all these songs, lines and steps going to come together by Opening Night?; and b) Is all this extra effort really worth it?
The answers to both of those questions were plain to see by the expressions on their made-up faces. Those kids were having the time of their lives, soaking up the moment in front of four packed houses, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Director Frew and everyone involved get two thumbs way, way, way up for a Shrek performance that left its cast, crew and audience feeling better about themselves.
 Kurt Johnson

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