A pair of eerie gates, complete with miniature gargoyles, sit at the back of the RBHS Performing Arts Center. They sit in anticipation, waiting for the curtains to pull apart, waiting for the RBHS show choirs to begin their annual winter premiere.
The gates feature as a set piece for the City Lights show, which centers around a theme of craziness, mental illness and eventual recovery. This is a new, unusual concept for the group to explore, and many are excited about their personal interpretation.
“The theme is mental illness,” senior City Lights member Jaynell Lardizabal said. “There’s a lot of idea and inspiration behind it. I think it’ll appeal to a lot of people, because we’re showing we’re not oblivious to the different emotions people encounter in their everyday lives. The entire message we’re sending is that ‘it’s gonna be okay.’ And I think people will like that.”
Lardizabal says the premiere is where everything begins. It is the first time the choirs perform in front of a large-scale audience, before their festival this coming Saturday. There’s added anticipation and excitement, as each member prepares to dance and sing for their classmates and parents.
“I used to be really nervous but now I’m just stoked,” Lardizabal said. “Because it’s [my] last first [show], and my mindset is just positive and energetic.”
Show choir members from both City Lights and the all-female choir, Satin ‘N Lace, marched through the halls today with matching T-shirts and hair in sock buns. Yet, this is only the beginning of the preparation process. Girls will later curl their hair, add excessive make-up and false eyelashes, then climb into glittering dresses with silver shoes. Satin ‘N Lace girls, performing a 40’s themed show, will shape their curls into “victory rolls”. Boys will dress in long black coats and, eventually, sharp silver suits. As the audience members clamber for seats, the show choirs will be rushing into place.
“We’re usually a hot mess [before the show starts] and then we just pull everything together last-minute,” Lardizabal said. “And the premiere is like our first real performance so all the adrenaline and all the months of hard work and rigor are behind our show. It sets the tone [for the rest of the year].”
Members are hoping for a large audience at tonight’s show, as they prepare to showcase their set for other competitive choirs this weekend. There’s a lot for the choirs to offer and a lot for the audience to see, Lardizabal said.
“We’re like choir kids on crack,” Lardizabal said. “[People] should come because we’re Rock Bridge, we’re representing our school, and [show choir] isn’t a sport, and it’s not quite a fine art … It’s a really cool experience as an audience member.”
The show begins at 7 p.m. tonight, Jan. 10, and will last between 40 minutes and an hour.
By Lauren Puckett
Additional reporting by Daphne Yu