Free State High’s Encore variety show returns this week with 25th anniversary celebration

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Free State High School senior Taylor Lewis sings "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston.

Free State High School’s Encore variety show is on tap this week, and the school’s choir program is hoping to draw plenty of applause as it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the annual performance.

Upperclassmen in Free State’s choir program will put on shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. This will mark the 25th year since Free State’s first Encore performance during the spring of 1998. It’ll also be the second year since Encore returned following a two-year hiatus during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Free State High School senior Lily Otter sings a solo during a rehearsal of “Bottom of the River.”

Free State’s director of choirs, Joshua East, told the Journal-World earlier this week that students always take the lead to make the show happen. While professional live musicians serve as accompanists, and East and associate director of choral activities Olivia Henning serve as directors, the students select the music, decide on the choreography and handle the vast majority of rehearsing on their own. He said about 100 students were involved either on stage or behind the scenes.

East said students started working on or conceptualizing some of the numbers a full year ago. Musical acts will span a wide range, including solos, duets, small and large groups, and full ensemble songs.

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Free State High School upperclassmen sing a medley of Daft Punk songs during a Monday, March 20, 2023 dress rehearsal.

The Journal-World attended a dress rehearsal Monday night and heard songs ranging from a medley of Daft Punk hits to a trio performance of “Wide Open Spaces” by The Chicks. The opener, “Lift You Up,” stays the same every year, but students are bucking a tradition this year and introducing “I’ve Got the Music in Me” as a new closing song.

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

From left to right, Free State High School seniors Olivia Goeser, Evie Stull and Grace Malin sing “Wide Open Spaces.”

Tickets for Encore, all general admission, are $10 and are available for advance purchase from the finance office at Free State, 4700 Overland Drive, or at the door for each performance.


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