Story and photos by CHRISTIANA NIELSON
When the curtain lifted, a larger than life “RB” that blinked with alternating lights drew all eyes to center stage.
Then came the sound of guitars and drums that bellowed throughout the auditorium.
With this, Rock Bridge High School turned into a “school of rock” at 7 p.m. on April 22 for its 30th annual student talent show, CAPERS, held in the Performing Arts Center.
Numerous talents were showcased at CAPERS. With rock bands, classical and acoustic guitar performances, solo and hip-hop dance, vocal duets and acapella singing, the show did not lack for diversity and even included several original compositions.
According to band director Steve Mathews, Rock Bridge’s talent show is the longest running in Columbia. Assistant band director Robert Thalhuber, who directed the pit orchestra for the show, participated in CAPERS when he was a student at the school.
“Every year it’s nerve-racking because there are only two rehearsals with everyone,” Thalhuber said. “But the students’ learning curve is exponential.”
David Bones, assistant principal of the school, said the show was sold out.
Instead of a typical master of ceremonies, an automated, unseen voice named “Qwerty 2000” presided over the show until students DJ Roebuck and Evan Kleekamp succeeded in theatrically destroying the tyrannical computer.
As for the talent, auditions for the show started at the beginning of March. Thalhuber said the directors showcase a wide variety of performances at CAPERS.
One such performer was senior Stephanie Neves, who sang Lady Antebellum’s “I Run to You,” in a duet with John-Michael Emmons.
“It was excitement and nervousness,” said Neves, whose partner became anxious backstage before they performed. “But the adrenaline starts to hit you. You start singing, and it’s done.”
Excitement also grew in the audience as the show progressed. Junior Taylor Payne said it is always fun to see good friends on stage.
“You get to see a different side of them,” Payne said. “All these kids put hard work into it.”
Junior Emily Burks saw this hard work in practice when her friend Kayla Burri, senior, practiced frequently in the main commons in the time leading up to the show.
“I did CAPERS last year, but this is the first year I was singing,” Burri said. She appeared in the show four times, singing and playing the guitar with different performers.
“We’ve played together before,” Burri said. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Junior Kyle Sherman, who sang a duet and performed an acapella version of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” with a group, said he has performed many times before, including at Columbia’s The Blue Note.
“I do theater and choir,” Sherman said. “It’s just fun being on stage.”
Below the stage, the pit orchestra also played a large role in adding to the talent of the show. Doug Privitt, father of trumpet player Drew Privitt, said it was the first time he has come to CAPERS.
“It’s fun to see lots of kids doing what they enjoy doing,” Doug Privitt said.
Linda Fentress, mother of sophomore Michael Fentress, said she was amazed at the level of professional talent.
Michael, who was part of the hip-hop dance group “Five73” that closed the show, said he was not too nervous about performing because he had done other talent shows and practiced for CAPERS for two hours a day for the past week and a half.
This dedication certainly paid off for all the musicians and dancers.
Overture: Pit Band
Rock band — Ransom for the Righteous — Alex Norton, Trevor Walker, Daniel Lowery and Max Dozier
• “Blind To What I Know” by Ransom for the Righteous
Duet — Austin Kolb and Kayla Burri
• “You and Me” by Austin Kolb
Rap — Matt Taylor
• “I Could Use a Lady Friend” by Matt Taylor
Solo dance — Hannah Campbell
• “Sideways” by Citizen Cope
• Choreographed by Hannah Campbell
Vocal duet — Kyle Sherman and Shelby Ringdahl. Accompanist — Alexandra Godas
• “All the Wasted Time” by Jason Robert Brown
Duet — Michael Reed and Kayla Burri
• “Crooked Teeth” by Death Cab for Cutie
Vocal duet — Stephanie Neves and John-Michael Emmons
• “I Run To You” by Lady Antebellum
Classical guitar — Cyrille Goldstein
• “Tango en Skai” by Roland Dyens
Blues band — The Little Debbie Ho Ho’s — Walt Beeson, John “JB” Burleson, Diego Huaman and Alex Upton
• “Every Day I Have the Blues” by B.B. King
Overture: Pit Band
Rock band — Only Against Falcons — Brandon McGonigle, Alex Mertzlufft, Michael Bush, Kyle Pudenz and Matt Nemec
• “Murder Inside of Me” by Only Against Falcons
Acoustic guitar — Kayla Burri and Austin Kolb
• “Just Words” and “Yours to Keep” by Kayla Burri
Dance — Kahley Amiot, Shannon Amiot, Courtney Cooksey and Penny Komes
• “Say Hey” by Michael Franti
Guitar — Diego Huaman
• “Neon” by John Mayer
Vocal group — Hannah Overfelt, Hannah Pancoast, Kristen Thackery, Mandy Scoles, Allie Blaylock, Morgan Manson, Stephen Welsh, Brian Dresner, Kyle Sherman, Justin Pierce and Dane Johnson
• “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay
Trio — Michael Reed, Danielle Bandy and Sean Despins
• “Sorry Song” by Michael Reed, Danielle Bandy and Sean Despins
Vocal duet — Jessie Iveson and Timothy Robertson
• “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Ukulele — Dan Hainsworth
• “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie
Dance group — “Five73” — Landon Fitzpatrick, Michael Fentress, Syed Ejaz, Dedrick Gates, Yong Lee and Arjun Khurana
• “How Low” by Ludacris
• “I Wanna Rock” by Snoop Dogg
• “I Can Transform Ya” by Chris Brown
Curtain Call: Pit Band