Zombie dancers of all ages take over Oak Harbor High School

Oak Harbor High School Choir Club president Shani King teaches a group the dance moves to
Oak Harbor High School Choir Club president Shani King teaches a group the dance moves to 'Thriller.'
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

Zombie shakes and growls filled the Oak Harbor High School gym Saturday as Whidbey Islanders showed up to join the ranks of the dancing undead.

Oak Harbor High School Choir Club students taught more than 50 community members of all ages the moves to “Thriller,” by the late Michael Jackson, in preparation for their own island domination in “Thrill the Island,” a music video that will be filmed Saturday, March 10 from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Pioneer Way in Oak Harbor.

Choir director Darren McCoy supervised the rehearsal but let the students do all the teaching.

“I’m trying to make it as much of a student-led thing as possible. It’s all about students learning how to do something like this,” McCoy said. The students will gain experience teaching, dancing, filming and more.

“I hope that through projects like this, the school can become more connected to the community,” McCoy said.

The choir’s word this year is “synergy” and they’ve been working hard to become more connected to the community. Choir students have participated in Whidbey Playhouse productions and the Show Choir is featured in their current production, “Wish Upon a Star.” Choir students will also be involved in the upcoming District Music Festival, in which fifth through 12th grade choirs get together to sing.

“I think what I’m most impressed about is the number of students who volunteered to be here on a Saturday,” McCoy said, adding that some of them performed in shows late the night before and Saturday night.

At the rehearsal, McCoy said he recognized people he knows from the Whidbey Playhouse, local churches, dance classes he taught in Coupeville and students who aren’t part of Choir Club. In addition, 20 more Show Choir students will participate in the video.

“I could see this amount of people walking around downtown and it would be enough,” McCoy said.

One of the younger participants was 8-year-old Troux Gilpin, who’s been doing Michael Jackson moves for the past few years. He enjoys learning dance moves on YouTube and practicing them in his room.

“I figured we’d take him out here because they might be looking for small zombies,” said his dad, Dustin Theisen.

Theisen added that Gilpin stole the show at a wedding recently when he danced to “Thriller.”

Also participating was Suzie DuPuis.

“I love the ‘Thriller’ choreography and it sounded like fun so I started to round up my friends to do it,” DuPuis said.

Watch out for the undead horde on March 10 and also look for the students at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the windmill in Oak Harbor March 17.

For information, find “Thrill the Island” on Facebook or contact choir director Darren McCoy at 279-5829.


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