Show shakes high school

Fears of repeating an embarrassing stage performance may keep people out of the limelight for years. Some people — like Cory Winget — manage to conquer their fears and continue a stage career. Winget’s rendition of “Little Bunny Foo Foo” three years ago so traumatized him, he couldn’t perform the song Friday night, despite continued pleas from his adoring audience.

“I was humiliated as a freshman and couldn’t sing it again,” he said after Hootenanny 2004’s end Friday night.

“It, it was too hard,” he stammered.

This confession of shattered self-confidence came from a guy who appeared on stage in drag four times: once in a beaded royal-blue evening gown; twice in a tailored suit and wig; once in a skimpy shift.

Hootenanny, Oak Harbor High School’s annual talent show, always contains somewhat risque behavior and social commentary along with music and sometimes-hokey humor.

“It’s been stressful,” Pam Dupa, Hootenanny committee member, said with relief. “But it’s been fun and worth it,” the junior added.

The show’s skits offered amalgams of reality and cable-access TV shows. “Fear Factor” fans didn’t get to see contestants tackle the rat-o-matic. Instead, students called from the audience chugged cups of cocktail blended from sardines, mustard, clam juice, relish and other culinary delicacies.

Technical difficulties, wardrobe malfunctions and revealtory rumors about teachers (nipple rings and closeted hip-hop stars) added to the show.

“Everyone pulled together really well,” Keely Smollack said. Smollack saw her share of wardrobe issues.

“I was helping Cory on and off with the dresses,” she said. Tasha Spurgeon and Will Witmer joined Keely and Witmer as masters of ceremonies.

The entire production occupied numerous students. Videography students operated lights, sound and action with professional equipment including four cameras. Video projected on a movie screen assured the audience of a good view of the stage. In Parker Hall, good views from every seat aren’t assured. Nor is good sound. Acoustics are notoriously awful, often swallowing or distorting voices and music.

One group, “Curiosity,” could have had a raging case of stage fright. Their a capella song might have been reduced to microphone feedback. Instead, Amy Butler, Zonja Salter and Angelica Cooper’s strong, pure voices had the audience on their feet as did several bands.

“Whitni (Schurr) rocks!” Senior Rachel Palterine said.

“Whitni, Torey Massey and Jason Radkte were amazing, the best ever,” Kyle Burlington, also a senior, agreed.

Videography student Samantha Summers thought Nick Wallsteadt’s and Rob Ezell’s rendition of “Tears in Heaven” was the show’s hightlight.

“And they were in tune, some people weren’t,” the senior said, winding yards of video cable for storage.

Arnold Gailo made his Hootenanny debut in 2004. The freshman only recently began playing the guitar but seems a natural at it. Gailo, Van Teodosio, Jerome Theriault, Justin Williams and Dillon Johnson’s opening act, “Rifle and Daises,” paid tribute to “Guns N’ Roses.” Wavy-headed Gailo played “Slash,” the heavy metal group’s top-hat wearing guitarist. After intermission, Gailo joined Radio Flyer with Jake Sullivan, Trevor Kjargaard and Mike Ryan.

Gailo enjoyed his first Hootenanny and plans to return in 2005.

Cory Winget will (hopefully) graduate in 2005 but he gained insight into life at his last Hootenanny.

“I don’t know how to sit in a dress,” he said.

That’s an important lesson in the stage education of every male performer.

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