November evening performance offerings in the Burgin Center for the Arts' Simon Theatre include the Fall Dance Concert Saturday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m. and the Fall Pops Concert Saturday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m. Both are free and open to the public.
The Fall Dance Concert will be a roughly 90-minute show, spanning all dance genres: ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, tap, and theater dance. "It's a variety show for sure," says Kelsy Rupp, Mercersburg's interim director of dance. "The students are really showcasing their talents and their work to the best of their abilities, and they've been working really hard."
Rupp, who is in her first year at Mercersburg, choreographed the show along with visiting faculty Hans Nelson (ballet), Nicole Ruark (theater/tap), Emma Maurer '18 (contemporary), and Michael Reyes (hip hip). Student choreographers include Steven Yang '23, Coco Zhai '24, Cricket Tatone '24, and Kali Tembo '23.
"I'm super excited to be directing my first show at Mercersburg," says Rupp. "But I'm most excited to see the kids get up there and have their first normal performance since COVID and share it with the Mercersburg Academy community and the community at large. It's going to be a great show."
A week following the dance concert, Mercersburg's Jazz Band, a cappella groups Magalia and Octet, and the Chorale will take the stage for the Fall Pops Concert.
The Jazz Band will perform such highlights as "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire and "Gonna Fly Now," the theme from the movie "Rocky."
Preparation for the performance is "always revved up!" says Bryan Morgan '07, director of the Jazz Band and Chorale. "We don't have time to waste, especially in Jazz Band. We focus on our goal of sounding the best we can, but most importantly, we have fun doing it!"
The Octet, Mercersburg's original a cappella group founded before the school was co-ed, and the Magalia, Mercersburg's a cappella group for treble singers, will each take the stage separately. They will also join together to perform as the Magtet.
The Octet will sing a song arranged by Francis Betkoski '23, and the Magtet will sing a song arranged by Mercersburg's music fellow, Julia Campbell. "I have been asked not to reveal any song titles!" says Jim Brinson, director of the a cappella groups. "I am looking forward to seeing and hearing how our smaller groups will perform. They are amazing! I just want everyone to come and enjoy some fine singing!"
The Chorale will conclude the show with the Stevie Wonder classic "Isn't She Lovely."
As far as audience participation, Morgan says, "Be loud and cheer often! These student musicians are going to put on a wonderful show because they've put in the work!"