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Lip Syncs take the stage

posted Apr 19, 2019, 9:19 AM by Andrew Tichy
By: Mckenzie Broers 

Every quarter Moorhead High school hosts its celebrated lip syncs. Where Mrs. Dawn Gunderson’s two current beginning acting classes perform a lip sync routine of their very own. But the performance is far more complicated than it sounds. Each team of amateur thespians must plan what music, costumes, makeup, props, and choreography to use in order to convey the authenticity of their song. The song selection is primarily from musical and movie soundtracks. In addition to each team must make sure lighting and stage effects remain in sync with their choreography and music audio.

The lip syncs that week held quite a turn out of interesting performances. Many of the acts performed well known songs from popular musicals. The lineup for that performance were as followed. Starting the show off were “The Goddesses”, with group members Gail Gross, Ashley Nill, Ashna Oray, Emily Swenson, and Domenica Yanez Arroyo. The same group of girls performed ¨Cell Block Tango¨ as the ¨Six Married Murderesses¨. This time they performed their hearts out to “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from the Disney movie Hercules.  Following them was the very popular “Heathers” group. This group included Director Maddy Daugherty, Assistant Director Kellie Kahler. And group members: Vivien Smith, Samantha Morris, Ava Ringuette, and Jazmin Tamez. These ladies performed the very iconic song “Candy Store” from the musical Heathers. Taking the third performance was the Insane Eight, featuring Director: Owen Seewald, Assistant Director: Abdirahman Ahmed. And group members Toby Gbah, Brody Carlsrud, Tim Finley, Alexander Huot, Luqman Ali, and Tyrin Drake. This group of boys performed “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from the Lion King.

The fourth act was the Dreamers, starring Director Precious McKinzie, Assistant Director Destiny TeJohn, and group members Destiny Lindsey, Ayong Gabriel, and Ayesha Maasjo. This group of girls danced to Mamma Mia’s well known song “Dancing Queen”. And ending the show was the group Tangled Mess, featuring Director Brooklyn Schmidt, Assistant Director Sara Williams. And group members McKenzie Broers, Vajin “AJ” Barzani, Kevin Rosner, JerriLane Hutt, and Sumaya Abdi. This final act performed the song “I’ve Got a Dream” from the Disney movie Tangled.

The lip syncs hold quite a bit of a history in Moorhead High theater program. Mrs. Gunderson may currently supervise the lip syncs, but she confessed that they were not her idea. The idea for lip syncs originally came from Mrs. Rebecca Meyer-Larson. When moving to teach acting at the high school, Mrs. Gunderson took the torch of lip syncs out of Meyer-Larson’s hands. She has continued to honor Meyer-Larson’s legacy for almost twenty years.

Being the theater fanatic and teacher she is, Mrs. Gunderson also plays many parts in making sure these performances run smoothly. From putting up posters, making announcements on the loudspeaker, and booking the theater for the day of performances. To managing the stage with the help of Becca Green and tech students Scout Holding Eagle and Ethan Bates.

When interviewing Gunderson for how she thought the performances went she had quite a bit to say. Her overall view of the performances for that day was positive given the amount of time they had to put them together. But one detail that stood out  was when she mentioned the growth she saw with some groups, particularly The Insane Eight and The Dreamers. At first when both groups began to practice for their performances they either refused to practice or got off task very quickly. What fixed this problem was Owen Seewald, the Insane Eight’s director taking the position as leader of his group. As for the Dreamers, it was only a matter of Gunderson encouraging greater confidence in their performance.

Mrs. Gunderson made the comment that one of the goals of theater is to enhance the confidence of the students. And to show them they shouldn’t be afraid to let their emotions out and “get weird”. After the show, several students, including Luqman Ali, Vajin “AJ” Barazani, and Ashley Nill, shared their thoughts on the experience.

A number of the students who performed had very little theater experience and stated that this was their first theatrical performance. When being asked what it was like for them on stage, there were quite a few different answers. They had been practicing for a number of weeks prior to this moment, and when the moment in the spotlight arrived all of them claimed to have went with it. All of those students gave their A game in that performance, and many stated that they would do this again. These lip syncs show that Beginning Acting’s mission for enhanced confidence is a success.