In The News

The show goes on at Los Altos High in Hacienda Heights

By Richard Irwin, Staff
Posted:   02/13/2012 10:38:38 AM PST

The production show choir during a dress rehearsal at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights. (Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)

The Los Altos show choir has a lot to show for all the hard work it's put in since rehearsals began in August.

The Hacienda Heights production choir moved into high gear when it went up against other "glee clubs" last weekend. But if recent rehearsals are any indication, the Conquerors should do well again this year.

"While the TV show 'Glee' has improved the image of show choirs, it has caused unreasonable expectations," explained director Amanda Benavides. "On the show, the kids produce a different show in one week. High school performers can't do that."

Which explains why the Los Altos singers have been practicing their new show for more than five months. Between the singing and dancing, the production has jelled

The Los Altos show choir rehearses for an upcoming competition. (Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)

into an entertaining show.

"We'll perform six different numbers during the 17-minute show. Our songs range from 'Aquarius' to 'Hey Sole Sister,'" Benavides noted.

The kids were belting out their show tunes as they rehearsed their choreography under the watchful eyes of choreographer Doug Lau.

From his perch high atop a step stool, Lau made careful notes to polish the dance movements of the choir.

"Don't look so stiff, smile and look excited," Lau chided the young performers.

The Los Altos students reset time and time again until they had the choreography down pat. Not an easy thing to do while singing at the top of your lungs.

The young performers even made helpful suggestions as the production

numbers rolled across the floor of the Hacienda Room at the local high school.

More than 30 students packed the dance floor — 16 seniors, 13 juniors, three sophomores and a freshman.

"Performers have to audition for our show choir. A freshman has to be outstanding to make it the first year," Benavides said.

The maturity of the singers showed as the melodies floated above the high school campus, drawing visitors wondering where all the music was coming from.

Alexis Andom has been a member of the production choir for the past three years. The 17-year-old soprano seemed happy with the latest production.

"I was so happy when I passed my audition. It's been a lot of hard work, but I think it has all be worth it," Alexis added.

The choir director has seen the young men and women blossom as performers. Singers like 17-year-old Carlos Lozano.

"This is my second year with the choir. I sing bass," the soft-spoken senior said.

But his powerful bass booms out as the choir segues into a section of its performance.

The mixed show choirs competes at an intermediate level. Los Altos often places high in the yearly competitions.

The choirs had been directed by Dwight Fichtner

The production show choir performs a number at Los Altos High. (Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham)

until his retirement in June of 2009. Benavides has been the director since the fall of 2009.

"This is my third year. I direct four groups here and one at Orange Grove Middle School," the choir director said. "As you can tell, I enjoy working with the young performers. I think they're very talented."

Like many other student organizations, the Los Altos show choir counts on fundraisers to raise money for costumes and other equipment.

They will offer a cabaret show on March 8 and 9 at the high school. Tickets are $10.

"We're serving different desserts during an entertaining show with lots of song and dance," Benavides promised.

Meanwhile, the high school performers will continue to ask audiences young and old to "let the sunshine in."

626-962-8811, ext. 2801


Written by Stephanie Bishop Saturday, 05 November 2011 23:58

                 Wednesday, October 26 marked the day of choir’s Fall Premiere Concert. Amanda Benavides, choir director, organized the set by combining all the school’s choirs in order to create a delightful arrangement of musical

                The evening started off with all of the choirs singing the traditional “Star Spangled Banner,” which was soon followed by the Vocal Ensemble section of choir. The group performed a total of four lovely songs, including “Song of the River” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Performing with all they had, the soloists of the section grabbed the attention of the audience with their charm.
                Following Vocal Ensemble was LA Harmony… +2, who earned the name by being a mostly female group with the exception of two male students. The group performed a set of enjoyable songs including “When Love is Kind” and “Lullaby of Broadway.” The +2 of the group of performers evoked a few chuckles from the audience by adding a few of  their own humorous moves into “He’s Gone Away.”
                After LA Harmony… +2 wrapped up their performance, it was only a matter of moments before Women’s Ensemble took the stage. This talented  group began their set with “Et in Terra Pax” and closed with “Sincerely.” Their music had the audience in awe as the performers sang from their hearts.
                Soon after, Production Choir made its way to the stage and wowed the audience with their peppy tunes and creative dance moves. They performed magnificently to songs such as “And So it Goes,” “Pasaje,” and “Java Jive.” PC gave an all-out performance and stunned the audience with their charm and creativity.
                To close the show, all of the choirs combined once again in order to perform Los Altos High School’s alma mater.