River students love to perform

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Looking for an encounter in American teenage culture? At Nansemond River High School, it’s all there for the experiencing.

There’s a band that finished in the top 10 in a national competition last year. There’s a drama club that just completed the best performance in school history. There’s some of the district’s leading choral singers. And, for the next few weeks, there will be one of the area’s highest-anking boys basketball teams.


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Over the past few months, the school’s Thespian Society commandeered the school’s stage, rehearsing for the Virginia High School League competition. After finishing fourth last year, the team was determined to go even higher.

&uot;After seeing us perform it twice,&uot; said assistant director Heather Santee, &uot;I thought we had a chance of getting at least second or third. I think it was better that the piece last year.&uot;

In the title role, Kim Boone remembered looking out at the Indian River High School auditorium, which is roughly one-fourth bigger than


&uot;It felt intimidating,&uot; she said. &uot;But it didn’t really feel different. I thought we were doing the best we could have done.&uot;

They weren’t the only ones; out of the eight participating groups, the Warrior actors were the only ones to receive a standing ovation.

&uot;I assumed that we’d done pretty well,&uot; said Jonathan Dalla Villa, who played Mr. Dussell, the Franks’ dentist acquaintance. &uot;People we didn’t know, like parents and students from the other schools, were coming up and telling us we did well.&uot;

They certainly had-the team finished third, one up from last year and one away from regional competition. Next week, they’ll be holding auditions for the spring production of &uot;Annie.&uot; (they did &uot;Steel Magnolias&uot; in the fall).

&uot;I like the story,&uot; said Jenny De Jaager, a sophomore. &uot;I’ve wanted to be in ‘Annie’ since I was seven.&uot;

This weekend, Warrior singers like Shannon Conroy will head to Deep Creek for the next showing of the district chorus, made up of students from all nine local high schools. They’ll perform &uot;Ezekiel Saw the Wheel,&uot; &uot;Crucifixus,&uot; and other tunes.

&uot;It’s going to be nerve-wracking,&uot; said Conroy, a junior and alto. &uot;It’s hard to perform in front of people.&uot;

That’s not a problem for the band members-every Friday night during the first months of school, they put on a show for hundreds of football fans. The Warriors took sixth at a national competition in November in Washington, D.C., and won

second in the Alice Mae’s Soul Classic on Jan. 16 at the Norfolk Scope.

&uot;It’s more of an adrenaline rush when we’re on the field,&uot; said Ariel Jones, a senior clarinet player. &uot;At a concert, it’s more serious.&uot;

Their next performance will be at a district festival in March at Great Bridge High School. Keeping track of so many instruments at once can be pretty tough, said sophomore Karmen Story.

&uot;You get used to it,&uot; she said. &uot;You listen to the others, but you focus on yourself at the same time.&uot;

The band, which will graduate 28 seniors in June, is searching for rising 7th and 8th grade musicians.

Tonight, barring a repeat of last week’s flash blizzard, the school’s basketball fans will get a special chance to say goodbye to the team that’s brought them the past three Southeastern District regular season and last two tournament titles.

The school’s &uot;Senior Day&uot; game will be held at 7:30 p.m. Should the Warriors defeat Great Bridge, they’ll wrap up another district title.