Students bring their best to annual High School Showcase Concert

Singing showcase: A trio from the Shawnee Heights Choraliers sing during an especially narrative performance. The concert was a good way to see what types of music the schools were working on.

Washburn Review

Nine Topeka high schools came together with the Washburn Singers for the annual High School Showcase Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5 at White Concert Hall. The concert is a fundraiser for the Stacie Beavers Scholarship fund through the Civic Music Club, given to a Washburn University music student. Stacie Beavers, a member of the Civic Music Club and music therapist for many years, was killed in 1978. The concert, co-sponsored by Washburn University, is attended mainly by friends and families of the high school students, along with some community members and Washburn music students. 

“The concert is a perfect way to show the community and area high schools what we have to offer at Washburn in terms of music.” said Dr. Kevin Kellim, director of the Washburn Singers. “Because many of the Washburn music students graduated from these high schools, it’s also a great opportunity for them to perform in front of and support their alma mater.”

Kellim, now directing at the collegiate level, was once the choral director at Topeka West High School, one of the schools performing in the Showcase Concert. He has enjoyed seeing the concert from both the high school and collegiate perspectives.

“For the most part, the rest of the year for our students involved in music is full of competitions, but this concert is a chance to come together and really support each other.” said Topeka West High School Choral Director Andy Huff. “You get to scout out what types of music the other schools have been working on, and there really is a little bit of everything.”

Arrangements ranging from blue-grass and hymns to original and percussion-accompanied pieces were among the performances at this year’s Showcase Concert. While varying in style, each group brought passion and quality of performance to the stage.

“I would encourage everyone to go to the concert, whether they know music or not.” said Kellim. “These students perform a variety of pieces all at a high quality.”

The Showcase Concert is also a chance for high school students to experience a collegiate level choral performance and consider the possibility for themselves.

“It’s a chance for high school students to see what could happen if they choose to continue pursing music in their college years.” said Huff. “They get to see what they have to look forward to, and it’s a sort of recruitment tool for Washburn to see the incredible level of quality that these students are performing at.”

Each of the students and directors involved with the concert work hard in the weeks leading up to the performance. Their dedication to giving their best in rehearsals showed in each of their performances at this year’s concert. 

“My favorite part of the show is when my students finish their performance; that feeling of, ‘We nailed it!’ I am so proud in that moment.” said Huff. “They get to perform in front of people who understand music and support them, so they get the appreciation they deserve.”