BY SARAH ROUSSELL
A wave of silence falls upon an excited audience as the lights of Cooper City High School’s auditorium fade. The auditorium is soon brought to life as the musicians of CCHS’s Sound of Pride wind ensemble begin to play. Starting from the very back of the auditorium, they make their way down the aisles toward the stage. With perfect harmony, flawless movements, and swift transitions, it is the perfect kick off for their annual production, Encore!.
The Sound of Pride revealed their hard work on Encore! on May 21, 2011. Consisting of 13 numbers, the show infused various styles of music into a very entertaining hour and a half long production.
The event was started four years ago when CCHS band director Chris Schletter came up with the idea of creating a show that would bring all the elements of the band program together for a final production to cap the school year. Drawing on the idea of combining music and motion, Schletter was inspired by the concepts of various Broadway and theater productions such as Stomp, Blue Man Group, and Blast!. Thus Encore! was born and has been performed every year since. It is an event that is highly anticipated by the Sound of Pride band members, their families, and the students and staff of CCHS.
At the beginning of each school year, the entire band program is involved in marching band. After marching season is over, each part of the band, including all ensembles and the color guard, split apart to work and focus on their own craft. While working independently and attending their own specific state competitions and evaluations, the ensembles are separated from one another for the majority of the remaining year, so Encore! provides the opportunity for the students to reunite as whole one last time.
Unlike the Sound of Pride’s shows performed throughout the year, Encore! transforms the band program into a theatrical production that not only utilizes the stage, but also the entire auditorium. In this interactive show, each ensemble is able to offer it’s own special element. The color guard, percussion, brass and woodwinds all perform individually as well as collectively.
“The students really enjoy performing the Encore! show each year,” Schletter said. “The fact that they get excited about what they do and really try to perform the best they can to pull off a show such as this is quite exceptional.”
Schletter and his band started planning this year’s Encore! production in January, and after brainstorming and creating the perfect outline of the numbers to be performed, they began the actual formation of the show, practicing since the beginning of April.
“The practices can be anywhere from a simple 30 minute session to a three hour marathon of staging, running around the auditorium, trial and error, sweating, and getting frustrated,” Schletter said. “And this is what it’s like when practice is going well.” When we have a bad day of rehearsal, it’s not pretty.”
This year’s Encore! was definitely one to remember. Not only did each ensemble do an impeccable job performing, but they constructed the show so that all of the numbers flowed seamlessly into each other. One of the highlights of the night came from the percussion section. During the first act they performed a number called “Dinner Music” that depicted a dinner scene where they played their music on plates, glasses, and pots and pans. The act kept the audience laughing and fully attentive. Other highlights came from the number’s “Simple Gifts”, “Don’t Stop Believing” and “The Courage To Create” which brought the audience to their feet. From the very beginning to the very end, the show was phenomenal.
For the members who have been a part of the Sound of Pride for all four years of their high school career, performing for the very last time was an emotional experience.
“I have no words to express what Encore means to me,” senior Josh Garcia said. “Since I’m a senior this year Encore acted as a culmination to the one mainstay in my life over the past four years, music. My experiences with the Sound of Pride are those that can never be replaced with anything in the world.”