By Bob Massey
For the 19th year in a row, the Harker Heights High School Choir Department will host Knight Club with shows today and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the HHHS Auditorium.
Tickets are priced from $10 to $30 and can be purchased at the door both days. Tickets will be on sale at the door beginning at 6 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show gets underway at 7 p.m.
There will likely be more Friday tickets available than for Saturday.
Choir Director Tommy Haygood said, “Get ready! This is not a choir concert but a professionally produced rock show!”
Forty-two acts are lined up for the evening featuring music from the ’50s to 2000 and covering all musical genres from classic rock, pop, country and rhythm and blues. The songs selected were the most popular hits during their day.
According to Haygood, “The singing, dancing, costumes, special effects, the tight sound of the band is all going to be the best you’ve seen and heard around here!”
“Knight Club has always been successful because there’s a professional level attachment between extremely talented and prepared young people plus strong technical support behind the scenes. It’s even more impressive because it’s the students who’ve worked hard for months to make it perfect.”
Juan Nada, Jr. is a senior and has performed three years in Knight Club and will appear on stage in seven acts. “All of us will either perform as soloists, backup singers, dancers and become a part of either small or large ensembles. Being in Knight Club has helped me in gaining performing experience that will be valuable in other fields.”
The band has been up to 13 members and this year will again include a horn line, fiddlers, a banjo player, three guitars, drums and a keyboard player. The horn line is made up of HHHS students.
“The brainchild I had for this show came when this school was a ninth-grade center,” Haygood said. “I was able to watch other shows and formulate a vision in my head as to how I wanted this to begin and end. It’s gone way beyond what my vision was.”
Senior Micah McClendon has been a performer in Knight Club for the past four years and this year is in 10 acts. She has one solo this year and is a lead as a background singer.
“We schedule rehearsals one after another and I enjoy it because it keeps me busy,” she said. It doesn’t seem like a whole lot of work to me and it’s fun.”
“We’ve hired professional sound and lighting technicians and set designers,” Haygood said. “A decision by our school board provided the support torenovate the auditorium and that created a venue where we can fully use everything this auditorium has to offer.”
On the music production team is Peter Emerson, the band leaderwho has taken every song and reproduced it note-by-note off the original recordings, and it ends up sounding just like the original recording. In addition, he’s also designed a digital nonstop video background that is synced to each song.
Haygood said, “My assistant, Bethany Cowan, along with Kevin Tarpley, choir director at Union Grove Middle School, and a friend Paige Rendon have been working with background singers for the past four weeks.”
Cowan has been the associate director of the choir for the past four years.
“I’m working with the kids on the background singing because there are some extremely difficult harmonies,” she said. “Anytime you see a professional background singer they are frequently the most talented and professional vocalists on the stage. They are the glue that holds it all together.”
Background singing is possibly a new way to sing music for some of the students. It’s them on their part alone and performed directly into a microphone. It’s much different than singing in a choir.
Haygood believes that Knight Club has drawn kids into the choir program at HHHS.
“We give free tickets to some of our incoming eighth graders and they’re sitting right on the front row,” he said. “While they’re seeing Knight Club most of them have already decided to be in choir so they can be on that stage.”
Sammie Blocker has been in Knight Club for four years and is a senior.
“It gets better every year. There’s new stuff and I don’t see how we can outdo last year’s but we do! I’m in 11 acts, have one solo and perform as part of ten other groups in the show.”
Blocker is a cheerleader and will get lots of stage time as a dancer.”
She told the Herald that the first time she ever sang was before a handful of parents.
“When I joined Knight Club, we were supposed to sing with a band and I thought it would be like karaoke where they played the song through speakers and you sang along. Man, was I surprised! At Knight Club, you’re performing with a really great band and it’s awesome!”
As Haygood prepares to retire at the end of this school year, Saturday night’s performance will be his last Knight Club.
He will leave with these words from Sammie Blocker, who said, “Mr. Haygood taught me about being professional and when something goes wrong be able to handle it calmly and not let it get to you.”