By Todd Martin
Special to the Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - Behind the song and dance that rock the annual Harker Heights High School Knight Club is a group of media students setting up the stage and powering the lights and sound.
Twelve students from the Killeen Independent School District's two media technology classes helped hang the lights, program the soundboard and perform the myriad other technical aspects of the audio and visual elements of Knight Club.
Media tech teacher Randy Hudson took his classes to the school auditorium for two weeks to help prepare the auditorium and to give the students hands-on experience installing a show from start to finish.
During their first week of work, students received a tour of the auditorium and its rigging system, as well as a safety briefing. By the middle of the week, they helped hang the lights and projectors, prepared the stage and started running cable for cameras.
The second week, students worked on the audio, anchored six cameras to record the shows and planned to work alongside the professional band members and the student performers during rehearsals.
After the final show Saturday night, the students will do the long work of pulling it all apart.
"This production allows the kids to get their hands on a show from beginning to end," Hudson said.
The media students get to be a part of the rehearsals and the performances, the shutdown and the postproduction video editing.
This year's Knight Club is the school's 11th and its success has created a culture of excellence, said Peter Emerson, one of the Harker Heights High choir directors.
Auditions for the show started in December, with 600 acts trying out for 39 slots that make up the performance.
Proceeds go to Harker Heights High School choir student scholarships. Popularity has grown substantially since the annual review moved from the cafeteria to the auditorium and picked up program sponsorships.
Emerson writes the music for the show and three professional musicians join him to make up the band for the acts. Two student musicians will join the band for some of the acts.
"It's as professional as you can get without a paycheck," Emerson said. "A lot of donated time goes into it. We enjoy doing it. It's great to see the look on the kids' faces."
All the lights and cameras, the speakers, microphones and soundboard, are also part of a classroom to teach aspiring sound, light, television and film professionals of tomorrow.
Harker Heights High School junior Jonathan Evans looked around with pride Tuesday at the stage taking shape.
"We have progressed from a black box bare stage to this," he said. "It shows that hard work pays off. It looks beautiful."
In the seventh day of the two-week process, Evans said it was interesting to build the empty auditorium into a show venue. "I like that we get to do that as students. We're not just watching."
Ellison High School senior Keith Jackson was also enjoying the chance to play a role in a major production as part of a high school class.
"I'm glad I picked this class," Jackson said. He listed several favorite tasks, including working with the rigging and the spotlights. "I like just being a part of it," he said.
"I can look around and say, 'I helped set up all this stuff.' That's an accomplishment."
"We get to get in here and do it and learn from it," Evans said. "We can't forget because we're doing it."
If you go
What: The Knight Club
Where: Harker Heights High School Auditorium
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Cost: General admission tickets are $10, student tickets are $8, reserved tickets are $15 and premium tickets are $20.
For more information, call Kristl Evans at (254) 338-2439.