I am really, really surprised how much I am enjoying this concert.
— Jean, at intermission
Tuesday night we went to see KW Glee perform with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony at Centre in the Square. KW Glee is a show choir that was, in fact, inspired by the TV show Glee. So they sing pop music, and they don’t just stand there while they’re doing that—all their numbers are choreographed.
What’s different from the TV show? Well, this show choir is much bigger; they have many featured vocalists, not just one girl (Rachel) and one boy (Finn) who do most of the lead singing; and especially; no auto-tune!
And what voices, my friend. My goodness, such talent in this community. I’m wondering which of these young people will break out as a huge star some day. Seems likely at least one of them will.
The set list consisted mostly of what kids are listening to these days, which meant that—honestly—I did not know many of the songs. In some cases I hadn’t even heard of the artist. (VV Brown?)
No matter, They had us at the opening number, a mashup of “Some Nights” by Fun and “End of Time” by Beyoncé, performed by choir only, then carried us through as the Symphony joined in on “Counting Stars” by One Republic mashed with “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.
And then we got Junior Glee, all on their own. Oh, my goodness. These are the 9 to 12 year olds, and they are mostly girls (Senior Glee is somewhat more gender balanced), but their first number featured three young boys singing Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”. They were both adorable and deeply impressive at conveying this love song.
In the introduction by artistic director Amanda Kind, we were told that the youth auditioned based on vocal talent only. All the dancing, they’d have to learn in their 12-week rehearsal period.
But some of them obviously have some additional dance training. “Say Something” (by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera) was performed as a vocal duet, with two of the choir members dancing. It was lovely—reminded me of the performance of this song on “So You Think You Can Dance” (and nearly brought me to tears).
Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” (a rather sappy song, that) was another that featured two other talented dancers.
Adding to the excitement were a great number of costume changes. I don’t know how many, but we didn’t have time to get sick of any particular outfit, let me tell you. (It must have been chaos backstage.) For example, for all-ladies singing of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, the singers were all in sexy black and red. For Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, the outfits were more eccentric. For Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” mashed with Rhianna’s “Disturbia”, more scary.
For the James Bond Medley, the guys were all dapper in suits, of course. For “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine, the lead singer was in a lovely red dress, while the rest of the choir wore black, representing the demons being “shaken off”, per the song lyrics. You get the idea,
And the Symphony? Well, honestly, they were very much in the background—especially in first half. Staging-wise, they literally were seated way back, to allow for so many singers and dancers to do their thing in the front part of stage. But, they did get to shine more in the second half, which featured more quiet numbers. They actually started playing the second half—the James Bond theme—before any singers were on stage.
And there’s no doubt that throughout, these talented musicians provided solid backing. There’s nothing like live music. And everything was a world premiere, friends. There has never before been a full concert of show choir + symphony. All the scores—all of them—were written especially for this concert by conductor Trevor Wagler.
Another highlight to mention was the performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. Obviously, this one has been done by lots of singers. KW Glee had four young men from Senior Glee perform it. Simply the fact of it being sung by four people instead of the usual soloist made you forget about comparing it with past covers, as each did a nice job on his own and their voices mingled beautifully when they sang together. The orchestration was also fantastic. Though the audience probably could have been popping up all night, this is one place where a standing ovation occurred mid-concert.
That was fantastic! It was just amazing.
— Jean, after the concert
- Some Nights (Fun) / End of Time (Beyonce)
- Counting Starts (One Republic) / Wake Me Up (Avicii)
- Treasure (Bruno Mar)
- Toxic (Britney Spears)
- Bye Bye Bye (N’Sync)
- Bad Romance (Lady Gaga)
- Disturbia (Rhianna) / Thriller (Michael Jackson)
- Say Something (A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera)
- Beside You (Marianas Trench)
- Brave (Sara Bareilles)
- Viva La Vida (Coldplay) / Firework (Katy Perry)
- James Bond Medley: Bond Theme / Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney) / Another Way to Die (Jack White & Alicia Keys) / Skyfall (Adele)
- Turning Tables (Adele)
- No Good Woman (Elise LeGrow) / Rumour Has It (Adele)
- Shark in the Water (VV Brown)
- Shake It Out (Florence and the Machine)
- Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
- A Moment Like This (Kelly Clarkson)
- Let It Be (The Beatles)
- See Your Star (KW Glee original, written by Jason Berry)