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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
With a year of experience under his belt and a talented crew behind him, Mike Maddox, producer of Sherwood High School’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, is confident that this year’s show will be another smashing success.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival began in 1971 and has become a beloved community tradition. The original concept for the show was conceived by a group of Sherwood students who were inspired after seeing a concert at Madison Square Garden.
The show’s former director, Sherwood legend Bill Evans, retired in 2016 after leading the show for 37 years.
“Last year was my first year taking over the entire production, which was a big transition,” said Maddox, who is in his fifth year of teaching choral music at Sherwood. “This year continues to be a bit of a transition year, with new choreographers, business manager, artistic director and lighting director. All of that is fairly trivial in the grand scheme of things.”
He recognizes the storied tradition of the show and doesn’t feel the need to shake things up too much.
This year’s show, themed “Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 47: Love and Heartbreak,” will be performed March 2-4 and 9-11 in the school’s Ertzman Theater.
“Musically, this year’s show is more thematic,” Maddox said. “In the past, usually larger set pieces or the set design were tied into the theme, but because this year’s theme is a central vein of popular music, every song with lyrics is relevant.”
Falling in love, breaking up and heartbreak are subjects not unfamiliar to teenagers, he said, and “they’re really having fun with it.”
This year’s show features over 300 students, including vocalists, dancers, band members and technical crew.
Maddox said that while his name may be at the top, he is not alone in making it happen.
He credits his cohorts — choral music teacher Johnathan Dunn and band teacher Alex Silverbook.
“The three of us have a great chemistry working together,” Maddox said. “We joke around a lot and have fun. We all three feel fortunate to have a professional relationship and friendship, working together at Sherwood and on this show.”
He said the trio will be performing a number during this year’s show — “Back Stabbers” by the O’Jays.
“That is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time,” Dunn said. “But it will be a ton of fun.”
Maddox also credits other colleagues and a “small army of parents” for their immeasurable support.
Dunn worked at Sherwood and with Evans on Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival from 2002 though 2005. He returned to teach at the school in 2016.
Under Evans, Dunn served as one of the musical directors, working on voice parts, soloists and arrangements.
“Now I am doing much of the same,” he said.
Dunn said one of the apparent changes since his earlier involvement with the show is technology.
“It’s different,” he said. “In 2018, there is a lot more technology to support.”
What used to be written on paper — song lists, audition notes and more — is now computerized, along with the music, scores and digital recordings, and much of the communication takes place via Facebook.
Lucy Kuchma of Olney, a Sherwood senior, is performing in her fourth Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival.
This year, she will perform two duets and a solo. One of the duets is with her younger sister, which she says is pretty unique to have siblings perform together in the show.
She said she has seen a “massive change” in the organization of the show from Evans to Maddox, Dunn and Silverbook, but said, “by no means is that a negative thing.”
“These three did not miss a beat in terms of the quality of the show,” Kuchma said. “They all work so closely and so well together because they are really good friends. They all bring different skills and backgrounds to the table.”
Kuchma said this year’s show is especially meaningful to her because she is a senior.
“I already sense that it is going to be a really strong year for everybody,” she said. “We are starting to see things piece together and I couldn’t be more excited to put out this show that we have all been working so hard on.”
Dunn says the audience of Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 47 should expect “powerful and memorable pieces of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, with visually and aesthetically appealing lighting and set design.”
He is looking forward to reconnecting with some of his former students who come back to see the show, as well as the opportunity to appeal to future Sherwood students, since neither William H. Farquhar or Rosa Parks middle schools has a choral program.
“We don’t have choral feeder school support,” he said. “For us, it’s our passion to connect with these kids and expose them.”
Dunn said that the show possesses a beauty in its own form, since it transcends boundaries of ethnicity, religion, age and more.
“It is great to come together to celebrate the music that is a part of our lives,” he said.
Tickets can be purchased at www.showtix4u.com. Maddox said the show is on pace to sell out, although there were limited tickets available at The Greater Olney News press time.
For handicapped-accessible seating or other special ticket requests, contact the business manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Gary Peters / Lucy Kuchma, a senior starring in Sherwood High School’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival this year, tears down the house last year with “Edge of Seventeen” and “Last Dance” (pictured). This year she will sing a duet with her younger sister, Meg, on “This Will Be,” a duet with senior Tony Pino on “Go Your Own Way” and a solo on Candi Stanton’s “Young Hearts
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