The lights beam onto the stage. The crowd waits patiently for the show. Suddenly, the music starts, the show begins and the Chase County students find themselves performing with the professionals.
The Young Americans program is a traveling non-profit organization that is based out of Southern California. They travel the world to give elementary and high school students an experience of a lifetime, teaching them how to step out of their comfort zone, work hard and have fun.
Ms. Liess, one of the school music teachers, learned about the Young Americans before she started at Chase County.
“When the Young Americans started touring, I was still in Cambridge. They stopped at Southern Valley, and I took a show choir class to go watch,” she said.
From that experience, Ms. Liess decided to reach out and set up a show of her own with the group. So far, the Young Americans have been to Imperial three times.
While visiting different towns, the Young Americans stay with families of the community.
When they begin working with students, the Young American workshop leaders first separate the participants into three groups based on grade level. They then teach the groups of students choreography and songs that are in the show.
The workshop spans three days and the show, about an hour long, includes Disney and pop songs, along with solos and colorful costumes. The performance also features a section of poetry reading and a sports songs medley.
Not only did the workshop leaders make this show possible, but also teachers, students and members of the community. Ten students were given scholarships from the Young Americans organization. In addition, 21 students received scholarships from community members. The Pom-Poms paid $25 on everyone’s registration, with 147 students participating.
Valerie Herbert, a senior at Chase County Schools, said that the most exciting part of the workshop for her was performing at the concert.
“Everyone had twice as much energy as they did before, and everyone was having the time of their life,” Valerie said. “It’s just an all around memorable experience of stepping out of your comfort zone.”
While some students might feel performing is scary, Valerie said that she is happy that she did it.
“Stepping out of my comfort zone and dancing in the middle of the floor and singing a solo in front of everyone was really scary but I’m really glad I did it.”
After many hours working to make a great show, the students and workshop leaders were able to show off their hard work. To kick off the show, the Young Americans displayed their talents. After a short intermission, the students, accompanied by the Young Americans, performed for an audience full of their families, friends and members of the community.