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Singers prep for spring break performance at Disney World

By Brady Bauman

The K-State Singers are going to Disney World for spring break, and they didn’t have to win a Super Bowl to do it.

The group features 11 students who will perform at Melody Gardens in Epcot Center on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. CDT. They flew to Orlando early this morning and will be there till late Wednesday.

‘Singers take trips every couple years and last went to Hawaii,’ said Randy Frye, who is in his first year directing K-State Singers. ‘We’re going to go down to the parks and perform for them. It really helps get our name out there and helps with recruitment.

‘Plus it gives us the chance to perform other places and see some new people.’

Frye said the group learned about the opportunity through a Disney website called ‘Disney Performing Arts’ and applied for the chance to perform in June. Frye said the group sent photos and clips of past K-State Singers performances, and Disney accepted the request.

Frye said the performance will last just under 25 minutes - as Disney recommended - and will cover current pop songs and old classics. ‘Some Nights’ by Fun, ‘Can’t Hold Us’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, ‘Come Fly With Me’ by Frank Sinatra, ‘Proud Mary’ by Tina Turner, and ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles are a few of some of the numbers the group will perform.

‘We want to give them a good variety,’ Frye said.

Originally the group was slated to perform in Downtown Disney, but construction there required moving the location of the performance.

‘Disney called us and asked us if that was OK to move to Epcot,’ Frye said. ‘We said, ‘Sure… We don’t care.’ ‘It will be a little bit better of a crowd, and we won’t have to compete with the construction.’

Mark Hay, a junior majoring in theater with a dance emphasis at K-State, said he’s excited to see Disney World as a part of a group he dreamed about joining after he saw the K-State Singers perform as a freshman. This is his second year in the group. ‘I went to their first fall show, and my jaw dropped after every performance,’ said Hay, who came to Manhattan from Thousand Oaks, Calif. ‘I was just like, ‘I’m going to be in that someday.’ ‘That became my goal, and I joined every dance class I could, every music class I could… everything I could do to make it somehow.’ Leah Watts, a junior in musical education, is excited about the trip. ‘We’re a really close-knit group,’ she said. ‘We rehearse for 10 hours a week, so we spend a lot of time together. So it’s kind of like a little family vacation we get to go on. We’re happy to represent K-State and K-State Singers and to get to perform in a different place. And we’re happy to go on all the rides.’

Kendall Tompkins, a sophomore in graphic design, is in her first year as a K-State singer and said this looks to be her most adventurous spring break yet.

‘This will be my most fun spring break, for sure,’ she said. ‘I never go anywhere, so yeah… Disney World is better than working.’

Another first-year K-State singer, Sophia Tolentino, is familiar with performing in the globe of Mickey Mouse.

‘I went to Disney World to perform as a sophomore in high school with Manhattan High,’ she said. ‘Our huge chamber choir performed, and it was just a blast, so it’s really fun to go back four years later with a smaller, more tight-knit group.’

She’s also excited to experience the Florida weather for spring break.

‘It’s going to be good to be in a warmer state,’ she said.

For some, the idea of performing on such a big stage can be nerve-wracking. But for this group, that idea is energizing.

‘(When we have) big crowds at McCain, the adrenaline really gets going,’ Tompkins said. ‘And at Disney we know it’s going to be just as good if not better.’

Frye agreed.

‘The more energy they get from the audience, the more energy they give back,’ he said.

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