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FHS varsity choir welcomes “Oklahoma!”


Fremont High School’s varsity choir prepares to rope crowds in for the annual musical, “Oklahoma!” 

“Oklahoma!” was published in 1943 and features the storyline of a time of transition and hope in Oklahoma during the year 1906. 

The musical is about the transition of the Oklahoma Territory to statehood and the storyline of the love story of Curley and Laurey, and so there’s sort of the development of their relationship in the territory,” FHS choir teacher, Mark Harman said.

Harman is in charge of the decision for each year’s musical. He chose “Oklahoma!” for its timeless aspect.

It’s one of the old guard and one of the ones that really sort of turned musical theater into what it is today,” Harman said. “It also is a little bit of departure for us from the last few years because we’ve done a little bit more modern production in the last three or four years with “Newsies”, “Mary Poppins”, and “The Addams Family” last year, so, here’s a chance to go back a little bit to our roots and experience some of that sort of the older guard of musical theater.”

The production of the musical involves more than the choir itself.  

“There are a number of people who are involved with making the music happen,” FHS senior Hailey Newill said. “This includes, but is not limited to, Varsity choir, the orchestra, Kathy Lacky our choreographer, Mr. Lockwood, and Mr. Harman.”

FHS junior Cade Rasmussen landed a lead role in this year’s production. 

“I’m playing the role of Curly,” Rasmussen said. “He is a suave, confident ranch hand who has hopelessly fallen in love with Laurey.” 

Each of the cast members does a lot of behind-the-scenes work as well for a couple of months leading up to the musical. 

“The production of the musical isn’t just about the three days we are on stage, but the putting together of the thing from scratch, and starting from the beginning and doing it because it’s part of class and because it’s really an educational process,” Harman said. “I think it’s important that the students play roles and all of the making so that development of publication materials and the putting together the program and that end up being a part of the community and selling advertising.”

Rasmussen says that the students work hard on every single part of the musical production, on and off stage. 

“Publicity, makeup, costumes, props, set building, set moving, lighting, and directing are all invaluable duties that students of choir take on each and every year,” Rasmussen said.

The musical is different from any other performance that the choir puts on each year.

“The musical differs from a lot of what the choir performs throughout the year because there is a different approach of putting it together and a different technique to the singing as well,” Newill said. “It is less of a choral style and more about finding the character to the songs.

As COVID protocols are lifting in town, Rasmussen hopes to reunite the community with the musical.

 “I hope that the message the Fremont Community receives is how important music and community are, especially during this pandemic,” Rasmussen said. ““Oklahoma!” runs on the idea of community, of people coming together and connecting through differences to create an infectious atmosphere of neighborly love. I hope that “Oklahoma!” gives Fremont a chance to celebrate and see an example of a community coming back together again and blessing those around them, much like Fremont itself has done and will do. I hope to see everyone there.”

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