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By JOHN LEE McLAUGHLIN
Daily News Staff Writer
A sort of salute to the school year, Ketchikan High School choral students will tip their caps to pop culture of the 1980s for the school’s fifth annual “King Off.”
The fundraising event — which actually is more of a free-for-all talent show — will start at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Kayhi auditorium, featuring the school’s concert choir, women’s choir and vocal jazz choir. Ticket proceeds of the fundraiser help to cover student travel and other choral undertakings throughout the year.
Kayhi math and music teacher Trina Purcell said the event allows the students to let loose and enjoy themselves after a busy school year of performances.
Purcell said the event is no contest, though fellow teachers Terri Whyte, Michael Cron and Eric Stockhausen will serve as a judging panel for the varied student performances.
“We take all of our kids to Music Fest in April — it’s kind of the culmination of the school year on the music side of things — so we try to do a fun performance in the spring once we get back,” she said.
“King Off” is inspired by a performance held in 2013 at Kayhi by a group of students from Eastern Oregon University, as well as “The Sing Off” television series that pitted contemporary acappella groups against one another.
“So we started (‘King Off’) that year, and they performed pop music,” Purcell explained. “We did it kind of in the format of ‘The Sing Off,’ as if they were competing groups, and we had a panel of judges made up of staff members, friends of mine.”
“So they perform, and then the judges critique them — it’s like ‘American Idol,’ kind of — so they critique them and keep them on the show or kick them off,” she said. “It’s a chance for them to do their music, and they have a band backing them up and everything.”
Purcell said the students pick their own music selections and develop their own choreography, “so they make it up to whatever they want it to be.”
“This year, it’s (the) ‘80s,” she said, “so we’re pretending it’s a talent show at an ‘80s high school.”
At about midway through the event, Purcell said she will coerce the three judges to strut their own 1980s dance moves, hopefully luring audience members to then take part of the show.
“The fun thing about doing the ‘80s this year is a lot of the parents grew up in the ‘80s,” she said, later asking: “(The students) have been asking for ‘80s music for a long time, so that’ll be fun.”
“(This year’s event) has a lot more acappella music in it than usual, which is harder and requires more of them on the music side,” she said.
All told, the “King Off” will be the last go-around for 20 senior choral students.
And being they essentially have free rein on what they perform, judge and head Kayhi basketball coach Stockhausen said it’s a good time to just kick back and enjoy the scene.
“As adults, we hope we just aid in their enjoyment of the things they like to do: the singing and performance” he said. “It’s fun (and) not as much stress as my regular gig. It’s really enjoyable and good music.”