Jess Richardson | Staff Writer
Seniors Haley Burgh and Wilson Smith are no strangers on the high school stage. As cast members for CG shows and as soloists in the 16-17 Sound System competition show, they received local attention. However, they broadened their audience last summer with professional experiences.
Both Smith and Burgh opened for Kyle Dean Massey, a Broadway star, at The Cabaret at the Indiana Landmark Center in Indianapolis. Massey is known for his roles in Broadway shows, Wicked, Pippin and Next to Normal. He also has a role in the ABC series Nashville.
Center Grove High School choirs have a partnership with The Cabaret allowing professional singers to perform and work with students in Sound System and Debtones.
“Being able to open for such a talented performer was such an honor,” Burgh said.
In addition to opening for Massey, Smith also performed a duet with him.
“[Massey] was not only very talented, but he was extremely kind, personable and humble,” Smith said. “[It was] by far one of the coolest performances I’ve ever done.”
In leading up to the performance, Smith and Burgh worked with vocal instructors and attended vocal camps including the “American Songbook Competition.”
“Kids from all over the country auditioned for the competition, and Wilson and I were actually selected to be in the top 40 to come for the camp,” Burgh said. “I think I can speak for both of us when I say that it was one of the most fulfilling, life-changing experiences we have ever had. We learned so much about music and our own voices in that week that we will take with us for the rest of our lives.”
In working at the camp and with vocal instructors, both students received advice in picking a song that matched their voice. Burgh sang the song “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar. Smith sang the song “What Do I Need With Love” from Thoroughly Modern Millie.
The performance proved to be “a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure,” Burgh said. “Performing in such an intimate setting was so new and fun for me.”
Burgh plans to pursuing a career in vocal performance and hopes to have a career in performing opera, musical theatre or, perhaps, Broadway.
Smith plans to pursuing a career in either vocal performance, music composition or music education along with a double major or minor in business.