Singers ready to 'Celebrate Good Times'
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Stacy Velleca said she and her husband don't mind he will have to make a trip from their home in Olathe to Hays on consecutive weekends in May.
Velleca will get a chance to spend an entire week with her family in Hays, and her two young children will get to see their uncle take part in several events.
Hays High School senior Preston Ryan, Velleca's youngest brother, will join fellow members of HHS' select vocal and performance group in performing its annual dinner show, "Celebrate Good Times," on May 2, 3 and 4.
Then May 7, Ryan will play his trumpet in the school's spring music concert before he graduates May 12.
"They love going to watch Uncle Preston," Velleca said of her 3-year-old daughter, Laney, and 2-year-old son, Cooper.
Velleca said she likes exposing her children to as much music as possible.
"Music and the arts get overlooked a lot," said Velleca, who also participated in band and was a member of Chamber Singers during her days at HHS.
"I know how important to me as a person they are to being a well-rounded person," Velleca said. "And the opportunities (music) offered me were amazing."
One of those was taking a trip to Disney World as a senior. The dinner show serves as a fundraiser for the group's biennial trip.
Coincidentally, Ryan will be taking the same summer trip to the same destination his older sister did 10 years ago.
"That was an awesome trip," Velleca said, "and there are lots of cool opportunities in music."
In fact, Velleca met her husband, Drew, in marching band at Kansas State University, which got to march in two college bowl games with the football team.
On their trip to Florida, Ryan and the 23 other Chamber Singers will attend a workshop at a recording studio at Disney World and learn a Disney song that will be incorporated onto a soundtrack of one of the Disney classics. Also included in the trip will be a cruise to the Bahamas, where the HHS group will perform on the ship as well.
"It will be a great educational experience for our kids," said Johnny Matlock, HHS vocal director.
For now, though, Matlock and his students are concentrating on the dinner show, which will feature music from several different genres, spanning several different decades from the 1940s to today.
"It's a real upbeat dinner show," Matlock said as the group practiced Pat Benetar's "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" from the late '70s on Tuesday morning.
"It's a celebration of family, a celebration of friends, a celebration of music."
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Tickets for Hays High School's 24th annual dinner show are on sale by calling the school from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (785) 623-2600.
The HHS Chamber Singers will perform "Celebrate Good Times" at May 2, 3 and 4 in Gym B at the school.
Seating will begin at 6:15 p.m., with dinner served at 6:30. The $18 tickets for the meal from Premier Catering and the show can be purchased until 4 p.m. Friday. Beginning Monday, tickets for all shows can be picked up from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the HHS office.
Members of this year's Chamber Singers are:
Seniors -- Spencer Greathouse, Spencer McCue, Dustin Mulkey, Preston Ryan, Charlie Stieben.
Juniors -- Nick Overbey.
Sophomores -- Jacob Balzer, Max Befort, Quin Brungardt, Alex Crowley, Conrad Hoffman, Andrew McGinnis.
Seniors -- Delphine Burns, Anna Hickert, Olivia Zody.
Juniors -- Molly Barnett, Amy Jordan, Rachel Muirhead, Raeanna Peacock, Shelby Matlock, Olivia Wiesner, Megan Zeman.
Sophomores -- Emily McPherson, Emily Peckham.