Before North Springs High School established its arts magnet, some students found a creative outlet in the school’s former show choir, the Music Makers.
Though the show choir was abandoned in the late 1990s, graduates from 1988 through 1998 revisited their Music Makers days on May 14 for a show choir reunion in North Springs’ theater.
Audra Levi Priluck, a four-year member of the Music Makers and 1993 graduate, spearheaded planning the reunion, inspired by the hit sitcom Glee, which portrays the lives of high school show choir members.
In the summer of 2009, Priluck created a show choir alumni group on Facebook. The group began with just 30 members, but by the reunion date it had grown to 60. Twenty Music Makers performed.
“It all started with Glee, and then Facebook allowed us to find each other,” Priluck said. “At that point it was very easy to see what the next step was, to see how to pull this off.”
Priluck set up a planning committee of members from nearly every graduation year between 1988 and 1998. She wanted to get in contact with everyone, but didn’t know how to without the help of other alumni.
“We immediately started trying to reach out to as many [people] as we could,” Priluck said. Attesting to Glee’s influence was planning committee member Jillian Henson Gilliam, who Priluck said pointed out early on that members of the North Springs show choir were the original “gleeks,” or show choir fanatics.
“I think that really resonated with those of us on the planning committee,” Priluck said. “I think the spirit of the show really played a role in the planning process.”
Matt Powell (class of 1991) agreed that Glee encouraged him to join the reunion performance.
“I have four daughters. When we watch Glee, I do feel a little nostalgic and say ‘Hey, I used to be in show choir,” said Powell. “I was telling my wife that for a few hours to be singing and dancing, you forget about all your responsibilities. It’s good to go back and remember those times [in high school].”
Like many of the Music Makers, Christina Sass (class of 1997) guessed that “show choir was the only thing I did consistently.”
Sass did acknowledge, however, that Glee is a bit unrealistic. “I watch Glee and I think it’s adorable,” Sass said. “[But] I didn’t feel like we were the super-dorky kids so I don’t think that aspect is true.”
Priluck remembers it differently. “Glee is a terrific caricature of what life is like in show choir,” Priluck said. “You have ups and downs, good days and bad, but in the end, you have each other. There are common themes in Glee that are absolutely tried and true to what show choir was for us.”
Powell, Sass and Priluck did agree the best part of the reunion weekend was seeing old friends.
“Show choir was my life,” Priluck said. “The friendships we made didn’t fade. Fast-forward to this week and there are those of us who haven’t seen each other in decades, and things haven’t changed at all.”
Priluck first met with the musical theater class in September when she and teacher James Landreau announced that the show choir alumni would join the class in their spring showcase.
“As far as my interaction with the class, I’ve had such a blast watching them rehearse,” Priluck said. “The memories of our own teacher, Debbie Schultz, leading us, rush back.”
At the reunion concert, the alumni performed “Can’t You Feel It” and “Ease on Down” from The Wiz. With current North Springs students, they performed “We Go Together” from Grease, and several alumni performed solos.
“You never think you can go back to high school,” Priluck said. “But this weekend has provided us this opportunity. It’s not as distinct as a Sixteen Candles or Breakfast Club experience, but it’s the nostalgia, the reminiscing.”