Season 8 Finale Concert featuring Greatest Hits was a great hit!

All but 18 seats were filled at Cantus Youth Choirs’ Season 8 Finale Concert on April 27, 2018 at NNU’s Brandt Center! Nearly three hundred and fifty musicians took to the stage for an evening of spectacular music-making.

“This concert was our biggest one yet,” said Artistic Director, Erika McCauley. “Over 200 of our 340 singers were featured as soloists, small ensemble performers, or dancers.”

The concert opened with Concordia’s performance of The Greatest Show from The Greatest Showman. Directed and choreographed by Keith McCauley, it featured 18 soloists, a trash can drum line, and a full battery of choreography from its 115 members.

Following this powerful opener, audiences watched the following projection (the music background has been changed for licensing purposes):

A small ensemble performed Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World. Chorale, under the direction of Melody Paskett, performed Swinging on a Star and the classic Motown tune, Do You Love Me? by The Contours. There was a particularly energetic and skilled improv dance break by several members of Chorale.

A small ensemble of about 25 performed The Beatles song Yesterday, arranged by Bob Chilcott of The King’s Singers and accompanied by a string quartet.

Concert Choir and director Brandi Cook took the stage to perform Keith McCauley’s simple piano and 2 part treble arrangement of U2’s With or Without You, as performed by the stunning Scala & Kolacny Brothers Choir. The Concert Choir closed their set with Imagine Dragons’, Radioactive.

The next performance was Harry Connick Jr’s A Wink and a Smile. Four vocalists sang to 5 ballroom couples performing an exquisite routine choreographed by Brian McNatt. We’re so grateful to Breakaway Ballroom Studio for providing costumes and several guest dancers.

Virtuoso Singers, under the direction of Melody Paskett, took to the stage to perform Into the West, from The Lord of the Rings. Following that performance, Krista Carroll directed Virtuoso Singers in a powerful performance of This Is Me from The Greatest Showman. Midway through, audiences were surprised when VoiceOver rushed the stage and contributed vocally and visually to the song’s climax.

While Virtuoso Singers cleared the stage, we played The Cantus Coin, a Tribute to the Class of 2018 video.

Once the video completed, 115 members of Concordia lined the edge of the stage to sing a purely acoustic choral arrangement of Cindy Lauper’s True Colors. 

As all the choirs loaded onto the stage, we played the video QR Codes and a Sneak Peek at Season 9 video.

The first half of the concert culminated with a mass performance of Robert Shaw’s gospel arrangement of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.

After a brief intermission, Bella Visi opened the second act with an a cappella performance of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. Bella Visi concluded their set with Katy Perry’s Roar.

A small ensemble of singers performed Indigo Girl’s Get Out the Map, complete with a stage performance composed of choreography and props that told the story of driving across country. Special thanks to Nichole and Jared Stull for choreography and Paige Holyoak, a Cantus Alumna, for designing the props.

Presto came to the stage to perform Journey’s class title, Don’t Stop Believing, directed by Erika McCauley. A subset of Presto then performed a medley of Jackson 5’s I Want You Back and ABC, directed by Krista Carroll.

As Presto exited the stage, three Elvis impersonators competed for dominance on a jaw-dropping performance of Jailhouse Rock, choreographed by Annie Roberts. Their performance was augmented with agile back up dancers and screaming fans! This was definitely a crowd favorite!

The show continued with a set from Fortis. They opened with Cheap Trick’s The Flame and closed with Phillip Phillip’s Gone, Gone, Gone. 

In preparation for performances from our guest artists, we played the following video:

Amanda, Cassie and Sara Marie came to the stage and performed Adele’s ballad, When We Were Young. Following their performance, VoiceOver performed Andra Day’s Rise Up, arranged by Shams Ahmed and choreographed by Keith McCauley and Annie Roberts. They finished their set by performing Deke Sharon’s a cappella arrangement of Shut Up and Dance, complete with a 2-minute mind-blowing beatbox performance from Jacob Hutchings. VoiceOver received a scattered standing ovation for their performance.

The Crabb sisters came back for their second number and performed Carrie Underwood’s Something in the Water. Following their performance, audiences watched Season 8 in Review, a highlights reel from the last season.

The concert ended with an all-hands-on-deck performance of He Lives in You from Disney’s Broadway musical The Lion King. Former Cantus director Michelle Pedersen played the marimba and Brandi Cook directed all 350 Cantus youth. The Crabb Sisters were featured soloists.