The curtain rises for the opening of the show and reveals a stage filled with elementary, middle, and high school students from all around Durham.
This happens yearly at the DPAC for An Evening of Entertainment (EOE), a performance headlining singing and dancing that raises money for scholarships.
High school seniors performing in the show could benefit from this.
“It’s not about what school you come from,” sophomore Keilah Davis said. “It’s about coming together to help the seniors get scholarships.”
EOE started 33 years ago, and before the DPAC was built, it used to be held at a different high school each year. Students said they enjoy the opportunity to work together with other schools.
“My favorite part is meeting the professional choreographers and vocalists and meeting other high school students who aspire to be performers like I do,” sophomore Daekwon Richardson said.
At rehearsals, students get the chance to experience working with professional choreographers and conductors. The rehearsals start off at individual schools, and as the show date approaches, the elementary, middle, and high school students practice together.
“Rehearsals are tiring,” said freshman Taylor Walker. “We learn so much in so little time and it has to be perfect.”
Along with musical expertise, the students acquire other skills that will last a lifetime.
“They learn how to deal with each other as a team, and to interact with people and respect one another along with singing and dancing together,” chorus teacher Jeffrey Maynard said.
“When you get off stage, you can make these parallels to life all the time,” he said. “You can learn how to work with people and respect them and be more empathetic.”
EOE was initially created to grant scholarships, but it is also a way to allow students to interact with other students from all around Durham.
“[EOE] brings the best out of every school and proves that, when DPS works together, we can do something amazing,” freshman Lee Rodio said.
Even though the students practice long hours to perfect the show, the end outcome is worth it.
“I want the audience to see how much the students enjoy themselves and how they work together,” Maynard said. “I want the audience to have a sense of optimism about youth, not the usual ‘Teenagers this, teenagers that,’ but ‘Wow, look at what they can do up on stage.’”