Photo by Joe Chitwood
Members of the Hershey chorus with some of the cast.
Nearly 200 students from five schools attended a free Friday afternoon show highlighting acts from the Up With People team performing this weekend at the downtown Neville Center/Fox Theater in North Platte.Choir students from North Platte, St. Pats, Hershey, Brady and North Platte Community College were invited to see the talent of 100 young people representing 20 different countries.
Before the show began, one of the Up With People members, Cameron Rodeck, stated its purpose.
"We call these mini presentations and sound assemblies," Rodeck said. "It not only gives young talented people a chance to see our message, but also gives them a chance to see the possibility of joining our team. We don't perform the full show, but we let them see acts that feature singing and dancing, as well as a look behind the scenes."
He said students could inquire about joining the show after the performance. Team member Beyah Rasool said that Up With People, a totally non-profit organization, only exists as students inquire and seek out ways to join.
The presentation was well received by all, as students clapped and at times danced along to songs. One of the main themes is to eliminate bullying by urging people to stand up and not be a bystander when they see bullying taking place.
Cast members introduced the countries they have visited and they performed several numbers representing cultures of places they’ve been.
As introductions were made, cast member Collin Sheppard, a North Platte native, received a standing ovation.
After a rousing performance, cast members visited with students and many attendees sought more information and scheduled interviews. Hershey music teacher Teresa Rotart brought 38 choir members from her classes. She said that it was a great opportunity for musically inclined students to see a show and consider a career in the arts.
Up with People was founded in 1965 and the shows have been seen by more than 22 million people.
Rodeck also said if time didn’t allow an immediate interview, interested students could go to the website firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview at their convenience. Students who are selected must make a six-month commitment to the program. The first month is spent learning the show, followed by five months of performances.