Popular Broadway favorites will be featured March 8 as the Dodge City Community College vocal music department presents its first concert of the 2018 season.

The title of the concert is "On Broadway" and features songs from hit Broadway musicals Wicked, Les Miserables, Chicago, Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie Get Your Gun, and others.

Kerry Kuplic, DCCC assistant professor of vocal music, said the concert will be special because it won't be a traditional choral concert with large groups and choirs. While there will be choir accompaniment, most of the pieces from current, popular musicals will be performed by soloists, duos, and ensembles.

"It's a nice contrast to some of the other concerts," Kuplic said. "It's part of my desire to make the students well-rounded and give them and the community as broad of an experience as possible."

The students particularly enjoy the self-directed aspect of the concert. Kuplic said he advises students on their musical choices, but the ultimate decision on which pieces to use comes down to students reflecting their personalities.

"There are multiple opportunities for students to showcase their particular interests and talents," Kuplic said. "They have a lot of say and that gets them particularly excited about what they're doing.

"They get to show their love of a piece and make it a really personal thing."

Kuplic discusses the students' motivation for choosing a particular piece, aside from simply enjoying the song. Kuplic tries to express to the students how each piece fits into the overall show and how each choice affects the dynamics.

"They really get to see what goes into programming a concert," he said.  

Don Steele, a founder and former artistic director of the Depot Theater, will play accompaniment for the performance.

Kuplic said Steele's influence on the concert is invaluable.

"We're tremendously fortunate to be working with him," Kuplic said. "Because of his tremendous expertise in theater he is able to bring wonderful insight into the performance and the character work."

Performing popular songs allows performers to display their own unique twists and interpretations to the pieces with which an audience is already familiar.  

"It's a challenge because the songs are so well-known," Kuplic said, "but it's also a great opportunity to make it a very personal performance and not just sing something the way it's always been done. They get to add their own take on it and bring their own artistic influences."

Rehearsals have been going on since the beginning of the semester but students and Kuplic have been discussing details since the school year began last fall. Kuplic said intense practice and choreography have been going on for several weeks but enthusiasm has not waned.

"Even months ago they were getting excited about it," he said. "Sometimes it's several hours a day of rehearsing and staging. It's a lot of work but the students are really dedicated to it."

More than 30 students plus the choral union from the community will participate. The cooperation among different groups is a primary facet making the performance special.

"It's a good collaborative effort," Kuplic said. "It's not me just saying what we'll be performing, it's a lot of input from everyone involved."

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. in the DCCC Little Theater and is free to the public. Kuplic said donations will be gratefully accepted. Donations will help fund the department's trip to the Dublin Choral Festival in Ireland in June.

To contact the writer email sedger@dodgeglobe.com