The music program is one of the gems of Waupaca High School.
For decades, local students have acquired a passion for music, developed their talents here in Waupaca and then pursued careers as professional singers or music teachers.
This excellence has been brought to the stage during the past nine summers at Waupaca’s Own Evening of Musical Theater, sponsored by Neuville Motors and Waupaca Rotary Breakfast Club.
Ten vocalists will share their talents at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at Waupaca High School’s Performing Arts Center.
They will sing Broadway tunes and operatic arias, perform solos, duets and in ensembles.
The lineup of Waupaca stars includes Heather Eikenbary, Kelly Hackett, John Hammond, Brayden Kendziora, Kenneth Lauer, Kira Morrissey, Eric Neuville, Lindsay Neuville, Brian Olsen and Sawyer Olson.
The vocalists will be accompanied by Wanda Eikenbary and Joni Radley.
Heather Eikenbary is a 2008 WHS graduate who earned her bachelor’s degree in voice performance from St. Olaf College in 2012.
While at St. Olaf’s, Eikenbary sang in several productions, including lead roles in “The Coronation of Poppea” and “Christopher Columbus.”
Fans of the Waupaca Community theater will remember her from her performances in “Sweeney Todd,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Little Women.”
She currently teaches fourth grade in North Minneapolis.
After graduating from Waupaca High School, Kelly Hackett earned a degree in music and theater from Lawrence University.
She then spent many years performing in theaters across the country playing Sister Margaretta and Frau Schmidt in “The Sound of Music,” Ginger in “The 1940′s Radio Hour” and Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors.” She has also played opposite Tom Wopat in “South Pacific.”
Hackett is a frequent cast member of productions in Chicago, where she has had roles in “Meet John Doe,” “Sunday in the Park With George” and “Miracle on 34th Street.”
Waupaca audiences will recognize Hackett from her performances with the Waupaca Community Theater as Anna in “The King and I,” Nancy in “Oliver” and the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods.”
In addition to being a marketing professional with WDUX radio, John Hammond performs throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota with The Shepherd’s Quarter and One for the Road, an a cappella quartet.
Hammond has also performed with the Waupaca Community Theater in “Oliver,” “Into the Woods,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Little Women” and “Sweeney Todd.”
Brayden Kendziora, a 2012 WHS graduate, is now studying musical theater at Columbia College in Chicago.
As a student at WHS, Kendziora played the lead in “Hello Dolly!” in 2011 and had a role in “The Pajama Game.”
She has been a frequent cast member of the Waupaca Community Theater productions and will play Olive Ostrovsky in this summer’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
A 2008 WHS graduate, Kenneth Lauer is currently studying vocal performance at Viterbo University.
Lauer appeared as the Student in Viterbo’s production of “Strawberry Fields” and as Don Ramiro in Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.”
He recently played the role of Jean Valjean in the La Crosse Community Theater production of “Les Miserables.”
Waupaca audiences will remember Lauer from his performance in the lead role of the high school production of “Fiddler on the Roof” in 2007.
Kira Morrissey teaches choir and band at Waupaca High School, as well as offering private instruction in voice and piano.
A native of Minnesota, Morrissey holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Gustavus Adolphus College. She has furthered her music education through training and participation in workshops such as VoiceCare, Kindermusik, CMP, MTNA, WSMA and SoundStation Jazz Camp.
Morrissey has directed a number of adult choirs and pit orchestras. She currently accompanies the choirs at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stevens Point.
A 2002 WHS graduate, tenor Eric Neuville is a rising star in opera.
Neuville holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas in Austin. He is currently working on a doctorate at the University of Washington.
Neuville has performed with the St. Olaf Choir, University of Texas Symphony, the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Conspirare, the Chautauqua Opera, Austin Chamber Opera and Northwest Opera.
He was runner-up at the 2008 International Grand Concours de Chant and holds a fellowship from the Edvard Grieg Society for his work in Norwegian art song.
As a Seattle Opera Young Artist, he performed Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Harlequin in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.
Neuville made his debut as a tenor, performing Beppe in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Chautauqua Opera.
He made his debut with the Seattle Opera as Normanno in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. His other roles have included Guglielmo in Donzietti’s Viva la Mamma! and Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Young Artists Program. He performed as the First Priest in Mozart’s Zauberflöte.
His upcoming performances include “The Pirate of Penzance” with the Tacoma Opera, Der Ring des Nieberlungen with the Seattle Opera and Messiah with the Tacoma Symphony Chorus.
Lindsey Neuville appeared locally as the lead in the 2003 WHS musical production of “Cinderella” and as Rosemary in the 2004 WHS musical production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
She also played Rapunzel in Waupaca Community Theater’s 2005 production of “Into the Woods.”
She graduated from St. Olaf College with a bachelor’s degree in family studies with a focus on management.
She lives in the Twin Cities and works with First industrial Realty Trust.
A 2002 WHS graduate, Brian Olsen attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he performed with the Wisconsin Singers, UW Concert Choir and a men’s a cappella group, Madhatters.
Olsen was also the UW team mascot, Bucky Badger.
He currently lives in Minneapolis, where he works in advertising and performs with Kantorei, a chamber choir.
Sawyer Olson graduated this year from Waupaca High School.
His local performances include Prez in “The Pajama Game,” Horace Vandergelder in “Hello Dolly” and Joseph in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
He will be attending UW-Madison, where he plans to major in marketing and human resources.
When the doors open at 6 p.m. prior to the concert, Erik and Emma Sands will perform in the Commons.
A free will offering will be collected at the door.
Last year’s concert raised $4,000 for new vocal music technology at the high school and $9,000 for educational grants Rotary awarded to Waupaca teachers.
The first $4,000 of this year’s proceeds have been earmarked for microphones and lighting at the WHS Performing Arts Center, while the remaining monies will go toward Waupaca Rotary youth educational programs.
“There’s a lot of talent here,” said Tim Neuville, one of the show’s sponsors. “Almost everybody has performed a lead role on the stage here in Waupaca.”
Noting the Waupaca Fine Arts Festival will be celebrating its 50th anniversary earlier that same evening, Neuville suggested people support the local arts by attending both.
“Enjoy some hors d’ oeuvres; then come for the concert,” he said.