Dream on with Sound FX

Sneha Raghavan

The Tompkins Sound FX team recently concluded their annual show on Dec. 6 and 7. Each year, the show allows the members to display their wide range of vocal talent, creative choreographies, and months of practice they put in to produce a stunning performance. This year’s show, titled Dream On, captures the team as they weave the songs into a skit. Each element of the story incorporates the show’s songs, laced into the skit to create dialogue and enhance the story.

This year, Dream On followed the story of a boy, portrayed by junior Nicholas Harrison, who navigates his story of falling for the classic “girl next door”, enacted by senior Hannah Marteeny. The SFX team represented characters in Harrison’s dreams, shadowing and advising him as he learned how a boy approaches a girl he falls for.

Several aspects of the show told the story from Harrison’s character’s point of view. His journey from clueless and sheepish to infatuated and self-assured was complemented by various genres of songs performed by the SFX team. Act 1 of the show utilized gentle songs with sweet lyrics to enchant the audience with their melodies. These performances included “All I Have to do is Dream” by seniors Colton Lummus and Sebastian Rodriguez, “Crazy” by sophomore Samika Sequeira, and “If I Could Tell Her” by Lummus , all of which captured the delicate vulnerability of a new crush with their combination of deep tones, soulful lyrics, and melodious high notes.

Other songs contrasted these mellow renditions with upbeat, comedic performances to portray the flighty emotional rollercoaster that accompanies a new crush. “Teenager’s Romance” by senior Joseph Kirtland expressed the fickle nature of a boy ensnared by a teenage crush, while Harrison’s emotional rendition of Shawn Mendes’ “Memories” discussed the memories a boy, in this case his character, wished to share with the girl he loves. One segment of Dream On’s skit included a lesson for Harrison’s character about how to be cool enough for his crush. This segment was punctuated by junior Alejandro de Santana’s performance of “Extraordinary,” which left the audience laughing as it told a comedic story of a cliche “cool guy”.

Marteeny’s character of the girl next door also had her own soundtrack as she battled between hiding and revealing her crush. Junior Chloe Rampersad’s soulful rendition of “I’ve Got a Crush on You” and senior Serena Knight’s soothing performance of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” capture the girl’s emotions as she gradually reveals her love. Farther along in the skit, Marteeny’s character explains the truth of her love through “Always True to You in My Fashion,” a song by Marteeny that combined whimsical energy and impressive high notes that left the audience cheering.

Several performances in Act 1 elicited lively cheers from the eager audience. Dream On’s official opening was with “Another Op’nin’ Another Show”, an energetic performance by the SFX Ensemble. This performance tied a vibrant red and black wardrobe and intricate baton choreography together to create a show that astounded the audience from the first note. Later, the SFX Ladies performed “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”, which explained to Harrison’s character that the best way into a girl’s heart is through what she likes- in this case, diamonds. The Ladies’ energetic and sassy performance left the audience stunned, with cheers and whistling being heard from all corners of the room. Seniors Jackson Baker and Alejandro Caprile came together to perform “Pretty Woman,” a sweet song that incorporated little comedic pieces, including cliche phrases and gestures throughout and a “fight” between the men for the spotlight, that left the audience chuckling at the conclusion of the song.

The SFX team also incorporated several ravishing wardrobes to complement their performances. Act 1 included “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and “Greased Lightnin’,” both performed by the SFX Ensemble. These songs utilized dazzling outfits, with a glitzy, flapper-themed style for the tribute to decades past in “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and a colorful wardrobe of flowing skirts for the Ladies and dashing denim for the Men in “Greased Lightnin’”, to enchant the audience with the “razzle dazzle” of a sensational visual display to accompany the team’s harmonious vocals.

Act 1 finished with a performance by the SFX Men of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” This song was a means to explain to Harrison’s character how those in love always do crazy things. The group’s harmony depicted a sweet story of how they try to be cool in an effort to conceal how their ladies make them go crazy. The euphonic song left the audience cheering for the sweet conclusion of Dream On’s first act.

After a brief intermission, the SFX team was greeted with roaring applause as they returned for Act 2. This portion of the show displayed mixed emotions as Harrison’s character questioned if it would be best to give up on or continue to pursue his crush. The SFX team utilized Act 2 to show the journey from uncertainty to strength as Harrison and Marteeny’s characters navigated through their crush.

Some songs explained the pain of a potentially unrequited love that accompanies every crush. Rodriguez and senior Nidhi Joshi’s melancholy performance of Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” questioned what happened when love lead to nowhere, while senior Jackson Hill’s vulnerable rendition of “If You Leave Me Now” expressed that giving up on such a love would take away a part of the lover. Baker and senior Lucy Curling’s duet of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” similarly embodied this struggle with a mix of Curling’s powerful high notes and Baker’s soulful capture of the lyrics.

One song  that combined the pain of a seemingly hopeless crush with the euphoria of being in love was The Greatest Showman’s “Rewrite the Stars.” Performed by Caprile and junior Sophia Kreiler, this harmonious duet paired ideas of an impossible love with the hope of working through the struggles to emerge with the beautiful nature of a budding romance. Kreiler and Caprile’s powerful rendition of this newly famous song amazed the audience, leaving the crowd cheering at the end of the duet.

Act 2 utilized smaller units from the SFX team to enhance some of its songs. Junior Emily Hanna’s performance of “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from Hercules also featured Kreiler, Marteeny, Rampersad, junior Emily Garcia, and senior Sofia Barreiro. This team of ladies came together to provide Hanna with supporting vocals that added depth and dialogue within the performance. Another song, “Be My Baby,” tied into the skit by teaching the characters about the right words to say to their lover. Performed by Joshi, Knight, Sequeira, senior Tatiana Fern, and senior Leticia Luna, this song conveyed its sweet lyrics as the perfect words for lovers to express themselves.

One particularly crowd-pleasing performance by members of the SFX Men was “I Want You Back.” This rendition by Rodriguez, Harrison, de Santana, Hill, and Lummus was a modern twist on the original song by NSYNC that incorporated powerful choreography that reflected the beloved classic. The group brought their vocal talent and charismatic energy to put on a show that fired up the audience, whose mingled applause and whistles were heard throughout the room.

As with the first act, the SFX Ensemble’s performances in Act 2 of Dream On amazed the crowd. Their stage of “Under Pressure” was placed into the skit as a means of encouraging Harrison’s character to let go of his pressure and be free about his love. Utilizing a sophisticated black and white wardrobe and a creative choreography of partner and line dances, “Under Pressure” energized the crowd early on in the act.

The Ensemble also gathered to perform another twist on a classic song, Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time.” This upbeat twist included several references to the well-known music video, such as choreography that included the familiar dance steps and desks to reflect the school setting. The SFX Ladies and Men took turns to perform some parts of the song while harmonizing in others, pulling the entire song together as one thrilling piece that had the crowd whistling excitedly.

Towards the end of the act, the skit wrapped up after completing the journey to learn the intricacies of being in love. After learning how to approach his crush and express himself, Harrison’s character questioned what would come after his confession. Following this segment came senior Luis Navas’ song, “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid. Navas incorporated cheesy dialogue and cheeky expressions to reflect the classic movie in a charismatic manner. This energetic performance was a crowd pleaser as the final solo of the show, and the audience’s whistles mingled with the laughter echoing through the room after Navas’ finale.

The conclusion of Dream On came with a song of the same title. This performance by the SFX Ensemble completed the cycle of the show with the same red and black wardrobe from the very beginning. “Dream On” explained the importance of taking the journey of falling in love as an opportunity to learn how to dream through all aspects of life, from tears to laughter. Encompassing the show, this vibrant performance presented an essential theme to keep dreaming as a harmonious conclusion to the show.

As a comedic final number, the SFX Ensemble performed a reprise of “Another Op’nin’ Another Show”. This expanded on the last scene of the skit, which showed Harrison’s character relieved to be waking up from his dream, only to find that all of the characters have returned to keep his dream alive. As the SFX Ensemble gathered on stage for the final time of the show, “Another Op’nin’ Another Show” provided a striking ending to Dream On that concluded the show with the same vibrance it started with.

After officially concluding the show, the SFX team came together for a final bow. They waved as the audience rose to its feet in a thundering standing ovation to highlight the success of the show. Even after the Ensemble left the stage, the cheers and whistles from the audience continued energetically for several minutes. SFX’s annual show was a display of their sophisticated, practiced vocal talent and charismatic choreography, and this year’s success conveyed that a SFX show is an opportunity never to be missed.