On Saturday, October 11th, 2008, the Sterling Schools Foundation held a celebration in honor of the Centennial Auditorium’s ten-year anniversary. The event began with an open house and pre-show performances by Sterling High School’s drum line and madrigal singers. These were followed by the main event: a concert composed of Centennial stage veterans. After the concert, there was a post-show dinner at Woodlawn Arts Academy. Proceeds from the evening benefited the Centennial Auditorium Endowment Fund and the Sterling Schools A+ Initiative for the Arts.
Seven returning alumni and one current SHS student performed during the celebration concert. Most performers chose to sing at least one song that they had performed on the Centennial stage in years past, and some even recreated duets with former co-stars. Nick Rodriguez ’01
, who currently teaches dance in Sterling, sang “I Am What I Am” from La Cage
and performed a dance to “Feelin’ Good” by Michael Bublé. The reunited co-stars Katie Adell ’06
and Mike Brown ’04
performed “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun
, Sterling High School’s winter musical in 2004. Mike also sang a solo of “If I Can’t Love Her” from Beauty and the Beast
. Adell and Brown both attended Illinois State University, Michael, having graduated in 2008 and currently living in Baton Rouge, LA, and Katie slated to graduate in 2010.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was performed by the same 'Dorothy' who sang it on the Centennial stage in 2002—Anna Kurtz ’03
. Kurtz also sang “Broadway Baby” from Follies
before reuniting with Brown for “You’re the Top” from Anything Goes
. Kurtz is currently living and acting in Chicago. The next performer was Tyler Johnson ’06
, a student at Columbia College in Chicago, who sang “Stars,” from Sterling’s 2006 production of Les Miserables
. Johnson also delighted the audience with his rendition of “It Only Takes a Moment” from Hello, Dolly!
Weston Henry ’06
sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables
, “If I Didn’t Believe in You,” by Norbert Leo Butz, and “Moon Dance” by Michael Bublé. Henry, who is a senior at North Central College in Naperville, IL, was glad to be a part of the event: “It was the first stage that I started to perform on, and it was pretty memorable to be able to sing on it again with people like Anna Kurtz, Mike Brown, Katie Adell, and Tyler Johnson.” Amee Binder ’02
, who works on Navy Pier and performs in Chicago, sang “Don’t Tell Mama” from the musical Cabaret
. Ellie Miller ’10
, a senior at SHS, sang “Defying Gravity” from Wicked
and “What I Did For Love.” Miller said, “It was awesome seeing all the familiar faces I once looked up to on stage while they were all performing while I was still in grade school. . . . It was neat to see all the different people still have the same love for performing just like I do.”
Mr. Schlegel, performance coordinator for the auditorium, felt the event was successful. “The highlights of the celebration were having alumni come back to perform and also putting the show posters together,” he said. “Remembering the successes of the auditorium in the last 10 years was very positive for everyone involved.” And what does Schlegel predict for the next ten years of the Centennial Auditorium? “The auditorium will continue to grow and see many more students involved in the activities presented. Technology will bring new ways of doing theatre, and Sterling will notice a definite quality improvement in sound and lighting.”
Here’s to ten more years of the Centennial Auditorium and the quality arts programs it has strengthened at SHS!