Copacabana returns to the stage

Students showcased their talents at the 33rd annual Copacabana on March 17 for students, family, community members, and lovers of the arts.


The girls of Caitlin Hoffman’s Clogging Connection performed their set to “Bounce”, a routine that earned them first place in the advanced small group divison at the Showstoppers Clogging Competition. Photo by: Evie Schwab

Performances included the junior high choir and band, the high school choir and band, Crimson Elite, and the always crowd-pleasing girls of Clogging Connection. The lineup also featured some new and interesting individual talents of FHS. According to band teacher and Copa director Maureen Beck, all 13 of the talented students that auditioned were invited to perform, and 14 students also volunteered to perform during the meal.


“Copa is special because it is a great way for students to take further ownership of their musical experience by choosing a solo/duet/small ensemble/dance/etc. and preparing that on their own to perform in front of an audience,” Ms. Beck said.


Crimson Elite opened the show with the song from which Copa’s name is derived– “Copacabana” by Barry Manilow. They also performed a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed.” Photo by: Evie Schwab

With so many performances, a meal, and a large crowd expected, it took a village to prepare for the big event that is Copacabana. Directors Darby Davidson, Joseph Fitzgerald, and Ms. Beck worked tirelessly to make sure that everything ran smoothly for the big night.

“There are many aspects that go into planning Copa, including holding auditions, creating advertising posters and tickets, decorating the commons and the BFAC, coordinating the meal and volunteers for the program, in addition to setting light cues and running sound and lights during the show,” Ms. Beck said. “We have a wonderful Music Booster Organization, led by our president, Michele Patton and other wonderful volunteers, who work very hard to decorate and coordinate the meal for Copa.”


Student emcees always add a comical factor to Copa. This year, emcees participated in FHS’s “The Bachelor”, with senior Dawson DeBoer choosing from contestants Mikasa Lierman ’19, Joy Ondrak ’19, Devin Wanamaker ’20, Seth Firmanik ’20, and Keyten Pfingsten ’18. Photo by: Evie Schwab

The Copa performers, like the planning crew, also worked tirelessly to fine-tune their talents for the big night. Senior Britney Scheetz, a four-year member of both the Jazz Band and Show/Jazz Choir and skilled pianist, spent many early mornings and late nights rehearsing for Copa.

“How we prepared for Crimson Elite is we practiced twice a week for about 45 minutes,” Scheetz said. And for my individual, Taylea and I had Ms. Beck help us find a song that sounded really pretty and we went through it about twice a week to practice. We had a lot of fun, working together to make all the dynamics sound good.”

A spur of the moment decision was made by Scheetz and Ms. Beck to make Scheetz–a percussionist–a trombone player for Copa. Musically inclined Scheetz quickly picked up the trombone and made it through their performance without a hitch.


Deserae Ramirez Razo ’19, a first-time performer on the Copa stage, performed a karaoke version of “Dear Agony” by Breaking Benjamin. Photo by: Evie Schwab

“For Jazz band, I have never played the trombone before but Ms. Beck needed a trombone player so I practiced about seven times with the Jazz band and I was able to play through the songs. It was pretty amazing,” Scheetz said.

New talents to the stage included Brittany Kroeker ’23 with a rendition of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You”, Deserae Ramirez Razo ’19 and Destiny Brown ’19.

“It was a spur of the moment kind of thing for me. I decided that I was going to try out because I wanted to do something to step outside of my comfort zone,” Brown said. “In all honesty, performing is so much fun!”


Junior Destiny Brown wowed the audience with a vocal performance of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”. “In my opinion, I think that trying out in front of two people was more nerve wracking than performing in front of, let’s say, over 100 people,” Brown said. Photo by: Evie Schwab

The audience also enjoyed several performances on the piano from Brylee Yantz ’21, Madison Christ ’23, and Michaela Buchli ’19 over the course of the meal and the show. Many of this year’s talents were karaoke or piano oriented, but Mr. Fitzgerald hopes for a little more diversity in next year’s acts.

“Next year, I’d like to see a wider variety of acts and a lot more student collaboration. We had a lot of karaoke and piano acts this year, which were fantastic, but I think students auditionees should carefully consider all the awesome potential for acts that they could put on,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “I’m crossing my fingers for a full rock band outfit next year – we’ve got drummers, we’ve got guitarists, we’ve got pianists, we’ve got singers – now let’s collaborate!”