The Wisconsin Singers show, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” followed through with the group’s promise of an unforgettable and engaging showcase of Madison’s musical and performance talent.
Emcee Argyle Wade, interim dean of students, began the Saturday night show by inviting the crowd to warm up their hands for a night guaranteed to be full of cheers. He left the audience with groan-laced grins after showcasing his recently acquired dad jokes, then introduced the first performances.
Opening for the Wisconsin Singers were the Beloit Turner High School’s choir, Overdrive, and the Baraboo Boys and Girls Club’s singer/dancers, Harmonix. Both of these were high school groups who seemed unfazed as they performed for an audience almost filling the Overture’s Capitol Theater.
The Singers fittingly began with a seamless tribute to “The Greatest Showman” hits — “The Show Must Go On” and “The Greatest Show” — whetting the audience’s appetite. This number clearly introduced the complex choreography, singing prowess and band energy that shined throughout the show.
Oscar features were followed with a well-weaved slew of this year’s popular hits. Particularly playful was the feature of “Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie,” which had dancers dressed up in hardhats, presenting LEGO-themed choreography.
An inspirational rendition of “My Shot” from “Hamilton” led the audience into intermission as Development Committee Chair Robin Whitty-Novotny spoke about the wide impact that the organization has on the Madison and Wisconsin communities.
As audience members returned to their seats and re-situated themselves, they were plunged into nostalgia following the Wisconsin Singers lead on one-hit wonders like “Funkytown” by Steven Greenberg and “Tainted Love” by Ed Cobb.
But we were not left in this state for long as the Singers transitioned into performing their own 5th Quarter.
Students and parents alike stood and chanted as the Singers, accompanied by Bucky Badger, played Wisconsin favorites like “Sweet Caroline” and “Jump Around.”
The Wisconsin Singers performers then left the stage, giving way to the skilled band’s funky feature with songs like “Dr. Funk” and “Uptown Funk.” The saxophone, guitar, trumpet, trombone and other band instruments swayed the audience to the beat as they grooved along with the brass.
The show closed with an encore of the opening number, calling the audience to connect their experience with the ensembles. Audience members stood and cheered for the performers as they bowed in gratitude.
Throughout the show, short videos were presented as playful transitions between acts, and the song choice was consistently light — holding the audience’s attention.
In a sad performance norm, band members often go unnoticed in the background as they accent the performances of those in front. To combat this, Wisconsin Singers pay the utmost respect to their instrument-bearing comrades with feature sections and allow each bandmate a solo segment from a song.
In all, the performance was 90 minutes of talent — displaying the skill and dedication the group invested in putting on the show. From beginning to end, the infectious positivity of the ensemble held the crowd’s attention, making for a truly enjoyable night.
Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Singers will not be performing for the Madison community again this year as they will be dedicating their time now to performing the show for Wisconsin high schools. They perform their pieces for students across Wisconsin and then lead them in learning the complex choreography of their show and developing their own musical groups.
They will be performing again for the Madison community next year when their new number is assembled. Building on 51 years of experience, nothing is going to stop them.