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Local

Virtual concert planned for Sterling's Centennial Auditorium

Tim Schlegel
Tim Schlegel

STERLING – Even with a pandemic, music will still be filling the air on Friday, but it will be doing so via the internet.

Centennial Auditorium's summer show is canceled, but off there still will be a virtual performance Friday night, bringing together the musical talents of Sterling alumni and current students.

"I have seen several of them online, on YouTube through other arts organizations that lined up either alumni or other people who had performed in their venue," theater director Tim Schlegel said. "I thought it would be a good way for us to continue what we were doing, but do it online."

Nine musicians each filmed themselves performing eight different songs. One is a duet with Weston Henry and his wife, Martha. The performances will be of Broadway tunes, some fairly recent, some not.

"We asked everyone to videotape themselves and then send it to us," Schlegel said. "A lot of this is just raw footage of people, alumni, singing. It's not altered. It's not like a concert venue where we're able to mix a little bit better. A lot of this is done on people's cell phones, and it's just a way for them to offer their talent to us."

One of those musicians will be vocalist and 2003 Sterling grad Anna Kurtz Kuk, who performed "So Big/ So Small" from Dear Evan Hansen.

"Being a part of the musicals when I was in high school was incredibly formative for me," she said. "Tim Schlegel has been a mentor for me from then until now. I'm a theater professor now, so I feel like that time in my life really laid the foundation for my love of theater and helped me develop a lot of skills."

She was in eighth grade when Centennial Auditorium first opened its doors, and was in the audience for its first show, "Camelot." She performed there the second year it was open, and later taught at Sauk Valley Community College and had a chance to direct a show there.

She is now at Goshen College in Indiana, but still remembers shows at Centennial Auditorium.

"The experiences of performing on that stage were incredible," she said. "Subsequent stages I performed on were not as grand as that building."

The performance will be a free event streaming at 7 p.m. on GoldenWarriorTV.org, but fans can chip in donations to Centennial Auditorium. The money goes to the Sterling Schools Foundation's Auditorium Endowment Fund, which helps pay for the auditorium.

Schlegel also is planning an online cabaret at the end of July, with current high school students performing songs with the pandemic as a theme.

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