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BRHS taking off on a ‘Fantasy’

Like mother, like daughter – or in Lauren Baumgardner’s case, like big sister, like little sister.

Baumgardner, an 18-year-old senior at Bear River High School, will perform in the Fantasy of Stars for her sixth consecutive year.



She wanted to be in the annual showcase of BRHS students (now in its 13th year) ever since she watched her big sister, Ricia, on stage.




Ricia, a former Magnolia Intermediate School Starmaker and former BRHS Starlite Express member, is now studying opera at California State University, Chico.

“I grew up watching my sister perform,” Baumgardner said. “I just loved it. When I was a kid, Ricia and her group visited my school and that made me want to do it.”

That was about eight years ago and Baumgardner quickly followed her sister’s footsteps, beginning her own singing odyssey via the Pleasant Ridge School Choir in fifth grade.

The younger Baumgardner has been at it ever since.

She begins her day an hour earlier than most BRHS students (zero period at 6:30 a.m.) when the Starlite Express, the school’s show pop ensemble, practices songs and dances, followed by a Jazz Unlimited class two hours later. Every Tuesday after school, she drives to Auburn to take private voice lessons.

“I love performing. I’m totally comfortable in front of a crowd,” said Baumgardner, a four-year member of Starlite Express and a three-year member of the mixed vocal jazz choir Jazz Unlimited.

She has a solo in this weekend’s performances and also will perform with a trio in a Motown medley between sets.

Baumgardner plans to major in ag business and minor in music at California Polytechnic State University the next four years. While she would love to study just music, Baumgardner is realistic about the future and wants to have a solid career backup.

But that won’t stop her from first trying to make it as a Las Vegas singer – at least until she turns 30.

Senior Alex Moore, 17, is another highly dedicated singer at Bear River.

Moore has two choir classes (he’s a member of Jazz Unlimited and the Men’s Chorus), leads the youth band at Twin Cities Church, and in his spare time sings at home for the fun of it.

Actively involved in music since seventh grade, Moore will appear in his fifth Fantasy of Stars this weekend. He has a solo in “Wildfire” and between sets will perform an original song on guitar.

Moore no longer has performance jitters. That lasted only the first few times he sang publicly.

Plus, he’s doing what impressed him while a grade school student.

“I thought it was cool when I was little,” Moore said. “I always looked up to the high school kids in choir, so now I’m living out my dream.”

In less than a year, he will join a college choir and probably major in business and minor in music. Moore would like a part-time music job after college.

This weekend, though, he’s just concerned about Fantasy of Stars performances.

Not that he doubts the performances will be anything less than stellar.

“You never can tell how the show will turn out,” Moore said. “I didn’t think last year’s would be good, but it turned out awesome. From what I can tell (from our rehearsals), this year’s should be the better one.”

The 13th annual Fantasy of Stars is a fund-raiser for the school’s choral program. BRHS choral director Cherry Hayes estimates that proceeds are $4,000 to $5,000 each year.

Genres covered include swing, jazz, pop and gospel.

“We try for a little bit of variety, this and that, and end the show with a theme medley,” Hayes said.

This year’s ending medley has a “Rockin’ in America” theme, made more poignant to Baumgardner because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She has a solo in “Living in America,” which is preceded by “America the Beautiful.”

The “Rockin’ in America” set performed by Starlite Express includes “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” (John Cougar Mellencamp), “We Built This City (On Rock and Roll)” (Starship) and “Old Time Rock & Roll” (Bob Seger).

Starlite Express and Jazz Unlimited will be featured at all three performances of the 13th annual Fantasy of Stars.

Friday’s guests will be the Bear River Dancers and the Magnolia Starmakers. Magnolia’s Rattler Jazz Band and the Starmakers will be guests at Saturday’s matinee, and guests at Saturday night’s performance will be the BRHS Jazz Band and the Valley Dance Repertoire troupe from the greater Sacramento area.

About 100 students are in each performance.

Jim Kerr, KNCO news director, will emcee for the 13th consecutive year.

Bear River holds the performances every year at Nevada Union’s campus because BRHS doesn’t have its own theater.

Know and Go

WHAT: 13th annual Fantasy of Stars

WHEN: Friday and Saturday. Performances at 7:30 p.m. both nights and 2 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Don Baggett Theatre, 11761 Ridge Road

ADMISSION: $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets at Foothill Mercantile in Grass Valley, the Real Estate Center on Combie Road and at the door. The box office opens one hour before show time.

INFORMATION: 268-3700, ext. 4833 or 4826


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