April 2012: Our Town - Name That Tune: Hilton Head High School Presents a Slice of American Pie
Author: Lily Bartell
Hilton Head Island High School is baking another slice of American Pie as it gears up for its seventh annual production of the always-entertaining student and faculty talent show. A musical event that will blow audiences away, this year’s American Pie theme, “Name that Tune,” will loosely recreate the classic game show format with a twist: each song performed must have a name in its title. This entirely student- and faculty-run production has become a highly anticipated, perfect addition to Hilton Head High School over the years.
“American Pie has become an annual highlight of student talent that you won’t find anywhere else. It is one-of-a-kind and one of the proud moments in Seahawk traditions,” said HHIHS principal Amanda O’Nan.
Knowing just the right ingredients to create another outstanding American Pie, Cindy Sturgis, the advance placement/international baccalaureate English and creative writing teacher behind the production, brought the idea from her previous teaching position at an Indiana high school. She wanted to create a community within the high school where students could show off their various talents. “I saw a need when I first came here. Music is something that pulls everyone together and I love seeing the kids that involved and I’m committed to them,” Sturgis said.
The majority of the students putting on the show this year come from one of Sturgis’s two creative writing classes. The students use their talents to write scripts, design sets, act as producers, man the lighting and computer operations, design and implement an advertising and marketing program, and act as stage management.
Students who wish to perform in A Slice of American Pie have to go through an extensive audition process and must attend all scheduled rehearsals. Many students have performed in American Pie during each of their high school years. This year, junior Dana Leal will perform Elton John’s “Benny and The Jets.” As a three-year veteran of American Pie, she says she can’t wait to “put a little bit of a twist” on her song.
“My favorite part of American Pie is seeing it all come together after these months of hard work with building the set, making the script, getting the lights and, of course, rehearsing the music. We have a very strong stage crew, and the creative writing classes are really working hard to make this year the best year that we have had,” Leal said.
If actual pie were being served at the show, A Slice of American Pie would certainly taste sweet. For some, though, it may be bittersweet. “I have participated as an instrumentalist/soloist/dramatic guy in costume for three years now. I can’t believe this is my last year,” senior Nick Evangelista said. He plans to sing The Beetles’ “Hey Jude” and will also perform Eric Clapton’s “Layla,” alongside his dad Nick Evangelista Sr. Like a la mode on blueberry pie, it just may be the perfect way to finish his last performance on the Seahawk stage. “Kids are really bringing their best stuff,” he said. “I can’t wait! And everybody should come see!”
A Slice of American Pie will be performed at 7 p.m. on April 26 & 27 at the Hilton Head Island High School Visual and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students of all ages. The box office opens at 6 p.m. on performance nights. Advance tickets are available at the high school. All proceeds benefit Relay For Life, an annual fundraising event sponsored by the American Cancer Society.