By Todd Martin
Special to the Daily Herald
Now in its 12th year, the Harker Heights High School Knight Club rock and roll show continues to thrill fans and give students a unique chance at top quality performance.
Haley Wambsgans, a Heights senior in her third appearance in the annual show, danced in four acts this year. She said it’s her favorite night of the year.
“There’s no other show like this in the city,” she said. “We have a professional band and do hours of rehearsing. It’s cool to see a really professional show.”
Heights choir director Tommy Haygood has been around for all 12 shows. He recalled the tradition’s beginnings in the school cafeteria.
There were 58 acts that first year. “Everyone thought it was awesome,” Haygood said.
The past three years, more than 600 students a year have auditioned to be in the show. This year’s Knight Club included 39 acts comprising a three-hour show. It included a professional band, composed mostly of north Texas musicians.
Associate choir director Peter Emerson wrote all the back-up music and transcribed all the music so it sounded like the original recordings.
The songs are always at least 20 years old and the school has never repeated a song.
“It’s a huge opportunity for students to sing pop, country, soul and rock music with a professional live band,” Haygood said. There was also a light show.
Knight Club serves as a major fundraiser for the school choir, funding student scholarships among other projects.
Students in the show work through the Christmas break and come up with their own backup singers and costumes.
For the week leading up to the two nights of performance earlier this month, students worked alongside the professional musicians, sometimes late into the night.
“Words can’t explain,” Wambsgans said of her experiences singing and dancing on stage with professional band members and top-quality lights and sound. “It’s probably the best night of my life so far.”
She said her grandmother from Connecticut flew to Texas to see the Harker Heights High School production.
“People from all over come and they don’t know what to expect,” she said. “The first year my mom said she never thought a high school could put on a production like that.”
Knight Club also is a chance for the district’s media technology students to set up the lights and stage.
“It’s fun to watch them from the side of the stage. It changes their lives,” said Haygood. “The audience response is amazing. It’s like a rock concert. For many of them, it’s the only time they will ever do this.”