60 acts to perform in Deer Park High’s ‘Hello Texas!’

January 29, 2017 GMT

For the 36th year, the annual all-school variety show at Deer Park High will open with students singing, “Hello, Texas, sure is good to see you again.”

Many local fans first heard those lines when Jimmy Buffett recorded the song “Hello Texas” for the soundtrack of “Urban Cowboy,” the 1980 movie that set a love triangle in Gilley’s Club in Pasadena.

“The show has evolved from a two-night show back in 1981 that probably showcased 20 singers and the drill team and cheerleaders,” said Barry Talley, executive director of fine arts at Dear Park ISD.

The 2017 edition of “Hello Texas,” which features 60 acts, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2-4 at the school’s performing arts center, 710 West San Augustine, Deer Park. Tickets are $10.

“Every night is a completely different cast of performers,” said Talley, who directed the first 34 “Hello Texas” shows before choir director Jason Dove took the reins last year. Dove is assisted by fellow choir directors Anita Ladd, Donna Jackson and Stacy Nissen.

Ladd also directed “The Hello Texas Gospel Show,” which was presented Jan. 29 in the performing arts center.

“The Hello Texas Gospel Show” began more than 10 years ago for students wanting to sing gospel and contemporary Christian music, Talley said. “The Gospel Show has grown in both quality and the size of the audience each year.”

In the Hello Texas show on Feb. 2-4, a live band plays for each act.

Leading the band is bass player Mike Juarez, a Deer Park High graduate and faculty member. “He is a special ed math teacher,” Talley said. “Mike started playing for ‘Hello Texas’ in 2002 as a high school junior.”

Other “Hello Texas” musicians, who hail from throughout the Houston area, include Dustin Burt on guitar, Jeff Duncan (fiddle), Brian Garcia (drums), Jason Joy (guitar) and Miguel Sierra (keyboard).

“We have great music and dancing, including the Swing Choir, soloists, the Deer Escorts, and cheerleaders,” Dove said.

Choir to sing a capella

The Swing Choir will perform popular songs, along with a nightly a capella performance. Selections will be “Work This Body” by Walk the Moon on Thursday, Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” on Friday and a “Warriors for Centuries” mashup of tunes by Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragons.

The Swing Choir is comprised of: Rylie Cooper, Madison Dees, Bret Dishongh, Miles Dolney, Shane Duckett, Madeline Greene, Noah Hartwell, Austin Holiman, Gianna Joyner, Madison Maas, Evie McNeil, Reece Moon, Cassie Patterson, Jimmy Paz, Camryn Petty, Ethan Plunkett, Blake Shelton and Kayleigh Thomas.

Pam Dishongh, a former faculty member, choreographed some stage movements for the Swing Choir, Dove said. Soloists mainly chose their own songs, with music including country, pop and rock favorites, he said.

Thursday night’s soloists will be: Victoria Arredondo, Jackson Baggett, Brendon Buffaloe, Ross Fontenot, Tanner Haltom, Hannah Hawthorne, Jennah Hopper, Jerren Kennedy, Miriam Manzano, Jacob Marshall, Haley Matusek, Amanda McPherson, Lauren Richmond, Olivia Sanchez, MacKenzie Spriggs, Isaac Tovar, Carter Truitt and Ximena Zepeda.

On Friday evening, soloists will be: Melaina Baggett, Kaitlyn Bocox, Rayanna Byers, Trystn Cardenas, Madison Dees, Dawson Dreiling, Shane Duckett, Alex Gilger, Madeline Greene, Alysse Harrell, Noah Hartwell, Gianna Joyner, Mikala LeClare, Thomas Lugo, Madison Maas, Savanna Payne, Jimmy Paz and Blake Shelton. Saturday night’s soloists are: Janet Abou-Elias, Rylie Cooper, Brett Dishongh, Miles Dolney, Daisy Gomez, Kendall Hickerson, Austin Holiman, Kalista Kirkland, Nikki Mar, Evie McNeil, Reece Moon, Cassie Patterson, Camryn Petty, Jenna Pierce, Ethan Plunkett, Jacquelynn Robles and Kayleigh Thomas.

“There have been some talented kids grace our stage over the past 35 years,” Talley said.

“This crop of singers and dancers is at the top of the list. We have so much talent in Deer Park (that) it just seems unfair to other schools. Deciding who makes the show gets harder and harder every year, and deciding where to place the singers is even more of a challenge. But what a great problem it is for our staff to try and solve.”

Tickets will be available at the door for $10 each, and a three-night pass can be purchased for $25. Tickets are available in advance at the DPHS-South Campus front office.

Money raised will help fund student activities, including a choir tour to California.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net