On April 25, the Deer Park Jr./Sr. High School will present the 68th installment of Parkers, the longest running high school variety show in Hamilton County. This year's theme is "Parkers presents: American Bandstand" with skits, vocal and instrumental musical performances, group and individual dances, and a few surprises added in spanning the full time frame of Dick Clark's TV show.
"Parkers is a one of a kind event that usually incorporates more than half of the high school musical and nonmusical members of the student body. Preparing for the show builds life skills like stage presence, confidence, creativity, responsibility, and allows the students to try something they may not have the opportunity to do again once they graduate,” said Elizabeth Tierney, Parkers Director and Deer Park Jr/Sr High School Vocal Music, Arts teacher.
All of the vocal music classes perform and the high school Jazz Band provides the music for many of the acts. Senior and student body president Ryan Hodge is hosting as Dick Clark with the rest of the 140-member cast ranging from grades nine to 12.
"As an  alumni and co-director, I've had the privilege of playing many roles in Parkers. My favorite aspect of the show is getting to know and interact with the students in ways that one rarely gets to in the classroom or during the school day,” said Sara L. Godwin, Deer Park High School junior English teacher and Parkers co-director. “You get to see [the students] doing what they love, and who doesn't want to be a part of that?"
Students become a Parkers cast member in two ways; they are either a part of a class, such as mixed chorus, glee club, or show choir, or they audition. There are two types of acts for which students audition: recurring acts such as opening and closing chorus, jazz and swing dances, and boys and girls kick line, or specialty acts which the students create and write themselves. These range from comedy skits to individual dance numbers to musical solos.
"It's great to see how an act progresses from a little idea through rehearsals to finally see it on show night. It's kinda magical" said Emmalee Middendorf, Deer Park High School class of 2015.
Parkers isn't just for the students either. The staff and choreographers are made up of primarily Deer Park faculty or alumni. Parkers is a long running, community oriented tradition that is a mainstay in Deer Park. Every year, students at Holmes and Amity look forward to walking over to the high school the Thursday of show week to get a preview of the show.
"Since I first saw it as a little kid at Holmes, I've always loved watching the high school students perform. Walking over to the high school to see Parkers was THE best day of the year. I'm super excited to finally be old enough to be in it," said Sarah Sheppard, Deer Park High School class of 2017.
The teachers at Holmes Primary and Amity Elementary look forward to it as well because they get to see their former students in a whole new spotlight. This really is a community event as it is not uncommon for grandparents and parents, who performed in the show when they were students at Deer Park, to come see their children and grandchildren.
“It's truly amazing how students can shine in the classroom, on the field, and on stage! A huge thank you to all who make this show possible!" said Tierney.
Showtimes are on Friday, April 25 at 8 PM and on Saturday, April 26 at 2 PM and 8 PM. All performances will be at Crawford Auditorium, 8351 Plainfield Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236.
Advance tickets can be bought on Saturday, April 19 between 8-10 AM in the Crawford Auditorium foyer or Monday, April 21 - Thursday, April 24 during the high school lunch bells in the transportation office at the Jr./Sr. High School. Ticket prices are as follows: Orchestra $8; Balcony $6; and, Senior Citizens $4.
It is a great day to be a Wildcat!