WCHS Blast will re-unite with audiences this March


Photo courtesy of Valeria Lemos.

With performances on five different nights in March, Blast 32 will be the first Blast production since 2019. The performers have put in work, both in person and virtually, since mid November.

By Jordan Pashkoff, Arts Editor

This March, the fan-favorite production of Blast is making a comeback after not being performed in two years. Back in early 2020, WCHS students were working on the 31st production of Blast – Blast: Spectrum. Just a few weeks before opening night, COVID-19 shut down school and unfortunately took Blast down with it. But this year, Blast is back and better than ever. 

Before the show can be put in front of an audience, an immense amount of preparation and hard work needs to occur for the student-led production to be what is known and loved for today. First, that starts with auditions. 

“The audition process isn’t like any ordinary audition where you come prepared with everything you need,” WCHS junior Valeria Lemos said. “You will first be taught about 30 seconds of a dance in 15 minutes. After that, you will perform the dance in front of our amazing directors Mr. Albright, Mrs. Espinoza, and our tech director Mr. Schnapp. Once you perform your dance you will be asked to sing a song you prepared from a list of options that were given to you.” 

After the initial audition is dance callbacks. Usually, it takes two days for those auditioning to get notified about callbacks. A few weeks later everyone receives what numbers they are going to sing/dance in. 

After the audition process comes practices and rehearsals. As the saying goes “practice makes perfect” and Blast strives for perfection. All of these rehearsals are led by the students with the help of the teacher directors. 

“Usually Blast rehearsals take place during lunch or after school. We rehearse our dances or vocals during that time and rehearsals usually run an hour long. Time commitment is a very important thing when it comes to Blast,” Lemos said. “Our cast puts in a lot of work, and we take time out of our lunch and after school to rehearse and teach. When signing up for Blast you have to be motivated and know that this show requires lots of practice and it will put a toll on certain things, but in the end, it’s totally worth it.”

Student leaders take on a lot of responsibility for how the production is run. It is something that makes the show even more impressive. The choreography is created by the students, the vocals are taught by students, and the sound, sets and lighting are all done by students. Other things that the regular viewer might not think about, such as management, organization, and scheduling, are things that the students are in charge of. Whether they are a vocal captain, dance captain, company manager, or just a performer, each person has a specific role that helps Blast be a show people keep coming back to see. 

“I coordinate with all choreographers and vocal captains to see how much rehearsal time they need for each number for each month, see what rehearsal spaces we have available to us for each month, and create a rehearsal schedule each month, taking into account the conflicts of every member participating in BLAST to see when and where we can put rehearsals for each number that best works for everyone’s schedule and attempting to maximize both rehearsal time and rehearsal spaces,” company manager and WCHS junior Aliyah Primich said.  “It’s kind of like putting a puzzle together. Creating schedules is a very time-consuming process that often has to be done in a limited amount of time. On top of that, each different aspect of leadership has a ton of responsibilities and puts a ton of work in. I also participate in Blast in both singing and dancing roles.”

In January, WCHS made the decision that after-school activities could no longer be practiced. While winter sports were still allowed to practice and play games against other schools, Blast rehearsals were canceled for a few weeks, halting their progress. 

“Not being able to rehearse for a few weeks due to COVID restrictions definitely impacted the production a lot. Blast had to go up pretty quickly so it was a decent amount of rehearsal time we lost,” Primich said. “Once we could rehearse again we really tried to pack in rehearsals to make up for lost time.”

Not even snow days could stop Blast from rehearsing. On days MCPS issued snow days, the Blast members met on Zoom to perfect their dances and vocals. Being committed and giving your all are two important factors of participating in Blast.  

“I would say the hardest part is organizing and coordinating everything because there are so many parts and people involved in the show,” Primich said. “But it is so worth it because I love performing and when everyone finally gets to see all the hard work that everyone in Blast has been putting in for months.”

Ticket prices range from $15 for balcony and senior citizen seating to $20 for general admission. Blast 32 is being performed on five occasions: March 18, 19, 25, and 26 at 7 p.m. and March 27 at 2 p.m.  To buy Blast tickets and support the students and teachers that put their all into making this the best Blast yet, go to https://www.wchsarts.com/blast

“Students should be excited to see the first Blast in two years,” Primich said. “There are so many fun numbers this year and there’s a nice variety within the styles of numbers so I think there’s going to be something everyone will enjoy.”