RHS choir rocks out with Paramore


Melanie Wong

Performing on stage with a popular contemporary band in front of thousands of fanatic concertgoers is usually a dream for some, but last Thursday, this fantasy became a reality for 20 members of the RHS choir. These lucky students had the chance to perform one song in front of a crowd of nearly 18,000 screaming fans with the alternative rock band, Paramore.

Choir instructor Mrs. Plotzke explains how this opportunity came about.

“I received an e-mail from the Paramore Management Team out of the blue,” she said. “They had heard we were a top notch group and wondered if we were interested in singing on stage with Paramore. I heard later that they contacted management at the Palace [of Auburn Hills] for recommendations on choirs to ask for this gig.”

Mrs. Plotzke admitted that she was taken aback at first after initially finding out that Paramore was interested in performing with the RHS choir.

“I thought it was a scam at first,” she said. “Perhaps someone was playing a joke on me? Then I was shocked when I realized this was really happening.”

Seniors Ludovic Clavette-Lachapelle and Gloria Kim shared mutual reactions of disbelief when they found out they would get the chance to sing live with the well-known band.

“I was surprised of how [Paramore] picked the Rochester High School choir to sing with them,” Lachapelle said.

“I was really shocked when I found out because I always hear about other choirs performing for big bands,” Kim said. “To hear that Rochester choir got picked was pretty cool.”

The students mentally and physically prepared for this momentous event by rehearsing the song they would be performing with the band during soundcheck for a couple hours. Lachapelle readied himself for the moment by clearing his mind and focusing on the performance.

“Mentally, I told myself to just have fun because this would be a one-time opportunity,” he said.

Prior to the start of the show, the choir students met the three members of the band, lead vocalist Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis, and guitarist Taylor York. The band chatted with the students for a bit and snapped a few pictures with them before hitting the stage to kick off their performance.

As the concert began and progressed throughout the night, the time for the students to perform on stage finally arrived. They dressed in red robes for the occasion and sang as the gospel choir for the band’s single, “Ain’t It Fun,” and grooved back and forth to the tune.
While on stage, Kim was taking in the scene in front of her.

“The atmosphere was really pumped,” she said. “There were a lot of people going crazy during our set. Everyone was having a good time and the band was interacting with us.”

Mrs. Plotzke, who was watching the show from the side of the stage, reveled in the exhilaration when her students came out.

“[The venue] was loud and alive with energy,” she said. “The crowd of 18,000 went wild for the kids when they came on stage.”

After the song came to an end, the students exited the set and went backstage to soak in the euphoria of the moment.

“It was a really surreal experience,” Kim said.

“[The experience] was overwhelming,” Lachapelle said. “We just performed with Paramore!”

Mrs. Plotzke congratulated her students for a fantastic performance and admitted that she did not have any worries about them performing live in front of a large audience.

“I was totally confident, but the kids were visibly nervous when they rehearsed with the band during soundcheck,” she said. “They were overwhelmed by the view from on stage and Paramore talking to them like they were all professionals. But they did amazing! I love these people like family and I am beaming with pride.”

The students stayed to watch the rest of the show and boarded the bus back to RHS after it concluded. Although they were exhausted from basking in the revelry of the night, the group bonded with one another throughout this whole experience and connected with each other on a more personal level.

“After the Paramore experience, we all got a lot closer,” Kim said. “You talk to people who you didn’t really talk to before and you make a lot of new friends in choir. It’s a good experience.”

Lachapelle thinks that joining choir would be an enjoyable experience for all those who take an interest in the musical arts.

“Students should join choir because you have such a diverse group of people who all relate [to each other] in the same way,” he said. “You get to bond with each other and make new friendships.”

Mrs. Plotzke believes that participating in choir presents students with incredible opportunities that other departments may not offer in the school.

“This ‘Most Outstanding’ choral program gets to sing with Paramore, perform at the Michigan Opera House, DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids and Carnegie Hall in New York City; making it the best elective at RHS,” she said. “We get to camp, travel, and grow together as a family. There are not better kids nor place to be in RHS than the fine arts wing!”