REIDSVILLE — The stage was a battleground as students at Reidsville High School went head to head in the Drama Club’s Lip Sync Battle on March 10.

In this inaugural showdown, competitors stepped on stage to lip sync and dance their way to first place.

The event served to show off the high school’s new stage lights and raise money for the performing arts department.

“My wife came up with it,” said Tom Murphy, theatre teacher at RHS. “I pitched it to the kids. The kids were like, ‘That sounds like as great idea.’”

The show was judged Claire Murphy, RHS Assistant Principal Matt Rice and student Zion Wade. The panel of judges graded each performer in three categories: lip syncing in time with the words, creativity in costumes and props, and choreography and stage presence.

Among the eight performances, there was a mix of individual acts and group efforts with some students participating in both categories.

Taking third, the crowd went wild for the four-man powerhouse boy band Villediction, comprised of William Withers, Jamal Herbin, Victor Dalton and Joshua Davis. The group performed “You’re Not My Kind of Girl” by New Edition.

In second place, Ruthie Nimmons got the audience roaring with her lip sync rendition of “Single Ladies” by Beyonce.

Seizing first place, Mykia Robertson stormed the stage and delivered a powerful performance of Mary J Blige’s “Just Fine.”

“It feels amazing,” Robertson said of her victory. “It feels wonderful. I had so much less confidence; I didn’t know I was going to win tonight. Everybody did so well on that stage. They’re all my best friends. I’m so happy for them. I’m so proud of them.”

Robertson added that she was inspired to perform Blige’s R&B hit after seeing her favorite actress Taraji P. Henson perform the same song in an episode of Lip Sync Battle.

Throughout the eight performances, the department also took the opportunity to show off the theater’s brand new lights.

Thanks to a grant for more than $30,000 from the Reidsville Area Foundation, the theater was able to flash different colors and light up the stage like a bonafide concert.

“What I wanted to do was … modernize the stage lighting system because we still have lights from 1980 and earlier that were not only here when the school was built but were also donated by different people who came in and kind of saw the condition the building was in,” Murphy said.

To cover their bases, the theater bought 16 ETC Source Four lights which are essentially Broadway standard lights, according to Murphy. Each light cost about $600.

Bringing low wattage LED lights to Reidsville High, the theater bought 25 SlimPAR Pro H lights, 21 of which are set up, at $350 apiece including cables and clamps. 

The Slim PAR Pro H lights feature a short barrel which washes a broad section of stage. These particular lights can shine red, blue, green, white and amber light.

To give extra flair to the stage, the theater also purchased 11 Colorado Zoom Tour 2 lights for about $1200 each.

Like the Slim PAR Pro H, these lights can shine in red, blue, green, white and amber. Unlike the Pro H, however, these lights can tighten or widen a pool of light on stage. Murphy expects to use this feature in the school’s April theatre production “Aida.”

“When I bought them, I wanted to get something special for the building,” Murphy said. “Functionality is great and I had wanted that, but I also wanted something that would pop the building, that would give us something to go, ‘Wow, look at that.’”

With this new contemporary equipment coming into the theatre, current and future student theatre technicians will have the opportunity to work hands on with equipment they may see in other theaters.

Students managed the technical side of the Lip Sync Battle and also play a role in the school productions.

 “We have people operating curtains, sound, lights,” Murphy said. “ … If we wanted our students to be able to have a marketable skill, we need to start updating ourselves in that same regard so that they can be able to get a job. If they want to get a job in theatre and they want to do tech, which is the way you do it, then go for it. We teach them those skills. We get them there.”

Student technicians will again have an opportunity to put their skills to work during “Aida.”

According to Murphy, the Lip Sync Battle’s proceeds will go toward supporting the upcoming show and to fix the stage’s dimmer rack.

Reidsville High School Performing Arts Department will present “Aida” at 7:30 p.m. on April 28 and 29 and 2:30 p.m. on April 30 at Reidsville High School. Tickets are available for $7 for students and $10 for adults.

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Contact Justyn Melrose at (336) 349 -4331, ext. 6140 and follow @jljmelrose on Twitter.

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