By Buffy Calvert

Andes Central School is doing something new: Alumni Concerts! So you can enjoy again the stars you flocked to see who have gone on in music or theater (or both!).

Jade Amber Litaker led off the series on November 9th, lending her silky soprano to well-chosen songs from pop tunes to opera. She warmed our hearts with Summertime, sent us flying with I Could Have Danced All Night, and brought tears with a tender rendition of Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro. She dedicated her concert to her Dad, James Litaker, and “my beautiful son.”

In the audience were contemporaries who had shared the stage with her in Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast and The Pirates of Penzance. In attendance, too, were those of us who remembered enjoying her brilliant performances from the seats and a lucky coterie who were hearing her for the first time.

Suzanne Fortin, a first-timer, said, “Jade’s recital generated so much interest from the attendees. For sure we were amazed by the quality of her performance. When, in the middle, she allowed a time for questions, many hands were raised. She graced us with an example of her daily practices required to achieve this level of mastery.”

Jade credited her ACS music teacher, Mrs. Sandy Reynolds, and John Bernhardt, former principal and theater director (sitting proudly in the front row), as well as a Marywood University mentor for her growth as a singer and actress. In her own challenging career she has toured the U.S. in Pretty Woman and starred as Joanne in Rent in suburban theaters.

Jade closed the program with Sondheim’s Take Me to the World. A thrilled audience rose as one in a standing ovation.

Next up in the Alumni Concerts: Dan DeVito (2007) Guitars and Vocals, and Lonny Chin (2012) Electric Guitar. Watch for the dates in Mountaineer News in the Gazette. ~