OGHS Dinner Theater Rehearsal - Putnam Sentinel
Ottawa-Glandor High School Choir Director , Ted Ellerbrock, instructs the "Out of the Blue" show choir during rehearsal for the 2019 OGHS Dinner Theater. This will be Ellerbrock's 25th and final dinner theater, as he is retiring at the conclusion of the school year. (Putnam Sentinel/Becky Leader)

OTTAWA — The 25th annual Ottawa-Glandorf Dinner Theater, “This is Me!” will be another sensational production.

Current members of O-G’s show choir, “Out of the Blue,” Ann Samuelson, Natasha Valdez, and Isaac Compton, spoke about this year’s dinner theater, as well as the impact their instructor, Mr. Ted Ellerbrock — who announced he will retire at the end of this academic year — has had on their lives.

The trio of seniors had different reasons for becoming involved in the musical arts. Ann had grown up with music; her mother and grandmother had a big influence on her. Natasha had a musical background, as she took dance lessons. She and Isaac were both members of the Putnam County Children’s Theater. Isaac recalled seeing the OGHS Show Choir perform when he was a student at Sts. Peter and Paul School. “I thought, ‘How cool was that,’ and wanted to pursue that,” he remembered.

Natasha and Isaac are both performing solos and are members of the chorale, but their favorite songs are ones they will sing as part of “Out of the Blue.” Natasha chose “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” from Guys and Dolls, as her number one pick. “I had my struggles with the dance, but it’s growing on me,” Natasha confided. Isaac selected “He Lives in You” from The Lion King.

Mr. Ellerbrock has positively influenced these students, and has provided them with life lessons that reach far beyond the classroom. Ann declared, “He is always encouraging, and tries to get everyone involved. He wants everyone to be the same- it’s not all about the big stars. What you learn in choir class is not just about choir, but about life. He is teaching us about the future.”

Natasha expressed, “He tries hard for students to relate to what they are singing, and to put emotions into what they are singing. (He wants them) to perform with a purpose. He teaches us to apply ourselves. Everyone has their own level of perfection- he wants us to do the best you can as an individual- be the best you.”

Isaac responded, “I like how he gives everyone an opportunity to do what they want. It is nice to have a teacher who wants what you want, and not just what he wants you to do. This year, he has told us to ‘keep hold of what you like to do.’ Choir is a place to escape from the stresses from high school and work and it is good to not give up on what you enjoy doing. (He encouraged us) do what you love.”

The dinner theater will be held in the OGHS Robert J. Hermiller Gymnasium on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, April 7, the performance will begin at 4:30 p.m.