Five Haverhill High School theater and chorus students will perform on Saturday as the opening act for an internationally famous singing group.
Five O'Clock Shadow, a five-member male vocal band, will perform at the New Moon Coffee House on Oct. 16. Warming up the audience beforehand will be five soloists from the high school: Becky Gregg, Marty Miller, Katie Amaro, Michael Buckhout and Dan Morton.
Joe Gori, chorus director and a music teacher at Haverhill High School, said New Moon organizers offered to open the stage to the young performers.
"I'm always interested in finding (students) different places to get out and perform," Gori said.
He said that the five young soloists were selected due to their proven track record as vocalists and for their self-sufficient nature in practice and training.
"I picked five kids I knew who could do this without it being labor intensive," he said.
Most of their selected songs are show tunes.
The students, understandably, look forward to the night's events.
"It was exciting he chose us," said Miller, a Haverhill High sophomore.
Millier will perform "Corner of the Sky" from "Pippin."
"Getting yourself out there is an awesome thing," Buckhout said. "All of us have different voices and a variety of styles. It should please everybody."
If show tunes aren't your style, then unique covers of rock anthems and pop classics performed by Five O'Clock Shadow should suffice as a fun reward for supporting homegrown performers.
Loosely described as an a capella band, FOCS makes use sound modulators and mixing boards to transform their vocal chords into guitar chords, drums and a bass line.
Singer Oren Malka said the band received one of its best and unexpected complements when an audience member stormed out of a New York performance. Malka said apparently the person just couldn't believe the band's voices could create such realistic sounds without pre-recording them.
In existence for more than 20 years, FOCS toured worldwide and have television credits including VH1, ABC Monday Night Football and the NBA National Playoffs. Though the band has shifted members and even flirted with the idea of retirement over the last few years, Malka said they've reignited their passion for performing.
While they've yet to make contact with the students at Haverhill High, Malka said band members have worked with other schools in the past, including providing some vocal coaching.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we're back in the school next year," he said.
The pairing of new and established talent was an unlikely match orchestrated by Carol Allen, general manager of the New Moon Coffee House.
"It's a good way to give the students a chance to perform in Haverhill," she said.
Allen said she's hoping to market the New Moon to teens and their parents as a safe venue for their talents and a new way to spend a night out on the town.
"We're taking it one step further and reaching out to the high schools," she said.
Ways the New Moon will target its newest demographic include offering free tickets for Haverhill music teachers to spread among their students and discounted passes for patrons under 18.
If you go
What: Five O'Clock Shadow; opened by five HHS soloists
Where: New Moon Coffee House, Universalist Unitarian Church, 16 Ashland St.
When: Saturday, Oct. 16. 8 p.m.
How: Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for ages 18 and under. Visit newmooncoffeehouse.org for directions, advance tickets and more information.