Pitch Perfect

Ms. Desi Mckenzie
Director, HYC

Where and with whom did you see the movie?

We saw Pitch Perfect in our hometown at Mililani Stadium 14 Consolidated Theatre. I saw the movie with my family – Ashley, 17, my eldest daughter, who is the drum major for the Kamehameha Warrior Marching Band; and my youngest daughter, Aubrey (age 14 with Down syndrome, autism and is hearing- impaired), who is a charismatic musical performer in her own right while signing to music onstage for audiences around the island!

Overall what did you think?

I honestly thought it was going to be a Glee knockoff film, but this movie features a fresh musical approach to group singing at the college level. We absolutely loved Pitch Perfect! Ashley and I thoroughly enjoyed the a cappella singing and stellar vocal arrangements, of course, but the most welcomed surprise was that we haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time!

Without giving away the ending, what was one of your favorite scenes?

I’d have to say the “Riff-Off” scene. As a vocalist who has sung in a cappella groups, I can appreciate how challenging this would be when one must pick a song based on a random category that comes up as the result of the spin of a wheel (i.e. “Songs from the ’80s”) and then supposedly improvise an a cappella arrangement of that song with your group – on the spot!

It was pretty obvious that Aubrey’s favorite scene was definitely when the “Bellas” were riding on the bus en route to a competition and they cheesily improvised an a cappella arrangement of Aubrey’s all-time favorite Miley Cyrus song. Aubrey sang (a bit too loudly) along! Oops!

On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this film?

for sure! Everyone around us in the theater felt the same. It is such a “feel good” movie that you leave the theater with a big hokey smile on your face.

Was the message/theme clear?

Yes! There was such diversity among the characters, and I believe the message was that no matter who you are or what your challenges in life are, you’ve gotta have the courage to become your best self. Expressing themselves through singing, vocal per- cussion or simply using their “oral talents” was each character’s vehicle to accomplish just that.

To whom would you recommend this movie?

From a teacher’s perspective, there’s some vulgar language and sexual ref- erence, touching, etc. Thus, at the very least, it is a mature PG-13 movie. Some eye-covering was needed. It also is for anyone who enjoys comedy and the delight of a good, hearty belly laugh!

Did any of the actors stand out?

There were several, but I especially enjoyed Rebel Wilson as “Fat Amy”! It was great to see “Fat Amy” portray the non-typical-sized coed with such self- assuredness and thus in such a positive light. She was in-your-face funny! After a few of her lines, Wilson would just open her mouth and the theater audience would burst out laughing in anticipation of any line that would be coming from her character. Her physical comedy that drove this reaction was so original, too.

Did you identify with any of the characters?

I especially identified with the lead female character, Beca (Anna Kendrick), who has amazing musical creativity that she can’t wait to unleash but lacks the confidence to do so at first. She reminded me of myself when I was a freshman in the UH Music Department.

On a different note, what’s new with you?

That’s cute, Nicole, on a different “note”! Get it? I still feel so blessed to sing and dance with talented youth every day. The best news is that Hawaii Youth Chorus, ages 5 to 12, has two new locations in Honolulu and Waipahu as we open our doors to singers in the general public for the first time this year. No audition is necessary.

I am also very excited to not only give our graduates the opportunity to continue singing with us, but also to recruit more vocal talent for our brand- new HYCTeenGlee! (ages 13-17) program for teens who want to live out their “Glee dreams” on stage. If you love to sing and want to be part of our youth or teen programs, (learn to play the piano or study voice privately), please email me at hawaiiyouthchorus@yahoo.com, call 623-2411 or check us out on Facebook.