CARROLLWOOD — Chad DeLoach doesn’t normally get much of a summer break. After all, he spends his summers working at the Carrollwood Cultural Center producing plays, then heads back to work as the choral director at Martinez Middle School on Lutz-Lake Fern Road the day after the final performance.
He and his cast at the Carrollwood Cultural Center’s youth summer acting camp ended the season with four performances of the Broadway smash, “Annie.” Even some of the kids in the cast said they had heard the show’s signature tune, “Tomorrow,” at least 2,000 times this summer. They put on the performance at the center last weekend. Two days later, DeLoach was back with his middle schoolers, many of whom participated in the summer camp. The show was the culmination of a long summer camp that included plenty of rehearsal, costume design and set design — all of which DeLoach enjoyed.
“I get a few weeks after the end of school to relax, then it’s back to work,” DeLoach said. “I enjoy this and it is a great way to spend the summer. What else was I going to do?”
DeLoach shortened the Broadway version of “Annie” to tailor it to kids. Instead of a marathon show, DeLoach cut it to about 90 minutes.
It’s something DeLoach has been doing at the Carrollwood Cultural Center since 2005, when he started the summer camp. Music has been DeLoach’s lifelong passion. He played piano as a child, and when he went to college at Florida State University he remained involved in musical activities. Today at Martinez, he’s got a strong choral program that knows a lot more about music than what is now popular.
“My kids know their music because I challenge them,” DeLoach said. “I know what they listen to, but I get the kids at Martinez into different things. We sing a lot of Latin — not Latin American music, but real Latin, like they do in church. I challenge them to expand their horizons.”
When it comes to singing, DeLoach works on technique.
“My job is to teach them the proper way to sing a song,” DeLoach said. “Some kids sing at a different level, but they all love a challenge. That’s how I get them to sing different songs. It isn’t all Disney or ‘The Sound of Music.’”
DeLoach puts on several choral shows a year at Martinez and, by the end of the year, he lets his kids make a lot of the choices as far as what they will perform. It becomes a bit more modern, but singing is all about fun, DeLoach said.
And this summer, with “Annie” chosen for the camp’s production, DeLoach found his two Annies from the more than 10 girls who auditioned for the lead. Overall, more than 20 kids — mostly girls — took parts. (And one dog, Bailey.) Both Annies trained every day with Bailey while also learning their roles.