‘Playlist Party’ a hit

CALUMET – About 70 skaters from the Calumet Figure Skating Club glided, jumped and spun their way through the favorite songs on their playlists Sunday afternoon, during the club’s season-ending show, “Playlist Party at the Colosseum.”

It was the second and final performance of the show, which also ran Saturday evening, and featured five senior skaters, all of whom have been skating with the club since before they started school.

“For some of them, this may have been their culminating performance,” said club President Renee McConnon. “I’m very proud of all the skaters, they’ve put a lot of hard work into this.”

From the slightly wobbly four-year-olds in helmets with parental escorts to the senior skaters and the coaches’ performances, the Playlist Party went off almost without a hitch, and performances were met with applause from a crowd that mostly filled the bleachers.

The night culminated with a group dance routine that included 13 guys in hockey skates, recruited especially for the occasion.

The five seniors – Madison McConnon, Gwendolyn Grabig, and triplets Valerie, Rachel and Allison Darnell – skated a routine together to “Best Day of My Life,” and each also performed a solo, as well as participating in other routines.

“I just like showing what I can do,” Allison Darnell said prior to the performance.

She said she planned to continue coaching with the club next year while continuing her education with Calumet High School’s fifth-year college program. After transferring out, she may consider continuing her skating career with a college team.

Beyond the chance to perform, she said skating with the Calumet club since she was four years old gave her the opportunity to stay fit and to meet people she may have otherwise never know.

Her sister, Rachel Darnell, said it was a bit sad to be facing her final show, but mostly she was excited for the performance.

“I’m confident everybody will do great,” she said.

Cassie Huls, one of the club’s coaches, said her students have shown lots of improvement through the season.

“I’ve been very impressed,” she said.

Fellow coach Tanya Lizzadro said the show gives the young skaters something to work toward.

“They love being in the show,” she said. “It’s their favorite part of the year.”

Of course, the show requires a lot of work from the club, as well as from the skaters and coaches. Renee McConnon said planning for the annual show begins in October, when a committee helps skaters pick songs, and begins organizing groupings for the various performances.

“All of the board members have been very beneficial,” McConnon said, “along with all of the skaters, the instructors and all of the parent volunteers.”

For the high school girls, work on their own routines continues while many of them simultaneously coach the younger skaters, and train for Calumet High School figure skating team competitions in November and February.

“I’m amazed at how it all comes together,” McConnon said. “I always like to see the big smiles on their faces.”