Seventh grade seemed like a long time ago to Lauren Shearer and Andrew Ganz.

The Dover High School seniors stood in a theater room in the back of Central York High School. Encore, a reboot of the annual celebration of regional high school musicals previously called The Rosies, was going to start in an hour. It would be Lauren and Andrew's last performance together as high school students.

It was hard to believe it had been six years since they performed in "The Wizard of Oz."

"I wore a tutu," Lauren said, playing with a black hair tie on her right wrist.

"I wore an oversized hat," said Andrew, who was dressed as a reverend for this year's performance of "Footloose." "It was blue, with polka dots. I was in the Lollipop Guild."

While teachers and directors were there for the annual experience, and younger students could look forward to next year, the seniors were taking part in their final high school performances.

York Suburban High School's Juliana Peck and Kyle Daugherty were among the other seniors at Encore. Juliana had been with the school's theater program for three years. This was Kyle's first year.

"I wish I had done this all four years," he said. "It will be fun to go out with a bang."

Juliana talked about the bonding the students go through as they prepare for the plays and put them on in front of audiences. She admitted it's not easy to say goodbye.

"It's going to be hard, this being our last performance together," she said.

For the shows' directors, Encore is a way to get together, talk about the craft and get a few tips.

Jaci Keagy, the director for Dover High School, stood with Eastern York High School director Jeremy Young and Myrna Schaszberger, who directs York Suburban High School, before the show.

"It's so exciting to be able to spend time with people who are passionate about the same thing you are," Keagy said. Young explained how he watched Hanover High School's production of "Tommy" last year and noticed they used a black light for the show.

Kennard-Dale High School performs a short presentation from ’Chicago’ during Encore Sunday night. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL
Kennard-Dale High School performs a short presentation from 'Chicago' during Encore Sunday night. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL
It was an idea he put away for later use.

"As a director you see shows and think, 'I never thought about that,'" he said. "Just opening a network, emailing someone and asking, 'Do you have benches we could use?' is important."

But while the directors cull ideas for future productions, the seniors say goodbye.

Looking back on how they felt six years ago during their first time on stage, Lauren and Andrew had similar descriptions.

"It's a big adrenalin rush," Andrew said. "The first time you're on stage, you can't wait to be on stage again."

"It's a very exhilarating experience," Lauren added.

Almost two hours later, after their performance during Encore, Andrew received an Encore award. While Keagy told the crowd about Andrew's work, Lauren hugged him.

Seventh grade, tutus and oversized, polka-dotted hats were, indeed, a long time ago.

New venue

Encore moved to Central York High School this year, after spending eight years at The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

Jaci Keagy, the director for Dover High School, said Central was a good host.

"They've been very hospitable to all of us," she said.

More online

For more about Encore, visit flipsidepa.com.

The winners

Outstanding Female Performances

Grace Gladfelter, singing "Swamps of Home and Song of Love," from West York Area High School, "Once upon a Mattress"

Kayla Kroh, singing "As Long as He Needs Me," from Central York High School, "Oliver"

Shelby Barnes, singing "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," from Hanover High School, "Phantom of the Opera"

Zoe Wildasin, singing "Sun in the morning, Moon at night," from Spring Grove Area High School, "Annie Get your Gun"

Outstanding Male Performances

Michael Garland, singing "Song of Love," from South Western High School, "Once upon a Mattress"

Lane Gross, singing "Summer Nights," from Northeastern High School, "Grease"

Joshua Lewis, singing "Solla Sollew," from Central York High School, "Oliver"

Dakota Haines, singing "Legally Blonde," from Dallastown Area High School, "Legally Blonde"

Most Creative or Original Performance

Eastern York High School - "Seussical the Musical"

Best Overall Performance

Dover Area High School - "Footloose"

Best Dance Performance

Kennard-Dale High School - "Chicago"

Best Small Group Ensemble Performance

Dallastown Area High School - "Legally Blonde"

Judges Award

Hanover High School - "Phantom of the Opera"

Best Production Number

Northeastern High School - "Grease"