Sixteen years ago, the new music teacher for the Denali Borough School District created the annual school variety show, a move that was met with skepticism by students and parents.

All these years later, it has proved to be so popular, with so many students participating, that the variety show is now divided into two events — elementary and middle/high school. Nenana students are also featured. Music programs in both districts often join forces, since the music teachers, Candace and Darren Mudge — are married.

The show also serves as a preview of songs older students will perform for the annual regional music festival competition. That event, planned for Cordova in April, was canceled this week due to the coronavirus. Luckily, the Healy community still got a chance to watch the older students perform those numbers.

From an original guitar composition by Dante Burk, of Nenana, to a solo showstopper of “New Orleans” by Taegan Suko, a performance by the combined Nenana/Tri-Valley Choir, and many more, the variety show offers students a chance to perform in front of an audience filled with supportive friends and family.

It is now an event eagerly anticipated every year.

Reach columnist/community member Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.


Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.