FHS ‘Phantom’ to fight cancer

Only weeks before his days as a senior at Frenship High School come to an end, Barclay White is already starting a new journey.

White, who will star as the Phantom in the FHS choir’s production of ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ was diagnosed a few weeks ago with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The two-time All-State choir member won the role in January, but started having a problem with a persistent cough later in the spring semester.

Thinking he just needed an allergy shot, he saw a doctor, who had his own relative recently diagnosed with cancer after a persistent cough.

“Two weeks ago tomorrow, I got an X-ray done and found out I have a mass in my chest,” White said during a lull in rehearsals for the musical last Thursday.

White, who recently was one of the seniors who won a character scholarship from the Foundation for Leadership, just returned to school last week after a thoracotomy, or an incision into the pleural space of the chest.

The thoracotomy led doctors to make the diagnosis.

Barclay White poses during a break from rehearsals for 'The Phantom of the Opera.'

White is waiting for a three-week period for the incision to heal, and then he will begin undergoing treatment.

“I’m already doing a lot better than they thought I would,” said White.

Although he has been looking forward to playing the Phantom, White said at this point, it seems like something he can sacrifice a lot easier.

“Whatever happens will be what God wants, and I’m at peace with that,” said White.

Jared Hardy, choir director of the Frenship Middle School Choir and director of the musical, said Barclay will be the Phantom, even if his twin brother, Bryce, has to step in on certain occasions. Hardy said he is even open to pre-recording some of the more challenging singing parts if that will help Barclay get through it.

Continuing to put a show together under this sort of circumstance has been challenging, Hardy said.

“We’ve taught those kids (the White twins) since they were in middle school. One of my daughter’s first words was ‘Barc’,” said Hardy. “I guess the most challenging thing for me is knowing I have to direct the show.

“All I really want to do is care for my student.”

Bryce was already in the co-starring role of Raoul. Now various possibilities of taking over the role of the Phantom completely or of just stepping in to relieve Barclay when he can have been put before him as well.

“My role and his role, singing ranges are similar,” said Bryce, a tenor to his twin’s baritone. Bryce was also named to the All-State Choir for the past two years.

Bryce said he has had to pick up some responsibilities since his parents have been at the hospital with Barclay.

“You can’t be a child during this,” he said.

But Bryce said that in planting his mother’s flower beds recently, he had a lot of help from fellow choir members.

“It’s so much like a family,” he said.

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