Musical melodies are dancing into the hearts of local high school students involved in one after school program.
Blending the songs of a chorus with the dance of a Broadway show is what this extracurricular does best.
Show choir is a rising program at Naperville North and Waubonsie Valley. Both high schools have co-ed and unisex ensembles that compete in concerts nationwide.
“Here in this program it has really spiked in the last five or six years. It’s been really awesome, we have some really great kids and they really enjoy just coming and singing and dancing,” said Meaghan Carroll, the director of Girls in Heels Show Choir at Waubonsie Valley.
Dancing into their twelfth year, Waubonsie Valley’s show choir has grown to three ensembles for which around 200 students auditioned for last year. The rise in popularity is due in part to the community the program has created.
“I’ve gotten a lot of siblings of kids that were in the group before,” said Carroll. “I think that they really just see what kind of community we create in the show choirs here and what kind of, I mean it’s a family and I think people see that and they want to be a part of that.”
Naperville North’s show choir has been singing strong for seven years, growing from a small club to two nationally competitive groups with 40-50 students in each.
Recently the high school hosted the Clash of the Sequins 2017 invitational where they welcomed an audience with phenomenal performances.
The most important part of the show is of course the music.
“We think of songs that we feel our students will relate really well to and connect to. We also try songs that we know will be challenging for them but won’t challenge them above their ability level, we’ll push them to grow in areas that they need to grow in,” said Nicholas Janssen, the instructional coordinator of fine arts and director of vocal music at Naperville North.
“We take these songs that are otherwise really poppy and slow them down and make them almost tango-y and suspenseful and you can hear the audience they’re like ‘I love this song so much’ and to get to do a different rendition it’s like making it our own and making it our song,” said Abby Stevenson, a Naperville North senior in show choir.
The 20-minute set of music for these competitions take hours of rehearsing each week, but it’s all worth it.
“For me it’s just the rush I get on stage, it’s just so much fun to perform. And for me in the future I kind of want to be like what Ms. Carroll does because I want to work with kids and work with music,” said Hailey Drews, a Waubonsie Valley sophomore in Girls in Heels.
“This is where I have my family, and like my second home,” said Abby Stevenson.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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