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A day of show choir

Show Choir 101 and Fall Preview were hosted on Saturday Nov. 11 at Ankeny High School
Joanna Guerrero
Visual Adrenaline (VA) performing the last song of Fall Preview. VA is an award winning mixed varsity show choir at Ankeny High School and is choreographed by Kevin Walters and directed by Ben Walters.

Ankeny’s show choirs have been busy learning their new competition show for the new 2023-2024 season. On Nov. 11, they had the chance to perform a part of their new show during Fall Preview so Ankeny families could see the hard work they have been putting in so far this season. 

On that same day, the high school show choir program took the opportunity to introduce show choir to sixth and seventh graders who signed up for the Show Choir 101 camp. 

The day started with the Show Choir 101 camp, and middle schoolers from Ashland Ridge, Crocker, East, Heritage, Northeast, Northwest, Prairie Trail, Southeast, Westwood, and Rock Creek attended the camp. Visual Adrenaline (VA) students were paired up with a small group of students to spend the morning with. 

“We did icebreaker questions that were to get to know each other, and we got to introduce everybody and they got to know us a little bit,” senior VA singer and dancer Sydney Ford said. “Some of them asked us questions, and then we kind of took care of them throughout the day. We helped them out all day, whether that was needing to go somewhere and we just answered all their questions.” 

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The middle schoolers spent the morning indulging themselves into the world of show choir. 

“We taught the kids a song and a dance and then a ballad, and then we had them perform it for their parents,” senior VA singer and dancer Gabbi Fox said. 

The middle schoolers were reportedly very eager to sing and dance. Students were split into two groups: group A and group B. Group A danced and sang to “Dance The Night” by Dua Lipa and group B did “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk The Moon. Both groups later came together to sing a ballad called “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. At the end of the camp, they performed the songs to their parents, exhibiting all they had learned at the camp. 

Sixth and seventh graders from Ankeny Community Schools District middle schools practice singing “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten before performing the song to their families at the end of the Show Choir 101 camp. (Joanna Guerrero)

“It went amazing; the kids were super,” S. Ford said. “The kids were super excited to sing and dance, and I think everybody just had a really good time.”

Senior VA dancer and singer, Miranda Geest, says that it was really good and hopes that the middle schoolers all do show choir in the future. 

“Out of the Show Choir 101 experience today, I hope the students take that they really enjoy show choir and it’s something that they want to move forward with,” junior VA dancer and singer Nick Ambrosecchia said. 

Later on in the evening, the three Ankeny show choirs took the stage including Intensity, Perpetual Motion (PM), and Visual Adrenaline (VA). They each performed two songs from their shows. 

“Fall preview is a showcase for all the parents to see what our show will look like towards the end of the season,” Geest said. “And it gets us motivated to keep working hard because we have a small performance in between. It gets people excited about show choir mostly.” 

Each show choir has their own respective themes for their shows: Visual Adrenaline’s theme is immigration in the early 20th century called “I am America”, Perpetual Motion’s show is based on the movie “Clue,” and intensity’s theme is feel good songs. 

Junior Nick Ambrosecchia gives two thumbs up before getting on stage for Fall Preview. He’s a soloist for the opening song in the “I am America” show. The show tells the story of America in the early 20th Century when immigrants were arriving to Ellis Island and the agony of the Great Depression that fueled the stock market crash and shows the recovery and growth of the country. (Joanna Guerrero)

“[Visual Adrenaline] did our opener and our second song [for Fall Preview]. First song is about coming to America and all the opportunities here. It’s set in the Ellis island era and around the early 1900s,” Ambrosecchia said. “And then the second song is about the Great Depression and how immigrants were treated in the 1920s and about their hard work.”

Show band was also performing with their show choirs at Fall Preview. They were sitting behind the risers. 

“The best part of showband is getting to play the fun music and seeing how the show choir improves over time,” senior VA show band player Paige Ford said. 

Senior show band player Paige Ford and senior VA dancers and singers Sydney Ford and Miranda Geest before Fall Preview. Geest says her hope is that the Visual Adrenaline show will change some people’s perspectives because it gives a new look at immigrants coming to America. (Joanna Guerrero)

The show choir and show band have been putting in lots of hard work into the show. Fox says that they have been learning different components of this year’s show choir since July. 

“We started learning the choreography in August. A week-long camp where we learned the majority of our show,” S. Ford said. “And then until about mid October, we were just going on Mondays, but now we have Mondays and Thursdays from six to nine. And then we practice on Sundays sometimes, too.”

In between the show choirs performing, soloists took the stage to sing songs during Fall Preview. The soloists were junior duo Eva Drew and Evan Huegal, senior Janna Youngquist, senior Jenna Freeseman, senior Josiah Goodlett, and duo freshman Jack Robie and sophomore Faith Shaw. 

Although it was a day of celebrating the show choirs and soloists and all the hard work they have done, Director of Choral Activities Ben Walters and Ankeny Choral Music Parent Organization (ACMPO) Fundraiser Chair Amber Gustafson, took the chance to present the audience with the financial situation of Ankeny’s choral music program. Due to the translation of a state law, Ankeny choral music has lost funding this year. 

Walters and Gustafson encouraged the audience to donate to the school activities fund for their show choir students, and for those that don’t have a child in show choir to give to ACMPO. ACMPO contributions will lower costs for the New York City trip for all show choir students. It will also help pay for extra and special events that make up Ankeny Choral Music Programs.  

Walters says they are just trying to navigate this new landscape of regulations towards the Ankeny choral music program finances. His hope is that the Ankeny choral music program does not feel a difference and continues providing its outstanding programming to its students. 

Parents were able to see this exceptional program in action during Fall Preview. Parents and students in the crowd erupted in cheer reportedly throughout the show when watching the show choirs and soloists. 

“I hope the audience was inspired and entertained and enjoyed watching [the Fall Preview],” S. Ford said. “I hope it was engaging and entertaining.” 

Link to donate to ACMPO: 

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Joanna Guerrero, Social Media Editor
Joanna Guerrero is a senior at Ankeny High School. She serves as a social media editor but also specializes in writing stories for The Talon. Outside of The Talon, Joanna serves as president of Key Club, co-president of Mental Health Awareness club, vice-president of Student Council, and secretary of National Honor Society. She also participates in Student Ambassadors and Spanish Honor Society. In the future, Joanna plans to continue her education and pursue Journalism with a concentration in sports media. She looks forward to having Advanced Journalism next semester.
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