By JENNIFER MEIER
PLAINFIELD — Both Northridge High School and Fairfield Junior/Senior High School fared well at the 2013 Indiana State Small School Competition for Mixed and Women’s show choirs Saturday.
Plainfield High School hosted the ISSMA–sanctioned event that featured 10 mixed choirs and nine women’s choirs from across the state. Northridge’s Northern Lights and Starlights both placed third and Fairfield’s Fusion and Expression choirs both placed fourth.
Northridge’s Women’s Choir Starlights under the direction of Catherine Yoder was looking for a repeat of last year’s Grand Champion win. The choir had won the previous week’s competition at Norwell High School.
“We all worked very hard and we prepare to win,” Yoder said. “But that doesn’t mean that’s what happens. Does it mean we were disappointed? No. We couldn’t have done any better. I was very pleased with the performance.”
Starlight’s songs included, “Reach for the Stars”, “Shakin’ the Blues Away”, “Rainbow Connection”, “Love Train” and “The Sound of Love.”
For the Northern Lights mixed choir, the third place win was one place higher than last year’s.
“In the last five years, our mixed show choir has placed in every position but grand champion,” said Choirs Director Dan Baker. “So we’ve had quite a bit of success when we were fortunate enough to be in state finals. Both were excellent performances.”
The weather-themed show featured a variety of songs in a Rain Medley, as well as “Riding the Storm Out”, “After the Rain”, and “Remember When it Rains.”
The Northern Lights Orchestra won Best Band for the second year in row for both the Starlights and the Northern Lights performances.
“They are incredible musicians,” Yoder said. “That was very exciting for everyone.”
The LightWorks Technical crew also assisted with both programs.
This year’s women’s division win at Norwell High School, Northern Lights fifth state finals appearance in as many years, and Northridge’s third group Lyric Lights Concert Choir the winner in this year’s Huntington Midwest Showcase, marks the first time in the school’s history that that all three competition choirs have been named Grand Champions at some point in the season, said Baker.
Fairfield’s 30-member Women’s Choir Expressions were back in the competition this Saturday after a year break.
“We took a year off to restructure show choir and bring in a new choreographer, Jeff Cox,” said Choirs Director Ben Kambs. “Jeff has helped to bring a new level of professionalism and energy to the girls’ performance – and that played a large part in our placing Saturday.”
This is the first year the group had qualified for the show choir state finals and Kambs said he was very pleased with the fourth place finish.
Fusion, Fairfield’s Mixed Choir also brought home a fourth place finish with a transportation-themed show featuring the songs “Love Train”, “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” and “Vehicle.”
“They gave their best performance of the year and finished strong,” Kambs said. “It was a great show and we are all very proud of them.”
The 40-member group along with a 12-member pit band and 10-student stage crew recently placed fourth at the Midwest Showcase at Huntington North High School and third at the Avon Vocal Invitational in Indianapolis.
Last year the show choir place fifth at ISSMA state competition.
Kim Goudy, whose son Kelby is a sophomore in Fusion was happy with the results of the competition.
“Fairfield has less than half the number of students than do most of the top 10 choirs in the small school division,” Goudy said. “We are a small school with a big heart!”
The two fourth place finishes were rewarding for Kambs.
“This season was one of many challenges, but many rewards,” Kambs said. “We have all grown and learned from the experience and are excited to keep raising the level of our program.”
In the mixed show choir division, Dekalb High School won Grand Champion as well as the award for Best Vocals; Plainfield High School placed second and won Best Visuals; Northridge placed third and was awarded Best Band; Fairfield Junior/Senior High School placed fourth; Bishop Dwenger placed fifth; Churubusco, sixth; New Castle Chrysler, seventh; New Palestine, eighth; East Noble, ninth and Twin Lakes, tenth.
In the women’s show choir division, Plainfield was named Grand Champion and won Best Visuals; Dekalb places second and won Best Vocals; Northridge places third and won Best Band; Fairfield placed fourth; New Palestine, fifth; Bishop Dwenger, sixth; Washington High School, seventh; East Noble, eighth and Anderson Prep Academy, ninth.