Goshen News, Goshen, IN

March 20, 2013

Student arts groups set high standards


— The excellence of local schools’ extra-curricular groups was showcased last weekend, and we are very proud to say those schools are from Elkhart County.

Traveling to Greenwood, four winter guard groups finished in the top 10 in divisional competition. Winning gold ratings were Elkhart Central, Northridge, Goshen High School’s junior varsity team and NorthWood. Previously, on March 9, the GHS varsity winter guard qualified for the state finals.

For those who have not seen winter guards in action, they are teams that choreograph their dance, tumbling and athletic movements with visual elements including ribbons, wooden rifles and swords and a host of other props. These movements are accompanied by music and the end result is a colorful, graceful routine that makes the crowd say “Wow!” when the students are finished performing.

The high marks received by these local groups came as a result of long practice sessions after school and on weekends. To finish high in this competition means that the students made a major commitment to excellence and then worked together as a team to achieve a gold rating.

Also competing last weekend were four show choirs. As high school vocal groups go, show choirs get top billing. That’s because they, too, use movements and props and choreograph their shows. It takes a lot of work during and after school to produce a choir show that can compete well at the state level.

And that’s what Northridge High School’s Northern Lights and Starlights and Fairfield High School’s Fusion and Expression choirs did last weekend. They competed at Plainfield in the State Small School Competition for Mixed and Women’s show choirs. The Northridge choirs placed third and the Fairfield choirs placed fourth.

And another type of musical group, high school percussion ensembles,  have also had good seasons. Thee ensembles utilize all sorts of percussion instruments to make great-sounding music. On Saturday, NorthWood, Goshen, Fairfield and Elkhart Central percussion groups will compete for state titles.

These accomplishments by our local winter guards, show choirs and the percussion ensembles are the latest achievements in a long history of high achievements by local high school arts groups. Elkhart County high schools are noted around the state for being tough competitors in orchestra, marching bands, jazz ensembles, percussion ensembles, show choirs and now winter guard. And the students in those groups have not developed those wonderful reputations by going home after school and watching TV. Instead, they have committed to a long season of hard work, practices and working as teams to give additional value to their high school years.

We are grateful we have such students as these, who are willing to set high goals and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve those goals. These students have achieved great things for themselves and their schools and in turn have made their communities very proud.