Sunday, January 18, 2015

Showing Thankfuls

This weekend, our high school show choirs attended their first show choir competition of the year. 

After our high school was destroyed in an EF-5 tornado nearly 4 years ago, the campus was split between two temporary buildings, with the freshmen and sophomores housed at a surplus building (built around 1910) and the juniors and seniors were at an empty box store in the mall. They had to divide up the show choir groups, with one mixed group and one girls group at each school, since they were on different campuses, miles apart.

At audition time last spring, when the highly anticipated and newly rebuilt high school was expected to open for fall, the four choirs were reduced to two. The members looked forward to a summer of camps and practices to get their shows ready for the competition season. Just as summer began, one of the directors unexpectedly left. The mixed group (Sound Dimension) now had no director. After much scrambling and the hiring of a new director, they got to work again, but they lost a lot of time. Songs had to be arranged and learned. Costumes chosen, ordered and fitted. Choreography learned. They were woefully behind on preparation for the upcoming competition season.

When the new high school opened in September (a week behind schedule), the only part of the school that wasn't completed was the Performing Arts wing, and it's not expected to be completed until March or so. Which meant no classroom for the show choirs (or drama or band or orchestra). They started the year in the wrestling room. The. Wrestling. Room. They got evicted from there when wrestling season started, moved to the Technical School and put in one end of an industrial room that abutted what amounts to the engine room of the entire school. Constant noise and humming. 

And no mirrors.

These kids have learned intricate choreography with no mirrors.

Oh, and there was no money in the budget for pretty much anything. So no backdrops to go behind them at performances. Nice costumes, but nothing fancy. No props. 

So yesterday, the two show choir groups went to their first competition. Four and a half hours on a school bus each way. They looked and sounded fantastic, even if you didn't know they didn't have a real classroom, didn't have mirrors, didn't have a budget, didn't get started on most of it until August.

The girls group received 3rd place in their category, which was awesome.

Sound Dimension did not place. Even though they did an excellent job, there were other groups there that, quite frankly, blew everyone else right out of the water. But that's okay. It was the first competition. And those kids have nothing to be ashamed of. My Ten Things of Thankful is about these kids.

1. They are polite. I provided snacks for them this summer when they had a camp to work on songs, and they were appreciative and showed it.

2. They load and unload the bus of costumes and (props and backdrops, if we had them) without (much) complaint.

3. They are good kids. Many of them are student leaders and athletes and honor students. (My daughter happens to be all three.)

4. They (mostly) keep themselves entertained when there is downtime by singing and dancing and not (constantly) with electronics (except for selfies, Vines, Tweets and Snapchats).

5. They help each other with make up and hair, regardless of which group they belong to.

6. They have two fantastic directors who love them like their own children.

7. They are talented.

8. Yes, they were disappointed they didn't place in the competition, but they weren't (real) big whiners about it. 

9. I have a friend group among some of the moms.

Our girls have been in activities together for
years and years. Small town perk! 

10. I get to hear them continue to improve and grow for another four competitions.

It's never too late to be thankful, but it will be too late to join us in the Ten Things of Thankful link up if you don't hurry! Link up, below, before you miss your chance!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group


  1. Replies
    1. YESSSS!!! Is there an award for being the frist to comment on the last entry of the weekend? If there is, you won it!

    2. There so should be!
      Can't like...I was sort of stalking the linkup wondering where you was. Then one time I looked and BAM!

  2. Ok those kids are awesome all the way through that list. I have developed a sour taste for teenagers over the last couple of years in my bad work place, but this is so redeeming. No that's not true. .. it's not teenagers it's particular circumstances. Anyway these Kids are terrific!

    1. They are a good group, not that they don't have their moments, I'm sure. I'm not with them every day in class! But it's been disappointing to them to get so far behind before they even got started, and they're taking it really well.

    2. And that speaks volumes for their maturity and sense of what matters. Bet they have great parents and other folks around to teach them that... :)

  3. HOLY MOSES! And they didn't place? Steep competition! They were awesome!

  4. They sound great to me. I love the dancing. And you had such a busy weekend. Still smiling after 4 1/2 hours in a school bus? That's something to be thankful for.

  5. Sounds like a really great group of kids that are spending time on things that matter which is HUGE. I can't imagine practicing without mirrors!

  6. What good kids! They are making great memories--and the memories will be more important than the awards.

  7. They sound and look so beautiful - great job; persevering against all odds - Bravo an ole`!

  8. I think they sound and look great!! What fun memories they are making! I did marching band and though we weren't so good, the memories we made were worth it. :)