Academic Spotlight: Naperville North show choirs
By Jane Donahue For The Sun February 28, 2013 12:46PM
High Heeled Harmony, a 48-member female choir, earned grand champion title in the female division at their inaugural competition in Iowa on Feb. 9. | Submitted.
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:23AM
Students from Naperville North took their show on the road, and that’s music to the ears of teacher Nicholas Janssen. For the first time, the school’s show choirs performed in the competitive arena, with amazing results.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Janssen, director of vocal music and founder of North’s show choir program. “With this being our first time out, we had zero expectations; we just wanted our show to be the best it could be, and I think we definitely achieved that.”
The musical groups Entourage, a 43-member coed choir, and High Heeled Harmony, a 48-member female choir, both earned high marks at their inaugural competition Feb. 9 in Iowa. The Huskies snagged a total of seven awards, including High Heeled Harmony’s grand champion title in the female division and Entourage’s first runner up recognition in the finals.
“Even before we heard our awards, we were really proud of ourselves and our performances,” the director said. “We don’t have a history, and we weren’t expecting anything. Finding out that we placed was the icing on the cake. It was a really special experience to share with this group of kids.”
A show choir program at North has been on Janssen’s wish list since being hired there three years ago.
“North already had a fantastic music program established, and we were really brainstorming about ways to bring even more students into the music program,” he said. “Show choir opened up another avenue.”
Eighteen-year-old Kayla Combs said it did just that for her. While singing in the church choir and Young Naperville Singers as an elementary school student, the teen saw show choir as a way to pursue her musical interests at school.
“It has been so nice to have something like this to be part of and to be proud of,” said Combs, a senior. “Honestly, without it, I would be in a really different place in my high school career. It kept me motivated to follow my passion.”
Fellow Entourage member David Brennan shared the sentiment.
“Without show choir, I don’t think I would have as much as an identity as I do,” said the 17-year-old. “I have made a lot of friends through show choir, and met people that I would not have met.”
The group will travel to Wisconsin for their final competition in March. According to Janssen, accolades or not, it’s been a winning season.
“It was important for me to make sure that any student in our school who had an interest in music had a place where they could go,” he said. “What is great about show choir is that it’s a team-oriented endeavor, and it teaches so many life skills beyond music.”