No Business Like Show Business: Blue Valley choir performs annual Spring Show incorporating all groups

Rachel Cannon and Sally Cochran, Staff Writer and News Editor

Thursday May 15 and Saturday May 17, Blue Valley’s choir department performed their annual Spring Show at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC.
Master of Ceremonies Jefferson Harwood said he thought the show went really well.
“The show went fantastic,” he said. “Both nights were really good. We had an incident Saturday night where we lost one of our cast members, but we covered their spot beautifully. We actually passed sold-out on Saturday. We packed the PAC and had people sitting in the aisles.”
He said the Spring Show differed in length from years past but that the shorter show did not affect the quality.
“I think every year we put on another amazing feat in three and a half weeks,” he said.

Chambers singer Junior Tanner Neath
Tenor 1 — The highest Tenor
3rd Year in Choir
2nd Year in Chambers
     Junior Tanner Neath performed in the Spring Show with the Chambers Singers.
“[The Spring Show] is different because it’s the day [before] the seniors graduate,” he said. “It’s so sad, but it’s also so amazing just to be doing the last performance with the seniors. It’s the last thing you get to do, and there’s nothing else that you would rather do than perform your last night with your best friends that are graduating.”
Neath participated in a variety of numbers including Broadway medleys, pop songs and a hip-hop dance routine. Neath said performing the hip-hop dance was an interesting experience.
“You look back on it, and you get to laugh at yourself,” he said. “But, when you put it together, it’s really fun. And, it looks really good, too.”
Neath said  during his freshman year, he wasn’t initially planning on being in choir.
“Actually, I wasn’t going to be in choir, but Mrs. Moeller tracked me down,” he said. “I guess I’m a good singer, and, plus, the choir is just a family. It’s just a great place to be.”
He said the choir is special due to its “family” atmosphere.
“It’s more of just a family factor — you can go to just about any choir kid and talk to them about anything,” he said. “I’ve noticed with sports — basketball, football and all that — that it’s kind of a competition like who can do it better. Choir is just ‘Hey, let’s sing this together and enjoy what we do.’”
Neath said student leadership plays a role in choir’s organization.
“[Moeller] lets us take charge a lot of the time,” he said. “We have choir president, we have choir vice president, we have the choir officers to keep things running, so she doesn’t have to run everything. But, she does help out.”
Neath participated in the Chamber’s Spring Break trip this year when they performed at Disney World.
“We get invited to either Disney or New York every year — they always want us to perform,” he said. “Mrs. Moeller thinks it’s a great idea because it’s kind of bringing us out of our comfort zone. It’s kind of bringing us out into the world. Also, it lets us have fun and kind of explore our performing.”
Neath said he is glad that he is a part of Blue Valley Choir.
“The class has exceeded my expectations,” he said. “It’s more than I could have ever dreamed of.”

Classy Ladies Junior Andrea Rinehart
Soprano 1 — Highest part possible
First year in Classy Ladies
Second year in choir
     Junior Andrea Rinehart performed with the Classy Ladies, an all-girls show choir, at the Spring Show.
“The Classy Ladies did ‘Rumour Has It’ and ‘Let Me Be Your Star,” she said. “I was also in ‘Don’t Tell Mama,’ which was all Chorale girls and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Emerald City’ and ‘Run, Freedom, Run.’”
She said she likes performing in the Spring Show more than the other choir concerts.
“I love Spring Show,” she said. “It’s so much different than all the others [shows], and there’s always a really big audience. It’s different because everyone’s dancing, and we all have costumes and special lighting. It’s more of a show than a concert. At all the other concerts, it’s just parents, but then at [Spring Show], students come, and we have alum come. It’s just more people.”
Rinehart said her past experiences in choir led her to audition for Classy Ladies.
“I wanted to be in Classy Ladies because I do a lot of choir and singing, and I just wanted one more thing,” she said. “It’s different than all the other experiences because you dance and sing, so it’s just a different experience than all my other choirs.”
She said the simultaneous performance of song and dance increases the difficulty.
“It’s hard to project while you’re trying to breathe while you’re singing,” she said.”
Rinehart is in two hours of choir a day — the optional Classy Ladies class as well as Chorale. The Classy Ladies group also meets outside of school.
“I love that since we meet twice a week after school and we’re all girls, we’re all really close,” she said. “It’s just a really great experience.”
Rinehart said auditioning for Chambers or Classy Ladies involves two auditions.
“You have to sing for Mrs. Moeller, and that’s just your singing audition,” she said. “You have to do that for normal choir, too, so it’s not like a big deal. And, then, there’s also a dance audition. Then, the Chambers dance captains watch you along with [choreographer] Anne [McCroskey] and Mrs. Moeller, and they rate you. The top people get into Chambers, and then the next tier get into Classy Ladies, and then there are people who don’t make it.”
She said the non-traditional classroom environment makes her enjoy Choir more.
“We sit in our part’s section, and we go over the song,” she said. “If one part is having trouble, [Mrs. Moeller] will pound it out on the piano, and they’ll sing by themselves. It’s more relaxed, I feel like. It’s just a nicer experience.”
She said the family aspect of choir balances out the possible competition.
“We’re such a family, and we all get along,” she said. “Obviously, there’s competition for who’s going to get into what [group], but we’re all really supportive of each other. We’re all there because we love to sing.”

Choraliers Sophomore Jessica Jones
Second Soprano — Second highest female part
2nd Year in Choir
First Year in Choraliers
Sophomore Jessica Jones performed with the Choraliers choir during the Spring Show. The group generally consists of freshmen boys and sophomore girls.
“As a class we performed a song from ‘Avenue Q’ and ‘We’re All in This Together’ from ‘High School Musical,’ and the girls did ‘Momma, I’m a Big Girl Now,’” she said. “I think I liked ‘We’re All in This Together’ because it had harder choreography, and it was really a high energy song, and it was so fun to see the audience’s reaction to that.”
Jones said she joined choir because she wanted to do an activity involving music.
“I joined choir because band was not my forte,” she said. “It just didn’t really click with me, but I decided to give choir a go because I really enjoy singing, and it was a really good decision.”
Jones said working on each song takes more than just learning the melody.
“Generally, we will pick a few pieces and then sing through them,” she said. “Mrs. Moeller will decide whether or not she likes how they sound with our voices or if they are challenging enough for us. Usually, we’ll learn bits and pieces, but we won’t go in order — sometimes we’ll start with the middle or the end — it just kind of depends. We learn how to pronounce the words, especially if it’s Latin or [another] language. Then, we just have to put together the melody, which is funny because that’s usually the last thing we do.”
With all the preparation involved, Jones said the speed of their progress is astonishing.
“It’s really quite amazing how fast we’re able to put together a piece,” she said. “Like Spring Show — that’s dancing and singing and acting and costumes, and we were able to do that all in three weeks, which is incredible.”
Jones said she enjoys the variety in voice types the class provides.
“My favorite thing about Choraliers would probably be that the guys are in it because you [have] more parts, and it’s kind of fun to add new voices in there,” she said.
Jones also said everyone in the class gets along well.
“I would say that we’re friends,” she said. “There’s no drama in our class, which is so nice because often times with a performing arts class, you have high tension, and it’s really competitive. But in Choraliers, you don’t really have that as much.
Planning on continuing to be involved in choir in the future, Jones auditioned for Chambers and Classy Ladies.
“Those are the most fun groups you can be in,” she said. “You sing and you dance at the same time. If you’re in Chambers, you have the opportunity to go to New York or Disney World. For Classy ladies it’s the same thing — you get to sing and dance, and it’s just so much fun. You come closer together as a group.”
Because of a closeness between students, Jones said she thinks choir stands out.
“I really feel like choir as a whole is more of a choir family, so when you perform or when you are working together on pieces, it’s kind of like you are doing it with your brothers and sisters,” she said. “I’ve been in other performing arts groups, and I’ve been on sports teams, and I’ve never really felt the whole family bond as much as I have in choir.”

Choir teacher Marsha Moeller
Every year, choir teacher Marsha Moeller has only a short time to put together the choir’s Spring Show following their contest season.
“We really can’t start it until contest is over, so we put it together in about three and a half weeks,” she said.
Moeller said preparing for this show takes hard work.
“We have some extra rehearsals, and we’re singing and dancing every day during class,” she said. “It’s just very intense for those three weeks.”
Every class performed at least once together, and choir members who were in State choir or who got a 1 rating at state had solos. Moeller said one song had special meaning in particular.
“The boys did ‘The Game’ from ‘Damn Yankees,’ which was also a tribute to Reat Underwood because he was in that show with me this summer at Theatre in the Park,” she said.
Every choir member also sang “Heal the World” together standing around the entire auditorium, and Masters of Ceremonies Junior Jefferson Harwood and Sophomore Lauren Browning paid respects to Underwood as well. For other songs, they did comedy bits that allowed performers time to change between songs.
“I just pick MCs that I trust,” Moeller said. “They did some comedy skits, and they were fabulous. They were very classy.”
Moeller picks and teaches all the songs the groups sing in the show and during the year. She said every year she tries to pick new songs that she has never worked with.
“For each group at each concert, there will be some new pieces, but some are classics,” Moller said. “When picking the musical, I look at our talent and figure out what area we need to showcase. The Fall concert is some of the State Choir music, and it’s our first time together on stage. The Holiday Concert is all seasonal music, and then we start contest music in January. We get ready for large group and small group. The Spring Show is all Broadway and pop, so they have a very well rounded choral experience.”
Moeller said she enjoys teaching choir.
“Oh, I’ve been teaching for a hundred years, and I love it because I get to have them four years,” she said. “I get to watch them grow as singers and as performers. It’s just very satisfying.”
Moeller said choir is beneficial for later in life.
“Kids that take music score higher on the SAT and ACT,” she said. “Kids become very comfortable working with all kinds of personalities, which is really important in the workforce. Kids become very comfortable onstage in front of people. We do pieces in other languages, so that’s another area that they become at last aware of — it’s a cultural awareness. Singing is a lifelong skill. They can go into a church choir, community choir or community theatre. They can go to a symphony concert or a professional musical, and they know something about it. They’re not just sitting there ignorant — they have a knowledge of what’s good and why it’s good.”
Moeller said choir also helps students grow closer together.
“People who love to sing are sharing their talents,” she said. “You get athletes, you get cheerleaders, you get drill team, you get band kids, you get academic kids, and they all come together because they love to sing, and then we work together to make this beautiful music. I think they get very, very close — much closer, maybe, than in a math class because they are sharing an emotional, musical kind of experience. They perform together, they travel together. I think they become more like a family.”