Mixed choir wins top award, women’s choir places second
Reprinted from The Star
PLAINFIELD—DeKalb High School’s Classic Connection show choir returned to the throne Saturday night, winning a state championship in a contest at Plainfield High School.
Classic Connection also claimed an award for best vocals in the competition for mixed choirs. Host school Plainfield placed second among the 10 finalists and won the category of best visuals for its choreography.
Classic Connection captured the first there state championships for smaller schools in 2009, 2010 and 2011, before finishing second by a single point last year.
Only 1.6 points kept DeKalb from a sweep of both mixed and women’s state crowns this year. Earlier Saturday, DeKalb’s Sound Sensation choir finished as first runner-up in the women’s division of the finals.
“These two groups peaked at the perfect time,” DeKalb directory Shelley Johnson said Saturday night. “This is definitely an emotional win for us.” Said Kelsey Wehr, a senior member of Classic Connection. The championship came less than four weeks after the unexpected death of choir member Tabby Meade, 17, from illness.
“We said in the warm-up room that this is for Tabby, and she’s with us and smiling down on us,” Wehr said.
“The biggest thing that helped us win today was overcoming adversity,” said Mason Snider, a senior Classic Connection member. He added that the choir’s underclassmen “definitely helped boost us over the top” with their best show of the season.
“Everyone just knew what they had to do,” said Madison Seifert, a senior member of both choirs. “Everyone realized today that we had to connect with each other and perform as one big family.”
Classic Connection features 49 singer-dancers, 13 band members; and eight crew members.
Johnson said the choir used its ballad as a secret weapon to score highest in vocal sound. Classic Connection performed a Broadway tune,” Come on in from the Outside,” in the middle of its otherwise fast-paced show. Johnson described it as more than just a pretty song.
“It’s got so much meaning to the kids,” she said of the ballad. “it really comes from the heart.”
The top two choirs reversed positions in the women’s competition, with Plainfield winning by 1.6 points over DeKalb and also taking the award for best visual impact.
Sound Sensation won the award for best vocal sound by a women’s choir.
“When we got best vocals, I kind of hoped we’d win.” Said Cassie Smith, a senior member of Sound Sensation. “But when we got first runner-up, I couldn’t be more proud.”
“As soon as we walked off, all of the girls said that’s the best show we’ve ever put on,” said Megan Burrage, another senior member.
“I was so happy with the show, I couldn’t even believe it,” Johnson said. “these girls should have been the state champions today. There’s no doubt in my mind, this is a state-champion choir.”
DeKalb choirs have gained a reputation for ranking higher in visuals than for singing, Johnson suspected that Saturday’s judges preferred a less vigorous style of dancing than DeKalb’s.
“We’ve captured more than our share of best choreography awards over the years, but this was very sweet to get best vocals,” said Kent Johnson, co-director and Shelley Johnson’s husband.
Among women’s choirs, last year’s state champion, Northridge, placed third, followed in order by Fairfield, New Palestine, Bishop Dwenger, Washington, East Noble and Anderson Prep.
In mixed choir division, the order of finish also had Northridge in third and Fairfield fourth, followed by Bishop Dwenger, Churubusco, New Castle, New Palestine, East Noble and Twin Lakes.