Cassville High School choirs win awards

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Winter Soup & Song" to be held Friday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Cassville High School competitive choirs, No Boys Allowed (an all-girls choir) and Center Stage Choir (a mixed choir), recently won awards at the Mount Vernon High School Competition in Mount Vernon.

It was the first show of the year for the two groups, and they walked away with a second-place trophy in the division, as well as trophies for "Over-All Best Vocals" and "Best Show Opener."

Choir members pictured include, front row, from left: Mariah Willard, Bridges Madison, Alana Holt and Mikala Deffenbaugh. Back row: Ashleigh Lawrence, Noah Galey, Bradley Lueckenhoff and Audra Shumaker. Kyle Troutman/

Students must tryout for positions in these choirs, tryouts for which are held in the spring, and before school is out, the students have already learned their music for the next year's competition.

In the summer, the choir members attend a choreography camp, where they spend three very long days learning all of the choreography for their show. The first competitions are usually in November. The shows consist of about five songs, and there is much singing, dancing, elaborate costumes, props and theatrical influences. The shows usually tell a story of some sort or feature some sort of theme.

The choirs present the shows in places such as Pleasant Hill, Harrisonville, Nevada, Mt. Vernon, Carthage, Webb City and sometimes Seneca. It is not uncommon for the choirs to leave the choir room at 4 a.m. and not return until 2 a.m.

Four years ago, the Cassville High School choir department started "The Fall Dinner Show" so it had a way to showcase to the community all of the students' hard work. This show has multiple purposes, such as providing an opportunity to have a "Dress Rehearsal" before a competition and giving an opportunity for the students to perform for the parents and community members who would otherwise not travel to the various competitions.

This year, the department's fall competition show was cancelled, so its "Fall Show" was rescheduled for this year's "Winter Soup & Song."

The "Winter Soup & Song" shows will be held Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 2 at 3 p.m.

The show gives the department a chance to raise money for the program. Show choirs require a lot of money for costumes, entrance fees, music rights, choreography expenses, travel expenses and more. The students have to pay for a portion of their costumes, but the choir budget comes up with the rest.

The "Winter Soup & Song" also consists of a small portion of the show dedicated to allowing the students to perform individually whatever they work up on their own. They do all of the accompaniment, arrangements and details completely on their own.

In the show's first year in 2010, only one night was offered and about 250 people attended. In 2013, the department began offering shows on two nights to accommodate the crowds, garnering over 200 people in attendance both nights.

This year's show will consist of: The NBA's local debut of its 2014 competition show,

Center Stage's local debut of its 2014 competition show, and solo and group performances from individual performers. All of the concerts and events are free of charge.

Last weekend, Choir Director Mary Richmiller and three of her students returned from the All-State Festival Concert. She and her students, Mikala Deffenbaugh, Levi Pollreisz and Audra Shumaker, left on Wednesday and spent three days with Becky Weber and another 190 All-State vocalists preparing for an All-State concert performed on Jan. 15 at Tan-Tar-A resort.