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High note, new direction


High note, new direction

CCHS vocal department enjoys next steps towards program progress

Charles City High School’s vocal department students were ready to do things differently at Tuesday night’s fall concert. Their department director, Brad Beale, was right there with them, leading the four vocal groups –– a Capella, Chamber Choir, Comet Chorus and Concert Chorale –– through an active set that kept the music students on their toes.

The night included the department’s first introduction to the mobile app Periscope, which livestreamed the performance to 57 viewers who tuned in online.

“For the first time doing it, I felt pretty pleased with it,” Beale said.

It wasn’t the only big news for the department. The auditorium broke into applause after Beale announced the first vocal fundraiser aimed at replacing about 100 blue choir robes CCHS vocal students have worn since 1988. The robes have taken on some damage since their introduction, Beale said.

“They’re good quality robes, but it’s time to change them,” he added.

For a donation of $10, Christmas carolers made up of vocal department students and family members will come sing at private residences throughout Charles City on Dec. 15, with all proceeds going towards the new robes. Robes could cost the department between $150 to $250 for a quality set, Beale said.

“They should look the part,” Beale told the audience during his announcement, to more applause. “They deserve that.”

Students kept the evening lively, with two new vocal groups making their choral debut. Comet Chorus loosened up onstage with some physical percussion in ‘Bring Me Little Water, Silvy’, and A Capella updated the Pentatonix arrangement of ‘Cheerleader’ with student beatboxer Lars McFarland.

Comet Chorus soloist Ruby Peterson had a frontstage spotlight in ‘Popular’, and student musicians Karissa Jensen and Derek LaBarge, on trumpet, and Jacob Nixt and Joe Iseneker, on trombone, accompanied Concert Chorale with ‘A Jubilant Song’; Faith Slinger, Rebecca Tierney, Ryan Parker, Iseneker and Emma Sheckler all had verse credits for their work on ‘We Shall Overcome’ after the group voted to include their arrangement changes into the final set.

All four choirs came together and invited alumni onstage to end the concert, singing the Charles City High School Alma Mater with at least three returning alumni joining the stage.

More groups mean more transition details to work through, but Beale said the students stayed on top of what they needed to for the first performance together. “It’s definitely a learning process, and something we’re going to get better at for our next concert,” he said. “I was very pleased with their performance.”

By Kate Hayden [email protected]

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