The Albia Show Choir, newly dubbed “The Electric A’s” has had an active winter so far. Their usual trip to Keota for State Show Choir did not end ordinarily. The group took home straight Division I ratings -- the best a show choir can do at state contest. All three judges agreed the choir was worthy of a Superior rating.
The Electric A’s have prepared a 12-minute long set of music. The standard order for any show choir is: 1. Opening Song (upbeat, grabs interest), 2. Transition Song (brings the tempo back down to prepare for ballad), 3. Ballad (full of emotion, shows off the choirs ability to harmonize), 4. Novelty Song (wows the audience with flair), and 5. Closing Song (combines a bit of technique from all the other songs and ends with a bang!).
Including “The Middle” from Jimmy Eat World, and “You Say” by newly popular artist Lauren Daigle, the students had a lot of music to learn, said Director Alex Steines.
Steines arranges all of the songs himself. “This allows me to fine tune each song to perfectly match our strengths. The entire goal is highlighting the students’ voices - it is about the kids and how we can make them sound the best,” he said.
Once the songs have been learned, it is on to choreography. Grace Peelen (ACHS Dance Team coach) has helped with the movement of this choir. “We are very fortunate to have a great choreographer right in the building.” said Steines. “I cannot wait to see how much further we push the kids next year. Ms. Peelen’s first experience with show choir has been with us. It is exciting to have her learn the ropes right alongside the students.”
The students also performed for the first time at the Sadie Street Showcase in Anamosa. Anamosa High School is home to Albia alumni Caleb Haselhuhn who serves as the director of bands. The Electric A’s attended this competition as a learning experience. However, they came back with a nice first place in 2A trophy and many exciting ideas for next year.
“Next year the focus is tweaking our arranging styles and our choreography,” said Steines. “When we started competing a few years ago, we were stuck in the outdated mindset of ‘Swing Choir.’ Those days are long past. We are catching up to the future with each year, and next year, we will be paving the way for others.”
Steines has plans to change the rehearsal time of the group from the dreary 7 a.m. to an evening time slot. He also is looking to have a larger group, however, he plans to keep it highly selective. “It looks like a lot of fun, and it is, but not until the later stages. The first few months of rehearsal are hard work - but it all pays off,” he said.
The Show Choir is graduating two senior girls (Alli Hugen and Nika Spaur), and four senior boys (Bradley Amante, Cole Folkerts, Tate Padilla, and Bradley Yenger). “These students have been with us through it all,” said Steines. “The differences in our quality from their freshman year to their senior year is night and day -- they have pushed us to be the best group we can be.”
Not only is the choir going to lose leadership, they also graduate most of their back-up band. The band consists of Ash Pickens (12th), Andrew Wright (12th), and Eli Zanoni (9th). The band consistently receives positive comments on their dynamic contrast and sensitivity to not cover up the singers.
The next opportunity to see this choir perform is at the Choir Extravaganza, Thursday, Feb. 21 in the A Gym at 7 p.m. The concert features all choirs from 5th-12th grade. For a shared concert between the ACHS Jazz Band and the Show Choir, mark your calendars for Swing Show April 5 and 6.
“Swing Show is my favorite performance of the year. It highlights the hard work and early mornings both Jazz band and Show Choir have put in,” said Steines. Also this year it happens to be on Mrs. Steines’s birthday. We will have to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her that night. She has also helped the group so much this year. It will be an awesome performance and a great way to wrap up the Show Choir’s best year yet.”