BY CAROL ROEHM
Danville High School’s Dick Van Dyke Auditorium will be filled with song, dance and sparkly costumes as it plays host to the 17th annual Midwest Classic this weekend.
This year’s two-day premier event will gather 33 middle school and high school choral ensembles from across Illinois and Indiana, totaling more than 1,500 students, to compete at DHS for awards in various categories.
The competition is expected to draw more than 4,000 spectators to enjoy the entertainment of 20 high school show choirs on Saturday night and 13 middle school groups tonight.
Although Danville’s own show choirs won’t compete for awards, South View Middle School’s Encore, North Ridge Middle School’s Radiant Reds and Redcoats as well as DHS’ Contemporaires and Delegation groups will show off to the hometown audience with their exhibition performances.
Contemporaires, an all-female ensemble of students in grades 9-12, and Delegation, a co-ed ensemble of students in grades 9-12, have earned some big competition wins themselves in the past month.
At the Crete-Monee Show Choir Spectacular on Jan. 12, Contemporaires won first runner-up, while Delegation earned second runner-up.
Also at Crete-Monee, the North Ridge Redcoats won best vocals, best choreography, best female soloist, best male soloist, the people’s choice award and grand champion overall.
At the Mount Zion Show Choir Invitational two weeks ago, the Contemporaires earned accolades for best vocals and grand champion overall. Delegation made the finals for the first time in DHS history, said Kassy Krause, DHS’ show choir director.
DHS junior Christian Cunningham also earned awards at the Mount Zion competition for best male soloist.
Now the focus has turned to the Midwest Classic, an annual competition hosted by DHS and its show choirs.
It takes hundreds of local volunteers — mostly parents and students — to plan out every detail of the event.
“We have really enthusiastic parents this year,” Krause said. “The parents have been amazing. We plan for this all year long.”
“The kids, the parents … we couldn’t do this without their support and dedication,” she said. “It’s an all-community event. It’s touching to see all the support for this program.”
About 700 to 800 volunteers help with lighting, sound, parking and food during the two-day event.
“It’s a ton of work, but it’s totally worth it,” Krause said.
“The weekend is about raising money for our kids and the program to continue to provide this valuable and educational experience for them,” she added.
This evening, the middle school division competition will begin at 5:30 p.m., with an exhibition performance by South View Middle School’s Encore group.
Exhibition performances by the Radiant Reds and the Redcoats, both from North Ridge Middle School, will take place at 7:35 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. respectively. The awards ceremony will follow immediately after the Redcoats’ performance at 10:25 p.m.
On Saturday night, the high school division competition will kick off at 8 a.m. with the first of 20 show choirs performing throughout the day.
The groups will compete in the categories of unisex division, open mixed division, solo competition and dance team competition.
DHS’ Contemporaires will perform in exhibition at 5:45 p.m., with Delegation performing at 10:30 p.m.
“Christian Cunningham will be performing in the Delegation closer,” Krause said.
Soloist and dance team competitions will take place from 9:20 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. in DHS’ Little Theater.
Preliminary awards will be presented at 6:15 p.m., with the finals competition beginning at 7:30 p.m. and the championship awards presented at 11 p.m.
If you go
The Midwest Classic kicks off with middle school show choir competition at 5:30 p.m. today in Dick Van Dyke Auditorium at Danville High School. The last choir group will step on stage at 9:50 p.m. Today’s admission is $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.
On Saturday, the high school show choir competition will begin at 8 a.m. with performances throughout the day until 6:10 p.m. in Dick Van Dyke auditorium. After the performances, awards will be given, with the top six groups performing in the finals starting at 7:30 p.m.
Admission for Saturday preliminaries is $10 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. Saturday night finals admission is $10 for students, seniors and adults. An all-day pass for Saturday is $15 for students and seniors and $20 for adults.