SICL Honor Choir brings conference talent together

Sigourney's Greg Gott, Rassir Higganbotham and Parker Stevens with the SICL Honor Choir.

English Valleys students garbed in blue and gold sing "Make A Joyful Noise". Front row: Leah Shannahan, Angel Wells and Mason Allie. Seond row: Elle Ayers, Tori Harper and Abby Garringer.

Tri-County's Grant Rauhauser represented his district in the SICL Honor Choir this year.

Anna Duwa, Anna Ackerman-Axume and Jaydin Boer from Keota.

            Singers representing member schools of the South Iowa Cedar League (SICL) gathered at Colfax-Mingo High School on Tuesday, Nov. 14 not to compete against one another, but to collaborate as part of the SICL Honor Choir.  

            Honor Choir is held every two years, with the location rotating between the conference schools. While some students at the larger schools in SICL may have to audition, area students from English Valleys, Keota, Sigourney and Tri-County were encouraged by teachers. A total of 50 students from these schools participated this year: 24 in the newly created junior high Young Singer’s Honor Choir and 26 high school students in the Conference Honor Choir.

             “It is amazing to have so many students come together and work together to achieve such an awesome end product,” Randy Stitcher, Sigourney Choral Director said. “I am always proud when students represent themselves, their school and their community in an honorable fashion.”

Isabella Fisher, a junior from English Valleys, joined eight of her fellow choir members this year in the Honor Choir. Fisher, who has been singing since she was in preschool, expressed interest to her choral director to be part of the ensemble and was excited for the experience.

            “It’s pretty cool that all eight of us got to go because we do work super hard in class every single day, and going to this makes it all pay off in the end,” Fisher said. “Basically if you go, it’s a really good compliment because it’s a pretty big deal.”

            Fisher and other students received their music a couple of weeks before the concert and worked on the material on their own and with their instructors. For the English Valleys students, time was mainly spent rehearing in their guided study and occasionally time out of class. The full Honor Choir did not practice together until the day of the concert.

            “This makes it super hard because when you start singing with other schools because every teacher is different,so you really have to pay attention and catch on pretty quickly considering you only have a day to put all of this music together,” Fisher said. “It’s so different going from a choir of 20 people to around 100, but it’s amazing. Everyone at honor choir is so talented, and it took a lot of work to get there.”

            The Honor Choir spent all of Tuesday together, rehearsing their pieces under the guidance of Dr. Merrin Guice, an Assistant Professor of Music at Buena Vista University and the guest director for the choir. Now all under one roof, the choir worked on staying together as a group, as many students were used to a small choir of 20-30 students and suddenly were working with 100 other students.

            “Students experience singing in an ensemble that is larger and generally better than their home choir,” Stitcher said.  “Because they prepare the music ahead of time, they get to work on many performance details that are not covered at home.  Students learn new skills and new perspectives from the guest conductor.  Besides all that, students meet new friend that for some become life-long acquaintances.”

While the work was a bit tough and many were tired after a long day of rehearsals, Fisher enjoyed getting to spend it all “with all these talented people.”

            “They’re not all the kids you see every day in sports,” Fisher said. “They’re all so outgoing, and it’s all just a really cool experience. I would definitely recommend this to other people because it really is a cool experience that everyone should get the chance to go to.”


Young Singer’s Honor Choir (Junior High)

            Soprano: Ellie Berg (Sigourney), Hope deRegnier (Sigourney), Belle Elwood (Tri-County), Kristen Fisher (English Valleys), Reanna Robb (Tri-County), Sierra Roggentien (Tri-County), Emma Seifert (Sigourney), Ryleigh Van Den Heuvel (Sigourney)

            Alto: Georgia Atwood (Sigourney), Lily Elwood (Tri-County), Macy Fisch (Sigourney), Joey Glandon (Sigourney), Olivia Heyne (English Valleys), Kylee Kinzebach (Tri-County), Susan Lake (Sigourney), Aundrea Pert (Tri-County), Jordan Shadley (Sigourney), Allison Sieren (Sigourney), Alyssa Skinner (Tri-County), Jade Smith (Sigourney)

            Tenor: Bryson Grove (English Valleys), Jack Lowe (Tri-County)

            Bass: Xavier Lucas (Sigourney), Payton Thomas (Tri-County)


SICL High School Conference Honor Choir

            Soprano: Anna Ackerman-Axume (Keota), Mason Allie (English Valleys), Ellie Ayers (English Valleys), Jaydin Boer (Keota), Heather Cline (Sigourney), Taylor Conrad (Keota), Anna Duwa (Keota), Abigail Garringer (English Valleys), Tori Harper (English Valleys), Cora Luke (Sigourney), Haley Nicoli (Sigourney), Leah Shannahan (English Valleys), Angela Wells (English Valleys)

            Alto: Jessi Armstrong (English Valleys), Isabella Fisher (English Valleys), Nichole Gokey (Sigourney), Bailey Redlinger (Sigourney), Audra Weber (Sigourney)

            Tenor: Greg Gott (Sigourney), Rassir Higginbotham (Sigourney), Parker Stevens (Sigourney)

            Bass: Chris Barnett (Sigourney), Nolan Grove (English Valleys), Trent Hendricks (Sigourney), Johnathon Klett (Sigourney), Grant Rauhauser (Tri-County)