Sigourney bands and choirs perform over two nights

Members of the Sigourney Junior High Choir sing to family and friends during their performance on Wednesday, May 3.

The trombone section of the Sigourney High band kept on slidin' through their spring concert on Thursday, May 4.

Senior Sarina Gretter and Band Instructor Jessica Meier embrace as Gretter receives the John Phillip Sousa Award, which recognizes outstanding high school musicians. 

           Music soared through the main gym of Sigourney Jr/Sr High as grades five through 12 displayed their instrumental and vocal talents for their annual Spring Concert over two nights on May 4 and 5.

            On Wednesday night, members of the fifth grade band, each in their first year out of general music, performed beginning pieces that will build up to one day grow into full arrangements. The progression continued into the sixth grade ensemble, as they performed more intricate songs and the Sigourney-Keota Fight Song. Members of the fifth and sixth grade choir, under the direction of Jan Wallerich as Interim Choir Director, took on well-known pieces such as “Tomorrow” for the musical Annieand “It’s A Small World”.

            The beat kept on going Wednesday with the junior high band and choirs performing later in the evening. Some of composer John Williams’ most well known tunes were performed by the junior high band, along with pieces entitles “The Oregon Trail” and “Air for Band”. All the while, students showed attentiveness to Jessica Meier, their band director, as they performed the pieces.

            “When they start band, I teach them I’m the conductor of the train, so watch me for help,” Meier said. “That’s something they have dug into over the different years, and it’s really important that we all stay together.”

            The junior high choir performed several pieces including “Elijah! Rock!”, “Durme, Durme”, and “Down in the Valley”, taking a step up over their younger peers with assigned vocal parts to create harmonies within the choir.

            Thursday brought members of the high school choir and band to center stage, again featuring Wallerich as the director of the choir for “Witness” and “Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal”. Wallerich took on the role after the choir director, Randy Stichter, needed to tend to a family matter beginning in March and taking him away from his duties. Students helped Wallerich, a trained pianist, prepare them as closely as possible to Stichter’s instruction. She also received two helping hands in accompanists Sarina Gretter and Rylie Shettler on the piano, allowing Wallerich to concentrate on directing the students during their performances. Without Wallerich, according to Meier, students would be in a study hall rather than singing.

            “Jan has stepped in and worked really hard to give the kids a really good choral experience,” Meier said. “It’s been a collaborative effort at all levels, and she has asked the kids to show her how they warm up, how do they do this, and the students have been really receptive overall.”

            Three high school soloists followed the choir performances, displaying pieces they had worked on for Individual Contest. Soloists included John Klett singing “Sing Me A Chantey With a Yo-Ho-Ho”, Chris Barnett with “Rolling Down To Rio”, along with Gabrielle Atwood and Brooke Donald performing as a duet with “Skye Boat Song.” Gretter or Shettler, who were later recognized with flowers by the Sigourney Music Boosters, accompanied all performers.

            As the night winded down, the high school band closed with four tunes, including three they performed at the IHSMA State Large Group Festival: “Travelin’ Music”, “Amazing Grace”, and “The Thunderer.” Between songs, Meier recognized her group of seniors one by one, as well as the recipient of the John Phillip Sousa Award of Musical Excellence, Sarina Gretter. Gretter, who will be attending the University of Northern Iowa for Music Education, has been involved in band for all eight of her years and is a proven leader, according to Meier.

            “That is a very appropriate award for her,” Meier said. “Sarina is very deserving. She has been my drum major for marching band for three years. Last year, when I was on maternity leave, she was my long term sub and basically ran band for me.”

            The evening closed with a fun “Disney at the Movies” medley to get the audience’s younger members moving along. Of course, it was the high school students that Meier said were begging to do this song, including her senior class that she had positive thoughts and memories with.

            “This senior class had done nothing but work hard,” Meier said. “They are a really talented group and have high expectations for themselves.”

            Sigourney high’s band capped off it’s busy week on Friday by traveling to the IHSMA State Large Group Festival held at Iowa Valley High School. They were awarded their fourth straight Division I rating, the highest rating possible and completing goal set by the senior class to do so all four years of their high school career. 


            Photos from Wednesday and Thursday night's rehearsal can be found on The News-Review’s SmugMug page at