‘Younger Americans’ enjoy show choir experience

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Local kids in preschool through fifth grade took the stage with members of the MFL MarMac Young Americans show choir for a clinic on April 7. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Each youth group learned the music and movements to a selection from the “Fun in the Sun” program performed by the Young Americans at competitions and concerts this year.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac’s Young Americans show choir hosted its first ever clinic April 7, giving local kids an opportunity to grow their singing and dancing skills. 

Riley Whitney and Rose Grau, both sophomore members of the Young Americans, organized the clinic, which Whitney said was inspired by the events other school organizations and sports teams host. 

“I got to thinking, ‘Why don’t we do that?’ Whitney shared. “It’d be awesome to get kids up on stage and dancing and get our name out there so kids know what the Young Americans are.” 

Choir director Jaydeane Berns supported her students’ idea and, when needed, answered questions and helped troubleshoot any potential problems. Otherwise, she let Whitney and Grau take the lead. 

“They basically took care of it,” she said. “I’m super impressed with the entire day, how smoothly it ran.” 

Around 50 kids, ranging from preschool to fifth grade, participated in the show choir clinic as “Younger Americans.” The girls did some recruiting, reaching out to the kids they babysit, parents and even homeschool families. 

Originally scheduled for a Sunday afternoon in March, the event had to be rescheduled to April 7 due to weather. Although the change prevented a few kids from attending, the two organizers were still impressed with the turnout. 

“It was an overwhelming amount of participation,” Grau said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more.” 

The clinic started at 1 p.m., and participants were split up by age and gender. Each group then spent the next several hours learning the music and movements to a selection from the “Fun in the Sun” program performed by the Young Americans at competitions and concerts this year. At the end, the kids showed off what they’d learned during a performance for their parents in the high school auditorium. 

Grau commended all the participants for their hard work. 

“It was very difficult for them to put in a four-hour day of almost strictly dancing and singing with us,” she said. 

“These are dances we’ve been learning since the beginning of the school year,” Whitney added. “We put in tons of time and these kids spent one day on it and they were so impressive.” 

Whitney was also impressed by her fellow Young Americans members, who worked together to lead the groups. 

“They put in a lot of work today making sure the kids learned their parts and helped everything go smoothly. The only real obstacle we had to go through was we hadn’t practiced for a month,” since competition had concluded for the year, Grau stated.

Although organizing the clinic was admittedly stressful, Grau and Whitney said they are proud of what they accomplished and hope to do it again next year. 

“We took the idea, set up everything, organized it. There were many meetings,” Grau shared. “We both had our jobs and, when we put them together, everything came together and it worked out really well. I learned hard work pays off.” 

It also helped, Berns noted, that both students are well-organized and detail-oriented. 

“Once the day started, it very much fell into place,” she said. “It was a fun way to wrap up the season.” 

Whitney said enduring a bit of stress, then working with the kids, actually restarted how she felt about show choir—how excited she is to perform and be part of the long-standing group. 

“Because, when you do it from July to April, it gets long, and you’re like ‘Why am I still getting up at 5:30 in the morning to be at the school to dance?’” she remarked. “But to see how excited these kids are, to know we could have inspired a couple kids to care more about music, I think that’s what I learned from this and that’s why I thought it was so fun.” 

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