The Times photo by Betsy Reason
The Noblesville East Middle School show choir, Vocal Revolution, show off a trophy after earning first runner-up — only losing by 1.5 points to Carmel Middle School Class Act — at the Franklin Central Hoosier Show Choir Classic. NEMS also earned Best Vocals and Best Band at the contest.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason The Noblesville East Middle School show choir, Vocal Revolution, show off a trophy after earning first runner-up — only losing by 1.5 points to Carmel Middle School Class Act — at the Franklin Central Hoosier Show Choir Classic. NEMS also earned Best Vocals and Best Band at the contest.

Wow, it has been an amazing year so far as a parent of a show-choir student at Noblesville East Middle School.

Over the past three weekends, show choir parents have traveled, like groupies, to watch show-choir competitions all over Indiana, south to Edgewood High School in Ellettsville, north to Chesterton High School near the Indiana Dunes, and right here in Central Indiana to Franklin Central High School on Indianapolis’ east side.

To those parents and members of the community who’ve followed Vocal Revolution, the NEMS 45-member mixed show choir, kudos to you for supporting your seventh- and eighth-grade singers and dancers. 

Parents have volunteered to chaperone and to ride school buses, keep a watchful eye on students, and help carry music and band equipment. (If you didn’t know, the show choir competes with a NEMS stage band, 1625 Jive, whose members -- middle and high school students and adult musicians, under the direction of Rebecca Wand -- spent weeks learning the music of the choir’s five competition songs).

After driving almost two hours to the first contest in Ellettsville on Feb. 9, we decided to volunteer as chaperones to ride the bus the nearly three-hour trip to Chesterton on Feb. 16. And then we drove to Franklin Central on the evening of Feb. 22. 

At each contest, we spent the whole day or the entire night watching our choir, as well as watching other choirs, compete in front of packed auditoriums and gymnasiums. 

While we really didn’t look forward to the road trips of the contest, we found that we enjoyed watching the competition, watching school-age singers and dancers from all over the state, and some from adjacent states, showcase their talents, a lot of amazing talents. 

I’m proud to say that our choir has done well this season, and the many rehearsals after schools for weeks, are paying off.

In case you haven’t heard, NEMS Vocal Revolution earned first runner-up -- only losing by 1.5 points to Carmel Middle School Class Act -- on Feb. 22 at the Franklin Central Hoosier Show Choir Classic. NEMS also earned Best Vocals and Best Band at the contest. 

“I am so proud of their performance,” NEMS choir director Ms. Jordan Rattenbury said in a letter to all show-choir parents, sharing the accolades. “Just watched our video from last night, and I am beaming with pride. You guys did so great,” she said. (It was unfortunate and disappointing that the Franklin Central Hoosier Classic souvenir program didn’t have better proofreaders; the program featured Vocal Revolution’s name, city and photo but Carmel’s information from 2016).

Vocal Revolution also did well at the 26th annual Edgewood High School Contest of Champions, Vocal Revolution earned first runner-up, Best Female Soloist for Kiersten Shepherd (an eighth-grader who also sang the National Anthem on Feb. 23 at the East vs. West charity girls basketball game at NEMS) and Third Best Band Score of the day in the auditorium.

At the Chesterton Trojan Classic, Vocal Revolution earned second runner-up.

At each contest, one show choir member from each choir was chosen as Outstanding Performer; NEMS winners were Savannah McClure at the Franklin Central contest, Maddux Morrison at Chesterton and Anna Neal at Edgewood.

Noblesville West Middle School’s 46-member mixed show choir, West Side Sound, also gets a shout out for earning first place in the middle-school division at its Northridge Choral Invitational on Feb. 16. The choir, under the direction of Alex Axsom, also sang the National Anthem at the Indianapolis Colts game on Nov. 25.

Noblesville High School choirs, Sensation, earned third runner-up in the Unisex division, and NHS Singers earned fourth runner-up in the Mixed Division, at Franklin Central Hoosier Show Choir Classic on Feb. 23, the following day after the middle-school competition.

NHS Singers also earned Grand Champion, Best Vocals, Best Band and Best Crew at Northridge. NHS’s New Dimension show choir earned second place and Best Band in the Women’s Finals at Northridge. New Dimension earned fourth place, and NHS Singers placed fifth in the Franklin Community ShowFest on Feb. 2.

NHS Singers had a clean sweep and were named Grand Champion in the Mixed Division of Fishers Silver Spotlight on Jan. 26. NHS Singers also won Best Crew, Best Band, Best Costumes, Best Choreography and Best Vocals. New Dimension earned first runner-up in the Unisex division and Best Band and Best Choreography. Milltonez, the new all-male show choir, made its first appearance at the Fishers Silver Spotlight.

All of Noblesville Schools’ show choirs from Noblesville East and Noblesville West middle schools and Noblesville High School will perform their competition sets during a special 2019 District Show Choir Showcase, at 7 p.m. March 14, in the NHS auditorium. Reserved-seat tickets went on sale Friday and are $10.

“This is a fundraiser for all of our groups and a great chance to see how talented all of our Noblesville Show Choirs and Bands are,” Rattenbury said to parents, encouraging them to buy their tickets as soon as possible. By mid-afternoon Friday, she announced that 600 tickets, or 63 percent of the seats, had already been sold.

We are so fortunate that we have Ms. Rattenbury for being our tireless choir teacher.

It’s not all about the awards. It’s about the experience.

I thank her for teaching our kids, for believing in them, and for making them believe in themselves.

P.S. I would also like to applaud Ms. Rattenbury for keeping the NEMS competition set classy with age-appropriate costumes, including classic-style glitzy dresses (with black bloomers) for the girls, and dress shirts, dress pants and bow-ties for boys, along with age-appropriate songs and choreography. (I can’t really offer that compliment to some of the other competing choirs (not from Hamilton County), whose female singers donned skirts that were too short, tops that were too much skin, and leggings or jeans that were just way too tight.)

Whether your group is a middle school or a high school choir, keep it classy.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com