Marian Momentum swings into competition season

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Quite the team: Marian Momentum strikes a pose at the end of their first song, “Team” by Lorde. The choir’s performance was full of memorable poses and exciting dance moves. Photo by Emily McKenna.

For those who don’t know much about Marian Momentum, Marian’s new show choir, it isn’t exactly a mix between “Glee” and “Pitch Perfect.”

“Show choir often has featured soloists, but the shows don’t revolve around them. Also, the groups in general are much much bigger than what you see on the TV show [‘Glee’],” director Rob Huebner said. There are no slushies or group drama, either; the 18 members of Marian Momentum couldn’t say enough good things about the amazing sound they’ve created and the friendships they share.

“We might be a small group compared to others, but we are certainly fierce,” junior Emily Doll said. “I have gotten to work with some of the most talented, hardworking, and generous gals over the past couple months, and I have never been so blessed to do one of the coolest activities ever with them.”

The choir performed at Light Night on Jan. 10 and during the pep rally on Jan. 27. Competition season began with their rst performance on Jan. 30 at Westside High School, where they earned third place. The girls felt confident that their strong voices made an impact. “With 18 girls, we’re pretty loud! … I think that we’re going to walk on and people are going to expect less, and they’re going to be surprised by what we have to offer,” senior Ciera Farrens said.

After the competition at Westside, the girls will turn their focus to the next competitions, held in February and March, and their showcase at the Holland Performing Arts Center in April.

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Looking sharp: Ciera Farrens ’16 sings a solo in “Keep Holding On” by Avril Lavigne. Marian Momentum had four songs in the 14-minute setlist. Photo by Emily McKenna.

 

Since the beginning of the school year, Marian’s show choir has practiced for two hours roughly two or three times a week, accompanied by pianist Sonia Church, keyboardist freshman Jessica Robinson, and drummer Nick Swoboda. Members are current sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The girls held a bake sale to compensate Swoboda, a volunteer, and sold pizzas to help pay for their costumes, which they will get to keep.

Huebner leads the group at every rehearsal. Though he is already the Vocal Music Instructor at Westside High School, he said he felt coaching Marian’s new show choir would be an enjoyable challenge. Over the summer, he helped design the costumes, which involve a great deal of sparkles. Part of the choir’s performance involves removing the top layer of their costumes, a sparkly blue dress, to reveal a black skirt with a red top that contains more sparkles.

“It’s really intense being a first-year show choir [with] this onstage costume change, because I think it’s pretty typical for show choirs to change offstage … Since we’re so small, we had to figure out how to do it onstage,” Farrens said. Farrens added that in one smooth turn, the girls change their outfits and have to toss their dresses underneath the risers.

Changing costumes onstage is not the only challenge Marian Momentum faces.

“The challenges we will face early will be nerves,” Huebner said. “Throughout the season, the challenge is not to get bored with the show. We have lots of ideas to keep things interesting and energized.”

The choir also devotes plenty of energy to their dance moves. “Obviously not all of us are professional dancers, so just making sure everyone is doing the dance steps right and together [is a challenge] … Because we’re brand new to this, some of the members on show choir don’t really know what it is either,” junior Cora Ridenour said. Dance captains Doll and Ridenour assist choreographer Megan Tantillo by helping their peers perfect dance steps and move in unison.

Despite the fact that show choir is new territory for several girls, their passion helps them learn quickly. “I like to dance, and I’m on Dance Team and Choir, so with them mixed together, [show choir] is the perfect thing to do,” Ridenour said.

Doll agreed. “All of us knew that we needed to have momentum to create a legacy that will last longer than we will for Marian’s first ever show choir,” she said.

The group uses this dedication to make itself more known to the Marian community. “We know it’s a first-year show choir, so people have low expectations of us. But we want to show them that even though we are first-year, even though we are small, we’re just as good as any other show choir,” Farrens said.

Doll, Farrens, and Ridenour were excited to show the Marian community what they have worked on for months. “We strive to put on the best show possible for any audience that we may have, whether it be one person or a hundred people,” Doll said. “From our jazzy formations to our amazing sound, we want to keep our momentum going strong.” Though Marian Momentum is small, its members are talented and dedicated, which makes this first show choir one for the record books.

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