‘Open up your Heart’ to Marian’s Momentum Show Choir


Tessa Brooks ’24, Nika Kouassi ’25, Clara Hawkins ’25, Maggie McGill ’24, Macaire Harr ’24 and Hannah Taylor ’24  warm up backstage for their showcase on Jan. 5. They went through their vocals and choreography. Photo by TylerRaikar.

Anyone who’s seen “Glee” knows exactly what Show Choir is. It’s a group of high school kids who share no similarities other than their intrinsic desire to sing and perform, their complicated relationships to one another and a teacher who does some questionable things all in the name of protecting the sanctity of glee club. While that makes for some great dramatic television, Show Choir is so much more than what is depicted on “Glee.”

According to StageRight.com, Show Choir is “a performance that combines choral singing along with choreography.” During the 15-25 minute performance, participants sing and dance to numerous songs (usually to a specific theme) as well as undergo a very quick costume change, all without a break. 

Sophomore Nika Kouassi has been on Marian’s Momentum Show Choir since her freshman year. While Kouassi gained experience in Choir at her middle school, she hadn’t done much dancing and singing combined prior to coming to Marian. 

“I never got any chance to really perform or do anything besides singing before. I thought Show Choir would be a fun way to try it out,” Kouassi said.

After going through try-outs, Kouassi was ready to get to work. The Show Choir practices about three times a week with competitions on the weekend. 

“Our choreography practices are about an hour and a half on Monday evenings. That’s where we only practice the dances and really try to get the moves down. Then we meet in the morning on Wednesday and Thursday for about 45 minutes to fix things up vocally,” Kouassi said. 

Show Choir is comparable to that of any other high school sport. Participants must be able to perform songs and choreography from memory, meet a demanding practice and performance schedule both during the school week and on the weekends and hold stamina long enough to perform for 15-25 minutes without a break. 

“We will run and sing our songs to help with breath support because you have to know how to breathe properly. It’s also all about personally keeping your body healthy and practicing on your own time to build up stamina,” Kouassi said. 

Each year Ms. Madeline Reddel, Momentum’s co-director along with Mrs. Michelle Delisi, selects a theme which all their songs are based. This year’s theme is “Open up your Heart.” The songs are in relation to love and relationships including the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Reddel and Delisi also have help with coordinating choreography and appearance from the Show Choir officers and dance captains. Senior Isi Raczinski is one of four officers and has been a member of Momentum since her freshman year. 

“As an officer I figure out the logistics of our show like hair, makeup and accessories. I also just make sure everything is running smoothly and am an extended arm of Reddel and Delisi,” Raczinski said. 

Whilst the girls boast their white dresses and heels, Momentum sings “Come into My Head” by Kimbra, “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Betty Hutton and “I Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin. Then, they finish out their performance with a quick costume change into their bright pink dresses with white converse and close with “Sneakernight” by Vanessa Hudgens and “Cameo Lover” by Kimbra. 

As the girls are dancing and singing on stage, a small village is working backstage. Most Show Choir teams have a collection of helping hands known as roadies. Roadies assist with costume changes, adjust the risers that Momentum performs on, handle props and offer overall support behind the scenes. 

Additionally, Momentum travels with their very own band: Pianist Mr. Tim DiBlasi, percussionist Nick Swoboda, trumpeter Ryan Eichele, keyboardist Andrew Lawler, guitarists Evan Martin and Tommy Kaplan and saxophonist sophomore Elizabeth Buescher.

Together the band, roadies, performers and directors make up Momentum. As the Momentum community puts in many hours each week to perfect their performance, Kouassi is reminded of why she does it. 

“There’s a lot of late nights and early mornings. You get to know everybody, especially people that you probably would have never talked to if it wasn’t for Show Choir. We’re definitely one big family,” Kouassi said. 

The Show Choir competition season will conclude in March. Until then, Momentum will continue competing each weekend with their next competition set for Feb. 4 at Lincoln Southwest and competition the following weekend on Feb. 11 at Elkhorn South. 

Contact Reddel (mreddel@omahamarian.org) or Delisi (delisi@omahamarian.org) if you’re interested in becoming a roadie or looking to participate in Momentum. 

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