DeForte’s Shot at First Missed by 8.5 Points


DeFortes Holding their trophy after they got home from Fort Atkinson Competition

Kayleigh Wheeler

DeForest’s competitive show choir team, the DeFortes, traveled to Fort Atkinson to compete in the 25th annual Fort Atkinson Showcase on February 8th.  This showcase was the DeForte’s 3rd competition of their season and they faced their biggest competitor of the season: Neenah high school’s Act 2. 

The student’s call time was at 7 am and they left for Fort Atkinson at 7:30 am. Once they got FA high school, they settled down and started to get into “performance mode.” They began to hype up with some music and began to put on their makeup and do some finishing touches on their hair. Once costumes on and their lipstick was perfected, it was time to warm up. The DeForest choir teacher, Mrs. Hammer, always leads them in a vocal warm-up in their homeroom before they go to their physical warm-up. After their physical warm-up, the members of the team link arms and walk down to the performance space with smiles on. 

Most show choir competitions are times competitions and groups can be docked points or even disqualified if they go over time. In preparation for this, many groups practice going on stage, setting up the instruments, checking mics, making sure costume changes are in the correct place, and finally getting ready to line up on stage. All competitions are different, and some timers start as soon as someone steps foot on stage, and some start with the first note played by the band. But once everything is set up, it’s time to perform. 

Show choir competitions are long days for unisex groups or prep groups. These two divisions go in the morning, sometimes as early as 7:30 in the morning. But once they perform, they have to stay for awards which are not until after every single group performs, including the host school. Competition days are often between 12 and 16 hour days. However, the day goes by quickly when the students are surrounded by their friends and when they’re watching other groups perform. 

Mrs. Hammer explained she would rate DeForte’s performance at this competition a 7: “I would say that was your best performance they’ve had in front of an audience like that, but there is obviously room for improvement. There were a lot less nervous mistakes and a lot more control. I feel like we can work on our transitions and I think that vocally we can shape the ballad a little more so it’s more musical.” 

But of course, Mrs. Hammer’s opinion doesn’t matter as much as the judges. Awards were at 6:30 pm and DeFortes were awarded a 2nd place trophy. After the awards, the group went back to their homeroom to hear how they stacked up against the other groups. Mrs. Hammer always debriefs with the group after every competition and explains scoring with them. At this competition, Deforest was only 8.5 points away from first place out of a total of 1300 points. The students felt very bittersweet about this, “We were so close. So. Close. We will get them at Janesville. Neenah better watch out.” said Kenzie Wiegel, a junior who has been with the DeFortes since her freshman year. 

Their last competition of the season is on March 14th at Janesville High School and Neenah High School will be there. The DeFortes plan on doing their absolute best and are working very hard to close the gap and beat Neenah high school.