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CCHS choir preps for St. Louis contest

The choral director at Corydon Central High School believes his advanced choir is “one of the best-kept secrets in town,” but he hopes to change that.
“I’m tired of it being a secret,” said Daniel Suddarth, now in his second year of teaching for the South Harrison Community School Corp.
The group — 25 high school students — spent two days last week “on tour” with its Christmas show. Performance stops included Wal-Mart Supercenter, Corydon Rotary Club, a senior citizens group and preschool at Old Capitol United Methodist Church, and Corydon Elementary, St. Joseph, Corydon Central Junior High, Corydon Intermediate, and New Middletown Elementary schools. (A performance at Heth-Washington Elementary was canceled due to a mechanical problem at the school last Wednesday morning.)
The Christmas program gave the students a break from the big project they’re working on: their first competition show.
Corydon Central will compete in the Show Choir division of Fiesta-val, sponsored by Spectrum of Richmond Inc., on May 3 at the St. Louis site. (Other divisions include Mixed Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Treble Choir, Chamber/Madrigal Choir, Gospel Choir and Jazz Choir.)
Parent Terry Lawton, who has become the main “stage mother,” said choreographers have been employed to develop and teach the routine to the students.
“This routine will consist of one ballad and three songs that have also been choreographed,” she said.
Suddarth, who attended a show choir competition when he taught in Shelbyville, has been wanting to take a group to compete but it’s taken time to build interest.
Last summer, Suddarth and choral students Mary Page and Mary Beth Wendelin attended a camp to learn show routines.
“I would like to get other kids to go to the show camps,” Suddarth said.
The CCHS students are in for a treat, he said, when they see the talent at Fiesta-val.
“Besides competing, this is a trip for them to go and have fun as well,” Suddarth said.
As part of the Fiesta-val package, the students will receive an all-day pass the day after the competition to Six Flags-St. Louis, where the Gala Awards Ceremony will be held that evening.
Suddarth doesn’t know how many schools will compete at St. Louis because schools may also compete in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida and Canada.
In addition to working on their routine, choral students have been holding fund-raisers (car washes, pet washes, candy bar sales, sponsoring the junior high dance, performances) to help cover expenses for the competition. Suddarth and Lawton estimate $250 is needed for each student.
“And that doesn’t count costumes,” Lawton said. “That gets us there, $5 meals and lodging.”
The CCHS students and chaperones will make the four-hour drive by school bus rather than a chartered bus.
Letters have been sent to businesses asking for donations. Lawton said anyone who would like to help with a monetary donation may mail a check, payable to CCHS Advanced Choir, to her at: 1475 Sherwood Dr. NE, Corydon.
Anyone wishing to help with costumes and/or props should call Lawton at 738-4201 or Suddarth at 738-4181 to be put on a list to be contacted as plans are finalized.
The group also needs an electronic keyboard. J.P. Mattingly loaned one to the group for last week’s tour, but Suddarth said they need one often enough that he can’t continue to borrow one.
The advanced choir will perform its show routine at the CCHS Winter Concert on Feb. 14.