Show choirs to shine at Star Power

If you’ve never experienced Star Power, it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Waconia High School will be the epicenter of the Midwest’s competitive high school show choir universe on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Star Power, also known as the Lake Waconia Show Choir Invitational, is “Where Show Choirs Shine.” The annual event is Waconia’s opportunity to host a show choir competition and this year, Star Power will feature 26 groups. Twenty-one groups will compete and Waconia’s five choirs will give exhibition performances.
“It should be an exciting day,” said Aaron Olson, director of vocal music at Waconia High School. “We have a lot of really good groups, some coming from a great distance, that will compete at the event.”
Choirs will be featured from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska. The show is traditionally held on President’s Day weekend to allow visitors an extra day for traveling or visiting sites in Minnesota, such as the Mall of America. It’s not unusual for Star Power to attract thousands of spectators and Olson said an increase in the number of competing choirs could mean even larger crowds this year.
For the event, the Waconia High School gymnasium is turned into a performing arts center complete with a large stage and state of the art sound and lighting. Olson said the effort is to make Star Power an unforgettable experience — not just for the visiting choirs but for the audience, as well.
“We bring in a couple of semis of stuff to transform the gym into a pretty nice performance stage,” Olson said. “It’s a great experience for the fans. Our focus is on the experience for the fans.”
At 7:15 a.m., the doors open for the preliminary competition, which begins at 8 a.m. A lunch break will be held from 12:20 to 1:20 p.m. The preliminary awards ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. A dinner break will occur from 7:30 to 8 p.m. (dinner will be available from 4 to 8 p.m.) and the doors open at 7:45 p.m. for the finals competition, which starts at 8:15 p.m. and will feature performances by the top six finalists from the prelims.
As the hosts, Waconia’s groups will not compete but they will perform during the day. Illuminations will perform at 8 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. The Pulse will perform at 12:20 p.m. and Shockwave will take the stage at 1 p.m. The Current will perform at 6:35 p.m. and Power Company will perform at 10:45 p.m. as judges tabulate the scores from the finals. After Power Company, the awards ceremony will take place at 11:10 p.m.
Admission is $10 for the prelims ($7 for seniors and students), $9 for the finals ($6 for seniors and students), or $17 for the whole day ($12 for seniors and students). Children 5 and under are admitted free. If you want to see the 6:35 p.m. Current performance, admission to the prelims or finals will get you through the door.
“We take a lot of pride in Star Power and making it friendly for the fans,” said Olson, who thanked the members of the Waconia Choir Boosters for making the event a success. “It takes all of the parents of the kids involved from seventh grade and up. It’s probably one of the biggest events that goes on at the high school.”
Olson estimated that Star Power is the result of the hard work of more than 300 volunteers.
For folks who can’t make it to Waconia on Saturday, they can go online to www.waconiachoirs.org and watch the show, which will be streamed live throughout the day. Olson said the live stream is being provided for all of the grandparents and others who want to watch Star Power but can’t be there in person.
“There will be people from all over the country who will be watching,” he said.
As for Waconia’s competitive season, Power Company and The Current participated in the Showcase competition held at Logan High School in La Crosse, Wis., on Saturday, Feb. 9. At that event, The Current earned first place in the JV division against five other groups and won the Best Stage Crew award.
Power Company faced off against 10 varsity groups and was tied for first with La Crosse Grand Central Station after the prelims. Power Company ultimately took second. Waconia was awarded Best Closer in a show and Abby Kalenberg was awarded the Show Stopper performer in a group for Power Company.
Showcase was Waconia’s fourth competition of the season and Olson said the groups are doing well.
“We’ve had a pretty awesome season so far,” he said, noting Power Company has finished first or second in all of its competitions. “We’ve been really successful and beaten some groups we’ve never beaten before. The kids have done great. It has been an exciting year for us.”
Olson said the choirs have really improved since their performances at the spaghetti dinner on Jan. 11.
“If someone saw us at the spaghetti dinner, they would see that the shows have improved greatly since then,” he said. “I hope people come out and see us again.”
After Star Power, Waconia competes at Southeast Polk High School in Iowa on Feb. 22-23 and at the Spectacular competition at Totino Grace High School in Fridley on March 2. The Power Company trip to Hollywood, Calif., will be held March 10-18. The season ends with the Show Choir Spectacular at Waconia April 12-13 and 19-20.
For more information about Star Power or the Waconia show choir program, visit www.waconiachoirs.org.

Contact Todd Moen at todd.moen@ecm-inc.com

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