Accents 50th Year Anniversary

Cara Nowlin, sophomore and member of Accents

My favorite part of Accents would have to be how loving and supportive everyone is. And how I get to sing around girls who enjoy music as much as I do every other day.


Carmen Broadnax, Sophomore and member of Accents

My favorite part of Accents would have to be how loving and supportive everyone is. And how I get to sing around girls who enjoy music as much as I do every other day.


Q&A with Kathrine Kouns

How are you commemorating the 50th year of Accents?

Well, to be truthful I was not, I was not really aware of the specific year that Accents was started as an actual ensemble. I know that Ron Hellems and Ann Conrad were two of the directors that were here kind of at the beginning of the establishment of the program, not necessarily at the beginning of the school, but the beginning of the choral program really getting established. And of course Ann Conrad was here, Gosh, almost 40 years, so she really was like an icon in this program and developed it to be what it was. And particularly Accents was sort of her baby, you know, she really nurtured that ensemble and developed it into not only a quality musical ensemble, but also just a real sisterhood.Almost, kind of like a sorority kind of thing for those girls in that group to work together. But also, you know, build great relationships and I think that’s really important, especially in today’s society, you know, it’s culture of care week and we talk so much about kindness to each other and girls in particular, especially high school girls have such a reputation for, you know, kind of the mean girls kind of thing. Just being extremely catty. And so having an opportunity like that having a place where there is acceptance and safety and sisterhood and all of that is extremely important. So when I came into the program five years ago, stepping into her shoes was obviously such a daunting task. There was no way that I was ever going to become her because she was just one of a kind, is one of a kind. But I did feel an obligation to carry on that legacy and to really maintain and hopefully even grow what she had started. And so I take it as a very serious responsibility to make sure that that ensemble stays true to what she has wanted over the years. So I guess maybe it’s not so much of the anniversary that’s important as much as it is the legacy that’s been created over the past 50 years. . So as far as commemoration goes, I don’t think we’re necessarily making some huge deal over a number, but I think it’s an important thing for the girls , in that group to live into being an Accent, to know what that means.


How does their set reflect this whole idea of acceptance and sisterhood?

When I designed their show for this year. I knew that it was the 50th anniversary coming up of Woodstock. Not just Woodstock, but the actual era and the time period and particularly the year of 1969 was such a pivotal year in our country for so many reasons. I mean you’re talking about the Vietnam conflict going on and you’ve got people kind of uprising against that and people that are very anti war and then you’ve got this whole civil rights thing going on in the country and you’ve got the space race going on in the country and you’ve got this hippie movement happening in this whole idea of both protest and revolution, but also this idea of peace and love and wanting this togetherness and this kind of anti conflict.When I did some research on that era, I just didn’t feel like anything was all that much different. Now, you know, it’s like you look at the news now and there’s still civil rights issues going on and there is still this, this uprising for revolution and for um, you know, overcoming conflict and there is still this emphasis being placed on love and acceptance and togetherness and all of this kind of thing. And now you’ve got not just civil rights but human rights ,like the whole me Too Movement and women’s rights and like all these different battles that are being faced right now politically, socially that are like no different than 50 years ago. I mean, sadly, I don’t know if it’s a bad thing or maybe just a human thing that we’re still fighting the same things and we’re still going through all of that.So what I wanted to do was develop this set for the girls that basically took a straight back to 1969 that starts with them and their hippie clothes and it’s like exploring what was going on then and then moves into modern day. And it’s like we’ve got these same issues and the only thing that’s gonna make this better is love and acceptance. And people being willing to stand up for what they believe in and all that kind of stuff. And so just the importance of that continuing over 50 years. So that’s. And of course that applies to everything we do, not just singing, dancing.


 How have the girls felt about this set?

I think it’s been a really good one for them. I think that they really have enjoyed it because not only is the music really fun and the costumes are so fun and things like that. So not only is all of that just enjoyable, but the lyrics are really something that they can connect to and not just the modern day lyrics but like the throwback lyrics either some of the early stuff that we do. I think they’ve really been able to connect to it. I think it’s helped the group bond and helped kind of give them a sense of purpose and direction with where they’re going with their performance.


What is your hope for this competition season/set?

Just that I hope. I hope people will come see it. I hope, you know, a lot of times we prepare these shows and we go out and we compete and then our own community doesn’t really take the opportunity to see these shows that these kids have been spending six months preparing, not just the Accents but the Ambassadors and New Edition. So, this year for our evening with show choirs event, it’s going to be March 22nd and 23rd and it’ll be both Friday and Saturday night. And all three groups will get a chance to do their whole show on our own stage for our own community. And I just hope people will come out and not just parents of the kids, but I really hope like other students will come and see these pretty powerful shows and performances and just support their fellow students.