CHS show choirs modify spring competition season


Marissa Finney

Yumi Colombo, president of Accents and senior, rehearses after school for the upcoming community shows. The shows’ set will be 1940s-themed, and Colombo said she cannot wait to perform again.

Emily Carlisle

This year, most groups and teams that compete or perform in any aspect have had to drastically change their plans of attack; the show choirs at this school are no exception. Last year’s show choir competition season wrapped up right as COVID-19 began to hit the United States and was cut short by one contest. This year, however, most choir students are preparing to not have any real competition season at all.

According to, three out of the five competitions the Accents and Ambassadors had planned to attend are still set to happen, but the manner in which they will occur—and if the competitions will even happen at all—is still subject to change. Because of this, students involved in show choir said they are having to change their mindsets and become less competition-driven.

Seth Jacobsen, Ambassador member and sophomore, does a vocal warm-up during a rehearsal for the upcoming Ambassadors show. Unlike the Accents, the Ambassadors will be putting on more of a traditional set this year and competing more. (Marissa Finney)

Seth Jacobsen, member of Ambassadors and sophomore, said this year has been challenging for the choirs.

Jacobsen said via email, “The pandemic has made [show choir] a lot more challenging since the only time we’re all together is at the after-school rehearsals. We’ve had to work a lot harder this year, not only because we rarely see each other but also we wear masks the whole time during our three-hour rehearsals. I think COVID has also positively affected us, too. We’ve grown a lot closer with a lot less drama than usual. I think everyone is struggling right now and we can all relate to each other.”

Kathrine Kouns, director of choirs and lead director of Accents, said she agreed with Jacobsen and said everything is up in the air. She said right now the choirs are adapting to new situations.

Kouns said, “As of right now field trips aren’t allowed and we are not allowed to stay in hotels overnight and things like that. But even if that was not the case, I do not think it would matter. Right now every school that is hosting a competition is very up in the air as they deal with the regulations in their own districts.

“We have no plan to participate in a virtual competition or perform alone for judges without being able to see and meet other show choirs,” she added. “I don’t think that is the purpose of show choir and I do not think it would be educational enough to be worth it. I’ve always said it’s not about the trophy, it is about the experience, which just won’t be the same this year.”

Due to recent circumstances, the Ambassadors attended one competition at Brownsburg High School on March 13, where they finished second; however, this was the only group that traveled to any competition this year. Even without a “true” competition season, the students involved in show choir at this school said they are doing their best to continue to perform and spread joy within the community. The Accents are planning a 1940s Great-American-Songbook-based variety show which will feature both solos and duets along with group numbers.

Yumi Colombo, president of Accents and senior, said she loves the plans that are in the works and cannot wait to perform for an audience again.

Colombo said via email, “The plan in the making right now is to create a performance for (members of the community) such as people in nursing homes and senior living facilities. We are hoping that if things are stable enough, in March or April we could put together a 1940s-themed set of sorts to perform in the parking lots as a way of entertainment for the elders in our community who haven’t been able to see many visitors or enjoy live entertainment due to the pandemic. This is a chance for us to not only perform and share our love for music, but also a way for us to impact our community and give something for these people to smile about. We are hoping that the theme choice will help them reminisce about the days gone by.”

While the Accents prepare their cabaret-style show, the Ambassadors are planning a more traditional set as of now, according to Jacobsen. He said he was excited to bring any aspect of performance to the community.

Jacobsen said, “Just getting to perform on stage is very exciting to me. It’s literally my favorite thing to do no matter what the circumstances are. It’s a privilege just to be performing with this amazing group.”

Even in times of stress and fear, life can find ways to produce joy in the midst of chaos, according to Colombo, who said she thinks it is more important than ever to find what you love and do what makes you happy.

She said, “Whether there are students who are in athletics, performing arts, clubs or they just come to Carmel High School for the academics, I want everyone to know that they should take every opportunity they can to create joy for themselves and those around them. Especially now, it is easy to see what we are missing out on this year and the unfairness of it all, but it is all the more worth it when you find things that you can still achieve. Don’t give up just because a pandemic kept you from your original plans. Make new ones worth pursuing and all will work out.