Schedule for week of June 15th

Tuesday – Classic Connection 4-8 pm

Wednesday – Classic Connection 4-8 pm

Thursday – Classic Connection 6-9 pm

Week of June 22nd – NO PRACTICES

Monday June 29th – Classic Connection 6-9 pm

Tuesday June 30th – Classic Connection 6-9 pm

All Stars Concert Friday 6:00 pm

The Classic Connection All Stars will perform the show they have been learning this week on Friday at 6:00 pm at the DeKalb Outdoor Theater.  The All Stars are made up of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from around DeKalb County.  They are paired with current members of the 2016 Classic Connection as they learn what it takes to put on a show choir show.  The Friday concert is free and open to the public.  Please bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on.

2011 All Stars

2011 All Stars

Following this concert, the Ft Wayne Jazz Orchestra will perform at 7:30 pm.  Kent Johnson is the featured vocalist for this performance.  Kent is a DHS Show Choir staff member and husband of director Shelley Johnson.  This concert is also free to the public.

Congratulations Graduates!

Congratulations to all of our 2015 graduates!  We are very proud of you!

2015 Seniors at Graduation

The 2015 Seniors of Classic Connection sang Back Home Again In Indiana and the National Anthem at graduation.

Katie VanWye Graduates West Point

Katie & Grant at West PointPictured is Grant Lockwood – Classic Connection class of 2014 and Katie VanWye – Classic Connection class of 2011 at Katie’s commissioning ceremony at West Point Military Academy.  Katie is now a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army and Grant just completed his first year.

Shelley and I were honored to travel out for Katie’s graduation.

Congratulations Katie!

Show Choir members State Runner Up Social Studies

Local teams place high in state academic bowl

DeKalb High School’s social studies team members show their runner-up trophy from Saturday’s Indiana Academic Super Bowl State Finals at Purdue University. From left are Nick Dye, Colin Becker, Shawn Pfefferkorn and Vince Rainelli.  Not pictured is Matt Irwin.  Colin, Vince and Matt are members of Classic Connection and the Skinny Bois.

Showchoir & Prom Court

Bruce Bell – Senior member of Classic Connection, is a part of DHS’s Prom Court.

Seniors Recognized

Tia Hackbush Outstanding Music Student 2015 Tia Hackbush was awarded the Outstanding Student in Music and the Drama Scholorship in Monday’s Senior Awards Night.



Outstanding DHS SeniorsChoir students recognized as being outstanding students in other departments were Dallas Krinop for English and Christa Voiral for Science.


Brandon Park, Dalton Bell, Christa Voirol and Alison Kennedy were awarded the National School Choral Award at awards night.

The Addams Family

The Addams Family Cast Picture

We had a great time producing The Addams Family. Shelley and I would like to thank everyone involved and everyone who attended.

‘The Addams Family’ opens on DeKalb stage Friday

From The Star – Thursday April 30th

One Normal Night

WATERLOO — DeKalb High School’s theater troupe tackles a massive challenge of costuming, makeup and staging with “The Addams Family” musical this weekend.

Fortunately, DeKalb already had mastered the task when its Classic Connection show choir performed the musical’s opening song in competition four years ago. Having all those costumes already made allows us to be able to do this show,” said co-director Kent Johnson.

The cast’s nearly 50 members include some 40 who have returned from their graves as Addams ancestors. “Every exposed part is either covered with gray material or gray makeup, since they all have to look like they came back from the grave,” Johnson said. “This show has wonderful, large production numbers,” Johnson said. “The show itself is so well-written, so clever, so well put together. There’s a great flow to it.” Johnson and his wife and co-director, Shelley, caught the 2010 show on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in the leading roles of Gomez and Morticia Addams. The couple head a creepy, comical clan made famous in cartoons, television and movies. “We knew when we saw that, that one day we wanted to bring that to DeKalb High School,” Kent Johnson said about the Broadway production.

The Johnsons will achieve their goal when the musical opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. in DeKalb High School’s auditorium, continuing Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The show revolves around a crisis created when the Addamses’ teenage daughter, Wednesday, falls in love with a normal Midwestern boy, Lucas Beineke, and brings him and his parents home for dinner at the ghoulish Addams mansion. “The Addamses, for all their quirks, are a very loving, great family unit,” Johnson said. “We really find out that the Beinekes are much more dysfunctional than the Addamses are.” DeKalb’s Brandon Park returns to center stage as Gomez Addams after major roles in the school’s past two stage productions.

“He’s just outstanding in this role,” Johnson said. Park intends to study jazz guitar at Indiana University, Johnson added. “He has a real interest in music and the nuance” of the show, he said.

Graduating from smaller roles in past shows, Alison Kennedy, portrays Gomez’s witch-like wife, Morticia. “She’s just done an excellent job of getting the whole nuance of that character down,” Johnson said. Tia Hackbush plays the role of Wednesday, with Chris McMaken as her brother, Pugsley, and Courtney Myers as Grandma. Vince Rainelli takes on the show’s juiciest role as the family’s weird Uncle Fester. The supposedly normal Beinekes include Christa Voirol as Alice, who steals the spotlight when a potion loosens her tongue, Dalton Bell as husband Mal and Matt Irwin as Wednesday’s boyfriend, Lucas. Gunnar Stairhime is featured as the Addamses butler, Lurch. “The Addamses are so different from any other characters we’ve had on this stage,” Johnson said. “As abnormal as they are, if people play them abnormal, then they become caricatures instead of characters. So we work at trying to have our people play them as normal as possible and then just allow that personality to come out.”

He added, “I’ve got such a great cast this year, from side to side and front to back — just outstanding talent — and they’re all really shining well in this show.”


DeKalb Chamber recognizes Shelley Johnson for Leadership

Auburn Star

Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 10:13 am | Updated: 10:19 am, Tue Apr 21, 2015.

AUBURN — The DeKalb Chamber Partnership has designated three local residents as “Brave Ones” who exemplify bravery in DeKalb County.

The chamber made its selections from nominations in three categories tied with its mission of business, community and education. It is honoring Jeremiah Otis in the category of business, Natalie Taylor DeWitt in the category of community and Shelley Johnson for education.

The honors promote Leadercast DeKalb, which is using “The Brave Ones” as its theme for 2015. The Leadercast event is broadcast live from Atlanta, Georgia, to exclusive host sites around the world. The DeKalb Chamber Partnership will serve as the host for Leadercast at County Line Church in rural Auburn on May 8.

The chamber provided these biographical sketches of its local “Brave Ones”:

Business — Jeremiah Otis

Jeremiah Otis loves people. He firmly believes that you can learn something from every single person you encounter, as long as you take the time to get to know them. For years, he dreamed of a way to help people connect with each other. He also loves coffee — and discovered that coffee is a great way to connect people. In 2012, he opened Jeremiah’s Brewed Awakenings, with the mission of enriching lives by building community in unexpected ways. Otis has worked with different sectors of the community on a wide range of events in an effort to accomplish his mission. Projects include a student-organized 5K fundraiser benefiting several local charities, hosting a community Thanksgiving meal, furthering bicycling safety and usage throughout the community, and working with a regional economic development group to raise awareness about what makes northeast Indiana such a great place. When he isn’t working at the coffee shop, you can find him having dinner at local eateries or riding a bicycle somewhere around DeKalb County — mostly likely with friends, both old and new.

Community — Natalie Taylor DeWitt

Natalie Taylor-DeWitt has been a vibrant part of Auburn her whole life. From a young age she was taught how to love and serve her community. As a young child she was an active member of church and school groups, and as she grew, her enthusiasm to be involved only grew. Eventually community building transformed from sports and extra-curriculars to promoting the city of Auburn as well as involvement in philanthropic organizations to help this community and the people in it. She has been managing partner at Taylor Rental/Party Plus in Auburn since 2006, and is co-chair of a new event, Pink Out DeKalb County 2015, presented by Tri-Kappa. She is passionate about helping plan annual community events with organizations and values her relationships with members of United Way, the Chamber, Tri-Kappa, Lions Club, Rotary Club, Downtown Auburn Business Association, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Community Foundation, Garden Club, DeKalb County Free Fall Fair, schools, churches, and the list goes on. She loves any excuse to help plan a successful fundraiser event. Natalie has made a vital, bold, everlasting, positive impact on her community and the people who live there with her.

Education — Shelley Johnson

Shelley Johnson is currently in her 30th year of teaching at DeKalb High School, where she is the director of choral music. She is the director of two concert choirs, a men’s choir (Skinny Bois), a ladies’ show and concert choir (Sound Sensation), a mixed show and concert choir (Classic Connection), and the DeKalb Dynamix, a select group of students who perform for community events. The show choirs have been either state champions or state runners-up in nine of the last 11 years. Classic Connection was named one of America’s favorite show choirs by Parade magazine in 2011. Shelly has touched the lives of hundreds of high school students, inspired them to reach deep inside themselves to achieve excellence, and helped them develop skills and discipline that serve them well into their adult and professional lives. Many of her former students are working in the performing arts field all over the country. Shelly and her husband, Kent, invest time and energy far beyond what their job descriptions require in the futures of their students and the success of the programs.

The chamber said community business leaders can access the knowledge and experience of world-renowned leaders by attending Leadercast DeKalb. Last year, more than 130,000 leaders from 35 countries attended Leadercast. Now, in its 16th year, the full-day, experiential conference is on track to reach its largest audience to date.

Speakers for Leadercast include: Andy Stanley, leadership author and communicator; Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Laureate and founder of The Malala Fund; Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney animation studios; Seth Godin, a best-selling author; Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City from 1993-2001. Aja Brown, mayor of Compton, California; Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP AG; Cmdr. Rorke Denver, Navy SEAL commander and author; and Bill and Giuliana Rancic, co-hosts of Leadercast.

Speakers will address what it means to lead in such a way that create bold cultures, builds faithful employees and produces high achievement.

More than 200 people have registered to attend Leadercast DeKalb. Group discounts are available for groups of five or more. The registration deadline is April 30. For more information and tickets call the local chamber at 925-2100 or visit



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