ISSMA Total Department Award

DeKalb High School music students earn state’s top awards at ISSMA competition.


‘South Pacific’ still enchants, teaches

‘South Pacific’ still enchants, teaches

WATERLOO — Set during World War II in the 1940s, “South Pacific” carries a message that still hits home today.

“It’s all about accepting everybody as they are and being open to everybody, no matter what their skin color,” said Shelley Johnson, who directs DeKalb High School’s production of the musical this weekend.

“I guess the classics always stay alive. They never go out of date,” added Johnson, who this spring is returning to the first musical she directed at DeKalb in 1986.

“It’s an old-school musical, and I had forgotten how much I like those. … The music is so gorgeous,” Johnson said.

DeKalb’s cast can deliver the show’s tunes as well as its theme, Johnson said.

“They’re incredible singers,” Johnson said. “They really work well with this music. We’ve got some pretty well-trained voices. They’ve been taking lessons for four years here, now — besides being in choir, private lessons.”

Written by Broadway legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, “South Pacific” offers a nonstop repertoire of memorable songs, such as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy.”

The show revolves around a pair of love stories between American military personnel and the inhabitants of a South Pacific island.

Kamryn Moreland plays the female lead as Nellie Forbush, a U.S. Navy nurse who falls for an older French plantation owner but hesitates because of his half-Polynesian children.

“She’s got this lovely soprano voice … and she’s really embracing the part,” Johnson said about Moreland. “Romantic leading ladies are hard to do. … To make those romantic leads have a great personality and come to life, that’s difficult. That’s good acting.”

In the role of plantation owner Emile de Becque, Hunter Grate “is a wonderful baritone — just a beautiful voice,” who has developed a convincing French accent, Johnson said.

Andrew Hartman portrays U.S. Marine Lt. Joseph Cable and looks the part, Johnson said.

“He’s got this incredible tenor voice, and it’s just gorgeous,” Johnson said about Hartman. Struggling with his feelings for a beautiful Asian girl, the lieutenant brings home the show’s theme of tolerance with the stinging lyrics of “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.”

Brightening the mood, Analyse Coutlee portrays feisty island woman Bloody Mary, stealing the scene every time she appears on stage. Johnson calls Coutlee “our character actress of the century.”

Malek Brown adds more comic relief as scheming Seabee Luther Billus, ringleader of the enlisted men who lament their loneliness in “There is Nothing Like a Dame.”

“It’s a great cast. They’ve worked hard. They’re serious about what they’re doing,” Johnson said.

Backstage, she said, “My tech crew is incredible,” led by Laurel Hoff and Cristopher Sproat. “They run the show,” Johnson said. “They are my right hand and left hand.”

Jed Freels, a DeKalb Middle School teacher and founder of Auburn Actors Theater, is assisting with direction. DeKalb alumnus and Broadway performer Josh Sassanella choreographed the show and helped create a simplified set with three movable piers. Johnson said, “He’s just brought it into the next century, is what he’s done with his ideas.”

The show opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s auditorium, with another performance at 7:30 Saturday night and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $8 for general admission or $6 for students and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling the school at 920-1012, ext. 2132.

Alumni Megan Buss

DeKalb Alumni Megan Buss stars in Little Shop of Horrors
Thursday, Apr. 20 – 29 IPFW Williams Theater
In 1982, a quirky musical about a cute little plant that feeds on human blood and flesh opened Off-Off Broadway before enjoying a five-year run at the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway. With a flesh-eating puppet at its center, no wonder Frank Oz (of Muppet fame) couldn’t wait to direct the movie of Little Shop of Horrors. IPFW and director Bev Redman will revisit this musical gem opening April 20 and running through April 29 in Williams Theatre.
Ethan Lichtle as Seymour, left; and Megan Buss as Audrey are joined by their back-up singer Audrey II, center.

Little Shop of Horrors
is a rock and roll, doo-wop style musical with a Motown flare that has a love story at its core. Seymour Krelborn, a hapless florist shop worker, discovers a mysterious plant similar to a Venus Fly Trap while browsing the wholesale flower district. He lovingly returns it to Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist where he works. Seymour, who is secretly in love with his co-worker Audrey, names the plant Audrey II in her honor.

State Results

DeKalb had a great weekend at State Finals.  The Dynamix performed wonderfully.  No placements were awarded for the Jazz Finals.

At the Show Choir finals Sound Sensation was 3rd with Best Visuals.  Classic Connection was 5th.  Both groups performed at the highest level and Shelley and I are so very proud of all of our kids.

Our Seniors have been great role models for the other grades.  They have upheld the values that we hold dear at DHS – Discipline, Pride, Honor, Tradition.  We salute our seniors for their outstanding leadership and integrity.

State Show & Jazz Placements

DeKalb Dynamix will perform at 7:50 Friday night at Plainfield HS at the State Jazz Choir Festival.  They are in the 7th slot out of 9 choirs.  Awards are at 9:09 pm.  Choirs in order of performance – Westfield, Greenwood, Leo, Whiteland, Elkhart Memorial, DeKalb, Terra Haute South, Concordia Lutheran.

Sound Sensation performs at 1:15 pm Saturday afternoon at Plainfield.  They are in the 9th slot of 9 choirs.  In order of performance – Franklin Community, Huntington North, New Palestine, Columbia City, New Prairie, Plainfield, East Noble, DeKalb.

Classic Connection performs at 5:30 pm Saturday afternoon.  They are in the 4th slot out of 9 choirs.  In order of performance – Columbia City, Garrett, Franklin Community, DeKalb, Northridge, Huntington North, Plainfield, Fairfield, Churubusco.

Congratulations to these three outstanding groups.  DeKalb has made finals every year that the State Championship has been in existence.

Bishop Luers Results

Skinny Bois were the only men’s choir in their division.  Steven Jesse was named the best performer.

Sound Sensation placed 5th with Madison Miazgowicz being named best performer.  Grosse Point was 1st, Carroll 2nd, Anderson 3rd, Grove City 4th, DeKalb, Bishop Dwenger 6, Teays Valley OH 7.

Classic Connection was 5th in the mixed division with Andrew Hartman named as best performer.  Grosse Point MI 1st, Carroll 2nd, Anderson 3rd, Grove City OH 4th, DeKalb, Lafayette Jefferson 6.

Shelley Johnson received the Father Fred award.

Dynamix qualify for State Finals!

From the Indiana State School Music Association –

Congratulations to the following ensembles selected for the 2017 State Jazz Finals.  Thank you to all who participated in the District Jazz event.  The draw for performance order will be held at the ISSMA office at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday, March 12th.   Directors need not be present for the draw, but are welcome.  The schedule will be posted on the ISSMA website Sunday evening. Details of the event will be sent from our office early next week. 

State Jazz Finals will be held Friday, March 17th at Plainfield High School for Vocal Ensembles and North Central High School for Instrumental Ensembles.

Congratulations to the 2017 ISSMA State Jazz Finalists!

Vocal Jazz Ensembles (Alphabetical Order)

Concordia Lutheran High School

DeKalb High School

Elkhart Memorial High School

Greenwood Community High School

Leo Jr/Sr High School

Terre Haute South High School

Westfield High School

Whiteland Community High School


Instrumental Jazz Ensembles (Alphabetical Order)

Carroll High School

Castle High School

DeKalb High School

Goshen High School #1

Jasper High School

Noblesville High School

North Side High School

Wm. H. Harrison High School


The Open Draw for performance order will be at 2:00pm Sunday, March 12th at the ISSMA Office located at 100 E. Thompson Road in Indianapolis.

Weekly Schedule

Monday 6-9 Classic Connection

Tuesday 6-9 Sound Sensation

Wednesday 6:30-9 South Pacific Full Cast

Thursday    3:30 – 5 Skinny Bois w/ BUB

Friday       3:30 – 4:30 Dynamix

Saturday Bishop Luers Show Choir Invitational

Sound Sensation 8:30 am  Classic Connection 4:30 pm

Sunday – ISSMA State Show Choir draw

Huntington North Results

Huntington North Results

Sound Sensation was 3rd in the Women’s division.  Grand Champion was Northridge, 2nd New Prairie, 3rd DeKalb, 4th Columbia City.  Kami Moreland was selected as the Best Performer.

Classic Connection was 1st in the Large Mixed division with Northridge 2nd.  Nicki Collins was selected as the Best Performer.  Colin Becker won for having the best Broadway/Pop song in the separate solo competition.  Colin got to perform at the end of the evening show.

Classic Connection was 2nd overall with Best Visuals in the finals with Northridge being 1st.  Columbia City was 3rd and new Prairie was 4th.  DeKalb hosts the district Jazz band and choir competition this Friday and Saturday.  DeKalb show choirs have their last regular season competition at Bishop Luers on March 11th.  Sunday March 12th, is selection Sunday for the State Jazz Choir Competition at Plainfield HS on March 16th and the State Show Choir Competition on March 17th.

Volunteers Needed

DHS will be hosting the district Jazz Band and Jazz Choir competition on Friday March 3rd and Saturday March 4th. Area Jazz Bands will compete Friday night and area Jazz Choirs will compete Saturday.  I am posting the various volunteers needed.  If you are interested in any of these positions, please let me know.

ISSMA Jazz March 3rd& 4th

Area                            No of people needed  Shifts                                      

Headquarters             1                                  Friday 3:30 – 9:30

                                                                                    Saturday 7:30 – 4:30

Tabulation                              1                                  Friday 5 – 8

                                                                                    Saturday 8:30 – 4

Runners                                  2                                  Friday  5 – 8

Saturday AM 8:30 – noon

                                                                                    Saturday PM noon – 4

Door Guards                          2                                  Friday 5-8

Saturday AM 8:30 – noon

                                                                                    Saturday PM noon – 4

Stage Manager/timer            1                                  Friday 3:30 – 9

                                                                                    Saturday 8:00 – 4

Sound/Lights                         2                                  Friday


Information Table                  1                                  Friday 3:30 – 8

Saturday AM 8:00 – noon

                                                                                    Saturday PM noon – 4 pm

Homeroom Monitor              1                                  Friday 3:30 – 10

(main gym)                                                    Saturday 7:30 – 11am

                                                                                    Saturday 11 am – 4 pm

Bus Parking/shuttle               2                                  Friday 3:30 – 7:30

                                                                                    Saturday 7:30 – 1:30

Snack Bar                               2                                  Friday 3:30 – 9

(main gym)                                                    Saturday 7:30 – 11am

                                                                                    Saturday 11 am – 4 pm

Judges Hospitality                 2                                  Friday 4 pm

3 judges                                                          Saturday 8 am

                                                                                    Saturday Noon

Judges Assistant                     2                                  Friday

(Need to know Dropbox)                                          Saturday


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