Choir Hits High Notes While Preparing for Competition

Frances Wu , News Editor

Show choir performances are some of the most sensational shows put on at Diamond Bar High School.  In the upcoming months, Solitaire and Marquis will be dazzling audiences and judges alike during this year’s competition season.

The season began on Feb. 5 across all of Southern California; Solitaire and Marquis had their first competition the same day. Solitaire went against groups from Glendora and Rowland Heights, placing second and receiving a musicianship award for having the highest music scores. Marquis competed against Cypress and Glendora High School, also taking second place.

The preparation process for putting together the sets began  in the summer, when the songs were selected, and continues  through the  school year. Once choir advisor Patty Breitag approves the song choices, choreographer Bobbi Adams selects a theme for each group, and designs costumes for the students.

Normally, the performers start practicing during the fall semester, but because  Adams needed district approval before being allowed on campus to work with the students, the two groups started several months late, in January.

Each group learns one set and attempts to perfect it throughout the competition season. Sets generally consist of three songs to be sung and danced to, one ballad, and one song to be performed acapella, all centered around one theme.

This year, Solitaire’s set is key themed, and consists of the songs “Skeleton Keys,” “Key to My Heart,” “Handful of Keys,” and “Your Love is the Key.” Marquis members will be acting as doormen to Heaven and Hell, and their set songs are “The Roof,” “Penthouse Serenade,” “Satan’s Boogie,” “Elevator Man,” and “The Higher You Get The Farther You Fall.”

Scoring for the competitions consists of 60 percent singing and 40 percent dancing. Evaluation of singing is based on tone quality, blend, and intonation, and dancing considers synchronization, quality of facials, and stage presence.

“Dancing is a little more challenging this year compared to years prior; it takes a lot more practice to be able to execute the moves cleanly as a group,” said Stephanie Wantah, choir secretary.

Due to the difficulty of the choreography this year, the students have been practicing every Monday afternoon and all day on Saturdays. Additionally, for the first time in several years, the two groups are going to Nationals in Orlando, Florida, at the end of March.

“Marquis and Solitaire are very excited for the upcoming competition season. This year we’ve invested more money and time into our sets than ever before, and we can’t wait to see it pay off at our upcoming competitions,” President Nicolas Zhou said.