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Female members of the Bemidji High School Show Choir "Vocalmotive" rehearse a solo number. Under the direction of Chris Fettig, this year's Vocalmotive theme is "Learning to Soar." The group begins their competitive season Jan. 18 in Linn Mar, Iowa. The community will get a chance to see the group during its annual showcase dinner, which will be held Jan. 24-26. (Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer)

Vocalize!: Vocalmotive at BHS this season will be soaring

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BEMIDJI -- It all starts the second week of school, when anxious high school vocal performers begin to audition for the new season of competition with Bemidji High School's premier show choir, Vocalmotive.

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Chris Fettig, BHS choral director, already knows what songs he wants for the season, so the right fit is what he looks for when putting together Vocalmotive soloists, he said.

Bemidjians will soon get a chance to see this year's performance, as the annual Volcamotive Dinner Show is coming up Jan. 24-Jan. 26.

This year's theme is "Learning to Soar," Fettig said.

"A life with dreams, wisdom, patience, lived with love, faith and hope. Each song chosen represents the words of the principles," he said. "I am excited about it."

Among the soloists performing for the dinner will be Didu Keddah, who will sing the ballad "Paper in Fire" by John Mellencamp and "Treasure," a song by Bruno Mars. James Will will perform a impressive impersonation of a famous singer/dancer, while Emily Quamme and Emily Groshens will be the female soloists for the recent pop hits "Wings" and "I Will Wait."

Next year, Fettig will celebrate his 20th competition season at BHS. During those years, his choirs have been received numerous awards, and last season, Vocalmotive performed very well at nationals in Chicago; the first year they competed at that level.

Fifteen years ago, Fettig met his longtime choreographer, April James, at Show Choir Camps of America. James has been the resident choreographer for the past 15 years, arriving in Bemidji from California about the second week of October. James sets the movements for the choir in two weeks, while the final month in November is focused on the music, so by the end of the year, the show choir is as polished as it can be.

"We have feeder groups to the show choir; the middle school has two groups, La Voce Ballo is an all-female choir for girls in the first two years at the high school and I also direct the a capella choir," Fettig said. "I think that reflects well on the depth of the (music) program. We have about 50 singers and 13 in the background band and technicians that go to each competition."

Fettig has also invited BHS alumni to participate in the program; Kevin Chase was the choreographer for La Voce Bello for a time, as well as directing at least two different high school musicals. Emily Paine, another BHS alum, has taken over from Chase and works with the group.

This year's first competition is in Linn-Mar, Iowa on Jan. 18.

The dinner show will be held at 7 p.m., Jan. 24; 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Jan. 25 and 4 p.m., Jan. 26 in the cafeteria commons. Tickets for the showcase and dinner are $16 and $18 at the following locations: 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the ticket office at BHS, brochures can be picked up at Overbeeks Electronics and Music or at both Lueken's Village Foods. Ticket orders may be sent to Vocalmotive Show Choir, Box 1744, Bemidji MN 56619-1744.

At the end of the season, in April, the show choir will be once again appearing with Bemidji favorites, "Home Free," the a capella group out of Minneapolis that won the fourth season of "The Sing Off" on NBC, which earned them $100,000 and a recording contract with Sony Music.

If you go

What: Vocalmotive dinner show.

When: Jan. 24-26. Times are 7 p.m., Jan. 24; 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Jan. 25 and 4 p.m., Jan. 26.

Where: Bemidji High School Cafeteria Commons.

Cost: $16 and $18. Tickets can be purchased from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the ticket office at BHS. Brochures can be picked up at Overbeeks Electronics and Music or at both Lueken's Village Foods. Ticket orders may be sent to Vocalmotive Show Choir, Box 1744, Bemidji MN 56619-1744.

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