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Vocalmotive victory: Show choir will compete next month in nationals

Vocalmotive students celebrate after winning the grand champion title Saturday in the Chicago region of the Show Choir National Championship Series. The Bemidji High School show choir now will move on to compete in nationals next month. — Submitted Photo

BEMIDJI – Vocalmotive had already secured a nationals berth by Saturday evening, but it still had one more performance on the horizon.

Competing in the Chicago region of the Show Choir National Championship Series, the Bemidji High School show choir was named one of three finalists, assuring them a nationals appearance next month.

But the top prize was still up for grabs. Nearly 20 points behind leading Center Grove Sound System of Shelbyville, Ind., Vocalmotive went on stage and nailed it.

“Their finals performance was just phenomenal,” said Chris Fettig, choir director. “It was the best they’d ever done.”

Vocalmotive was named grand champion of the competition, ultimately beating Sound System by about six points, Fettig said.

“Sound System, they’ve won many times,” he said. “They’re quite a powerhouse team. I mean, it was a whole semi-truck that brought their gear in. When we pulled up (with our trailer), it looked sort of like David and Goliath.”

In addition to being named grand champion, Vocalmotive also won best show design, best band, best stage crew and best male performer (for David DeKrey).

“We really felt that we could do well,” Fettig said. “I thought the show this year, the whole design of the show, was really effective and really powerful.”Six years ago, Vocalmotive attended a similar competition in Florida, where it placed second to the Sound System. At that time, though, there was no structure in place to send the top three teams to a nationals event.

This year, though, Vocalmotive’s season will stretch a bit longer as it now prepares to compete April 26-27 at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago for a national title.

To fund the trip, the choir is seeking the community’s support to help defray costs. Fettig said Vocalmotive is seeking about $10,000 in support for transportation and lodging needs.

Checks can be made out to Show Choirs of Bemidji Inc., or SCOBI, and mailed to 21132 Gold Coast Road NW, Bemidji, MN 56601.

A fundraising website also will soon be available through by searching for Vocalmotive.

No local public performances are scheduled at this time, but Fettig said he is considering some type of send-off show that could also serve as a fundraiser.

Further, he wondered whether such a show might also be a good tune-up for Vocalmotive, which does not now have any scheduled practices.

“Another home show might be a great way to do that,” he said.

But, for the immediate future, Fettig said Vocalmotive students will be taking some time off to rest and celebrate their recent victory.

“We felt like we had a shot at winning it,” Fettig said of the regional competition. “I knew they’d have to be flawless. They just had an incredible performance that evening.”