Vocalmotive wraps up victorious season

The spotlight shined brightly on Bemidji High School's show choir Vocalmotive this winter as it paved the way to the most successful season in its history.

The spotlight shined brightly on Bemidji High School's show choir Vocalmotive this winter as it paved the way to the most successful season in its history.

Vocalmotive wrapped up its competitive season Saturday, winning the grand champion title at Totino-Grace High School's "Show Choir Spectacular" in Fridley, Minn. The show choir was also named grand champion Feb. 18 at the "Star Power" competition at Waconia High School in Waconia, Minn.

"We've had one other grand champion in our history," said Chris Fettig, Vocalmotive director and BHS choir director. "And this year we had two back to back."

Since January, Vocalmotive has performed its "Stop, Look and Listen" show at four competitions - three in Minnesota and one in Iowa - and brought home several trophies.

"This has been their most successful (season) in 11 years," said Fettig, adding that the show choir has steadily improved in the last three years.


Three years ago, BHS graduate and former Vocalmotive member Kevin Francis returned to the high school as the show choir's choreography coach.

"And it's made all the difference," Fettig said. "I like to call him our secret weapon."

Additionally, Vocalmotive has hired professional choreographer April James of Chicago to design the choreography.

Senior Owen Henry, show choir co-captain, said he believes the caliber of Vocalmotive has dramatically risen.

"It's just been awesome to see the results," he said.

Henry, who joined Vocalmotive four years ago, said there's nothing like performing on stage in front of people.

"I love the energy," he said.

He said his favorite moment from this season was the finals at the Totino-Grace competition. He said Vocalmotive and its eight-piece band went all out for their performance that put them in first place.


"I will never forget it," Henry said.

Senior Marin Williams, show choir co-captain, said all the hard work Vocalmotive put into this year - starting with practices in early fall - paid off during competition. She joined Vocalmotive three years ago.

"I just think it's so different than anything they offer at the school," she said. "And being on the stage is just awesome."

She said her highlights of the season included beating the Totino-Grace show choir at the Waconia competition, as well as the times when Vocalmotive was named grand champion.

She added that the back-to-back grand champion titles recognize that Bemidji has the potential to be a top show choir. She also said they recognize Fettig's dedicated work.

"It's not just about the band and the choir on the stage," Williams said.

She said the families of the Vocalmotive members also have been key to the success of the show choir. The business community has also been supportive of Vocalmotive.

Senior Jake Jackson, captain of the Vocalmotive Band, said he has enjoyed playing in the band the last three years.


"Since I've started, this has been by far my favorite part of high school," he said.

The Vocalmotive Band got its own recognition this season.

"We won best band twice this year," Jackson said.

He said the honor, which the band won at both the Waconia and Totino-Grace competitions, has boosted the band's confidence. He added that the band received a perfect score at the Waconia competition.

According to Fettig, the Waconia and Totino-Grace competitions were big competitions. Vocalmotive beat show choirs from around Minnesota and other states including Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.

At Totino-Grace, the show choir also received the outstanding show award, and one of its members, Vannessa Cookman, was named outstanding female soloist.

At the "Swingin' On The River" competition Feb. 11 in Hastings, Minn., Vocalmotive took third place. And the show choir took fifth place and received the most inventive programming award at the Jan. 14 "Linn-Mar Show Choir Invitational" in Marion, Iowa.

Traveling to competitions with Vocalmotive was the high school's junior varsity show choir, La Voce Ballo, which is in its second season. Most recently, La Voce Ballo took second place in its division at the Totino-Grace competition.


Fettig said the addition of La Voce Ballo, which is directed by Will Seykora and choreographed by Francis, was an outstanding move by the BHS Activities Office to help ensure the continued success of the district's show choir program. He said many Bemidji School District administrators support the show choir program.

The Bemidji Middle School offers the school district's third show choir, Jive, which is directed by Janet Weaver. Weaver also works with the Vocalmotive Band.

Vocalmotive will give its final performance of the school year at 7 p.m. March 31 at the BHS Auditorium. Tickets cost $10 and are available at Overbeek Electronics & Music, KRKB Music Outlet and Lueken's Village Foods North. The a cappella group Four Shadow from Minneapolis and La Voce Ballo will also perform that night.

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