It was early March when the MVAOCOU Tune Squad learned that they would be one of 8 jazz choirs in Class 2A to advance to the state vocal jazz championships. It was the end of March when they brought home the 6th place trophy.
"There was a lot of uncertainty going into this year's jazz season, so being able to come together and create music with these guys was already a huge win for me," said Senior Katy Krohn. "We had a lot of new members this year so there was a lot of room for growth and learning. I'm so proud to be a senior member with all of them because they all worked so hard and wanted to do well."
As has been most events this year, the vocal championships had a different look compared to previous years.
"They usually have Classes 1A thru 4A all compete on the same day, but this year it was broken into two days with 1A/2A competing on Monday and 3A/4A competing on Tuesday," explained director Brian Smeltzer. "That certainly created less congestion in the building, and I liked that. We were able to only watch the schools in our class (2A) and that was fine."
Of course, masks were required for the audience and for the musicians. Thanks to Kelly Weaver, mom of member James Weaver, the group had masks which matched the ties and shoes which have become a trademark of the group.
"Our group was young this year and full of fresh talent," explained Senior Hannah Bohm. We worked hard together, and overall I'm proud of what we accomplished."
"Our group was very young and mostly new members this year which was certainly a challenge," added Senior Loryn Schultz. "We had to put in a lot of work to get to where we ended at championships."
Unlike other contests this year, the different groups were able to stay in the auditorium to listen to other groups who came to the competition with similar caliber performances.
"It was nice to be able to attend an in-person event and be able to watch and learn from other groups," stated Smeltzer. "We haven't been able to do much of that this year, and with such an inexperienced group this year it was a good learning experience for us!"
"At the beginning of the year our goal was to place in the top 5 at championships which ultimately didn't happen, but I'm so proud of our group and I cannot wait to see how these younger musicians grow in the coming years," exclaimed Schultz
The group wasn't too far from fifth place. They were only half a point out of fifth place group, and they were only two points out of fourth place.
"I am extremely proud of this group," exclaimed Smeltzer. "Some might say a 6th place finish is disappointing. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Many schools that audition don't qualify for this event! After losing so many seniors from last year's group, to qualify once again for the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships is a great accomplishment!"
The Tune Squad consists of students Loryn Schultz (daughter of Christy and Kyle Schultz of Charter Oak), Hannah Bohm (daughter of Angel and Luke Bohm of Charter Oak), Katy Krohn (daughter of Judith and Roger Krohn of Mapleton), Ryan Weber (son of Kathy and Alan Weber of Mapleton), Chris Craig (son of Molly and Eric Petersen of Danbury and Bill and Christine Craig of Mapleton), Beau Mohr (daughter of Jennifer Burbridge of Ute), Emily Kovarna (daughter of Susan and David Kovarna of Mapleton), Will Forbes (son of Jessica and Tom Forbes of Mapleton), Logan Reed (son of Mindi and Louis Reed of Castana); Claire Weber (daughter of Michelle and Brett Weber of Danbury), Ashley Rosener (daughter of Angie and John Rosener of Mapleton), Annamarie Mallory (daughter of Bethany and Ted Mallory of Charter Oak), James Weaver (son of Kelly and Terry Weaver of Anthon), Paige Schmidt (daughter of Sarah and Kurt Schmidt of Mapleton), Kylie Bohm (daughter of Angel and Luke Bohm of Charter Oak), Renae Cowgill (daughter of Danielle Powell & Doug Cowgill of Anthon), and Brayden Doty (son of Megan and Jeremy Doty of Danbury). Director Smeltzer is in his 16th year of directing this group and the 14th year in which the Tune Squad qualified for the championships.
"We continue to demonstrate a tradition of having great students in our music program by consistently representing our school at this event," said Smeltzer. "Our seniors led the way in getting us back there and our younger students will grow from this experience and we're already looking forward to next year."
"Jazz Choir is a group that I love so much and I am going to miss next year. I believe they are going to move on to do great things," exclaimed Hannah.
"I know that wherever they go in the future, they will go with pride and determination to always keep getting better together," added Krohn
Being able to state that they are the sixth best jazz choir in the state in Class 2A is nothing at all to sneeze at. Congratulations to the group.