Young Americans has fun, family-like atmosphere for students

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Members of the Young Americans show choir and band include (front, left to right) Ashley Smith, Nathan Mclaughlin, Austin Bernhard, Christopher Larson, Corbin Gardner; (middle) Rachel DeMoss, Anjela Waterman, Bailey Dunlap, Brooklyn Landt, Chrisopher Wright, William Check, Adrian Rudnitzki, Micah Decker, Logan Taylor, Chelbe Feuerhelm, Emily Hanson, Dakota Hickman, Ayla Boylen, Magdalena Young; (back) Ali Crogan, Sharlene Routt, Kaitlyn Grady, Victoria Van Wey, Chloe Landt, Ashely Heins, A.J. Van Wey, Spencer Rose, Sierra Wiebensohn, Hope Mcglaughlin, Victoria Kricke, Lizzie Miene and Lizzie Kricke. (Submitted photo)

The Wisconsin Singers from UW-Madison will perform at MFL MarMac Sunday, March 22, at 4:30 p.m., in the high school auditorium. The show will highlight over 60 songs from well-known performers like the Beatles and Madonna to Taylor Swift and One Direction. (Submitted photo)

Wisconsin Singers to perform at MFL MarMac March 22

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Ever since MFL choral director Fremont Ogle formed the Young Americans show choir 40 years ago, the group has dazzled audiences with fun and flashy song and dance numbers.

“I saw how much fun it was and I wanted to be involved,” said member Maggie Young. “We’re like a big family. We spend a lot of time together.”

Aside from practicing Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Young Americans go through a rigorous three-day camp prior to the start of the school year, where they all learn choreography. When the group starts attending competitions, they often spend 12-hour days together, said choral director Jaydeane Berns.

The hard work has paid off. The Young Americans took second place in their division at the Marion Masquerade at Marion High School, third in their division at the Cedar Rapids Jefferson Show Choir Invitational at Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School and received a division II, or excellent rating, at the Iowa High School Music Association festival held last month.

As one student shouted during practice last Thursday morning, “Young Americans is awesome! Woo!”

While the group is like a family, it was actual family members who drew many students to the Young Americans, noted Berns. When she asked how many members had parents, siblings or other relatives who were once part of the group, many raised their hands. 

One male member said he was coerced into joining by his sister. In hind sight, he said, he’s glad he did, adding, “It’s actually pretty fun.”

Fellow Young American Hope McGlaughlin said she, too, joined because it looked fun. She was also interested in dancing. 

Berns said participating in the Young Americans is a unique experience from other school singing groups.

“It’s a different style of singing and performance,” she explained. “You have to learn how to step outside the box and be a showman. It takes a different energy level.”

“It helped with my coordination,” added student Shae Routt. “Now, I have more rhythm and I can count better.”

It also takes confidence, something Berns said she’s seen grow within her students throughout the year.

“They learn confidence and how to step outside their comfort zones,” she said, mentioning that illness took some soloists out of commission, forcing others to take their places. “People stepped up to the plate. You can see how their confidence level changes.”

If you’ve yet to enjoy a Young Americans performance this year, consider checking out the group on Sunday, March 22, at 4:30 p.m., when MFL MarMac hosts the Wisconsin Singers. The Young Americans will lead off the show, which will be held in the high school auditorium in Monona.

The Wisconsin Singers show has something for the whole family to enjoy, as the top talents from UW-Madison showcase a big band sound, stellar vocals and spectacular dance performances. 

Staged by Broadway choreographers and arranged by the writer of NBC’s “The Sing-off,” the Wisconsin Singers’ show, “Simply the Best,” will highlight more than 60 songs from the Beatles and Madonna to Taylor Swift and One Direction. Kids of all ages will enjoy appearances by Aladdin and Olaf from “Frozen.”

Tickets can be purchased by calling (608) 886-6801 or ordering online at www.WisconsinSingers.com/mflmarmac. They can be purchased locally at MFL MarMac High School and Middle School, Luana Savings Bank and Freedom Bank. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Young Americans.

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