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2024 Choral Classic: The Comprehensive Guide

When the general public first got a handle on the lineup for this year's Wheaton Warrenville South Choral Classic, March 9th was a distant speck on the calendar, with most of a season to run through before then. We are now here. 25 groups will compete for a combined seven finals spots (four mixed, three single-gender) in a competition that is scheduled to run slightly into Sunday morning. Here's all you need to know about what will go down on stage:


The High School Lineup

Mixed Groups

Illinois

El Paso-Gridley “Modulations”

Modulations didn’t have the best of luck at Glenwood last weekend, as they got swept by the Mt. Zion Swingsations.  However, Mods is having their best season since 2022 with three grand championships under their belt, as they look to build on their success at Wheaton by making finals.  This will be no easy task for Mods, as the group who took them down last weekend, Mt. Zion, is also gunning for a finals spot.  Choral Classic has seen some crazy outcomes in past years, so don’t count El Paso out to steal a finals spot from groups who have beaten them in the past. - Owen Miller


Mt. Zion “Swingsations”

Swings reeled in their first grand championship win since February of last year at Glenwood this past weekend, sweeping a majority of the Illinois circuit.  Now, they are faced with the best of the best from each competing group's respective circuits, and the question will be if they can hang with the best of them.  Mt. Zion doesn’t have the greatest history competing at Wheaton, but they have the momentum from last weekend to get them into finals. - Owen Miller


Waubonsie Valley “Sound Check”

Sound Check is the winningest choir in Choral Classic history, winning eight out of 15 Choral Classic’s heading into the 16th annual. Waubonsie has yet to bring home a Grand Championship this season, and it will be harder than ever for them to make finals at this competition.  But it is the Waubonsie Valley Sound Check at Choral Classic, and they know a thing or two about how to make finals there. They aren’t a favorite, but you can never sleep on Waubonsie. - Owen Miller


Watseka “Sensations”

It is amazing to see a choir who normally competes in the prep division, swinging with the mixed groups.  Watseka has yet to reel in a grand championship this season in either the prep or mixed division, but they have competed against some pretty good groups so far.  Obviously, Choral Classic isn’t going to be any easier for them but you have to respect them for willing to compete with some of the best groups in the entire country. - Owen Miller


Indiana

Center Grove “Sound System”

Center Grove enters the national stage fresh off a victory over local rival Carmel, which continues CG’s undefeated season and five-competition winning streak. That victory was their first win over the Ambassadors since Heart of America Orlando 2022, which displays just how special this year’s group is. Their vocals are characteristically strong, slamming you with a wall of beautifully placed vocal sound, but they bring a new level of intensity and cleanliness to their April James choreography not previously seen. With an emotional ballad that highlights their group’s phenomenal dynamic contrast and many incredible soloists portraying famous British royalty with fitting regal, their performance will be difficult to top. - Nathan Ensley


Zionsville “Royalaires”

The Zionsville Royalaires head to Wheaton on an undefeated run through three competitions. They have wins over several strong Indianapolis groups, including Fishers, Brownsburg, and Avon, but this weekend will be their first true test. This year’s show on love knowing no time is another fun brand of Zionsville shows. Like most Indiana groups, they have incredible vocals, which paired with the elderly couple characters, is a treat to watch. They will be a contender for sure. - Nathan Ensley


Twin Lakes “Sound Wave”

Twin Lakes is a group from far northeastern Indiana that is in its first season under the direction of Evan Caverly. They've notched three fourth-place finishes in Indiana small mixed divisions this year, but the Choral Classic will be a taste of big-city show choir for this school of only 750 students. - William Soquet


California

Los Alamitos “Sound FX”

Sound FX lost its first competition of the season to John Burroughs this past weekend, with Powerhouse taking both captions. However, a second in California is an easy first at 95 percent of the other competitions in the country. Choral Classic is anything but that. While the loss may have shaken the confidence in Los Alamitos to take home an overall win, they are just as much of a lock for finals as anybody else in this competition and still have just as much of a shot as anyone to win. - William Soquet


Nebraska

Lincoln Southwest “Ambience”

Ambience may not be a contender for finals, but that doesn’t take away from the fantastic season they have had thus far. Winning 3 out of their 4 comps against some pretty good prep groups, Ambience is riding a wave of momentum that will sure raise some eyebrows at Choral Classic. Unfortunately, they are outmatched by bigger groups who compete in higher divisions, making it a very outside shot for them to make finals. - Owen Miller


Lincoln Southwest “Resonance”

Resonance, to put it in simple terms, owned the month of January, going three-for-three on grand championships. A month after their last comp in January, Resonance placed third to Lincoln East and Ankeny Centennial, two very amazing groups.  Something that helps Resonance going into Wheaton is how battle tested they are, going against some of the best groups in their region and even just outside their region. Finals isn’t a for sure lock for them, but they sure know what it takes. - Owen Miller


Oklahoma

Broken Arrow “Tiger Rhythm”

Broken Arrow is very clearly the class of the Oklahoma and Texas show choir circuits, and while they’re also kind of close to Missouri, they’ve rolled over any group the southwestern portion of that state has to offer them. Tiger Rhythm’s last true test was at Ankeny Centennial in 2023, where they finished fourth. However, this is a late-season competition and not an early-season competition, which means that BA enters as a true wildcard, with opinions on this group varying the most widely among observers. Where will they land? It’s anybody’s guess. - William Soquet


South Dakota

Mitchell “Friend de Coup” (SD)

Of the groups competing at Wheaton this year, Mitchell is the most recent grand champion of this competition. Mitchell came into Wheaton two years ago and swept everything, giving them their first ever win in Wheaton after five tries (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2022).  This year, it will be much harder for them to win, let alone make finals. However, Mitchell sings as good as anyone in the country and their show this year is a fun one, themed after their own great state of South Dakota.  Let’s see if Mitchell can bring it “Home” for the second time in three seasons. - Owen Miller


Missouri

Pleasant Hill “Hillsound” (MO)

Hillsound is P-Hill’s freshman-level group, numbering 13 performers this season. In three competitions this season, they’ve been in the prep division each time, and do not have a division win yet. They are, however, part of the largest overall high school program attending Choral Classic, with Pleasant Hill bringing four choirs to compete on Saturday. - William Soquet 


Pleasant Hill “Hillside Singers” (MO)

This year’s Hillside Singers are the first edition since 2003 that isn’t directed by Karen Dollins. After an illustrious run, the venerable director retired at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Heather Martin is in her first season of show choir direction as head of the Hillside Singers. While the group has made finals each time out this year, an improvement over last year, they are not the titan that had western Missouri at its feet throughout the last decade. Pleasant Hill will need to find some magic in their show in order to be considered a contender for finals following the daytime performances, and even then, a finals berth will come as a shock to many. - William Soquet


Single-Gender Groups

Illinois

El Paso-Gridley “Hi Fidelity”

The show choirs from El Paso are having historic seasons, and Hi Fidelity is no exception.  Hi-Fi won each of their first four competitions in different states before finally losing to Mt. Zion Les Femmes this past weekend. The only thing that could hurt Hi-Fi this weekend is the fact that their strength of schedule isn’t super strong in comparison to the other single-gender groups competing. No doubt their show is amazing, but can it compete with the best of the best? - Owen Miller


Mt. Zion “You’ve Got Male”

As far as show choir entertainment goes, you can’t get much better than Mt. Zion You’ve Got Male.  Year in and year out their shows are as entertaining to watch as some mixed groups, and this year is no different.  However, being an all-boys group, they do have a slight disadvantage going against a stacked lineup of girls groups that have much larger numbers than they do.  Whether they make mixed finals or not will be in question, but one thing is for certain: they will entertain you, and have come to steal the hearts of show choir fans worldwide. - Owen Miller


Mt. Zion “Les Femmes”

Other than maybe Wheaton’s own Esprit, Les Femmes is the girls group to beat in the state of Illinois. Les Femmes has made finals at two of their comps this year and placed third at Center Grove behind arguably the best girls group in the entire country, Fishers Sound.  Les Femmes is a sleeper pick for making single-gender finals at Wheaton, but they could come out and surprise a lot of people.  Their Barbie-themed show is one that you will not want to miss on Saturday. - Owen Miller


Waubonsie Valley “Resonance”

Resonance comes into Wheaton following a third-place finish and a fourth-place finish in their last two competitions. They might be an outside shot to make single-gender finals, but they are going to be backed up by their hometown crowd, as Waubonsie Valley is just a short 30-minute drive from Wheaton. Potentially that hometown energy could emit one of Resonance’s best performances of the season, but it’s going to take a lot more than crowd energy to get them into the single-gender finals. - Owen Miller


Indiana

Center Grove “Debtones”

Winning on the national stage would be a fantastic way to celebrate their 60th year. This storied program has had plenty of national success, including winning Heart of America events the past two seasons. Debtones will be the favorites coming in with their vocally impressive and choreography intensive “Eve” show. Behind wonderful soloists and a wall of sound, the Debtones are one of the best women’s groups of the country and look to demonstrate that this weekend. - Nathan Ensley


Zionsville “Choralaires”

The Choralaires have plenty of positive momentum coming into this weekend after securing their first single-gender grand championship last week at South Dearborn. While they started off their season slow, they have heated up, making finals and defeating several large mixed groups last week. The group has done well at the national level in the past with wins at Heart of America events in 2020 and 2023, and their fun Eras-themed show could play well to the crowd. - Nathan Ensley


California

Los Alamitos “Soundtrax”

Similar to Sound FX, only competing against two other choirs regularly in-state has its pros and cons. Soundtrax was swept by John Burroughs last weekend, although no one knows how close it was. They did drop the women's division win to Carroll Select Sound at Heart of America New York last year in their last outing against Midwest groups. Despite that, Soundtrax remains a dangerous force and will be considered a favorite to make the single-gender finals. - William Soquet


Oklahoma

Broken Arrow “Tiger Mystique”

After a challenging 2023 season that saw Mystique only claim one single-gender win, the group is back with a vengeance in 2023. Tiger Mystique has notched finals appearances in both of its competitions so far this year, placing fourth at both Joplin and Keller Central. It’s an impressive feat to be in mixed finals in two separate circuits, but questions will remain as the group has only competed twice so far this year. Performing last in the single-gender division in prelims is a double-edged sword, but Tiger Mystique will look to make the most of the card they were dealt. - William Soquet


Broken Arrow “Tiger Momentum”

Tiger Mo is Broken Arrow Freshman Academy’s group, but it is a women's group this year instead of a mixed group. Despite that, the group still debuted with a fifth-place finish at Joplin in early February. Two weeks later, they claimed the overall prep division win at Keller Central since Tiger Mystique was competing in the mixed division. Being the second Broken Arrow girls group, they will be an outside contender for finals, but anything can happen. - William Soquet


Missouri

Pleasant Hill “Powerhouse” (MO)

Powerhouse has the unenviable task of being the first group to grace the stage on Saturday morning, performing at a bright and sunny 7:30 a.m. What better way to kick the day off than with a bunch of guys being dudes in a Fortnite-themed set? While Powerhouse is a group that is unlikely to make finals, they will most likely have a great time performing for the diehards that will be in the gym to kick off the morning. - William Soquet


Pleasant Hill “Hilltop Harmony” (MO)

In a Missouri single-gender scene that is much more intense than most people give it credit for, Hilltop Harmony is in the midst of a relatively average season. The group has posted two placements in the four competitions it has attended. They are the exact middle group of this single-gender division, performing sixth of the eleven scoring groups who will be taking the stage. A top-three placement for them would be markedly better than anything they achieved in Mizzou this year. - William Soquet


Quick facts on choirs attending the Choral Classic

Total Wins this Season:

Zionsville - 3 (undefeated)

Center Grove - 3 (undefeated)

Lincoln Southwest - 3

El Paso-Gridley - 3

Broken Arrow - 2 (undefeated)

Mt. Zion - 1

Mitchell - 1

Total: 16


Vocals/Musicianships won this Season:

Center Grove - 3

Lincoln Southwest - 3

Zionsville - 2

El Paso-Gridley - 2

Broken Arrow - 2

Waubonise Valley - 1

Mt. Zion - 1

Mitchell - 1

Total: 15


Choreography/Showmanships won this Season:

El Paso-Gridley - 3

Zionsville - 3

Lincoln Southwest - 2

Broken Arrow - 2

Center Grove - 2

Mitchell - 2

Mt. Zion - 1

Total: 15


Best Bands won this Season:

El Paso-Gridley - 2

Lincoln Southwest - 2

Broken Arrow - 1

Mitchell - 1

Waubonsie Valley - 1

Total: 7


Finals/Top 6 Streaks

Choral will take on four mixed finalists, these streaks will all be at stake.

Los Alamitos - 70 Comps: Diamond Bar, 2008

Center Grove - 55 Comps: FAME Finals, 2013

Zionsville - 54 Comps: Lebanon, 2009

Mt. Zion - 47 Comps: Danville, 2017

Lincoln Southwest - 28 Comps: Wheaton Warrenville South, 2017

Mitchell - 24 Comps: Glenwood, 2019

Broken Arrow - 15 Comps: Troy Buchanan, 2019

Waubonise Valley - 9 Comps: Chesterton Trojan Classic, 2022

Pleasant Hill - 9 Comps: FAME Orlando, 2022

El Paso-Gridley - 5 Comps: Show Choir Nationals, 2023


Staff Predictions

Choral Classic will take four mixed finalists and three single-gender finalists in a departure from past years, where thy took six mixed finalists.


Mixed Predictions

Owen Miller:

GC: Center Grove Sound System (BV)

1RU: Los Alamitos Sound FX (BC)

2RU: Zionsville Royalaires 

3RU: Mitchell Friend de Coup (BB)


Nathan Ensley:

GC: Center Grove Sound System (BV)

1RU: Los Alamitos Sound FX (BC)

2RU: Zionsville Royalaires 

3RU: Mitchell Friend de Coup


William Soquet:

GC: Los Alamitos Sound FX (BC)

1RU: Center Grove Sound System (BV)

2RU: Mitchell Friend de Coup

3RU: Broken Arrow Tiger Rhythm


Single-Gender Predictions

Nathan Ensley:

1st: Center Grove Debtones (BV/BC)

2nd: Los Alamitos Soundtrax


William Soquet:

1st: Center Grove Debtones (BV/BC)

2nd: Mt. Zion Les Femmes

3rd: Broken Arrow Tiger Mystique


When the dust settles, the alarm clocks have been silenced for the final time, and the effects of the show choir hangover have subsided, you'll have a review piece waiting for you right back here at homeroomshowchoir.com.

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