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A Challenger Approaches: Valley Vista is Ready to Strike

Updated: 2 days ago

Vocal Thunder with its 2024 puppet-themed show. (@vvhs.choirs on Instagram)

Hailing from Surprise, Arizona, Valley Vista High School “Vocal Thunder” dominated the West’s intermediate divisions in 2023, and look to continue their meteoric rise this season. Director Preston MacDonald took over in 2019 and learned quickly that the show choir circuit in the West is no joke, but placed fairly well. At the Los Alamitos Xtravaganza, Vocal Thunder placed third of six choirs in the novice division.

Post-pandemic, Vocal Thunder again placed a respectable third at John Burroughs Music Showcase, but this time in the intermediate division, losing to Los Alamitos’ famous prep group Connexion and division veteran Oceanside. This steady growth was worth noting at the time, but could not have predicted the absolute takeover to follow.

In 2023, Valley Vista choirs dominated across the board. Their novice womens group earned a win over another Los Alamitos prep group at the Oceanside Sound-Off, while their novice mixed earned a second in division. At their two competitions, Vocal Thunder took home a division championship in both contests. These victories include a sweep over Los Alamitos Connexion and John Burroughs Sound Waves at Hart, and a split-caption decision against the same prep groups at Oceanside which saw Valley Vista take showmanship. Across four competitive appearances by its choirs last year, the program took home three division wins, three musicianship awards, and two showmanship awards. Additionally, Ignition (novice mixed) and Avalon (novice womens) performed at the inaugural Boulder Creek Showdown in the Desert, with Avalon taking a showmanship caption and Ignition winning a costumes award.

All eyes were on MacDonald this offseason as the Western show choir circuit wondered “will they move up?” Well, rumors have it that Vocal Thunder will be attending Los Alamitos Xtravaganza and Oceanside Sound-Off as an Advanced Small choir. This is a huge step for the program, and Vocal Thunder will be taking on some of Cali’s best just under the Big Three. They will brush shoulders with groups such as Diamond Bar Marquis, and Glendora Royal Stewarts, Hart Sound Vibrations, and Bonita Vista The Music Machine.

Only time will tell if Vocal Thunder can strike twice and shake up the scope of the advanced divisions, or if they will crash the local party at Boulder Creek. Only one thing’s certain: the rest of the advanced competitors fear the storm brewing in the suburbs of Phoenix.

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