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Carmel, Franklin Central and North Central Headline Stacked Pike MusicFest

Updated: Feb 7

Nathan Ensley also contributed to this report.

During the Indianapolis season, the HRSC staff will identify competitions that are of high importance to the season’s storylines. A lineup that immediately came up was the field at Pike MusicFest. With over 15 large mixed groups in attendance and three out of the top five groups in the circuit arriving there on Saturday, there is a lot to talk about. Let's take an in-depth look at all of them in the performance order on Saturday. 

Roncalli Royal Rhapsody

#1 HRSC Small Mixed Rankings 

Roncalli choir concert, May 5th, 2023 (Jeff Purdy)

Roncalli is number one in our small mixed rankings to begin what will be a very competitive season. Despite that, no matter what group you are in this field, that doesn't automatically mean you'll make finals and fight at the front. At Pike no one is safe. Roncalli is amazing and professional and has already won this year at Decatur Central in the small mixed division. Unfortunately, they have the dubious honor of pulling the card to go first of the large mixed groups and will only contain 40 members compared to the average 54-60 that many other groups have in large mixed. Last year, Center Grove and North Central went first and second in prelims and made finals here, so it is very possible to compete from that slot. Roncalli might just make that same impact as those groups going into the 2024 campaign. This comp is going to be tough for any group with four finals spots and three power five members sitting there waiting to pounce, so a finals appearance would be a strong showing for a Roncalli group moving up to Tier I for the first time since Warren Central last season. 

Mooresville Spotlighters

Mooresville is another group that flips in between large and small mixed during their competitive season. This is going to be a great comp to make some noise and raise their group's profile, so this is a similar situation as Roncalli. Make sure to improve the show and use the attention a large mixed look gets to get the feedback needed for later in the season. With just four final spots, Mooresville could find themselves fighting for that last finals slot behind the Power Five if they make a strong run at it.

Ben Davis Premiers 

Ben Davis performs at Warren Central (Summer Fields)

Ben Davis is one of those groups who has a good amount of history behind them, though the extremely competitive Indy circuit makes it virtually impossible to stay on top. That's normal in Indy, as groups go in and out of prominence even if the art stays similar. They started the season strong, with a win at Franklin Community. Maybe this year, they come out and shock the world, challenging the Power Five and helping to usher in a central city renaissance. I hope that happens - if the historic Indy groups regain their prominence, we could be seeing some of the greatest competitions in decades. Regardless, they will be a group to watch going into the latter half of the day as to where they will place. 

Carmel Ambassadors 

#1 on HRSC Large Mixed rankings

Carmel Ambassadors perform at Brownsburg, 2023 (Ambassadors Instagram)

Ladies and Gentlemen, from Carmel, the undefeated, undisputed champion of the Indy circuit, Ambassadors. This season’s edition is a completely unknown quantity, with no public preview show, but they are not to be overlooked. The staples will remain the same as Dwight Jordan continues to give them some of the best choreography in the country for the foreseeable future. Will their choreography stand up to Franklin Central, who is bringing a more Iowa-styled show this year? Who wins between those two will be very telling. If Carmel can continue their winning streak, they may be well on their way to another undefeated season and start what could become a truly special win streak that may rival the likes of Clinton Attachè. For now, they remain the favorite, but who knows what will happen on Saturday. 

North Central Counterpoints

#5 on HRSC Large Mixed Rankings

North Central performs their preview show (Michael Camp Photography)

North Central is going to be interesting this season. After watching their preview show, I would be very surprised if they are still choreographed by Joe Sato. The style differs from their past years, and it fits the group well. The set continues on the patented Indy formula and will be a very strong contender in the Power Five. This new set hopes to end some of the inconsistency of past years, though they will run a much tougher gauntlet this season. Where the judges place them will give a strong indication where North Central stands in the Power Five. A group outside of the Big Three has not defeated a Big Three group since 2020, but this Counterpoints group could be the one to do it. They are a sleeper group, but could make waves on Saturday. 

Lawrence North Legacy

Lawrence North Competes at Fishers 2024 (LNHS Choirs)

One of the two Lawrence groups that will be attending here at Pike, and like all groups, Lawrence North Legacy will have an interesting day ahead of them. Last year, they won the open division, sweeping the field and taking almost every caption possible. With that success, they enter the large mixed field this year. They impressed our staff at Fishers, putting up a very strong showing against some of our highest-ranking groups. Making finals for them is totally possible, and they have proven they can come in on this stage and have success. With their well-developed vocal sound, energy-packed show, full of twists and turns, it will be difficult keeping them out of finals.

Lawrence Central Central Sound

Central Sound performs at LC's the Classic (LC High School Twitter)

Central Sound will close out the Lawrence duo for prelims and try to take one of those coveted finals spots as well. They look to rebound after failing to make a two-group final at Decatur Central, where they faced tough competition in the likes of FC Singers and Avon Attraction. Any competition with only two finals spots is tough, it gets extremely difficult in Indy when you are likely to run into at least two nationally competitive groups.  Regardless of what happens before them, they will have a great opportunity to join the finals party as they did last year. Having faced FC Singers last year, they also know what they need to adjust to match the caliber of Franklin Central and the other many great groups at this competition. Central Sound will make a huge statement for this season and their program if they can snag a finals spot.

Franklin Central FC Singers 

#2 in HRSC Large Mixed rankings

Franklin Central performs at their preview show (Nathan Ensley)

Franklin Central has decided to bring a new style of show choir to the Indy circuit, bringing the influences of Iowa into their set. They are taking a risk, but sometimes, in order to bring in a new style of art somewhere, you have to risk some critique. They have already proved the concept's viability by defeating a ranked Avon group on their way to a sweep at Decatur Central. I have no idea what they will face throughout their season in performing this interesting style, but it could play very well with FC’s exemplary vocals year in and year out. I wish I could predict more, but I have no idea how judges will react to this style shift. Regardless, it's very cool and interesting to see going forward throughout this season. 


At this competition, with all of the talent, just making finals is a victory. So in the interest of acknowledging that it's a true competition just getting to finals, we will only predict who will get to perform in primetime.  

Mixed Finals Prediction (in no particular order)

  1. Carmel “Ambassadors”

  2. North Central “Counterpoints”

  3. Franklin Central “FC Singers"

  4. Lawrence North “Legacy”

Who of our finalists do you think will win?

  • Ambassadors

  • Counterpoints

  • FC Singers

  • Legacy


Ben Davis Sounds

Ben Davis sounds compete 2023 (Ben Davis Sounds)

Sounds is one of the groups that has won already this season and can walk away with a Saturday sweep. That makes them a group to watch in this competition. They will face a larger field this time around and some amazing groups this weekend, so repeating that feat will not be easy, although they did make finals at this competition last year. They picked up their first win since 2020 last weekend, so going out there, showing out, and making finals this weekend at Pike would pay dividends to show that displaying their prowess was not a fluke.

Mooresville Finesse

This group will be a good barometer to see how small groups can compete with the big dogs of the Indianapolis large scene. Similar to the mixed Mooresville group, Finesse will have to overcome being smaller than a traditional large mixed group. This is always challenging to get over, but I have faith that this group, in particular, can do it. This single-gender comp provides all kinds of opportunities to put your group on that map, with so many flocking to see the Big Three. If they can succeed here, they will be a favorite for their remaining competitions in the small division.

Lawrence North Bella Bravada

(Lawrence North HS Instagram)

Last year, Bella Bravada competed in the treble division but failed to make finals in an very talented field. This year, with a larger group and a fantastic showing at Fishers, where they secured a podium spot, they look prepared to take the next step. A lot of the groups they will face for the rest of the year are here, so setting the standard early will be important for their season’s success.

North Central Descants

Descants complete their preview show (Michael Camp Photography)

Descants is a group that is looking to redefine itself this year as a group fighting near the front at every competition. It looks like they will also be receiving a new choreographer like Counterpoints, which hopefully will translate to them returning to the top of the podium. The goal for this season is steady growth. Getting back to the top will take time and work, and this group is not short on the dedication and work ethic to do that. Nobody has any idea what this comp will hold for them, though I am excited to see the progress they will make. 

Lawrence Central Sweets

Lawrence Central Sweets perform at State (LCHS)

Sweets will have a great opportunity, like the Descants, to redefine themselves at this comp. They frequently place whenever they compete in the treble division, which could prove fruitful even in a deep field. They are one of those groups that always can push beyond their expected placement. Any year, they can explode to the top of every competition they attend, so do not count them out here. Steady progress will be their friend, and the journey is half the fun. 

Carmel Accents

Carmel Accents performs their 2023 set (Accents Instagram)

Accents joins Ambassadors as one of the strongest groups in the country, proving their strength last season by only dropping a choreography caption twice to the Center Grove Debtones. If not for a lone loss here last season to CG, they would have also had an undefeated season along with the Ambassadors. Their group is young and driven. If they can stay polished and take the top spot this weekend, they will definitely show the Indiana circuit that they are just as good - or even better - as they were last year.

Franklin Central High Voltage

Franklin Central performs their Preview Show (Nathan Ensley)

High Voltage is a very strong group, displaying their excellent performing skills at both their pre-competition show and at Decatur Central, proving once again they are in the top five of the Indiana womens scene. They have a chance to win almost every week and have already won the division this season at Decatur Central. While they tied for the vocal caption to an upstart Avon Attraction last week, they are still a group that can threaten for the top spot here. If they can make some noise this weekend in this deep lineup, they definitely could move up the Power Rankings.

Same as in the Mixed Division, getting to finals should be the goal at this stacked competition. After that, placings are anybody's guess.

Single Gender Predictions (in no particular order)

  1. Carmel “Accents”

  2. Lawrence North “Bella Bravada”

  3. Franklin Central “High Voltage”

  4. North Central “Descants” 

Who of our finalists will win?

  • Accents

  • High Voltage

  • Descants

  • Bella Bravada

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