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Comps of the Week: Iowa Special

Sometimes the stars align so well that a special column needs to be done. What’s happening in Iowa this week is one of those weeks. Marquee matchups await at several of the FIVE competitions happening in-state this weekend. If this isn’t the case that Iowa is the strongest show choir state in the nation from top to bottom, nothing is.

Benton A Touch of Class

The Lineup (all groups from Iowa)

4A: Davenport Central “Central Singers, Inc.”, Iowa City “4th Avenue Jazz Company”, Prairie “The Ambassadors”

3A: Clear Creek Amana “Vocal Dynamics”, LeMars “Crimson and Black”, West Delaware “WD Forte”, Williamsburg “Sound Attraction”

Prep: Davenport Central “Blue Vibrations”, Iowa City “Charisma”, Prairie “Focal Point”

While this is one of the smaller lineups that Van Horne has seen in recent years, it certainly still packs a punch. Davenport Central is two-for-two so far this season, and Iowa City finds itself solidly in upstart territory after a win over Cedar Rapids Washington at Anamosa and a solid finals appearance at Waukee Northwest. Prairie has only competed once so far after weather issues, but The Ambassadors look to be just as solid as ever this year, beating Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Norris their first time out. Behind the 4A choirs, a powder keg ignities. Williamsburg picked up second place in 3A at Mt. Pleasant last weekend to lead off their season, while West Delaware was at the bottom of a high-quality 3A division at Anamosa to kick off their 2024. LeMars is making the journey east for a competition that’s uncharacteristically early for most far western Iowa groups. Crimson & Black is in the second year of direction under Josie Krook after longtime director Randy Ewing retired, and Ben Schrank has come on as choreographer this year. However, they will have to fight all three prep groups for the last two finals spot, as ATOC is only taking five finalists. Either way, whoever wins 3A will have a very big accomplishment to put on their resume.

Cedar Rapids Washington Mo Show

The Lineup (all groups from Iowa)

4A: Cedar Rapids Kennedy “Happiness, Inc.”, Iowa City West “Good Time Company”, Sioux City East “The Headliners”, Waukee Northwest “Aurora”, Waukee Northwest “Eos”

3A: Anamosa “Sadie Street Singers”, Marion “New Creation”, Pella “AcaPella”

1A: Keota “EagleRock!”

Prep: Cedar Rapids Kennedy “Protégé”, Pella “Bravo”, Sioux City East :Entourage”, Sioux City East “Prestige”

Mo Show has come a long way from the four high school groups that attended in 2020. Waukee Northwest is the group with the best record coming into the event, and they will look to outlast local groups Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Iowa City West in the daytime 4A division. Arguably the two best 3A programs in the state, Pella and Marion, will do battle for division supremacy in the daytime and will probably both advance to finals in the evening. Sioux City East started off a bit slow at Lincoln East, coming home as the last group in finals, and will look to find more solid footing as they hit the sweet spot of the western Iowa season. Although Aurora is competing in the 4A division and made finals at Ankeny Centennial, they still haven’t won a prep division this season and should be considered on relatively equal footing with Sioux City East for the sixth finalist spot. A final thought: after taking vocals from Waconia and Wheaton Warrenville South this weekend, could Pella play major disrupter at Mo Show?

Keokuk Power City Classic

The Lineup (groups from Iowa unless noted)

4A: Davenport North “Northside Establishment”, Davenport West “West Connection”, Xavier “Xhilaration”

3A: Fort Madison “Swingspan”, Mt. Pleasant “InMotion”, Springfield “IN Session” (IL)

2A: Central Lee “CENTRifugAL Force”

1A: Danville “Vocal Chords”

Prep: Davenport North “Center Stage”, Fort Madison “Crimson & Black”, Springfield “Scarlet Harmony” (IL), Xavier “Xuberance”

Keokuk is the southernmost show choir competition in Iowa, and it draws mostly from the surrounding southeastern corner of the state. Headlining the competition is Davenport North, who will look to get back in the win column for the first time since 2022. Xavier is the lone representative from the Cedar Rapids area, and they will face competition for the number two spot from a couple of very solid 3A groups, Fort Madison and Mt. Pleasant. Keokuk offers a solid finals opportunity for Davenport West, who seems to be a couple steps behind the other two Davenport schools this year. Springfield enters as the wild card – they compete in Illinois’ festival division, but did notch both a division win and a finals appearance in 2023. Davenport North Center Stage could also be a sneak finals contender here.

North Polk Comet Sensation

The Lineup (all groups from Iowa)

4A: Ankeny “Visual Adrenaline”, Council Bluffs Jefferson “Jefferson Edition”, Dallas Center-Grimes “Momentum”, Des Moines Roosevelt “Revelation”, Dowling Catholic “Dimensions”, Indianola “Side One”, Lewis Central “Corporation”, Liberty “Storm”, Ottumwa “Sudden Impact”, Southeast Polk “RAMification”, Valley “Choralation”

3A: Atlantic “Ambassadors”, Carroll “Swingsations”, Denison “Singing Ambassadors”, Spirit Lake “Music Factory”

2A: Belmond-Klemme “10th Avenue Singers”, Des Moines Christian “Light, Inc.”, Emmetsburg “High Voltage”, Van Meter “Vocal Locomotion”

Womens: Ankeny “Intensity”, Lewis Central “Company”, Southeast Polk “Vocal Gold”

Prep: Ankeny “Perpetual Motion”, Liberty “Impact”, Valley “Ignition”, Waukee Prairieview “Velocity”

North Polk utilizes a dual-venue setup during the daytime, allowing them to have a field this massive. Local choirs Ankeny, Valley and Indianola all jump in after not attending in 2023 and will look to make a splash. It’s not all sunshine and roses, however, as Southeast Polk and Liberty fought it out to the bitter end last year. Liberty returns this year as the defending champion, but they will need to fight just to make it back to the evening round. Lewis Central is another good group jumping into the competition this year that will make noise in the 4A division and probably finals. 3A and 2A both have robust four-choir divisions. Spirit Lake looks like the favorite to win 3A, while Des Moines Christian is the odds-on group to take home top honors in 2A. Of non-4A groups, DMC and Ankeny Perpetual Motion are the two most likely groups to crash finals (if they are eligible).

Urbandale Show Choir Invitational

Editor's note: Urbandale Middle School Pizzazz director Matthew Harper passed away earlier this week. HRSC sends its best wishes to the entire Urbandale show choir family and all of Matthew's friends and family.

The Lineup (groups from Iowa unless noted)

Mixed: Grand Island “Ultimate Image” (NE), Johnston “Innovation”, Linn-Mar “10th Street Edition”, Waukee “Millennium”

Womens: Johnston “Bella Voce”, Linn-Mar “Hi-Style”

Prep: Grand Island “Future Image”, Johnston “Synergy”, Linn-Mar “In Step”, Waukee “Spirit”

At least one, and possibly two, of the nation’s most impressive winning streaks will come to an end on Saturday evening. Johnston has not lost since January 15, 2022. Linn-Mar has not lost since February 15, 2020. Unless a tie in every aspect happens, someone will lose. Waukee, while not the dominant force it was in the mid-2010s, is still a solid A-tier Iowa group and can play spoiler if the cards fall the right way. Grand Island is widely considered the underdog, despite having won two competitions already this season. No matter who comes out on top and who comes out in fourth, the judging sheets will probably be very close. Additionally, two groups from the prep and womens division will make finals. Will Johnston or Linn-Mar be able to put three groups in finals? Will Waukee or Grand Island sneak a group in? The battle for finals will be another incredibly enticing one. While there will be wins and losses at this competition, Urbandale will go down as one of the most elite local show choir gatherings of 2024, no matter the results.

A special Comps of the Week merits a special recap, so look for that early next week!

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