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Erik Taylor takes over at Mt. Zion

MT. ZION, ILLINOIS – One of the nation’s most storied show choir programs has a new director. Erik Taylor has taken over the reins of the program from the curricular side, taking over an array of middle school and high school show choirs.

He takes over the lead director position from Connie Mulligan, who had held the position since 2015 after previously directing show choirs in Sullivan, Illinois. Heather Pistorius will remain an assistant director for the program, and longtime choreographer Dwight Jordan is set to return as well.

Taylor comes to Mt. Zion from the Decatur Show Choir Complex, where he directed the high school-level mixed group Elite Energy and the middle school-level mixed group Collective Sound. During the 2022 season, Elite Energy won the Danville Midwest Classic and scored two second-place results before rounding out their season at Show Choir Nationals, where they finished ninth. The group was 18.5 points back of fellow Illinois group Glenwood Titan Fever for the sixth spot in finals at that competition.

During Taylor’s tenure at Decatur, which has been since 2016, he has been noted for being one of the leading “nontraditional” show choir directors in the country, working to formalize the organization known as the Decatur Show Choir Complex. Elite Energy was the show choir at Eisenhower High School in Decatur until the 2013 season, when it opened up to students from multiple high schools. At present, Elite Energy accepts performers from a number of Decatur-area high schools.

He assumes the helm of a varsity group, the Swingsations, that were formed in 1977 and has accumulated over 75 grand champion awards during its tenure. The group also helped launch the career of Jordan, who is one of the nation’s most widely respected choreographers. In 2022, Swings scored two grand championships, including a hotly contested victory at FAME Show Choir America over Oak Mountain and Brandon.

Mt. Zion also fielded a women's group, Les Femmes, and a men's group, You've Got Male, in 2022. Taylor will also assume directing duties for the Mt. Zion Junior High choir, Sound System. As of the 2020-2021 school year, Mt. Zion High School counted 761 enrolled students and Mt. Zion Junior High counted 394 enrolled students, per the National Center for Education Statistics.

The Decatur Show Choir Complex has not named a new director for the upcoming season.

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