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Fishers Sound and Center Grove with impressive debuts at Fishers Silver Spotlight

In the first significant week of action in the Indianapolis circuit, Fishers Silver Spotlight did not disappoint. Performers, parents, and spectators flocked in the thousands to the northeast side of Indy to witness the competition debuts of several schools. Those debuts included one of the Big Three in the Indianapolis circuit, Center Grove, and the two-time defending womens state champions Fishers Sound.

Center Grove

This was the first competition for Center Grove since winning nationals at Heart Of America Nashville last year. Despite both varsity groups winning on the national stage, CG wants more out of this season as each group dropped at least one competition to fellow Indianapolis area group Carmel last year.

With the national champs set to take the stage, spectators and performers packed the Fishers 950-seat auditorium, fanning out into the aisleways and staircases, with others just standing at the back of the auditorium to get a taste of what CG had in store.

 While the crowd was going wild, behind the curtain, an emotional moment unique to show choir was occurring. Junior member Rachel Thornton of Sound System described it.

“The energy backstage before competing is a feeling that is so unique in show choir,” Thornton said. “We look at each other and give each other pep talks, reminding each other how lucky we are to be doing this— all while the crowd outside is going crazy. The feelings of pride and gratitude completely take over, and it's just incredible.”

With those feelings of pride driving them on, they delivered a performance that did not disappoint. Sound System radiated energy, and the crowd responded right back. They followed the energy of the group as if the crowd was being directed themselves. When the group's energy peaked, the crowd roared with excitement. When the group toned it back for a soft ballad full of lovely dynamic changes between many different levels of quiet and loud, the audience went dead silent, intensely watching and listening to the group. You could hear a pin drop. Thornton discusses the immense energy that the group brought throughout their twenty-minute show.

“Sound System had so much energy when we performed, the most energy I think I’ve ever seen from this group,” Thornton said. “I think that because we were so excited to present our show in a competition setting, we all looked like we had downed a couple energy drinks backstage. We felt that energy radiate on stage, and I really hope it radiated in the house as well.”

Not only was the show more energy-packed than in the past, but the group also brought choreography that was the most technically impressive and clean that it has ever been. Their choreography was done by nationally renowned choreographer April James, who has choreographed Los Alamitos’ mixed group, “Sound FX,” for fifteen years. While CG is a group known nationally for their vocals, they occasionally drop a visual caption during the season. This couldn't have been further from the case on Saturday with the choreography stunning both the audience and the judges. The idea that this was the group's “just their first time out” performance in competition astounded the judges and crowd.

Their choreography was cleaned extensively by second-year senior dance captain Brooklyn Bruner. Her approach of extensively breaking down each move step-by-step has worked dividends in making Sound System one of the more remarkable dancing groups in the nation. Their extensive work was rewarded on Saturday as “Sound System” took home their first grand championship of the season, sweeping both vocal and visual captions.

Not to be outdone, CG’s varsity girls group, Debtones also impressed in their debut, taking home a grand championship with a caption sweep for their very unique “Eve” show that featured clean costuming, awe-inducing vocals, and stunning blocking.

Even Center Grove’s junior varsity girls group, Accents, got in on the winning, now extending their winning streak to four competitions since 2022. They did it in CG fashion by sweeping both captions over a strong Pendleton “Emerald Suites” group that tied for third at the Indiana state competition for small schools last year.

The Accents’ set this year is based on the hit TV drama “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and it could not fit this group any more perfectly. It’s wild to think that a group this outstanding is only a prep group for CG’s premier ensembles. A big part of their performance is that the group goes out and just has fun with the show, as freshman member Kiera Kobiela describes.

“My favorite moment of Fishers was getting on the stage and doing what I love the most,” Kiera exclaimed. “Hitting all the motions I learned, singing all the correct pitches, having facials and just living up on that stage! The moment you get off you feel amazing and just want to go back on and do it again!”


After taking home a grand championship by a mere 0.9 points over Plainfield at Ball State on Jan. 27, Noblesville NHS Singers came back with another incredible run of their show, which is based on the movie “Back to the Future.”

The group known for their romantic themes once again did an incredible job with this whirlwind of a show. The connection between the leads is evident, making the audience want to root even more for their love story. Also, to make sure you know the “Back to the Future” inspiration, Noblesville has a model DeLorean hanging high above the risers, which is revealed halfway through the show.

Noblesville may have gone overboard on the smoke in the DeLorean’s reveal this week, as it enveloped the front two rows of the audience. Still, that reveal is what puts this show over the top. After having a rough season last year, NHS Singers is looking like a threat for a podium at any competition they attend this season, even in the challenging Indianapolis circuit.

Lawrence North

Lawrence North impressed the unexpecting crowd with their well-developed sound and an energy-packed show full of stunts, twists, and turns. One of those stunts was a backflip performed by senior dance captain Elijah Jones, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Not only was the crowd elated, but so too was his director.

“My favorite moment was the roar of applause and cheer after I landed my backflip in our fourth number,” said Jones. “I saw my director in the tech booth jumping and cheering with so much joy on her face. Being the first of many of these moments, it will be one of the most memorable.”

Despite placing lowest of the three competing groups, there are many reasons for optimism for Lawrence North. First of all, they looked like they belonged with the standout casts of Noblesville NHS Singers and Center Grove Sound System. During the off-season, the group added ten members allowing them to compete at the large mixed level at every competition this season. While this will be a new challenge for the group, they appear ready for it behind a talented set of directors.

“I'm looking forward to reaching new heights with our group through this show,” Jones said.  “This is the first year our group has had more than 45 people in our choir. With a veteran show choir director, Greg Johnson, and an upcoming elite young director, Emily Keith, everything is set up for our success.”

Greg Johnson previously co-directed Fishers Sound as the group was beginning to hit its stride from 2018-2021. He demonstrated that he can develop a small group into a premier large contender, and he looks to do the same at Lawrence North. This year’s cast of Legacy contains several doublers with their girls’ group, Bella Bravada. One is October Stitt, who won the solo competition at Fishers, and was probably more surprised about it than anyone.

“I was sitting in the audience listening to solo comp awards and another member of my choir got 2nd runner up,” Stitt said. “I told a freshman next to me that Lawrence North is rarely in the top three, and I'm really happy for the person who got third. Then they announced my name, and I got grand champion! I could not process it, and I just broke down in tears. It was an amazing moment. I am so grateful.”

Pendleton Heights

One of the small schools attending Fishers, Pendleton Heights, ended up having a very strong day for their program. Their mixed group Pendletones took home grand championship honors in the small mixed division with their unique show about puzzles. The group even put together a puzzle with their group’s name throughout the show. I never thought I would see performers just run puzzle pieces over and put them on the backdrop of their set. What a cool concept!

Pendleton junior doubler Courtney Brunswick said the group was nervous entering their first competition of the season. However, those nerves spurred them on to the best performances of their shows thus far in the young season. Seeing the audience respond to the groups’ ballads was Brunswick’s favorite part of the day.

“[My favorite moment was] seeing how moved people were during our ballads,” Brunswick said. “I always love singing the songs we do because we make people cry every time without fail. Win or lose, I find comfort in knowing that we reach people’s hearts with our performances.”

Brunswick is not the only doubler between Pendleton’s two groups. In all, sixteen girls perform with both “Pendletones” and the girls’ group, “Emerald Suites.” It can certainly be challenging, learning and performing two shows, but these doublers do it in spectacular style, with many of them taking key spots in the front two rows throughout both shows. While the group did not win the small univoice division, Emerald Suites looked fabulous in their debut, winning the best costumes caption, which was awarded to just one group from the entire day.


The back-to-back defending state champions, Fishers Sound capped off the night in spectacular fashion, proving once again that the state’s womens division runs through them. 

Sound rose to prominence in 2021 and made a name for themselves nationally with an undefeated season in 2022 with a groundbreaking Salem Witch Trials-themed show that had a powerful message on women's empowerment. After having a less successful year last season, where they were outplaced by the Carmel Accents twice, they look to be back in 2022 form behind new director and Center Grove Sound System alum Laney De Luna, who took Fishers’ strengths and molded them into the most spectacular and cunning show I’ve ever witnessed.

Sound’s characteristic swagger, belting that fills every corner of an auditorium, and vocal intensity are all evident throughout the show. The show is themed around the 20th-century “Femmes Fatales” trope, which is defined as a woman whose charm allows them to lead their lovers to deadly traps. These girls filled that role impeccably, delivering a cocky presence wherever they stepped on stage.

Sound’s ballad is what will put this group over the top, featuring both an elegant French piece partnered with Olivia Rodrigo’s “The Grudge,” which Rodrigo released in September. It is not too common for a song so new to make an appearance in a show choir show, but the piece fits Sound’s show splendidly. Additionally, their trio of soloists in the ballad delivered a powerful performance that left me with chills.

As I said at the top, Fishers Sound will be the group to beat in the large womens division this season. Carmel Accents and Center Grove Debtones, who each had near-flawless seasons last year, better be in peak form if they wish to defeat this group.

Fishers Silver Spotlight was just the start of what is shaping up to be an incredible season in the Indianapolis show choir circuit, and I can’t wait to watch it with you all! This upcoming week, many more nationally renowned groups will be making their public and competition debuts, which will shake things up, and when they do, HRSC will be here to keep you informed.


I'm surprised by the lack of mention about Fishers Electrum...the show was fantastic and will look to finally make a move to compete with the "Big Three" of FC, CG, and Carmel.

Replying to

There's only so much room in a piece to discuss every group. I chose to focus on the groups I did because this was the main talk coming out of Fishers, especially with Sound taking the prime spot at the end of the night. I do regret not at least mentioning Electrum's performance because it was great and an improvement from last season.

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