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Illinois Show Choir Poll Rankings: Feb. 9

With majority of Illinois' show choir getting their feet wet it’s time for our Illinois poll rankings! These rankings will be updated weekly to reflect where our Illinois panelist believe each choir stands in the state currently. So, a weekly poll voted on by our Illinois contributors will be released and changed every week until the end of the season. All of this to recognize Illinois' best choirs, large mixed, single-gender, and tier 2. Take a look at the first weekly rankings below:


Varsity Mixed:

1st) Wheaton North "Flight"

(via @wnflight instagram)

- Wheaton North is starting this season right where they left off - with a win, and in first place in the Illinois rankings. Flight swept a not-so competitive competition, but a sweep is a sweep nonetheless. Wheaton North stays at the top of these rankings due to their incredible vocals, being able to compete with the best in the country in that category.  Flight brings on April James as their full time choreographer this season, and that will surely come to them as an advantage in the choreography category as well. Flight’s biggest challenge will be at Chesterton this season, going against some of the best groups in the entire country in Brandon, Carmel, and Marysville.  Only time will tell if they can hang with the best in the country, but for now, they are the best in Illinois. 


2nd) Wheaton Warrenville South "The Classics"

(via @wwsclassics instagram)

- Wheaton Warrenville South isn’t off to the start that they wanted, but their show is still impressive nonetheless.  They still sit at the top of the Illinois rankings year in and year out because of how well they can place against some of the top groups in the country.  This year unfortunately, they have fallen on the wrong side of those placements twice, and it doesn't get much easier for them from here on out. Down the stretch they will have to beat the likes of Carmel, Urbandale, Bloomington Kennedy, and Naperville North.   However, they are still a strong enough group to give any of those groups they compete against a run for their money. Don’t expect this group to give up easily.


3rd) Mt. Zion "Swingsations"

(via @mtzswingsations instagram)

- Mt. Zion started their season at Troy Buchanan, but it was not the start that they were hoping for, getting swept by Millard West.  They were still able to come away with the best closer caption, which doesn’t come as a surprise for how electric their closers usually are.  Mt. Zion will dance as well as anyone in the country, the question will be if they can begin to sing with the best of them as well. Mt. Zion may have faced their hardest competition of the season so far in Millard West, so a lighter schedule should help them to stay at the top of the rankings


4th) El Paso-Gridley "Modulations"

(via @epgshowchoir instagram)

- After a less than ideal start placing 4th at Des Moines Christian, Mods has now won their last two competitions, sweeping their most recent. Perhaps it’s the lighter schedule, but winning two competitions in a row is no small feat, especially in this crazy show choir season.  Mods is looking to build on the success of their last competition, going into some tough competitions where they will have to face Wheaton North at Manteno and Mt. Zion at Glenwood.


5th) Naperville North "Entourage"

(via @theclashcomp facebook)

- Naperville North didn’t come away with a win at Marion Harding, but it was an impressive showing nonetheless, coming away with Best Vocals, Best Band, and Best Costumes. That just goes to show again how crazy this show choir season is.  I expect Entourage to build on that performance and eventually bring their best against Carmel and Wheaton Warrenville South in early march at Lafayette Jefferson.  


6th) Waubonsie Valley "Sound Check"

- Waubonsie is no longer the Waubonsie from the early 2010s, but they are still one of the more notable groups in the state of Illinois. In their first competition it was tough sledding, having to go against Wheaton North right out of the bat, in which they were swept. However, I do believe that they are better than that performance showed, and should be ready to win at Monona Grove.  They end their season at the Wheaton Warrenville South Choral Classic, a competition in which it will be difficult for just about anyone to make finals.  It won’t be easy, but we have seen much crazier things happen this show choir season. 


7th) Glenwood "Titan Fever"

- Titan Fever had a promising start to their season, avoiding a sweep against Troy Buchanan and only slightly being beat out for Best Choreography by a very slim margin. However, they followed it up with a 5th place finish at Troy Buchanan, going against a much more stacked lineup.  Much like Waubonsie, this isn’t the group we all remember from a few years ago, but they are still going to put up a fight.


8th) Mundelein "Sound"

- Sound had a fantastic season last year, winning 2 grand championships very early on in their season, and this year they are looking to build on that. They started off their season getting 3rd place, losing to El Paso and De Pere which are two very respectable groups. Mundelein isn’t quite at elite status in Illinois, but of the middle tier groups in the state, they are one of the best.  


9th) Dwight D. Eisenhower "Express"

- Express has gone to two very difficult competitions to start their season and honestly it won’t get much easier for them.  They will be competing against some of the best groups in the entire country throughout their season, and that is a big ask for a smaller Illinois show choir program. I love that they are putting themselves in these harder competitions, and it is something I’d like to see a lot more of.  With that said, kudos to Express!


10th) Manteno "Magic"

- When I think of a traditional show choir, the Manteno “Magic” is the first choir I think of everytime. Despite never going in-depth on certain themes and concepts, Manteno always brings the juice on stage. They have competed once thus far, finishing third against a red hot Tomah choir, and Sauk Prairie. Manteno will get the opportunity to prove themselves next week against some talented Illinois competition. “M-A-G-I-C MAGIC”


11th) Peoria "Soundwave"

- The school of performing arts in Peoria burst on the scene in 2017 practically out of thin air. During their time as a tier 2 group they went on to win 8 grand championships in their respective divisions over the course of three years, and quickly earned the reputation as the “School of Solos”. This tare prompted the group to take the jump to large mixed in the year 2021, where they received their first two overall wins as a program. Fast forward to this year, Soundwave is still under the direction of their long-time director, Dedra Kaiser, and is now in their third season with Sam Mulligan as head choreographer. The group has competed twice thus far receiving a third place finish at Mt. Zion and a 7th place finish in prelims at Homestead in Indiana. The size of the group may have taken a dip from previous years, but this choir has no trouble getting sound off the stage.


12th) John Hersey "OnStage"

- John Hersey snags the last spot in our Illinois rankings, despite not having completed yet… but there is a reason. John Hersey might not be in the upper echelon of choirs in the state of Illinois, but when it comes to OnStage they never back down from a fight. They constantly attend competitions where Illinois’ best attend and receive respectable placements in return. John Hersey is coming into this season off a solid win last season up north at Craig Spotlight, and they will be looking to shock the state at their first competition this weekend at Manteno.


Receiving Votes: Alan B. Shepard "Nova", Danville "Delegation", Oswego "Commotion"


Single-Gender:

1st) Wheaton Warrenville South "Esprit"

(via @wwsesprit instagram)

- After sweeping their respective divisions at both the UNL Midwest Cup (Jan. 20th) and Bettendorf Rhythm on the Riverbend (Feb. 3rd). As well making finals and placing 4th overall at both competitions. WWS Esprit remains as not only the best girls groups in Illinois, but as a strong contender in finals at any competition they attend. With an undefeated streak of 7, as well as making finals at every competition since last season. Esprit is a force to be reckoned with in the treble and finals divisions alike. 


2nd) Mt. Zion "Les Femmes"

(via @mtzlesfemmes instagram)

- Coming off of a single clef division sweep and a 6th place finish in finals at the Troy Buchanan Show Choir Invitational (Feb. 3rd). Snatching Best Treble Soloist, Kolbi Allen, Les Femmes remains one of Illinois’s most historical groups. With a Barbie themed show.   


3rd) Naperville North "High Heeled Harmony"

(via @NapervilleNorthHSShowChoirs facebook)

- High Heeled Harmony, also coming off with a 6th place finish in finals and 1st in the treble division at the Marion Harding Singsational (Feb. 3rd)


4th) Mt. Zion "You’ve Got Male"

- With a second place finish in the single clef division just under their treble group, Les Femmes, at the Troy Buchanan Show Choir Invitational (Feb. 3rd).


5th) El Paso-Gridley "Hi Fidelity"

- Hi-Fidelity has shown Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri who is boss, sweeping their divisions at the Des Moines Christian Illumination (Jan. 6th), the Sauk Prairie Executive Session Invitational (Jan. 27th) and the Smith-Cotton Show Me Classic (Feb. 3rd) (Source: El Paso-Gridley Music Boosters Facebook). Coming off of a rocky season, with a finals placement and 6th place at Show Choir Nationals, Hi-Fi is stronger than ever and ready to take on the Illinois scene!


Receiving Votes: Waubonsie Valley "Resonance"


Tier 2:

1st) Herscher "Class Act"

(via @HerscherMusicBoosters facebook)

- Herscher “Class Act” has been a very solid tier 2 choir in the state of Illinois for years. Always receiving placements they can sure be proud of. They have competed twice so far this year, receiving 3rd in tier 2 at Mt. Zion and finished 2nd only to Sullivan at Crete-Monee against a loaded Illinois tier 2 lineup.


2nd) Sullivan "Singers"

(via @SullivanSingersBoosterClub facebook)

- So you probably just read the Herscher statement and thought to yourself, “Wait, if Sullivan has already bested Herscher this season, they should be ranked higher,” and we hear you, but allow us to explain. Sullivan at Crete-Monee finished first in their division and made finals for the first time since 2022, when they were still considered a large mixed choir. Up until last weekend, Sullivan had only beat one tier 2 choir on this list, Kankakee, during this two year stretch. So, with that there is still a lot to be seen with Sullivan Singers, but with the new addition of veteran show choir leadership in Heather Pistorius, this choir has already made splashes this season. A high placement at Manteno could allow this choir to snag the top spot next week.


3rd) Mundelein "Reverb"

(via @MundeleinHighSchoolChoir facebook)

- Mundelein Reverb is the only true prep group to make our rankings this early into the season. They had an impressive showing at Sauk Prairie, only losing to El-Paso’s girls group Hi Fidelity. This weekend they will be traveling up north to Fort Atkinson, and will have an intriguing matchup against the group one spot below.


4th) Crete-Monee "Cavaliers"

- The Cavaliers of Crete-Monee are as tough as it comes in the state of Illinois tier 2. A choir that can always compete for the top spot of their division despite who is in attendance. They have a chance to prove themselves this weekend at Fort Atkinson.


5th) Springfield "In Session"

- Springfield “In Session” is a choir that always seems to punch above their weight. It’s tough to rank a choir like this one, because like Crete-Monee, it’s hard to predict where they would mount up against Illinois competition before a season. However, Springfield has the potential to be the top tier 2 choir in the state. Last year Springfield beat choirs such as Herscher, Sullivan, Crete-Monee, Peotone, and Watseka. The first chance we get to see Springfield against Illinois groups will be at Peotone (Feb 24th). 


6th) Kankakee "Take Note"

- Kankakee is a wild card selection to pick this early in the season. The first time they compete will be in a week's time at El Paso-Gridley against a loaded tier 2 field. Despite not having the greatest season last year, Kankakee is a very streaky choir and for that they snagged our last spot.


Receiving Votes: Watseka "Sensations", Peotone "Powerhouse", Quincy "Electric Blue", Unity "Vocal Rush"


Check back next week after the dust settles in Illinois this weekend!

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