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Program Spotlight: El Paso-Gridley High School Modulations and Hi Fidelity

Nestled in the Illinois scene sits El Paso-Gridley High School, with their large mixed group Modulations and their womens group, Hi Fidelity. El Paso-Gridley High School is small but mighty, with a student population of only 360 students. 

Although Modulations did not have as much success on paper in 2023 as they did in 2022, they still walked away from Show Choir Nationals with an Outstanding Female Performer award and an Outstanding Director Award. However, they did not place in finals against several other very competitive groups. 

Modulations is composed of 51 singer-dancers, and are directed by John Shaffer and choreographed by Heath Gemar. Last year, Modulations had some lower placements than previous seasons, especially coming off of almost a perfect sweep season in 2022. Mods took home a full sweep at Watseka Sensational Showcase, a 1st runner-up at Manteno Main Event, two 2nd-runner up placements at Davenport North The Big Dance and the Crete-Monee Show Choir Spectacular and a 3rd runner-up placement at John Hersey Chicagoland Showcase. Other than Showchoir Nationals, Modulations never placed below 3rd runner-up overall. Modulations are hitting hard this season with a modern Revolutionary War-themed show, with numbers such as “Surrender”, “Lose Control”, and “The Schuyler Sisters”. They have both single-gender features, with the ladies performing “Scrubs” and the gentlemen performing “What a Man Gotta Do”! Heath Gemar’s choreography adds another dimension to the Mods show as well.

Hi Fidelity placed 6th in the womens division at Show Choir Nationals in 2023, a very impressive showcase of their talents. HiFi is made up of 45 singer-dancers. They are under the direction of John Shafer and choreographed by Michael Talamonti. In their party-themed show this year, they have songs such as “Celebration”, “Dance the Night Away” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. They keep the peppy show upbeat with unique and innovative choreography that really compliments the group and their abilities. 

Modulations and Hi Fidelity performed at the Des Moines Christian Illumination to kick off the 2024 season. Mods placed 3rd runner-up in finals and HiFi placed 1st in the womens division. As one of the only groups in Illinois to start their season, they pose a threat to other Illinois groups immediately in the upcoming competition season. They will also perform at the Sauk Prairie Executive Session Invitational in Wisconsin and the Manteno Main Event and Glenwood The Event, both in Illinois. 

EPG proudly hosts the Show Choir Showdown each year and is hosting again this season on February 16th and 17th. Choirs will take the stage in the open, festival mixed and univoice divisions. The Show Choir Showdown really allows for some smaller groups in Illinois to shine and have a chance to compete against a couple larger groups, such as Glenwood and Peoria. This year's showdown features three middle school choirs, a mens choir, a womens choir, and 14 mixed choirs from Illinois. Mayville from Wisconsin will also be attending.

Modulations and Hi Fidelity are wonderful examples of the great talent in such a small student body. It shows that no matter the size of the school or choir, they can still be fierce competition in any state! Both choirs will be forces to watch out for in the upcoming season.

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