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WDMCS IHSSA Large-Group Contest Results 2016

UPDATE from Feb. 23, 2016: The Valley High School IHSSA Group Mime ensemble from “Brunhilde und Siegfried: The Three Relics, A Quest for Love” earned the Critic’s Choice Award at the IHSSA All-State Festival at Iowa State University, Saturday, Feb. 20. The Critic’s Choice Awards are selected by a professional in the specific field and considered the top performer or ensemble in that performance area in the state for 2016.

VHS-IHSSA2016_CriticsChoice-slideThe ensemble was made up of seniors Lily DeTaeye and Angelina Mullican, juniors Becca Dorsett and Kamden Lee, and sophomores Leann Grandia and Liz Lau. The performance was directed by Derek Claussen, Valley High School music theory instructor and drama assistant.

Since 2002, Valley has been honored with 21 Critic’s Choice Awards in the One-Act Play, Reader’s Theater, Choral Reading, Group Mime, Solo Mime, Television Newscasting, Group Improvisation, Musical Theater, and Radio Broadcasting categories. Of this year’s performance, critic Jeff Hanson from the Lampost Theatre in Cedar Falls could only say, “WOW!”


UPDATE from Feb. 19, 2016: Nineteen ensembles, and 172 total students, will represent Valley High School and Valley Freshman High School at the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) All-State Festival on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Iowa State University.

Valley High School IHSSA All-State Contest entries are:

Choral Reading, “The Cats in Krasinski Square: A Story of Survival in the Warsaw Ghetto.” Director: Stacy Hansen. Stage managers: Cheyenne Raney, Mia Klaric. Cast: Kyra Casper, Lily DeTaeye, Jared Fisher, Courtney Graham, Jake Grittmann, Colin Lane, Derek Lutt, Nicole Miller, Abbey Patterson, Owen Snyder, Heather Stout, Caroline Stump, Gloria Tanui, Jake Wheeler, Jack Wilson.

Reader’s Theater, “Baghdad Zoo.” Director: Stacy Hansen. Stage managers: Kathryn Catellier, Gracie Pollack. Cast: Grace Barker, David Bone, Hanna Bush, Sarah Clarke, Preston Hayes, Matthew Hrdlicka, Carly Johnson, Izzy Koeppel, Kamden Lee, Paige Marshall, Nico Mulhern, Masha Smirnova, Jack Standefer, Maddy Swaim, Pearl Tate.

Group Mime, “Rustlin’: The Tale of the Three Banditos.” Director: Derek Claussen. Performers: Jared Fisher, Nico Mulhern, Lauren Russo, Masha Smirnova, Faith Smith, Jake Wheeler.

Group Mime, “Brunhilde und Siegfried: The Three Relics, A Quest for Love.” Director: Derek Claussen. Performers: Lily DeTaeye, Becca Dorsett, Leann Grandia, Liz Lau, Kamden Lee, Angelina Mullican.

Group Mime, “What Did You Learn in School Today?” Director: Spencer Gilbert. Performers: Cooper Earle, Bre’Anna Eigenheer, Nic Lovan, Marco Masteller, Lizzie Napier.

Solo Mime, “A Portrait in Memorium: In Loving Color.” Director: Spencer Gilbert. Performer: Cooper Earle.

Solo Mime, “Stranger Than Fiction.” Director: Ted Van Deventer. Performer: Nic Lovan.

TV News, “WE REPORT: Imported Fear.” Directors: Glen Biermann and Justin Smith. Stage managers: Caroline Smoldt and Hannah Taylor. Performers: Virdinia Alba, Vivian Alba, Maria Barbosa, Andrew Bohn, Sydney Fisher, Adamarys Gamboa, Beth Hammond, Jenna Hanson, Alex Johnson, erin McCoy, Olivia McDermott, Carter Oakley, Jack Ohringer, Mara Smith, Cheyenne Vanlandingham, Julka Volkamer.

TV News, “WE REPORT: Backspace.” Directors: Glen Biermann and Justin Smith. Performers: Rafiea Abdelrahim, Pam Chander, Samantha Ivie, Leigha Kolesik, Abby McCullough, Olivia McQuerry, Lauren Nielsen, Katie Reha, Lauren Reha, Anthony Reno, Alexa Rodriguez, Sam Shea, Jazlyn Talley, Sam Throm, Maren Tuttle, Suilley Vuong.

Special Recognition:
Short Film, “My Own Life.” Directors: Ken Winber, Darin Webb, Andrew Boh, Gabe Butler-Klein. Cast: Sam Allbee, Tommy Anderson, Emma Bohn, Thomas Bonus, Chase Brown, Emma Cox, William Donahoe, Dawson Edwards, Deaona Garcia, Ryan Jones, Emma Karns, Jackson LaFleur, Libby Lorts, Grace Patrick-West, Sam Sheffield, Julie Sisler.

Valley Southwoods Freshman High School IHSSA All-State Contest entries are:

Choral Reading, “The Little Match Girl.” Directors: Allison Koontz and Bryan Gamboa. Stage managers: Hadley Abbass, Elizabeth Conrad, and Paige McFarling. Cast: Riley Bartlett, Elizabeth Brackett, Alexis Chesley, T.J. Edge, Rachel Forney, Sasha Hentzen, Isabella Hill, Sarah Mele, Chloe Shoepke, Cole Stephenson, Cole Strelecki, Suzanne Thomas, Rylie Tue, Skylar Vanden Boasch.

Solo Mime, “The Madness of Houdini.” Director: Nicole Crawford. Performer: Rose Blobaum.

Special recognition:
Reader’s Theater: ”In The Tall Grass.” Directors: Matthew Hrdlicka and Nico Mulhern. Stage manager: Carrie Cassady. Cast: Olivia Allard, Montara Drees, Jessica Haugen, Meredith Johnson, Nora King, Jasmine Peterson, Caitlyn Potter, Bryce Rasmussen, Emily Schnoor, Emily Schultz, Ashlan Simpson, Conner Smith, Katie Throm, Andrew Vande Berg, Josie Williamson.

Group Mime, “The Disappearances of Briar Woods.” Directors: Lily DeTaeye and Jake Wheeler. Stage Manager: Hadley Abbass. Performers: Lawrence Byerly, Montara Drees, T.J. Edge, Riley Heil, Carlyn Mann, Josie Williamson.


Feb. 9, 2016: Valley High School hosted the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) Large-Group District Contest on Jan. 23. Twenty-two Valley entries and 10 Valley Southwoods Freshman High School entries received top “I” ratings from a majority of judges. The entries advanced to the State Contest on Feb. 5-6.

Valley High School entries performing at the State Contest are:

One-act Play, “Elephant’s Graveyard.” Directors: Bryan Gamboa, Ryan Penning, and Amanda Pichler. Stage managers: Grace Basler, Reid Epstein, Brillian Qi-Bell, Katie Ringgenberg. Tech: Sadie Baker, Sam Berry, Faith Brieholz, Mary Scout Cole-Duvall, Gabbi Dubansky, Jamie Hanson, Cheyenne Raney, Liz Remus. Cast: Zoe-Ella Anderson, Grace Axman, Carter Burmester, Emily Carr, Kailey Casper, Catherine Chrsitian, Abigail Colby, Bree Cole, Evan Cooper, Jo Craven, Cameron Curtis, Taylor Denman, Anne Marie Derouin, Katie Derouin, Aarushi Dervesh, Sarah Estes, Caroline Fidler, Isabelle Fidler, Millo Fosado, Quinn Fox, Dillon Frost, Ashley Gettinger, Isabella Giudicessi, Melissa Grinvalds, Maddie Hansen, Olivia Hansen, David Hettman, Alex Jessen, Emily Johnson, Lauren Johnson, Zac Johnson, Emma Ksiazak, Hayden Langfitt, Evan Larsen, Grace Lincoln, Alainna McAuliff,  Keegan McCullough, Kylie Miller, Camille Mireault, Sharissa Patanapanich, Anna Peterzalek, Zach Pitts, Geoffrey Purcell, Olivia Ramaekers, Kate Raridon, Collin Reeves, Marisa Rethman, Jacob Rhein, Blake Richards, Joshua Rodriquez, Lizbeth Salinas-Reyes, Emma Seybert, Macayla Smith, Mara Smith, Madison Stegman, Ann Thomas, Andy Thompson, Jack Thompson, Maren Tuttle, Thomas Warden, Justine Williamson, Anna Wood, Piper Wood.

Choral Reading, “The Cats in Krasinski Square: A Story of Survival in the Warsaw Ghetto.” Director: Stacy Hansen. Stage managers: Cheyenne Raney, Mia Klaric. Cast: Kyra Casper, Lily DeTaeye, Jared Fisher, Courtney Graham, Jake Grittmann, Colin Lane, Derek Lutt, Nicole Miller, Abbey Patterson, Owen Snyder, Heather Stout, Caroline Stump, Gloria Tanui, Jake Wheeler, Jack Wilson.

Reader’s Theater, “Baghdad Zoo.” Director: Stacy Hansen. Stage managers: Kathryn Catellier, Gracie Pollack. Cast: Grace Barker, David Bone, Hanna Bush, Sarah Clarke, Preston Hayes, Matthew Hrdlicka, Carly Johnson, Izzy Koeppel, Kamden Lee, Paige Marshall, Nico Mulhern, Masha Smirnova, Jack Standefer, Maddy Swaim, Pearl Tate.

Group Mime, “Rustlin’: The Tale of the Three Banditos.” Director: Derek Claussen. Performers: Jared Fisher, Nico Mulhern, Lauren Russo, Masha Smirnova, Faith Smith, Jake Wheeler.

Group Mime, “Brunhilde und Siegfried: The Three Relics, A Quest for Love.” Director: Derek Claussen. Performers: Lily DeTaeye, Becca Dorsett, Leann Grandia, Liz Lau, Kamden Lee, Angelina Mullican.

Group Mime, “What Did You Learn in School Today?” Director: Spencer Gilbert. Performers: Cooper Earle, Bre’Anna Eigenheer, Nic Lovan, Marco Masteller, Lizzie Napier.

Solo Mime, “A Portrait in Memorium: In Loving Color.” Director: Spencer Gilbert. Performer: Cooper Earle.

Solo Mime, “Stranger Than Fiction.” Director: Ted Van Deventer. Performer: Nic Lovan.

Solo Mime, “Rosie the Riveted: What It Means to Be Human.” Director: Amanda Pichler. Performer: Leann Grandia.

Musical Theater, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.” Directors: Megan Helmers and Brianne Magel. Stage manager: Kathryn Catellier. Cast: Logan Benson, Ethan Glenn, Matthew Hrdlicka, Nicole Miller, Owen Snyder, Gloria Tanui.

Musical Theater, “Catch Me If You Can.” Director: Megan Helmers and Brianne Magel. Stage manager: Brillian Qi-Bell. Cast: Kyra Casper, Sam Galligan, Carly Johnson, Colin Lane, Sofi Mandil, Jack Wilson.

Musical Theater, “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Director: Megan Helmers and Brianne Magel. Stage manager: Quinn Herbert. Cast: Sarah Clarke, Jake Grittmann, Ian Ksiazik, Derek Lutt, Elena Soto, Caroline Stump.

Group Improvisation. Directors: Joe Van Haecke and Amanda Pichler. Performers: Noah Dorsett and Lily Seltz.

Group Improvisation. Directors: Joe Van Haecke and Amanda Pichler. Performers: Tevan Fuller and Noah Welch.

Ensemble Acting, “Night, Mother.” Director: Kim Van Haecke. Stage manager: Arin Johnson. Cast: Paige Marshall and Pearl Tate.

Ensemble Acting, “The 15-Minute Hamlet.” Director: Charlie Reese. Stage manager: Cassie McKinney. Cast: Becca Dorsett, Angelina Mullican, Jack Standefer, Noah Welch.

Ensemble Acting, “Say Nothing.” Director: Charlie Reese. Stage manager: Amy Johnson. Cast: Madison Stegman and Thomas Warden.

TV News, “WE REPORT: Imported Fear” and “BACKSPACE.” Directors: Glen Biermann and Justin Smith. Stage managers: Caroline Smoldt and Hannah Taylor. Performers: Rafiea Abdelrahim, Viridiana Alba, Vivian Alba, Maria Barbosa, Greta Carlson, Pam Chander, Ellen Erickson, Sydney Fisher, Adamarys Gamboa, Susanna Groves, Beth Hammond, Jenna Hanson, Samantha Ivie, Alex Johnson, Leigha Kolesik, Erin McCoy, Abby McCullough, Olivia McDermott, Olivia McQuerry, Lauren Nielsen, Carter Oakley, Jack Ohringer, Katie Reha, Lauren Reha, Anthony Reno, Alexa Rodriguez, Sam Shea, Mara Smith, Jazlyn Talley, Sam Throm, Maren Tuttle, Cheyenne Vanlandingham, Julka Volkamer, Suilley Vuong.

Short Film, “My Own Life.” Directors: Ken Winber, Darin Webb, Andrew Boh, Gabe Butler-Klein. Cast: Sam Allbee, Tommy Anderson, Emma Bohn, Thomas Bonus, Chase Brown, Emma Cox, William Donahoe, Dawson Edwards, Deaona Garcia, Ryan Jones, Emma Karns, Jackson LaFleur, Libby Lorts, Grace Patrick-West, Sam Sheffield, Julie Sisler.

Short Film, “Immigrant.” Directors: Ken Winber, Darin Webb, Kate Pixley, Brillian Qi-Bell. Cast: Rebecka Gustavsson, Jack Johnson, Catie Judge, Olympia Manning, McKenzie Michael, Meta Miller, Dani Roth, Rebecca Stockham, Amy Wickenkamp.

Radio News, “FELZ.” Directors: Glen Biermann. Performers: Kaamil Abid, Grace Barker, Aubrey Bier, Preston Hayes, Anthony Reno, Abbey Patterson.

 

Valley Southwoods Freshman High School entries performing at the State Contest are:

Choral Reading, “The Little Match Girl.” Directors: Allison Koontz and Bryan Gamboa. Stage managers: Hadley Abbass, Elizabeth Conrad, and Paige McFarling. Cast: Riley Bartlett, Elizabeth Brackett, Alexis Chesley, T.J. Edge, Rachel Forney, Sasha Hentzen, Isabella Hill, Sarah Mele, Chloe Shoepke, Cole Stephenson, Cole Strelecki, Suzanne Thomas, Rylie Tue, Skylar Vanden Boasch.

Reader’s Theater: ”In The Tall Grass.” Directors: Matthew Hrdlicka and Nico Mulhern. Stage manager: Carrie Cassady. Cast: Olivia Allard, Montara Drees, Jessica Haugen, Meredith Johnson, Nora King, Jasmine Peterson, Caitlyn Potter, Bryce Rasmussen, Emily Schnoor, Emily Schultz, Ashlan Simpson, Conner Smith, Katie Throm, Andrew Vande Berg, Josie Williamson.

Solo Mime, “The Madness of Houdini.” Director: Nicole Crawford. Performer: Rose Blobaum.

Group Mime, “The Disappearances of Briar Woods.” Directors: Lily DeTaeye and Jake Wheeler. Stage Manager: Hadley Abbass. Performers: Lawrence Byerly, Montara Drees, T.J. Edge, Riley Heil, Carlyn Mann, Josie Williamson.

Group Mime, “We Can Do It!” Director: Nicole Crawford. Stage Manager: Linh Pham. Performers: Alyssa Bigger, Alexis Carlon, Sarah Mele, Hailey Mendenhall, Morgan Tyma.

Musical Theater, “Spring Awakening.” Director: Nicole Crawford. Stage Manager: Emily Bartusek. Cast: Riley Bartlett, Elizabeth Brackett, Alexis Chesley, Rachel Forney, Nora King, Cole Strelecki.

Ensemble Acting, “The Unknown Part of the Ocean.” Director: Paige Marshall. Cast: Savannah Burnham and Hailey Mendenhall.

Group Improvisation. Directors: Joe Van Haecke and Amanda Pichler. Performers: Emily Ash and Riley Heil.

Group Improvisation. Directors: Joe Van Haecke and Amanda Pichler. Performers: Lindsay Chappell and Conner Smith.

Short Film, “Baggage.” Directed by Nicole Crawford, Allison Koontz, Carrie Cassady, and Emily Bartusek. Cast: Rose Blobaum, Lawrence Byerly, Sasha Hentzen, Allison Ohringer, Linh Pham, Caitlyn Potter, Olivia Rainey Madonia, Rinehart, Emily Schnoor, Emily Schulz, Cole Stephenson, Andrew Vandeberg.

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Petersen Named Teacher of the Year Finalist

Valley Southwoods Freshman High School teacher Wade Petersen showed up to his 2016 Iowa Teacher of the Year interview dressed as 16th century French leader Napoleon Bonaparte.

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WDMCS Choirs Collaborate with Musicians for Winter Concerts

vhs-show-choir-1415West Des Moines Community Schools vocal music ensembles will feature district musicians in four concerts from Dec. 14–17. The concerts will showcase seasonal and traditional pieces, and popular songs from Broadway and the radio. All concerts are free and open to the public, and will be held in the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines

The Stilwell Junior High seventh-grade choirs will present their Winter Concert at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. The treble clef choir, bass choir and a combined choir will all perform. Musical selections include “Winter Wonderland” as arranged by Joyce Eilers Bacak, Israeli folk song “Hava Hallelujah” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” the Blue Swede song recently heard in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” film.

The Stilwell Junior High eighth-grade vocal music concert will follow at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. The treble clef, bass clef and combined choirs will perform. Selections include “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” featuring student instrumentalists, a medley from Disney’s “Newsies” and “Silent Night” as arranged by pop a cappella group Pentatonix.

The Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School choirs will perform their concert at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15. Valley’s Concert Choir, A Cappella Choir, Select Treble Clef Choir and combined choir will all perform, as well as the Treble Clef and Bass Clef choirs from Valley Southwoods. Song selections include “Piae Cantones” featuring percussion from Valley band students and “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen. Valley band student will be featured during “Gloria, Movement I” by John Rutter.

Valley Singers and Southwoods Singers, the auditioned show choirs, will also perform. Southwoods Singers will sing three pieces including “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” arranged by Jay Rouse and featuring WDMCS orchestra teacher and Des Moines Symphony member Michele Senger on cello. Valley Singers will perform “This House of Peace” accompanied by Valley orchestra students. This piece was commissioned in 2008 to celebrate the grand opening of the Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon. The text was drawn from quotes from Sacred Heart caregivers and patients and their families.

Indian Hills Junior High will present its Winter Choir Concert at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 17. The seventh-grade choir, eighth-grade choir, treble clef choir and bass clef choir will be performing. Selections include “Yo Le Canto,” “Seize the Day,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

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WDMCS Band and Orchestra Concerts Celebrate the Season

Detail Performing Arts CenterThree seasonal concerts from West Des Moines Community Schools ensembles herald the beginning of the winter season. The concerts will feature seasonal and popular pieces, as well as band and orchestra favorites. All concerts are free and open to the public. All but the Stilwell concert will be held in the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines

The Stilwell Junior High orchestra and the junior high chamber orchestra will perform their Winter Concert at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the Stilwell auditorium. Stilwell’s orchestra is the largest in the school’s history, with 108 members. The orchestra will perform “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker Suite” and several popular tunes, including “Stand by Me,” originally performed by Ben E. King. The chamber orchestra, a select group of students from Stilwell and Indian Hills junior high schools, will perform “Allegretto” from “The Creatures of Prometheus” by Ludwig van Beethoven and “Viva Violas!” by Richard Meyer, which will highlight the viola section.

All West Des Moines Community Schools students can begin studying orchestral music as early as fourth grade. All students have the opportunity to participate in small group and large group lessons, with advanced groups becoming available in sixth grade. Students are taught using an adapted Suzuki method that encourages active engagement between students, parents and teachers. The district’s high school orchestra programs consistently receive superior ratings at regional contests and have performed nationally and internationally.

The Indian Hills Junior High seventh- and eighth-grade bands will present their Winter Concert at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Musical selections include patriotic pieces like “Americans We” by Henry Fillmore and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The bands will also perform season pieces including “Jingle Bell Rock” and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.” Audience members will have the chance to donate to West Des Moines families in need at the concert.

The Valley High School Concert Ensemble and Symphony Band will join with the Valley Southwoods Band for the Winter Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10. Musical selections include “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre, “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” by John Philip Sousa and “Celtic Carol” by Robert W. Smith. The concert will also feature percussion ensembles from the Valley High School bands.

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Feed the POD for the Food Bank of Iowa

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34 Musicians Selected for Iowa All-State Music Festival

The Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School fine arts departments will have 34 students participate in the Iowa All-State Music Festival at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

All-state band members:
Clarinet — Bradley Qin
Trombone — Jacob Bedia, Joe Brennan
Alto Saxophone — Matt Nicholson
Euphonium — Samanthan Shea
Alternates — Julian Castillo, oboe; Mitchel Smith, tuba; Noah Welch, tenor saxophone

All-state choir members:
Soprano —Sarah Clarke, Sofi Mandil, Linda Tong, Elizabeth Watson
Alto — Izzy Keoppel, Clara Lyden, Maddy Swaim
Tenor — David Bone, Matthew Hrdlicka, Conlin Lane, Derek Lutt, Josh Miksch, Anthony Reno
Bass — Sam Galligan, Luke Rustin, Owen Snyder, Jack Wilson

All-state orchestra members:
Violin — Elizabeth Ash, Victoria Cassady, Olympia Manning, Guowei Qi, Joe Reck
Viola — Aleia Manning
Cello — Cayden Codel, Kate Jaros, Ben Wiese
Bass — Matt Christensen, Jacob Swanson
Harp — Corinne Watters
Alternate — Brian Gu, violin

Tickets to the Iowa All-State Music Festival concert are $20, with an $18 group rate for orders of 20 or more tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the Iowa State athletic ticket office or online at Ticketmaster.com. The concert will also be shown on Iowa Public Television at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26, and at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29. For more information on the Iowa All-State Music Festival, visit the IHSMA All-State website.

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2016-17 School Calendar Public Hearing Oct. 26

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Band, Choir Collaborate for Fall Concert

The Valley Southwoods Freshman High School Vocal Music and Band Departments will present their 2015 Fall Concert at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Staplin Performing Arts Center. This event is free and open to the public.

The Valley Southwoods chamber choir, Southwoods Singers, will perform songs from the OPUS Honor Choir, including “Ubi Caritas” by Richard Kidd; “Gift to be Simple,” arranged by Bob Chilcott; and a selection from “Three Songs from a Shropshire Lad” by Rhobert Rhein. The choir will be under the direction of Southwoods choir director Heather Nail and student teacher Chloe Peterson. The freshman concert band, under new band director Samantha Beeman, will highlight the Halloween season with “Abracadabra” by Frank Ticheli, as well as the programmatic piece “Mt. Everest,” and “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite,” Karl King’s well-known circus march.

The Valley Southwoods Freshman High School band program has distinguished itself at local, regional, and national events. Students may participate in various individual and small group music opportunities. The vocal music department offer a wide range of experiences for students interested in vocal music. The Valley Southwoods choirs are Treble Clef, Bass Clef, and the Valley Southwoods Singers. Each ensemble presents three to four concerts a year. The choirs also attend state and regional festivals and contests, and have opportunities to perform nationally and internationally.

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Essential Tips for Using Infinite Campus

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Thomas-McGinnis Becomes National Debate Champion

Conal Thomas-McGinnis with his first place trophy for middle school Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Conal Thomas-McGinnis.

Incoming Valley Southwoods Freshman High School student Conal Thomas-McGinnis won the junior high Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament at the 2015 National Speech and Debate Tournament. The incoming ninth-grader is the second national champion from the WDMCS district in three years; incoming junior Trent Gilbert was the national champion in 2013.

At the same tournament this year, recent Valley High School graduates Rishi Shah and Brody Diehn made it to round 11 in policy debate, making them one of the top 24 high school policy debate teams in the country.

Recent Valley grad Nolan Dahm was the 10th speaker in the policy division, and Gilbert made it to round eight in high school Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Incoming seventh-graders Bevan Fogdall and Isabella Nadel were octofinalists in policy debate, and incoming eighth-grader Animesh Joshi was an octofinalist for Lincoln-Douglas debate. Incoming freshman Joseph Whisler made it to double-octofinals (top 32) for Lincoln-Douglas debate.

The Valley debate team was founded in 1968. High school and junior high school students can participate in debate. The team attends 35–40 competitions per year, traveling to different locations including Yale and Stanford universities. This year’s National Speech and Debate Tournament was held in Dallas by the National Speech and Debate Association.

(Photo credits: David McGinnis)

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