West Liberty student singers shine in Stars on Stage
by Margaret Hurlbert
February 15, 2020

West Liberty, Iowa—For 17 years, Stars on Stage has stood out as the West Liberty High School show choir’s biggest event of the season. This year’s invitational on Feb. 8 showcased some of the region’s best talent and marked a high point in West Liberty’s already successful season.

A large regional event, Mallory Vallentine, West Liberty High School’s show choir director, shared that the showcase invites varsity show choirs at 1A, 2A, and 3A schools, as well prep and middle school choirs, to compete in various divisions. Judges rank first through third place winners in each division as well as in the prep category and give out awards for soloists, costumes, and star performers. In the evening, the top four groups compete against each other for overall awards and for best vocals, choreography, and band.

This year, the Benton Celebration Co. took first place overall. Keokuk Purple Harmony earned first runner up, with West Branch Christopher Jive & the Uptown 45 as second runner up and Center Point-Urbana Summit Street Singers as third runner up.

As the host of Stars on Stage, Voices Unlimited, the West Liberty High School varsity show choir, did not compete. However, they did perform their “Choir in Space,” themed repertoire, which seemed fitting for Stars on Stage. “Essentially, the content of each piece we perform relates to space in some way, whether it be stars, black holes, aliens, or the sun,” elaborated Vallentine. On Feb. 8, the group performed routines to “A Sky Full of Stars,” by Coldplay, “City of Stars,” from the musical “La La Land,” “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse, “E.T.” by Katy Perry, and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” by the 5th Dimension.

Overall, Vallentine felt quite pleased with Voices Unlimited’s performance. “The choir gave a really strong performance at Stars on Stage this year. They work very hard to give our community members an entertaining show to watch and really gave it their all.”

The team’s performance at Stars on Stage constitutes one of several high points in their season so far. At the Iowa High School Music Association’s state competition, the group received a Division I rating, the highest ranking they could attain. “It was the hardest we had performed all year, and we were so excited to achieve the highest rating we could,” Valentine explained.

Valentine also reported that Voices Unlimited valued getting to help out the West Branch show choir program when the invitational they hosted got canceled because of bad weather. Through a virtual competition, Valentine shared West Liberty students raised more than $650 and felt, “very proud to have been able to help another school.”

Through their annual Stars on Stage competition and other events, Voice Unlimited showcased the strength of West Liberty High School’s show choir program. As the season continues, their participants will continue to shine both on the stage and in their community.

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