Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

April 3, 2014

AHS Show Choir Showdown a hit

First-ever festival draws 1,800 to town

High school show choir directors from around New England are singing the praises of Andover High School’s show choirs, which hosted their first festival last month.

Mark R. Mercer, director of choral studies at Andover High School, said in an email that the New England Show Choir Showdown held on March 22 at AHS surely was worth remembering for those involved as the turnout was terrific and so were the compliments.

“Everyone already wants to know the date for next year’s festival,” Mercer wrote. “Both of our groups, From Start to Finish and Nothin’ But Treble, performed and did an amazing job.”

Nearly 20 show choirs from across Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Canada attended the event, Mercer said.

“Throughout the day, over 1,800 people were in attendance ... we had an overwhelming positive response from directors and spectators claiming this was the best show choir competition they have ever been to,” Mercer said.

One emotional moment happened on stage when Andover High’s Nothin’ But Treble group performed a piece reflecting on women who have made a difference in their lives. For this festival, the troupe added Colleen Ritzer’s memory to the show. The Danvers High School math teacher from Andover was allegedly murdered by a student last October. The 24-year-old was a 2007 graduate of Andover High.

“We dedicated a moment to voice her quote, ‘No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind’,” Mercer said.

The scene was emotional, but the festival never lost a step as dance performances continued and spectators cheered.

Here are some comments from directors that were sent to Mercer:

Amy Hubbard from Joseph Case High School, Swansea: “Congratulations on having a very successful and very smooth-running festival. I can not tell you how much I appreciate a show running on time. The directors’ green room was very appreciated by myself and my choreographer. Sometimes you just need two minutes of quiet to grab a drink of water and collect your thoughts. Thank you so much for all the hard work you, your parents organization and your students put in!”

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